NASCAR history was made today as the first weekend on a NASCAR oval in Europe kicked off with practice.
Some drivers had already taken advantage of a collective test session at Noeux-les-Mines last month but the majority of drivers got their first taste of an oval in their machinery at Tours Speedway.
Ander Vilarino set the pace immediately with a best time of 17.463 seconds during the opening practice session. Javier Villa dominated the second session with a time of 17.321. Vilarino had a nervous moment in the second session when he kissed the wall in Turn 1, despite this he was happy with the day as a whole.
“It’s really great to drive using rules implemented by NASCAR,” he said. “The presence of US officials gave me even more motivation to do well. It was a great honour for George Silbermann (Vice President of NASCAR Weekly and Touring) to come to me and say that he had followed my early season. It’s just a shame to have hit the wall. As they say in the US, “The wall always wins!”
The Great-Grandson of Bill France Sr – Ben Kennedy is also present this weekend taking part in the race, he admitted the weekend ahead provided a massive challenge as he gets to grips with a new track, car and tyres.
“I am very excited to be participating in this event because it is very close between the drivers and there will be real competition on the track. The circuit is very interesting and everyone at EURO-RACECAR has done a great job. From the quality of the garages to the paddock atmosphere, it’s incredible. I'm looking forward to tomorrow!”
Touring car ace Yvan Muller also got his first taste of the series finishing ninth.
The Open Division saw Frederic Johais lead the way ahead of Philippe Marie and Jerome. Joseph Cozella beat Vincent Gonneau and Zihara Esteban to the top times in the second session.