NASCAR fans will be up for an exciting final battle for ELITE 2 Division title at Circuit Zolder on October 5-6 with Giorgio Maggi and Lasse Soerensen separated by just nine points entering the last two races of the 2019 season. The Dane closed the gap on championship leader Maggi by grabbing a spectacular win in Sunday’s Semi Final race at Germany’s Hockenheimring.
The Dexwet-Df1 Racing rookie grabbed the lead right after the start and fended off Maggi in the early stages of the 16-lap race, surviving two restarts to grab his fifth Euro NASCAR win of the season.
“It was a really good race today, as my plan was to catch Maggi right from the beginning,” said the 22 year old Dane, who managed to position himself in the title hunt despite missing the season opener in Valencia. “The plan worked out really well but I had to defend my position after the two cautions, which was not that easy. I managed to have three good starts and it seems like I was very quick in the first 2-3 laps after each restart. Now I want the title, which was the goal even before the start of my season in Italy. We will get there!”
NWES debutant Hugo De Sadeleer grabbed his second Euro NASCAR podium out of two starts by finishing right behind Soerensen. The Swiss took over second place in his #88 Racing Engineering Ford Mustang on lap 14 with a bold maneuver on championship leader Giorgio Maggi, who had to deal with brake issues in the closing stages and settled for a smart fifth place under the checkered flag.
Racers Motorsport’s Alessandro Brigatti ended up third and earned himself the first NWES podium finish with a strong performance. The average age of the drivers on the podium was below 22, confirming the quality of the new talents making their NWES debut in 2019. The Rookie Trophy podium mirrored the overall top-3.
“We were very fast in the beginning of the race, but I struggled a lot in the end,” said NWES newcomer De Sadeleer. “I was side-by-side with Lasse in the closing laps, but due to the yellow flags I was not allowed to overtake him in the Motodrom. I’m really pleased with the result and Racing Engineering did a great job, setting up an awesome Ford Mustang. Hopefully I will be able to come back at Zolder and fight for the win.”
Brigatti commented his first ever NWES podium: “It’s crazy and unbelievable to stand on the podium here at Hockenheim. I never expected to finish inside the top-3, but we managed to get there. I didn’t run in qualifying but I did a good lap in a strong first race. We had a better starting position in the second race and a good pace. I’m really happy with the result today.”
The safety-car was deployed two times, the first on lap 4 after 16-year-old Ben Creanor hit the wall in the famous Motodrom. The second caution came on lap 7 due to a multi-car crash. Andre Castro, Mirco Schultis and Pol van Pollaert were all involved in the accident and had to retire from the race. On the following restart, Soerensen took the lead in turn one and never relinquished it, bringing home the win in the NASCAR GP Germany.
Jesse Vartiainen confirmed Saturday’s strong pace by finishing fourth. The Alex Caffi Motorsports driver took advantage of Maggi’s technical problems in the closing stages to pass the Swiss in the last lap. Maggi contained the damage and brought home his #50 Hendriks Motorsport Ford Mustang in fifth place, preserving the championship lead by nine points on Soerensen.
Brigatti’s teammate Nicholas Risitano ended up sixth ahead of CAAL Racing’s Advait Deodhar and Martin Doubek at the wheel of the #7 Hendriks Motorsport Ford Mustang. Deodhar’s teammate Pierluigi Veronesi finished ahead of American NASCAR veteran Myatt Snider, who closed the top-10 in his #48 Racing Engineering Ford Mustang.
Memphis Racing’s Ian Eric Waden grabbed another Legend Trophy win at the Hockenheimring, bringing his season total up to five and setting up a very tight battle for the over-40 classification in Zolder. At the wheel of her #54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet, Arianna Casoli, who also won the Lady Trophy classification, was second among the Legend drivers ahead of points leader Michael Bleekemolen.
The ELITE 2 Division will be back in action on October 5-6 at Circuit Zolder in Belgium. The qualifying and both final races will be streamed live on Fanschoice.tv, the NWES Facebook and YouTube page, Motorsport.tv and a vast network of websites and social media pages from around the world.
Photo Credit: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard