11 Jan Nascar Whelen Euro Series: 9th victory for Anthony Kumpen
One victory, two second places and one third. There’s something to celebrate at PK Carsport after the third race weekend of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series 2017 at Venray Raceway. With one victory and a second place, Anthony Kumpen performed exceptionally well.
The first competition could not have been better for Kumpen. He led the pack from start to finish, even under pressure from championship leader Borja Garcia towards the end. “The tarmac on the track is fresh, allowing you to pick up some speed in the middle and low down,” explains Kumpen. “But I stayed at the top throughout the race, so I could hold on to my position.”
It is Kumpen’s ninth NWES victory of his career and his third at Venray. He’d have preferred to make it four on Sunday, but the conditions just wouldn’t allow it. “After contact from Guillaume in the Elite 2 race, we had the car ready just in time,” recounts Kumpen. “We just didn’t have time for the adjustments so we had to put up with some over-steer, which at the start and after the restart proved tricky. But, I still managed to hold on to second place from the off. In the championship standings I’ve now moved from fifth to second, and that’s without taking the disregarded result into account, so things are looking good.”
For Stienes Longin, the first race was a bit of a setback. Contact with Frederic Gabillon meant that the young driver from Leuven had to retire from the opening race after two laps. “It was my fault,” admits Longin. “I thought that I had passed Gabillon, but accelerated a bit too soon. The damage wasn’t too bad, so I could still qualify third for the second race. The No. 11 felt great, I’m sure that the car was the fastest out there. I got away and finished third. It felt like I was a bit faster than Anthony, but not enough to be able to catch him. But nevertheless, I’m delighted with a podium finish. Bear in mind that this is only my third race weekend in the top class.”
In Elite 2, Guillaume Dumarey also had a satisfying weekend in Venray. In the first race he led from pole throughout, his first time on an oval, but a late caution threw a spanner in the works. “I lost the advantage straight away,” explains Dumarey. After the restart, in overtime, he let the wheels of the No. 24 Chevrolet slip too much, giving Brazilian Felipe Rabello the opportunity to get past. Dumarey finished second.
But he remained relaxed about it, “It’s disappointing of course, but I’ll try again tomorrow.” And that he did. At the start of the second race, Dumarey pulled away quickly from the first row on the grid, and although he lost some of his advantage, he looked solid at the front. Until around half way. “Then the brakes failed unexpectedly,” continues Dumarey. “I became a passenger and just hit the wall from behind. It happens. But I’m happy about my first outings on an oval. It’s intense, there’s no opportunity to take your eye off the ball, and with the proximity of the walls, the sense of speed is huge. Well worth repeating.”
Justin Kunz in the No. 11 Chevrolet chalked up two ninth places in the Elite 2 races. The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series won’t be taking any breaks, with the fourth race weekend of the 2017 season at the end of this month, a première at the Hockenheimring.