Racing Engineering

14/07/19 NWES VENRAY

Fourth and sixth today for Racing Engineering at Venray.

Today’s NASCAR Whelen Euro Series 2019 Elite 1 race followed the same format as yesterday with an hour-long Free Practice followed by a thirty-minute Qualifying session prior to the one-hundred lap race. After the excellent second place for Racing Engineering’s Myatt Snider in the Elite 2 race it would be the turn of Ander Vilariño and Romain Iannetta in Spanish team’s cars today. Qualifying took place under cloudy skies but there was no rain, and Ander set a 19.688 second lap for eighth with Romain twelfth on 19.864 but, so close was the session, that first to twelfth was separated by less than half a second.
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It was still overcast when the twenty cars left the grid on their warm-up laps and as the green flag was shown Ander lost a place to drop to ninth but Romain was able to hold onto twelfth. Ander quickly passed Day to move back to eighth and he then immediately passed Bleekemolen to lie seventh. Romain continued to hold twelfth, but he was in the middle of a group of six battling cars, so he was having to be careful not to make any mistakes. After twenty laps Ander was chasing Gabillon with Bleekemolen still very close behind but, over the next ten laps the Spanish driver was able to open out a gap to the Dutchman.

At thirty-six laps an accident to another car saw the Safety Car deployed closing all the cars up again. Racing resumed on lap fifty-two, just past the half-way point, and Ander lost two places as the cars got up to speed but he started pushing hard and in the next two laps he passed three cars to lie seventh immediately behind Bleekemolen. Romain gained two places at the restart but, almost immediately, he had contact with the car of Doubek which spun the Frenchman around dropping him to a disappointed fifteenth and causing a second Pace car period.
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Lap sixty-seven and the cars were racing again but, on the same lap, two cars made contact in the middle of the pack and the Safety Car was initially back on track but then the red flag was shown and all the cars stopped on the track with Ander in eighth and Romain thirteenth. There were still twenty-seven laps to go as the cars began to race again and Ander was immediately ahead of Bleekemolen and Ferrando to lie sixth and two laps later he was in fifth and chasing Villeneuve. Romain was also gaining places and on lap eighty he was ninth and trying to pass Gabillon and Ercoli just ahead. A drive through penalty to Ercoli promoted Romain to seventh and he was pushing Gabillon hard as the race reached its closing laps, but he was unable to find a way ahead before the chequered flag was shown. With seven laps remaining Ander was running side-by-side with Villeneuve with the Canadian using all his oval racing experience to keep the Racing Engineering car behind and Ander had to settle for fifth.

A post-race penalty to Longin promoted Ander and Romain to fourth and sixth respectively.

A good weekend for Racing Engineering on their first oval experience with their three drivers taking second, fourth and sixth in the two races. There will now be a nine-week break before the 2019 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series continues with the double-points weekend at Hockenheim.
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Team Comments:

Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón - President of Racing Engineering: "Amazing race today! After a not so perfect qualifying, both the drivers and the engineers, did a great job of finding a good car for the race which allowed our drivers to get the results they did today. Pity they didn’t qualify higher up earlier today since I think both of them had a very good chance of a podium finish or even a win. The race between Ander and Jacques Villeneuve was some of the best racing I have seen in a while. Well done to the whole team for what was their first race even on an oval and they proved once again that they were up to the task."

Ander Vilariño: "We've got a very good race setup. I think we had a car to fight for the win, but we found that setup a bit late. In qualifying the car wasn't that fast and that's why we started so far back, but in the race we managed to recover and in the final laps, although the top three were a bit far ahead we caught them. Overtaking Villeneuve was hard because he had a very good car all the weekend, he had confidence and despite the fact I was faster he protected his position very well and kept it to the end. To be honest, to get pass I'd have to touch him and that could have meant a penalty. All in all, we have improved and we go to the play-offs with chances for the championship and now we've to think about Hockenheim."

Romain Iannetta: "I started 12th and the car was quick right from the beginning At each restart I passed some cars in front of me. At the second restart though, number 7, Doubek, changed his line in front of me, touched my car and caused me to spin and drop back to last. I pushed hard during the last 30 laps to work my way through the field to finish in 6th position. It was not a fantastic weekend, but we gained a lot of points, so it’s a positive for the overall championship."
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