Martin Doubek Prevails In Vallelunga-Thriller

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Nina Weinbrenner


Martin Doubek from the Czech Republic took the lead from teammate Gil Linster on a Safety Car restart – Thomas Toffel secured the first podium of the season with a daring last lap double pass on the outside

Martin Doubek reinforced his championship lead in EuroNASCAR 2 with his second victory of the 2024 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season at Autodromo di Vallelunga. On the opening lap, contact between Doubek’s Hendriks Motorsport teammate Gil Linster and Claudio Remigio Cappelli resulted in a Safety Car period which was the key for the Czech driver to grab the win in EuroNASCAR 2 Round 3. Doubek timed his restart perfectly and opened a comfortable lead from Linster to deliver the win. For the first time in the series history, the race was extended by two laps in application of the new rule concerning Safety Car interventions.

The battle at the circuit located just north of Rome kept fans on their toes with two restarts and plenty of action across the field. Linster and Cappelli’s contact resulted in the elimination of the latter and Patrick Schober, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The crash initially triggered a Full Course Yellow, but recovering the wrecked EuroNASCAR machines necessitated the deployment of a Safety Car.

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Bart Dehaese

Shortly after, a contact between Melvin de Groot and Victor Neumann that took both drivers out triggered another Full Course Yellow. Doubek again survived the ensuing restart and led Linster by 6.057 seconds to the finish line to secure his first victory in Italy since 2021, the year he secured his EuroNASCAR 2 championship title at the 4.085 kilometer race track. At the end of the race, Linster accepted defeat and praised his teammate for his great restarts.

“I have no words,” said Doubek in Victory Lane. “We found a really good setup, but we made some mistakes in Qualifying. In EuroNASCAR PRO I started from ninth and we ended up third, so we know we’re quick. I was a bit disappointed with my start because I didn’t see the green light, but my spotter told me that it was all good – so everything’s fine and I’m really happy about that!

Behind the Hendriks Motorsport duo, there was a splendid battle for third position that lasted for the entire race. Vladimiros Tziortzis and Thomas Toffel traded positions many times along with Simone Giussani, who showed his potential despite ultimately not being in contention because of a 10-seconds penalty for a false start. Thomas Krasonis also joined the fight later on, but Toffel was the one that had the last laugh. The Swiss driver made a daring double pass on the final lap, overtaking both Tziortzis and Giussani on the outside of turn 6 to secure his first podium finish of the 2024 season.

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Nina Weinbrenner

“I hope it’s in the highlights reel,” said Toffel after the race. “I had a little bit of luck and I also knew that Giussani had a penalty. I had the pace at the end of the race, so that was a good opportunity to make the pass. We drove a lot of kilometers in Spain during the winter and that made a lot of difference because my feeling with the car improved. Experience is a key element and I gather a lot of it, so we’re heading in the right direction.”

In the end, Krasonis and Tziortzis were also penalized for not respecting track limits. Krasonis maintained enough of an advantage to retain fourth to complete his amazing comeback. As he started from 22nd on the grid, the Greek Marko Stipp Motorsport driver received four bonus points for the most positions gained. Lux Motorsport’s Jack Davidson also put up a huge comeback on his own because he avoided the crash on the opening lap going over the grass. The Scotsman kept his car clean and fought his way back to fifth with the distinguishable pink #21 Chevrolet Camaro.

A penalty for Tziortzis dropped him down to sixth ahead of Julien Rehberg, who took the top spot in the Rookie Trophy after some NASCAR-styled paint trading with Florian Richard. Richard was sandwiched by two Trophy winners as the driver that finished behind him was Roberto Benedetti, the best pilot in the Legend Trophy for drivers aged 40 and over.

Thomas Dombrowski rounded out the top-10 from Giussani, who was relegated to eleventh. The Italian still took third in the Rookie Trophy and will have another chance to convert his potential into a strong result in Sunday’s EuroNASCAR 2 Race 4. Michael Bleekemolen and Sven van Laere completed the top-3 positions in the Legend Trophy with Arianna Casoli securing the top Lady Trophy honors.

In the provisional standings, Doubek will maintain his championship lead with 115 points to his tally, 15 points ahead of Toffel in second. Linster moved up to third with a 24-point deficit from his teammate. Rehberg and Dombrowski completed the top-5 positions with 90 and 88 points respectively.

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Bart Dehaese

With the action on Saturday concluded, the teams and drivers will now prepare themselves for the races that will come on Sunday. EuroNASCAR 2 Race 4 will start things off at 10:10 CEST while EuroNASCAR PRO Round 4 concludes the festivities at 13:55 CEST. Don’t miss the races as it will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel and numerous TV channels around the world.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.