Vilarino, Maggi, Risitano kick off 2019 Euro Series with Valencia victories

by Justin Nguyen

Ander Vilarino, Giorgio Maggi and Nicholas Risitano are off to good starts in the 2019 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series as they respectively recorded Elite 1 and Elite 2 Division victories at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain.

The three-time Elite 1 champion, Vilarino swept the weekend’s races. He led all eighteen laps in both races en route to the wins, holding off Stienes Longin and Alon Day. For Vilarino’s Racing Engineering team, it was a strong introduction to the series.

“We just had a fantastic car, I have to congratulate Racing Engineering for this,” Vilarino stated after winning the second round. “It was the team’s first race ever in this series and they did a great job. I was not expecting to win a single race here in front of my home crowd, but honestly the car was perfect. Thanks to the fans, Euro NASCAR and all the persons involved for making it such a great weekend.”

The second race was marred by an early wreck involving Ellen Lohr and Mauro Trione. 1997 Formula One World Champion and NASCAR veteran Jacques Villeneuve, a newcomer to the Euro Series, retired from the race after running in the top ten for much of the day.

In the first Elite 2 race, Maggi capitalised on the final restart with two laps remaining, chasing down American drivers Andre Castro and Myatt Snider, the latter of whom is making his Euro Series début after competing in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. The Americans made contact as they approached the final turn, sending them into a spin that Maggi took advantage of to score the victory.

“I’m really happy to win here in my Euro NASCAR debut in Valencia,” Maggi commented. “I tried everything to catch those two guys in front of me, but in the end my goal was to save a little bit of tires. I managed to avoid crashing into them and got the win. Many thanks to Hendriks Motorsport for giving me such a great race car.”

The second Elite 2 event saw Risitano keep Castro at bay during a late restart to secure his first career Euro Series win.

“It was an amazing race and I’m happy to celebrate my my first ever NWES win here at Valencia,” said Risitano. “Yesterday we broke an engine but the team was able to send me on track for two laps in the first race to get a good position for today’s race. Racers Motorsport simply did a fantastic job, they worked all day and night to win this race. I’m really looking forward to the races at Italy in May.”

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