Loris Hezemans: “We’re back in title contention and we’re the ones chasing them down”
At just 21 years of age, Loris Hezemans is the outsider in the battle for the Euro NASCAR championship that will take place on October 20-21 at Circuit Zolder in Belgium. The Dutch rookie sits fourth in points in the ELITE 1 Division, 12 marks behind leader Lucas Lasserre, 10 behind defending champion Alon Day and 8 behind perennial title contender Frederic Gabillon.
Among the four title contenders, Hezemans definitely is the least experienced, but is probably also the driver coming to Zolder with the biggest momentum following a huge Semi Finals weekend at Hockenheim in which he grabbed his first ever NASCAR Whelen Euro Series win.
The Uccle native is confident he can have his say in the fight for the Euro NASCAR ring.
“I honestly didn’t expect to find myself in this situation at the beginning of the season, but we’re back in title contention and we’re the ones chasing them down. There’s nothing to lose now, let’s see what we can get out of it,” said Hezemans, who is also leading the Junior Trophy classification. “I’m probably the one feeling less pressure, but it’s not going to be easy. If I have the opportunity to win the championship I will absolutely try to grab it and that will be my sole focus at Zolder. Things change really by the second in racing so I always try to keep an open mind and do my best.”
In his debut season, Hezemans already amassed one win, six top-5s and 7 top-10s. His potential remained unexpressed in the first three races, in which the talented rookie got tangled in a couple of accidents, one of which while he was leading in Valencia, his second NASCAR race ever. From the second Franciacorta race onwards, the progression was impressive both for the driver and the Hendriks Motorsport team and it took Hezemans him just 10 starts to put his name among the 18 drivers who won an ELITE 1 NASCAR race in Europe since 2012.
The first career win against the best NASCAR drivers in Europe in the Saturday race at Hockenheim was something special for the young Dutch driver.
“It was huge. We knew we had the speed because we led laps already in Valencia, but it took me and Hendriks Motorsport some time to learn and put everything together. I had to learn a lot about the car, the series and the drivers I’m racing against, but from Franciacorta onward we didn’t have a single DNF and we never finished outside the top-10.” said the Dutchman. “Finally we put all the pieces together in Hockenheim and we delivered. That shows not only my progress but also the team’s progress because everything was new for them too. It was a quick evolution towards being title contenders.”
The plan to become Euro NASCAR Champion is pretty straightforward for the Hendriks Motorsport driver.
“I think the strategy for the finals will involve trying to grab the pole position as first priority. In Euro NASCAR we have plenty of opportunities to pass, but starting out front is always a big help and that will be my first focus. We’ll focus on qualifying and scoring the best possible result in the first race and then we’ll see from there. I can’t wait,” Hezemans said.
With four contenders representing four different teams and three different countries, surrounded by a spectacular American-themed festival, Hezemans is sure that the Zolder Finals will be a huge event.
“There’s no doubt about it! I’d recommend everybody to go to Zolder for the Euro NASCAR Finals. Even though I wasn’t competing in the championship in the past I took the time to go to Zolder and it was great. Not a lot of championships bring so many attractions to the track and even if you’re not that much into racing, I’m sure you’ll be entertainment,” concluded Hezemans.
The Circuit Zolder Finals will be streamed live on will be streamed live on Fanschoice.tv, the EuroNASCAR Facebook page and Youtube Channel, the EuroNASCAR Twitter account, Motorsport.tv and a vast network of websites and social media profiles across the globe beginning on Saturday, October 20 with qualifying and two exciting NASCAR races.