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The first NASCAR GP in Croatia was a special one for Simon Pilate. For the first time in his short career in the EuroNASCAR he was participating both in the EuroNASCAR 2 as well as the EuroNASCAR Pro division.
The weekend didn’t start as the young Belgian driver was hoping. During the free practice, one of his tires blew up and while he was trying to get the car back to the pits, the damage to the car got worse and he had to retire. He wasn’t able to run a good lap in the qualifying of the EuroNASCAR Pro, as the car broke down after two laps. “Thanks to the mechanics, the car was able to restart in the middle of the qualifying session in EuroNASCAR 2. As soon as I was back on the track, the red flag was out, two simultaneous accidents at two places on the track ended this very short qualifying session for me”, the young Belgian said. He was last in the qualifying in Pro-division and on P11 in the EN2. “The Grobnik circuit, very fast and narrow, made every overtaking manoeuvre complicated, because the areas of heavy braking were very short. Very focused and determined to get back on track during the race, I wanted to prove that my places in qualifying did not reflect my true potential.”
In race 1 of the EN2 Pilate was able to gain 3 positions and finished on P8, which meant a solid P4 in the Rookie-Trophy. He had the ninth fastest lap time in the race and started from P9 in the second race on Sunday. He made a mistake in the first lap and spun around, but didn’t damage the car. His pace was good and he was able to finish the race on P7. “My rhythm proves once again that I am in the top 5 of my category. At Valencia I hope to be in the top 5, if not on the podium.”
The first race in the EuroNASCAR Pro division was a very special experience for Pilate. He wanted to show his pace and see it compared to the more experienced drivers in the Pro-division. Starting from the last position he had a good start and was able to gain some positions. He crossed the finish line on P13 with the 11th fastest time in the race. “Given my poor qualifying performance, it was a good Saturday”, Pilate said satisfied.
In the second race of the EuroNASCAR Pro he started from P11. He had a good run and was able to improve his position. At the end of the race he was on P7, a pretty good result for the young Belgian driver. In the Junior Trophy that meant P4. Although he once again just missed the podium, he can be satisfied with his first races in the EN Pro. “The goal of being in the top 10 of the Pro category was largely achieved, which pleased my mentors Patrick Lemarié and Jacques Villeneuve, by whom I was immediately congratulated!”, Pilate said.
“Grobnik will undoubtedly remain in my memory. A beautiful setting between sea and mountains welcomed the EuroNascar rounds 5 & 6 last weekend. A maximum of experience gained in 3 days worthy of the best roller coasters. This unique opportunity offered me an additional racing experience, which, as any driver knows, is much better than the experience of the simulator. I learned how to defend myself at the start, and increase my pace as I raced through the laps with a group of experienced drivers. An exciting challenge, for a very positive and beneficial weekend”, Pilate summed up the weekend in Croatia.
The next and final races of the season 2020 will take place at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo at Valencia. As usual in the final races, the points are doubled. In the overall standings, Pilate is on P10 right now, with only 28 points behind P4. So everything is still possible for the young man from Belgium, who is looking forward to the weekend in Spain.