The first ELITE 2 race of the 2017 NWES season turned out to be a war of attrition, a tight battle in which the slightest mistake meant losing several places under the checkered flag and it was Thomas Ferrando (#37 Knauf Racing Team Ford Mustang) who came out the winner at the end of the 16-lap event with Ulysse Delsaux (#3 RDV Compétition Toyota Camry) finishing second place.
“What a great race! I’m extremely happy with the performance of the car. I really have to thank the entire Knauf race team for today’s win--all of the mechanics, all of the crew, my great sponsor Knauf and everybody else that helps with our racing program,” said Ferrando, who won his fifth career ELITE 2 race. “The beginning of the race was really challenging until our tires heated up. I did see the #3 car in my rear view mirror a bunch of times but I was able to keep him in back of me for the entire race.”
Asked about the rest of the season, Ferrando said, “We’re going to continue to do our best and race for more podium finishes. I have big goals this season, one of which is to try and break Stienes Longin’s record 8 wins last year! I think it’s going to be a really great season for us this year!”
The two Frenchmen spent most of the 16-lap race separated by less .5 seconds but Ferrando never gave Delsaux any opportunity and also mastered a restart on lap 12 to cross the finish line just ahead of his rival, who climbed on the podium for the second time in his NWES career and gave Toyota their first podium finish since returning to NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
Delsaux exclaimed, “I’m really happy with today’s second place finish. My last podium was at Tours and this is really incredible to begin the season with a top finish. I thank my team, my family and all of my fans. This year, I’m really trying to focus my effort on improving my restarts. I did quite well with that today and it really helped me to finish up front. Tomorrow, I’m going to try for another podium finish!”
Polish driver Maciej Dreszer (#66 DF1 Racing Team Chevrolet SS) delivered a stunning performance in his NWES debut and won a nail-biting battle for third and the Rookie Cup classification by edging fellow newcomer Felipe Rabello (#56 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS), who came from sixth on the grid and outran Eric De Doncker (#98 Motorsport 98 Ford Mustang). The Belgian confirmed how much he likes Circuit Ricardo Tormo by claiming once again the Legend Trophy on the great Spanish track.
PK Carsport teammates Guillaume Dumarey (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) and Justin Kunz finished just outside the top-5, while local fan favorite Carmen Boix Gil got a solid top-10 and the Lady Cup lead in her NASCAR debut and Gil Linster (#44 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) rounded out the top-10.
The battle will resume on Sunday as Ferrando and Delsaux will start once again side-by-side and second round of the ELITE 2 season will be broadcasted live on Fanschoice.tv and the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Facebook page on Sunday at 10:00 am CET.