Lasse Soerensen grabs his first EuroNASCAR PRO victory in Belgium
All in all it was a successful NASCAR GP of Belgium for DF1 Racing at Circuit Zolder. The Austrian team finished in the top positions in all NASCAR Whelen Euro Series championships with all three Chevrolet Camaros. The Dane Lasse Soerensen in particular had reason to celebrate: On Saturday, the current EuroNASCAR 2 champion clinched his first EuroNASCAR PRO victory.
The Circuit Zolder and the Danish giant seems to be a perfect fit: In 2019 he snatched the title in the forests of Limburg with a spectacular victory in the last EuroNASCAR 2 race. His return to Belgium was tailor-made for the 24-year-old, especially on Saturday. He won his first EuroNASCAR PRO Pole Award, led all laps in the rain and finished the race in first place, which also earned him victory in the Junior Trophy.
On Sunday, the Dane once again showed his comeback qualities. As his Chevrolet was heavily damaged in the EuroNASCAR 2 race, the team had to use all the time to repair the car for the race. In the process, his starting position in the top 10 had to be sacrificed. Soerensen started from the very back of the grid, but then made a brilliant recovery. In the end, the DF1 Tiger crossed the finish line in a solid ninth place, which was equivalent to fourth place in the Junior Trophy.
“It was a great race but a tough one with the wet conditions here,” said Soerensen. “It was really all about keeping the car at the track and as soon I was gone at the front I tried to manage the gap and the damp track. The car was really good, I have to thank DF1 Racing for that and I’m really happy that I’ve won my first ever EuroNASCAR PRO race here at Circuit Zolder. In the second race we repaired the car just in time. I thank our super mechanics for their work”.
Justin Kunz made an important step forward after a difficult season opener in Vallelunga. At the wheel of #99 car he finished 13th on Saturday and 11th on Sunday – despite a drive-through penalty. The German convinced with a solid pace and in both races and scored important points for the Austrian team.
“The race weekend went better than in Vallelunga, the car worked really well”, said Kunz. “I like to drive in the rain, which is why I was happy that it was wet on Saturday. Unfortunately I made a small mistake in qualifying, which is why I only finished 16th. In the first race it rained heavily, I could see almost nothing. 13th place was okay in the end, even though it wasn’t the goal. In the second race I made a mistake and dropped out the line before the start-finish line, for which I got a penalty. That wasn’t clever. But I still finished eleventh. All in all it was a good race weekend and I thank the whole team for the great work.”
Nicolo Rocca scored important points in the championship on Saturday with an eighth place in the EuroNASCAR-PRO championship. The Italian showed a solid performance and finished the DF1-Camaro within the top 10. The 26 year old missed the second race on Sunday.
“For me it was not an easy weekend, because I just couldn’t show the real pace of the Camaro”, says Rocca. “We worked hard to improve the car and certainly made a step forward. It’s a pity that we couldn’t start in the second race, because I was very curious to see how good the true pace of the car is. But I’m taking a lot of positive things with me and I want to finally get good results in the next race. I thank my crew, the whole team and my sponsors for their support. We keep on pushing!”
In the EuroNASCAR 2 championship, Andre Castro also showed real fighting spirit. On Saturday, the American had to cancel both the qualifying and the first race for health reasons. On Sunday the 21-year-old therefore started from the back of the grid. But that didn’t stop Castro from driving up to fourth place in a chaotic race.
“It’s always difficult to start from the very back of the grid,” said Castro. “But I was able to make up a lot of positions at the start and the restarts after the safety car phases. After the last major accident on the track I jumped from ninth to fourth place. I would have liked to have had an overtime to still be able to drive onto the podium”.
Andreas Jochimsen experienced a difficult race weekend at Circuit Zolder. The Dane finished in eleventh place in the first race and showed a promising pace. In the second race he was involved in a “Big One” through no fault of his own, which is why he retired early. But it should be noted that Jochimsen is one of the fastest drivers on the EuroNASCAR 2 grid.
“I had a good pace in the rain,” said Jochimsen. “Unfortunately I had some bad luck in both races. In the first race I fought again for the top 5, but I got a penalty which ruined a top result for me. But then I drove up from 16th to eleventh place. In the second race I fought for the top positions until I was involved in a crash. I didn’t have a chance to avoid it. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
On Thursday, the reigning Club Challenge champion Alain Mosqueron stepped on the podium for the first time. At the season opener of the regularity based challenge, the Frenchman set the second-best time in three timed sessions. His teammate Frank Riedel finished fourth in his Club Challenge debut.
“Because of the championship victory in Zolder in 2019, I was really looking forward to the race,” Mosqueron said. “Unfortunately I made a small mistake in the first session, which I tried to iron out in the second session. I was fully focused on winning, but Federico Monti simply delivered a good race. Now I am concentrating on the run in Most. I would like to say something to the fans: ‘It’s a pity that not all of you can come to the track, we miss you here!'”
DF1-Racing motorsport boss Norbert Walchhofer said: “After this successful weekend we can go home proudly. The crew and of course our drivers did a great job. Next week the next tests are scheduled to be successful also at the Autodrom Most”.
After the second race weekend, Soerensen is only three points shy of Alon Day in the EuroNASCAR-PRO championship in second place and sits in the first place of the Junior Trophy. Nicolo Rocca is twelfth, while Kunz is ranked 18th. Jochimsen is tenth in the EuroNASCAR 2 classification, Castro is 14th, and Mosqueron is second after the Club Challenge opener.
The next race weekend of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will take place on November 14-15, 2020, at the Autodrom Most in the Czech Republic. The DF1 Tigers will then once again be chasing for points in all championships.