Penalty against Jouffreau: Gil Linster scores maiden EuroNASCAR win at Circuit Zolder

Credits: Mario Schlimper / Threewide


First winner from Luxembourg in the history of NASCAR in Europe

A new name was added to the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series winners list at Circuit Zolder in Belgium. Gil Linster inherited the race win in EuroNASCAR 2 Final 1 after race control penalized Paul Jouffreau for an incident between the Frenchman and Alberto Naska in turn 2 on lap 9. The 30-second penalty dropped the RDV Competition driver down to seventh while Linster celebrated his maiden NASCAR race win in the Hendriks Motorsport garage. Since joining the NWES in 2017, Linster steadily improved to become one of the top contenders in the  EuroNASCAR 2 division and finally made it to the top step of the podium. The Luxembourger also made a big step forward in the overall standings as he is now third, just 14 points behind championship leader Vladimiros Tziortzis.

Credits: Mario Schlimper / Threewide

Linster had a strong start from fourth place. He stayed in close contact with the top-3 and took advantage of a technical issue on Claudio Cappelli’s car to move up one spot. Cappelli had initially taken first position at the start, leading his first ever laps in EuroNASCAR, but then dropped back to 22nd. On lap 9, Linster was right behind race leaders Naska and Jouffreau when they made contact in turn 2 and Naska ended up spinning. Jouffreau was able to continue and finish the race first under the checkered flag, but race control handed the Frenchman a 30-second penalty after the race for the contact with the CAAL Racing driver.

Finishing second on the track, Linster was declared the race winner in the wake of the podium ceremony. “It was actually a very good race! This time I didn’t use the mirror much, I just concentrated on myself. I tried to catch Jouffreau, but he was just a rocket. I’m happy that I wasn’t fourth and I hope that I will never get fourth place again!”

Linster edged out Oschersleben race winner Patrick Schober and his #27 Double V Racing Mustang in an epic battle for positions lasting the whole 15-lap race. The overall podium was rounded out by Team Bleekemolen’s Melvin de Groot, who not only scored his fourth career podium but also won the race in the Legend Trophy for drivers aged 40 and over. The Dutchman has now overtaken Cappelli in the special classification’s battle and leads by just two points.

Despite not being able to match the pace of Jouffreau and Naska, Vladimiros Tziortzis was the real winner in the battle for the EuroNASCAR 2 title. With the fourth place in the final results, the Cypriot increased his championship lead ahead of the last race of the season. The Academy / Alex Caffi Motorsport driver from Cyprus can now count on a ten-point lead  from Jouffreau. Linster sits in third 14 points behind the leader and Naska is now 27 points away from the championship lead.

With a strong fifth place, Roberto Benedetti scored his best EuroNASCAR career finish so far and took home second in the Legend Trophy classification. Marko Stipp Motorsport’s Jack Davidson took over the Rookie Trophy lead as the Scotsman not only had a solid race but also took advantage of Thomas Dombrowski’s spin in turn 1 at the start of the race that shuffled the Frenchman back to 20th position. Jouffreau was classified seventh ahead of Michael Bleekemolen, who rounded out the Legend Trophy podium. Martin Doubek and Riccardo Romagnoli followed behind the 74-year-old Dutch racing legend.

Credits: Mario Schlimper / Threewide

Nicholas Strickler finished twelfth in his NWES comeback with Marko Stipp Motorsport and stood on the second step of the Rookie Trophy podium, while 16-year-old Mario Ercoli, Gianmarco’s younger brother, completed the top-3 of the special classification. Arianna Casoli was 19th under the checkered flag and secured the record-breaking fourth overall Lady Trophy win with one race still to go. The EuroNASCAR fans expect a showdown on Sunday with the EuroNASCAR 2 championship, the Rookie Trophy and the Legend Trophy still on the line.

The 2023 EuroNASCAR Finals will culminate in Sunday’s races at the legendary Circuit Zolder in Belgium. EuroNASCAR PRO Final 2 will take place at 11:00 while the season finale of the EuroNASCAR PRO will follow at 13:30. All races will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, and several TV services from all around the world

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