VALENCIA, Spain – official series release by Gian Luca Guiglia, NWES — NASCAR Whelen Euro Series/Stephane Azemard photo —
Nothing could stop Ander Vilarino from winning Sunday’s NASCAR Whelen Euro Series ELITE 1 Race 2 at Valencia.
The Spaniard started from the pole and led flag to flag to score his first win of the season, the 18th of his NASCAR career and his fourth on the Spanish track.
“I am very proud to leave Valencia as the championship leader because there are many really strong drivers competing for the win in each race,” said the driver of the No. 2 TFT-Banco Santander Chevrolet SS. “A lot of people came today to see me in my home race and it feels amazing to win in front of them.”
Vilarino jumped to an early lead immediately after the start, building a comfortable margin over Frederic Gabillon and Anthony Kumpen but a safety car brought out to recover Roberto Benedetti’s car from the gravel at turn 12 compacted the field again and led to a restart on lap six. Vilarino kept the first position ahead of Gabillon and Kumpen, dictating the pace while the Frenchman and the defending champion battled for second.
Some contacts shuffled the field in restart, with Nicolò Rocca and Borja Garcia losing various positions, while Romain Iannetta (No. 7 TFT Chevrolet SS) climbed up to fourth, followed by Eddie Cheever III.
The top-5 remained unchanged until the last corner of the last lap, when the Italian dove inside Iannetta and took fourth under the checkered flag, while Vilarino crossed the line first by 3.6 seconds on Gabillon and Kumpen.
Iannetta closed fifth, followed by Wilfried Boucenna (No. 4 Efficaciter Ford Mustang) and a very consistent Florian Renauer (No. 5 Dexwet Renauer Team Ford Mustang). Luke Wrigth (No. 7 DF-1 Racing Chevrolet SS) completed a splendid comeback from the last row on the grid to finish eighth, ahead of Borja Garcia and Philipp Lietz (No. 67 GDL Racing Ford Mustang), who completed the top-10.
Vilarino also took the points lead by just 2 points on Cheever and 10 on Kumpen.
By finishing fourth, Saturday’s winner Eddie Cheever III increases his advantage in the Junior “Jérôme Sarran” Trophy with a second win.
CREDIT: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series