Challenger-Trophy winner Henri Tuomaala’s first steps in sim-racing

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Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series/Guillaume Hesnault

In his first season in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, the Finn Henri Tuomaala dominated the Challenger Trophy in the EuroNASCAR PRO-Division. For the season 2020, he joined the austrian team DF1 Racing and will participate both in the EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2 Division with the #23. At the moment he is exploring the world of sim-racing in the EuroNASCAR Esports Series.

The first official race of the season of the ENES took place at Brands Hatch Indy. After the qualifying, Henri Tuomaala found himself on P31, which meant P11 on the starting grid for his heat, where he just missed the Top 10 and therefore the direct qualification for the main race by crossing the finish line on P11. He had to run in the Last Chance Qualifier and was able to finish third. Starting from P33 in the main race, he was able to gain some positions and finish the first race in the ENES on P23.

At Watkins Glen Tuomaala qualified 27th. Similar to Brands Hatch he wasn’t able to gain positions in the heat, but he didn’t loose positions either. With P9 he was able to move directly forward to the main race. He tried to avoid the big one in the second corner, but wasn’t able to avoid contact with other cars. Despite the damage to his #23 he was able to continue the race and finish on P20.

Tuomaala finished the qualifying at Zandvoort on P33, which meant P11 on the starting grid for his heat. Again, the start of the race was quite chaotic. The Finn was hit by one of the other cars and had to go through the gravel. He lost a lot of places, but was able to fight his way back. In the end, he crossed the finish line on P13. The Last Chance Qualifier went better than his heat run. He wasn’t involved in the incidents and managed to finish on P3 and secured himself P33 on the starting grid for the main race. Once again there was an incident right at the start. In order to avoid it, Tuomaala had to brake and lost a lot of time. During the race he was able to gain some positions, but he just missed the Top 20 with P21.

Credits: Nina Weinbrenner/Threewide

The last race of the regular season of the ENES took place on the road course of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This time luck was more on his side. Starting from P9 in his heat, he was able to not get involved in the incident at the start. He finished the heat on P8 and was directly qualified for the main race. He once again was involved in an incident at the start of the race and had to drive through the gravel. He lost a lot of time and had to fight his way back. In the end, he wasn’t able to finish in the Top 10, but P14 was his best result so far in the ENES.

The first semi-final took place on the Grand Prix track at Brands Hatch. The heat went well for the Finn. Although he couldn’t completely avoid the incident in the first corner, the damage to his #23 wasn’t severe. He was able to gain positions and crossed the finish line on P6, which meant P16 on the starting grid for the main race. Yet again, the start of the main race was quite chaotic. Alon Day lost control of his car in the very last corner and hit Tuomaala’s teammate Lasse Sörensen. Justin Kunz who was starting just ahead of Tuomaala, tried to avoid contact with another car and had to go through the gravel, and so did Tuomaala. He had to serve the stranded car of Alon Day and lost control of his own car, which led to a collision with the #277 of Gustav Berggren. Tuomaala was able to resume the race, but due to the damage to the car he finished on P26 and was 6 laps down.

The Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway hosted the second semi-final of the ENES. Tuomaala was on P19 after qualifying and started from 10th position in his heat. As only 36 drivers participated in this semi-final, the heats were only relevant for the grid in the main race. The Finn finished the heat on P11, so he started from P21 in the main race. His race was clean and he was able to avoid all incidents on track. In the end, he finished 11th. “The race went quite well. I managed to not get involved in accidents”, Tuomaala said in an interview with Threewide.

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series/Guillaume Hesnault

With one more race to go the DF1 driver is now on P15 in the overall standings of the ENES. But the ambitious Finn is not satisfied at all. “I didn’t have experience in Sim-Racing before the start of the ENES”, he said. “I’m not satisfied with my speed and I was involved in incidents too often. Right now I don’t have the time I need to practice more. I’m very busy at work and at the same time, I’m building a new house. In order to become faster, I would have to practice more.”

The final race of the EuroNASCAR Esports Series will take place on July 14th at Circuit Zolder.

 

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