Flashback On The Nogaro 200

BLOIS, France – The Nogaro 200, first round of the 2012 EURO-RACECAR NASCAR Touring Series’ season, enjoyed either the entering drivers than the 38,000 spectators who came in Gers to watch the traditional Coupes de Pâques. Flashback on a weekend where Ander Vilarino (Elite), Martin Van Hove (Open) and TFT (Teams) were the undisputed leaders. On the track, 24 powerful cars driven by talented drivers who are always ready for hot races and door-to-door battles.

A great atmosphere reigned in the paddock with DJ, cheerleaders and American football demos. As usual, EURO-RACECAR, became this year a NASCAR Touring Series, was one of the most exiting series of this Easter weekend. But there will be no success without gifted actors. On this point, the 2012 championship counts numerous brilliant entrants from seven countries: France, Spain, U.K., Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg. On the track, the event dominator is named Ander Vilarino. Above setting the best lap time of the whole weekend (free practices 2 / 1’34’’965 / 137.8 km/h average speed), the driver of the #2 Chevrolet Camaro TFT - Banco Santander became the first ever poleman of EURO-RACECAR NASCAR Touring Series. Less agile than Romain Thievin in the Elite Sprint start, on a wet track, he finally took back the lead to win the race.

The same scenario played the day after, in a beautifull sunny day, against other Spanish driver Javier Villa (#64 Dodge Challenger TFT). By finishing alternately 2nd on the podium, Romain Thievin and Javier Villa demonstrated they are big challengers for the title against Vilarino. The French, owner of Las Vegas-NV Exotics Racing school, 2011 vice-champion, considers having earning precious points for the race to the title while the Spanish of TFT mainly targeted to understand his new racecar. The late in the preparation against hotshot drivers who prepared all winter long can explain the little gap between them and some outsiders. Once trained they will for sure play also in the front such as Dimitri Enjalbert (Dodge Challenger #33 / Over Drive), who finished 3rd under the Sunday rain while he never drove the car with such conditions, Gregory Guilvert (Chevrolet Camaro #14 / Still Racing-JDC Finances), 4th on Sunday, Romain Fournillier (Dodge Charger #11 / Over Drive-McDonald’s), Wilfried Boucenna (Ford Mustang #17 / Pole Position 81), Antoine Lioen (Chevrolet Camaro #5 / Rapido Racing), Romain Iannetta (Dodge Challenger #25 / Orhes Competition) or the British Harry Vaulkhard (Ford Mustang #7 / Events Motorsports). Among the Elite drivers pack, Juniors are not outdone.

Valentin Simonet and Freddy Nordström improved all weekend long while Anthony Garbarino (Ford Mustang #5 / Rapido Racing) didn’t succeed during the races to confirm the great times he set during the free practices. Let’s stress also the good performances of the two ladies. Carole Perrin reached two times the top 10 and is currently 7th of the Elite Championship’s classification while Nathalie Maillet (Chevrolet Camaro #46 / Racing Club Partners) 13th of the Elite Endurance, won the Challenger Trophy for amateur drivers in Elite Championship.

Duel in Open: In the Open division, pretenders are numerous, but some performers can be marked out. In top of them, Simon Escallier (Ford Mustang #6 / Rapido Racing) poleman, or Vincent Gonneau (Chevrolet Camaro #15 / Gonneau Racing), his second on the grid captivated the audience in sprint till a hazardous push from Gonneau on Escallier led the leader to withdrawal. Winner, Gonneau is finally penalized by the Stewards and the victory goes to Martin Van Hove. 100% for Martin Van Hove: If he benefited of the penalty of Vincent Gonneau to get the victory in Open Sprint, Martin Van Hove (Dodge Challenger #64 / TFT) fought with Eric Quintal for the one in Endurance and reached it despite a bump with a lapped competitor. The Belgian driver scores full marks and leads the Open Championship’s classification with a gap of 12 points ahead of the second Eric Quintal. Eric Quintal is back: After a gap year in 2011, Eric Quintal is back in EURO-RACECAR NASCAR Touring Series with the team TFT.

Teammate of Ander Vilarino on the Racecar #2, he led for a long time the Open Endurance before giving the lead to Martin Van Hove and finishing second, winning the Gentleman Trophy. After his 7th place in Sprint, he is 2nd of the Open Championship’s calssification. And challengers not to forget: In Open, Tanguy Ide (Dodge Charger #44 / Orhes Competition), Joaquin Gabarron (Chevrolet Camaro #5 / Rapido Racing), Gerald Cormon (Dodge Challenger #25 / Orhes Competition), and Alain Grand (Dodge Charger #11 / Over Drive - McDonald’s), also leader of the Legends Trophy for drivers over 50 years old, complete the top 5 with a gap of less than 20 points from Van Hove. In memoriam : To honor Christian Delpech, manager of the team Pole Position 81, who died during the night of the 2nd of April at the age of 58, a silence’s minute stood during the podium ceremony of the Challenger Trophy (endurance race) won by Bruno Cosin (Ford Fusion #55 / Pole Position 81), one of his closest friend. Burial of this engaging true passionate stood on Thursday morning in Albi (Tarn), at the moment when the Racecars began their very first practices on the circuit Paul Armagnac in Nogaro.

Fast Facts

-Ander Vilarino led 17 laps (addition of his two Elite races). The biggest of leaded laps of the weekend.

-Ander Vilarino set the best lap time in race during the Elite Endurance (1’35’’352/137,3 km/h av. speed) - Romain Thievin led the biggest number of laps during the Elite Sprint with 10 laps of the 14 ahead of his competitors.

-Ander Vilarino and Romain Thievin are the only drivers to reach the top 3 in each session (free practices 1 & 2, qualifying, Elite Sprint and Endurance).-Javier Villa set the best lap time on wet track during the Elite Sprint (1’48’’857/120,2 km/h av. speed).

-Team TFT won the 4 races of the Weekend (Elite & Open Sprints and Endurance) with his drivers Vilarino and Van Hove. Next rounds: Brands Hatch 200 (Great-Britain) The second event of EURO-RACECAR NASCAR Touring Series will stand in Brands Hatch in the London suburbs (GB). The entrants will race on the “Indy” track of 1.929 km (1.198 miles) supporting the DTM event. After the Nogaro 200, Ander Vilarino, Martin Van Hove and TFT will enter as leaders of the 3 championships, Elite, Open and Teams.