Mission accomplished: Gordon Barnes defends the Club Challenge title

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Credits: Nina Weinbrenner / Threewide

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The Brit topped the second session with a penalty time of just 0.058 seconds

Gordon Barnes has been crowned the 2022 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Club Challenge Champion. The Marko Stipp Motorsport driver defended his one-point lead over Neo Lambert with an almost-perfect second session at Automotodrom Grobnik. The Brit only accumulated a total penalty time of 0.058 seconds and therefore kept Lambert at bay. After Alain Mosqueron in 2019 and 2020, Barnes is the second driver in EuroNASCAR history to celebrate two consecutive Club Challenge title victories.

Credits: Nina Weinbrenner / Threewide

Barnes started the day on the wrong foot as his #48 Chevrolet Camaro suffered from technical issues. The new champion did not set any lap in Free Practice and was even towed back to the pits after stopping on the track. The problems were fixed for the first timed session, in which he was beaten by Lambert by 0.047 seconds and stood with his back against the wall in the final 30 minutes of the 2022 NWES Club Challenge season. With a stellar performance, Barnes managed to beat Lambert and win the championship by one point.

“It was a season with ups and downs as we faced some issues with the car,” said Barnes in Victory Lane. “Neo Lambert has been phenomenal all season. Beating him by just one point is just incredible. A few hours ago I was stranded with my car on the backstretch of the track and I did not do a single lap in Free Practice. I thought that was it, but we made a comeback in the final session and it was close to perfect. It left me speechless when they announced the results and the split time. I’m so happy right now!”

Credits: Nina Weinbrenner / Threewide

Lambert had traveled to Croatia with the championship in mind but despite two phenomenal sessions, the Frenchman wasn’t able to overtake Barnes in the overall standings. The Speedhouse driver had to settle for second after a season with thrilling battles and a dramatic finale against Barnes. In his first season, Lambert proved to be very consistent and a promising talent at the wheel of a 400hp V8 beast without any electronic aids.

“I have to be honest, it was a disappointing end to the season,” said Lambert. “We gave our best to beat Gordon but he has been stronger today. Unfortunately, it was a tight season and we were only one point behind him. It’s a bit frustrating but now I’m looking forward to heading to EuroNASCAR 2 for the next season.”

Federico Monti not only finished third in Croatia, but also in the overall standings. The Italian had a solid run in his #2 Academy Motorsport / Alex Caffi Motorsport Ford Mustang. Andreas Kuchelbacher ended his racing career at the conclusion of the Fracasso NASCAR GP Croatia. The Austrian, who won the championship back in 2017, had issues with his gearbox and didn’t manage to battle for the win in his very last outing. Viktor Schiffer made a solid EuroNASCAR debut on the #27 Double V Racing Ford Mustang by finishing seventh.

Credits: Nina Weinbrenner / Threewide

With the 2022 Club Challenge season in the books, the Fracasso NASCAR GP Croatia is set to kick off with four free practice sessions on Friday – two for EuroNASCAR PRO and two for EuroNASCAR 2.The standings in both championships are tight and therefore the fans can expect a brilliant finale at Automotodrom Grobnik. Qualifying and all races will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and several TV services around the world.

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