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Mathias Lauda (#66 DF-1 Racing by B66 Chevrolet SS) won the first ever NASCAR Whelen Euro Series oval race in the wet at the Tours Speedway in thrilling fashion. The Austrian committed to the outside line in a late restart to move from fourth to second and passed, again on the outside, Ander Vilarino (#2 TFT-Banco Santander Chevrolet SS) in turn 1 with 9 laps to go in the MICHELIN 75. Lauda then put some space between himself and the reigning champion to take the checkered flag .667 seconds ahead of Vilarino in a race that delighted thousands of fans despite the heavy rain falling on the French short track.
“Yesterday I've been fast, but didn't manage to close on the podium. However, I knew my car was quick enough for a top result,” said the son of three-time Formula 1 World Champion Niki Lauda in Victory Lane after his first career NASCAR win. “I felt good in the rain and I got more and more confident. I tried to save the tires in the first part of the race, then I started attacking and after the last restart I found out that the outside line was the fastest. I'm very happy for my first win in NASCAR”.
Vilarino led the most lap but was caught by surprise when the DF1 Racing by B66 driver found the best grip on the outside. He held on to take the second place under the checkered flag and increase his lead in the championship standings to 9 points over Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS), who finished 8th. On the podium went also Victor Guerin (#82 Brazil Team Chevrolet SS), who started 18th and climbed up to sixth in just two laps. The Brazilian was hoping for a wet race and was a factor all race long, deliverign a huge comeback.
"After the first restart the car felt good, but in the second one I didn't realize the outside line was the fastest one. When Mathias passed me I started to keep a wider line, but it was too late,” said Vilarino. “I'm still very happy with the championship lead. If before coming here somebody told me I was going to finish second or third and I would have signed for it. It's been a fantastic weekend".
Frederic Gabillon (#12 Still Racing Chevrolet Camaro) and Freddy Nordström (#44 Still Racing Chevrolet Camaro) completed the top-5 and the latter won the Jerome Sarran Trophy classification. Poleman Borja Garcia (#1 Ford Autolix Competition Ford Mustang) ended up sixth, ehead of Bas Leinders (#32 RCP - Marc VDS Toyota Camry), Kumpen and Bert Longin (#11 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS).
Nicolò Rocca (#25 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) was penalized for a contact exiting turn four with Eddie Cheever III (#51 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) that led to the second and last yellow flag of the race. The Italian was sent to the back of the field but managed to finish tenth, second in the Jerome Sarran classification.
Fabrizio Armetta (#31 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) continued with his heroic effort of racing with a broken collarbone and won the Challenger Trophy classification by finishing 12th ahead of Wilfried Boucenna (#22 Overdrive-Buffalo Chevrolet Camaro).
Vilarino leads the standings ahead of Kumpen, while Lauda advances two places and moves to third.
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series regular season will end in Germany, at the Nurburgring, on July 19/20, while the playoffs will begin in Italy, at the Autodromo dell'Umbria di Magione on September 20/21.