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QUALIFYING: Vilarino Claims 1st Pole

Spanish Driver Earns Top Spot For Euro-Racecar Opener

April 7, 2012 - 6:50pm

NOGARO, France – Spain’s Ander Vilarino claimed the honor of being the first Euro-Racecar pole winner under the NASCAR banner Saturday at Circuit Paul Armagnac.

Vilarino earned the top spot with a lap of 1 minute, 35.642 seconds (136.9 km/h) on the 3.636 km (2.259 miles) road course. Qualifying for the Nogaro 200 was held in group, road-course format during a 15-minute session.

QUALIFYING: ELITE DIVISION | OPEN DIVISION

The Elite Division sprint race (25-minute time limit) will be Sunday at 9:40 a.m. GNT. The Elite Division endurance race (1-hour) is Monday at 11:05 a.m., followed by the Open Division -- for amatuer drivers -- at 4:20 p.m.

In succession Saturday, Anthony Garbarino, Romain Thievin and Vilarino jumped to the top of the Elite Division charts, with Vilarino holding on in the end.

“It’s highly emotional for me to become the first ever pole winner of the European NASCAR History,” said Vilarino, who also had the fastest overall time in Friday’s practice. “Getting it at Nogaro which is the hometown of my team TFT – Banco Santander, it’s just so great.

“The qualifying was very hard because of the traffic on track and my Chevrolet Camaro No. 2 was very loose. It was also a bit wet and so it was difficult to reach the same times than yesterday. I waited till the very last minute and my best lap is the last one. I could have increased my time of 4/10th of seconds but it was not the subject. I had to get the pole.”

Thievin held the pole till the last minutes but will finally start from the first line tomorrow morning with a time of 1:35.799 (136.6).

On the second row is Javier Villa, who will making his first Euro-Racecar start, with a lap of 1:35.906 (136.5).

Gregory Guilvert and Romain Fournillier rounded out the top five. Dimitri Enjalbert qualified sixth, followed by Carole Perrin, Garbarino, Vincent Gonneau and Antoine Lioen.

Simon Escallier earned the pole in afternoon qualifying for the Open division with a lap of 1:36.313 (135.9). The 23-year-old driver in in his second year racing.

Vincent Gonneau qualified second at 1:36.358 (135.8), followed by Martin Van Hove.