Hezemans wins a spectacular Semi Final at Hockenheimring
Loris Hezemans (#50 Hendriks Motorsport Ford Mustang) took his maiden NASCAR Whelen Euro Series win in a nail biting ELITE 1 Semi Final 1 at the iconic Hockenheimring. The Dutchman also delivered Hendriks Motorsport their first NASCAR win. Frederic Gabillon (#3 Tepac RDV Compétition Ford Mustang) came from a lap down up to seventh place, salvaging his points lead as Alon Day (#54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) spun in a last lap attempt to pass Hezemans for the lead.
Hezemans led from flag to flag after in his Hockenheimring debut and perfectly managed to keep the lead in a restart with five laps to go. Despite having his hands on the championship lead after Gabillon fell victim of a puncture in the first lap, Day put pressure on Hezemans in the closing stages of the race and tried an hail mary move in the penultimate corner, but ended up spinning. The points lead swung back to Gabillon, who climbed from a lap down to seventh under the checkered flag.
“I’m so happy, especially with a race like this,” said Hezemans, who is now also leading Junior Trophy on Gianmarco Ercoli (#9 Racers Motorsport Ford Mustang). “We had to work really hard and this win tastes even sweeter. It was close racing until the very last corner, I nearly lost the battle against Alon. I was completely sideways. After the pace car I was under a lot of pressure, he was really flying and he just locked up. We didn’t even touch when he tried to pass me and unfortunately he spun, but I grabbed the win and I want to score big points again tomorrow.”
The ELITE 1 Semi Final was filled with exciting NASCAR action all across the field. Marc Goossens (#91 Braxx Racing Chevrolet Camaro) took advantage of Day’s debacle to finished second from ninth on the grid, while Lucas Lasserre (#33 Mavi Mishumotors Chevrolet SS) came from eight to third ahead of Martin Doubek (#7 Belgium Driver Academy Ford Mustang), who grabbed second in the Junior Trophy with his first career ELITE 1 top-5, and Wilfried Boucenna (#73 Knauf Racing Ford Mustang).
“I couldn’t be happier especially because I was not feeling well at the start of the day,” said Goossens. “We tried something setup-wise this morning for Qualifying but it didn’t work. So we had to put the car back together for the race. I had a lot of luck with the traffic situation in front of me and the spin by Alon Day. This is like a big win for me.”
Dominik Farnbacher (#70 Mishumotors Chevrolet SS) ended up sixth in his second Euro NASCAR start. Bobby Labonte (#18 Yacco RDV Competition Toyota Camry) grabbed his fourth top-10 finish with the eighth place behind Gabillon. Alexander Graff (#77 Memphis Racing Chevrolet Camaro) edged Henri Tuomaala (#1 Alex Caffi Motorsport Ford Mustang), who had a solid Euro NASCAR debut in Germany and also grabbed the win in the Challenger Trophy.
The ELITE 1 will be back in action on Sunday at 2:20 pm CET with Semi Final 2 to close the American Fan Fest weekend. All races will be streamed live on Fanschoice.tv, Motorsport.tv, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Facebook page, the Euro NASCAR YouTube channel and a vast network of websites and social media profiles around the world.