Frederic Gabillon (#3 Tepac RDV Compétition Toyota Camry) was unstoppable on Saturday in the first ELITE 1 round 7 of the Oval World Challenge at Tours Speedway, France. After winning the first Semi Final, the Frenchman went on to lead every lap of the Round 7 Final to grab his second win of the season and the 11th of his career, moving to third in the all-time winners list. 2017 NWES champion Alon Day (#54 CAAL Racing Toyota Camry) ended up second after qualifying fifth thanks to a perfect strategy through Semi Final and Final.
“It is very special for me to win in my home country,” said Gabillon, who never finished worse the fourth this season and further reinforced his points lead. “The car was fantastic. The race was very hard because of some caution and and the high temperature inside the car. I thank my RDV Competition team for doing a fantastic job. I am looking forward to the race tomorrow and I will give my best to win again here at Tours Speedway and enter the playoffs in first place!”
The brand new “cone rule” spiced up the ELITE 1 Final as the yellow flag waved four times. Many drivers tried to gain positions by taking the outside lane in restart on the 650-meters short track.
“It was a pretty good race considering where we came from,” said Day, who needs a solid weekend in France to keep Gabillon in sight in his quest to win back-to-back Euro NASCAR titles. “We know that we are not super good on ovals but qualifying fifth and finishing second is very good for us. I’m thinking more about the playoffs and trying just to survive here. I will try to get as many points as I can. The car is in one piece and that is the most important thing.”
The reigning NWES champion said about the cone rule: “I tried to fake a move as they do in the States when they are about to go to pit road. It didn’t work, but the cone rule is a really nice feature.”
Rookie Loris Hezemans (#50 Hendriks Motorsport Ford Mustang) won the Junior Trophy by finishing third ahead of Stienes Longin (#11 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS), who led the second Semi Final and tried the outside lane in restart several times in the Final. Alex Sedgwick (#90 Braxx Racing Ford Mustang) scored another solid result by finishing fifth overall and second in the Junior Trophy.
Lucas Lasserre (#33 Mavi Mishumotors Chevrolet SS) ended up sixth ahead of Thomas Ferrando (#37 Knauf Racing Team Ford Mustang), who rounded out the Junior Trophy podium after coming from a lap down thanks to clever choices on restart. His teammate Wilfried Boucenna (#73 Knauf Racing Team Ford Mustang) was eighth, edging Alexander Graff (#77 Memphis Racing Chevrolet Camaro) and Gianmarco Ercoli (#9 Racers Motorsport Ford Mustang), who closed the top 10.
Dario Caso (#8 Racers Motorsport Ford Mustang) won the Legend Trophy in front of Mauro Trione (#31 Race Art Technology – Blu Motorsport Chevrolet Camaro) and Kenko Miura (#2 Alex Caffi Motorsport Toyota Camry).
Disaster struck for Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet Camaro) and Marc Goossens (#91 Braxx Racing Chevrolet Camaro). The two title contenders were involved in a crash that forced them to retire and both their cars suffered heavy damage.
The ELITE 1 Division will return to action on Sunday at 3:15 CET with Round 8. The Semi Finals and the Final will be streamed live at Fanschoice.tv, the Euro NASCAR YouTube channel, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Facebook page, motorsport.tv and other websites and Facebook pages from around the world.