With a fastest lap of 1:38.776 around the four kilometers of Circuit Zolder, Alon Day (#54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) opened the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Finals weekend leading practice in the ELITE 1 Division, while Guillaume Dumarey (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) dominated in the ELITE 2 Division on his home track.
Day went below his 2015 track record by 0.08 with less than 10 minutes to go in Final Practice, besting Marc Goossens (#90 Braxx Racing Ford Mustang), who was fastest in a first practice session that ended with seven drivers in less half a second.
The Belgian lapped 0.182 slower than the points leader and edged title contender Frederic Gabillon (#3 Tepac RDV Compétition Toyota Camry), Stienes Longin (#11 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS), who was fastest in the Junior Trophy, and two-time Champion Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS).
"It is a big weekend for me and it was a really good start for us today in Practice”, said Day after Friday’s two timed sessions. “I had two pole-positions in the past here so I knew that we would be very fast. The team did a very good job and we are all pretty satisfied. All fingers are crossed for tomorrow. It will definitely be a special and tough day for me. My rivals for the championship were also very quick so it will not be easy. We will try to do our best to get the maximum out of it. I do not think too much about the qualifying right now, I try to take it session by session. We are doing everything step by step."
In ELITE 2 Dumarey set the fastest laptime in 1:40.140. With this superb lap he relegated Ulysse Delsaux (#3 RDV Compétition Toyota Camry) 0.727 seconds back in second. Championship leader Thomas Ferrando (#37 Knauf Racing Ford Mustang) was third with a laptime of 1:40.898 around the historical Circuit Zolder.
Jerry De Weerdt (#78 Braxx Racing Ford Mustang) was quickest in the Challenger Trophy with the 15th fastest time overall.
"It was the plan to be fast here because it is my home race as we are a Belgian team and I am a Belgian driver,” said Dumarey, who is involved in a tight three-way battle for the Rookie Cup. “We are very motivated this weekend. I was often the fastest driver in Free Practice in the last few events but it is more important to be the first to cross the finish line on Saturday and Sunday. We believe in it, the car is good and we have the pace. I expect good weather for both races, a great crowd and a lot of fans cheering for me here in Belgium and I want to enjoy myself and have clean battles with the frontrunners. We will see what will happen tomorrow and on Sunday."
Maciej Dreszer (#9 Racers Motorsport Ford Mustang) joined Racers Motorsport for the Zolder Finals and was immediately quick, grabbing fourth place ahead of Gil Linster (#44 Caal Racing Chevrolet SS). Rookie Cup leader Felipe Rabello finished sixth right ahead of Marconi Abreu (#47 RDV Compétition Toyota Camry). Martin Doubek (#5 Renauer Motorsport Ford Mustang), Justin Kunz (#11 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) and Nicki Petersen (#33 Mishumotors Chevrolet SS) completed the top-10.
Jerry De Weerdt (#78 Braxx Racing Ford Mustang) led the legend Trophy in 14th place, while Carmen Boix Gil (#1 Alex Caffi Motorsport Ford Mustang) was fastest in the Lady Cup in 20th.
Qualifying for the NWES Finals at Circuit Zolder will be live on Fanschoice.tv and the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Facebook page on Saturday from 10:25 am CET.
Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard