Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard
The Frenchman grabbed his first NWES ELITE 1 Division win since Tours 2018
Frederic Gabillon made a spectacular return to Victory Lane at the Brands Hatch thanks to a masterful drive in ELITE 1 Round 6. The Frenchman led most of the 38 laps around the iconic 1.9-kilometer Indy Circuit on his #3 RDV Competition Chevy and brilliantly defended from a charging Stienes Longin.
ELITE 1 :
Gabillon started from the pole but was beaten to turn 2 by Loris Hezemans, who was coming from second place on the grid. The Dutchman immediately took off but the Safety Car was deployed to recover Mauro Trione’s car from the at Paddock Hill Bend.
The following restart was a game changing one. Hezemans hit the throttle too early and was forced to serve a drive through penalty, while Gabillon took back the lead and perfectly handled another restart when Jennifer Jo Cobb got trapped in the gravel at Clearways.
Gabillon put up a masterpiece of defensive driving to cross the finish line first despite the huge pressure brought by Stienes Longin, who crossed the finish line 0.284 seconds behind the #3 Chevrolet. Gabillon grabbed his twelfth career ELITE 1 win, the second at Brands Hatch, in what was his 78th start in Euro NASCAR’s top Division.
“It was extremely difficult to handle the car,” said Gabillon. “I was a little bit lucky to set the fastest lap yesterday, but I won’t complain. It’s always good to start out front on a track like this. I’m so happy being back in the Victory Lane, but we have a lot of work to do this season. We have to learn why we don’t have the right pace at the moment.”
Longin was second again. After losing the win on Saturday by just a few tenth of a second, the PK Carsport driver was extremely strong on Sunday and despite being unable to find a space to pass Gabillon, he scored important points for the the championship. The Belgian collecting his fourth second place this year.
“It was challenging race with a very competitive Fred out front,” said Longin. “He was defending hard and made no mistakes, so I was not able to pass him here today. I still have to wait for my first ELITE 1 Division win, but I got a lot of points for the championship, which makes me happy.”
Saturday’s race winner Alon Day was third after some intense battles for the last spot on the podium. The Israeli collected the most points during the weekend and was crowned “King of Brands Hatch”, bringing also home the “Fastest Driver Award” by Tijey. The CAAL Racing driver now leads the ELITE 1 Division standings by 19 points on Longin.
Alexander Graff started seventh and ended up fourth, collecting his first top-5 in the 2019 NWES season. Three-time Euro NASCAR champion Ander Vilarino rounded out the top-5, starting from eighth on the grid. His teammate and former Brands Hatch race winner Romain Iannetta was sixth.
Last year’s race winner Gianmarco Ercoli won the Junior Trophy classification by finishing seventh ahead of former Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve, who came from eleventh on the grid at the wheel of his #32 Go Fas Racing Chevrolet Camaro. Nicolo Rocca, who spun early after a contact with his teammate Longin while the two were battling for second place, recovered until ninth place.
After an historic win from 26th on the grid in the ELITE 2 Division on Saturday, Lasse Sorensen started 28th in ELITE 1 and put up another impressive comeback. The Dane carved his way up to tenth place, earning his first top-10 and completing the Junior Trophy podium behind Ercoli and Rocca.
Another amazing comeback was performed by Francesco Sini, driving the #12 Solaris Motorsport Chevrolet Camaro. The Italian started from the very back of the field after an engine change, completed some spectacular passes and ended up eleventh.
Henri Tuomaala won the midfield battle for glories in the Challenger Trophy. The Memphis Racing driver ended up 16th edging Dario Caso, who was second in the Challenger Trophy classification ahead of Kenko Miura, who held on to his 21th position against Simone Laureti and Ellen Lohr.
Races will be free to watch here (Saturday) and here (Sunday).