MAGIONE, Italy — official release — Stephane Azemard photo — Ander Vilarino (#2 TFT-Banco Santander Chevrolet SS) triumphantly exited his Chevrolet SS at the end of a thrilling Saturday Race at the Autodromo dell’Umbria di Magione.
The Spaniard got the better of polesitter Eddie Cheever III (#51 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) at the start of the first round of the 2014 playoffs and after a couple of initial restarts seemed to hold a reassuring lead on the rest of the field. A late surge by Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) in the closing stages of the 25-laps race put Vilarino’s win at risk, but the Belgian ace could not get around the struggling Spaniard, finishing one second behind as Vilarino claimed his 17th career NASCAR Whelen Euro Series win.
“Every race is important in the playoffs and it was fundamental to start in the right foot. After the accident at the Nurburgring, it was very hard for us, so it’s really important to come back with a win”, said Vilarino, who won his fourth race of the season and takes a five point lead on Kumpen into Race 2. “At the end I was sliding a lot with oversteer and I had to do my best to resist to Anthony’s return”.
Cheever held the second position until mid-race, but had to surrender to the charging Kumpen to finish third and win the Jerome Sarran Trophy classification. Borja Garcia (#1 Ford Autolix Competition Ford Mustang) came home fourth, ahead of Frederic Gabillon (#12 Still Racing Chevrolet Camaro). Both the Spaniard and the Frenchman maintain their position in the standings, but will have to go on the attack to close the widening gap.
Driver / Team Owner Gianluca De Lorenzi (#67 GDL Racing Ford Mustang) had a strong debut in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and closed the race in sixth place, first among in the Challenger Trophy Classification, while Freddy Nordström (#44 Still Racing Chevrolet Camaro), Bert Longin (#11 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS), Wilfried Boucenna (#10 RDV Competion Chevrolet SS) and Anthony Gandon (#7 TFT-Red Style Chevrolet SS) completed the top-10.
Early contact deeply affected the race of Nicolò Rocca (#25 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS), Fabrizio Armetta (#31 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS), Bas Leinders (#32 RCP – Marc VDS Toyota Camry) and Mathias Lauda (#66 DF-1 Racing by B66 Chevrolet Camaro). They will all start from behind in the Sunday Race – starting at 11:15 CET.