A majestic pair of drives from Gianmarco Ercoli at the EuroNASCAR Zolder Finals have seem him crowned NASCAR Whelen Euro Series ELITE 2 Division champion, after two mighty wins propelled him to glory having started the weekend 4th in points.
Ercoli’s #9 Double T by MRT Nocentini Chevrolet Camaro was never headed all weekend in Zolder, but he had to work hard in an ELITE 2 division title battle which went all the way. Going in to the final two races, five drivers were in the title picture, with Phillip Lietz holding the tiniest sway over Salvador Tineo Arroyo and Thomas Ferrando and Ercoli and Stienes Longin not far behind.
Race 1 of the weekend was a fraught affair for Ercoli, having to hold off Tineo Arroyo’s #51 CAAL Racing Toyota Camry for the entire race who in turn was scrapping ferociously with Florian Renauer’s #5 Dexwet Renauer Team Ford Mustang. Tineo Arroyo tried a daring move for the win on the last of 16 laps, but nearly lost 2nd in the process and in the end status quo was retained, with Ferrando taking 4th and Lietz managing 6th after having damage from the first ELITE 1 Division race to fix. Longin was 7th, and all of this set up a nerve-shredding final showdown on Sunday, with Ercoli leading Lietz by just 2 points and the top 4 split by just 8.
Ercoli needed perfection again to snatch the ELITE 2 title on Sunday – and that’s exactly what he delivered.
Once again he had to hold Tineo Arroyo at bay for large swathes of the race, whilst Ferrando charged up the order from 7th on the starting grid and Longin moved to 3rd past Reneaur. Ercoli and Tineo Arroyo traded fastest laps like a tennis rally, until at half distance Longin slipped past Tineo Arroyo into 2nd and took up the battle to try and dislodge Ercoli from the lead. Sadly Tineo Arroyo’s weekend would come crashing down with 4 laps to go as his #51 car ground to a halt – a heartbreaking way for a season to end.
But it was Ercoli’s weekend, and a second epic victory in two days – by just 0.8 seconds over Longin – was enough for him to lift the EuroNASCAR ELITE 2 Division trophy.