Lasse Soerensen, Nicolo Rocca and Justin Kunz collect important points for the team from Austria
Last weekend DF1 Racing went to completely unknown territory in Croatia: The event at the Automotodrom Grobnik replaced the race in Most in the Czech Republic on the calendar and was a great challenge for all teams and drivers. In the EuroNASCAR PRO championship for professional race drivers, Lasse Soerensen (#66), Nicolo Rocca (#22) and Justin Kunz (#99) went on the hunt for points for the Austrian team.
The experienced team quickly adapted to the new 4.168 kilometer long track on the Croatian Riviera. With a solid setup, the three Chevrolet Camaros made their first meters on the technical race track. Since overtaking is not easy on the narrow track, qualifying was extremely important for the DF1 Tigers.
On Saturday morning, the Dane, the Italian and the German had 30 minutes to burn a good lap time into the asphalt. The title candidate and current EuroNASCAR 2 champion Lasse Soerensen kept up with the leaders and secured third place on the grid. Right behind him was Nicolo Rocca, who shared the second row of the grid with his team mate in the first race. Justin Kunz only just missed the top 10 in eleventh place.
In the first race, Soerensen collected important points with a strong finish. The Dane crossed the finish line in third place and thus also secured second place in the Junior Trophy. In the race he drove the sixth fastest time, which is why he started the second EuroNASCAR-PRO race on Sunday from sixth place. Soerensen made up a full three places in the 17 laps and finished third again. In the overall standings, he is second and only 14 points behind Alon Day. In addition, Soerensen, who leads the Junior Trophy for drivers under 25 years of age, finished in the top 5 in all races.
“It was a good weekend and I think we got the maximum out of it”, explained Soerensen. “I am happy to lead the Junior Trophy and to be second in the overall ranking. I would like to thank the entire DF1 Racing team for the really fast #66 DF1 Chevrolet Camaro and my sponsor Strojer Tegl.”
Nicolo Rocca was able to keep up with the leaders in Grobnik. In the first race, the Italian was involved in the battle for the podium for a long time, but an issue with the power steering caused him problems and he dropped back to tenth place. In the second race he started from fourth place and crossed the finish line in third. In the end, a penalty after a contact with Stienes Longin washed him back to 13th place.
“It was a very positive weekend for the number 22 Chevrolet, because we had the pace to consistently finish in the top 5 in qualifying and both races,” Rocca said. “I thank the whole team for that. But we want to achieve even more and that’s why I’m already looking forward to the races in Valencia. We’ll try out a lot more and hopefully make the leap to the podium.”
For Kunz, things also went clearly forwards in Grobnik: The German finished eighth in the first run after a strong performance. Due to his fastest lap in the fifth race of the season, Kunz started the second race in Grobnik from tenth place. The experienced NWES driver made up four places and finished the race in sixth place.
“It was a weekend where everything worked and all the gears meshed perfectly,” said Kunz. “I really had a lot of fun in Grobnik. We also achieved solid results, but of course I always want more. I think this was a step forward – also for me personally. Of course we want to build on that and I am really looking forward to Valencia. The track in Croatia is really beautiful and a lot of fun. Hopefully we will return here. I would like to thank the whole team that has really done a great job.”
DF1 Racing Head of Motorsports Norbert Walchhofer said: “We take many positive things from Croatia and head strengthened to the final in Spain. We were on the podium in all classes and the drivers were satisfied – I can only thank our mechanics, who did a great job. I can understand that Nicolo Rocca was not happy because of the 30-second penalty, which flushed him from third to 13th place, especially after the video study”.
The final of the 2020 NWES season will take place from December 3-6 in Valencia, Spain. Four races are on the agenda for the EuroNASCAR PRO DF1 Tigers, with even double points on the line in the last two rounds. Soerensen in particular still has a good chance of grabbing the EuroNASCAR title and thus lifting the team to the European NASCAR Olympus.