Whelen Motorsports

Tours Speedway - Day 2: An extraordinary atmosphere!!!

NWES • July 08, 2013

OURS, France - Frédéric Gabillon set his second pole position of the weekend this morning, his third this season, and racked up a double in the event on the Tours Speedway after his win yesterday. A 600-metre oval with a 9° banking gave the spectators a never-before-seen spectacle! In the Open Division Josh Burdon was back in Victory Lane and increased his lead in the championship. The drivers will now enjoy a break before going to Monza in Italy on 28-29 September where the Playoffs will begin and the points will count double. Everything’s still up for grabs!

This weekend, the NASCAR races in Tours took place in the context of the American Tours Festival based around American culture. It was the second time since last year that the NASCAR Whelen Series was organised in the well-know French city. In 2013, Tours Evenement and the Tours Plus Suburbs gave a big boost to this magnificent fairground environment by adding a banked section, whose angle is similar to that of the legendary Indianapolis Speedway, to the track. This innovation allied to the resurfacing of the asphalt to eliminate the rough edges was praised by the drivers: in particular, the famous names who took up the challenge like Max Papis, an Italian who has been racing in the various NASCAR Series (Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series) in the USA since 2006.

What was even more important was the fact that the spectators, young and old alike, all enjoyed the show. Massed in the grandstands they created a fantastic ambience and they were thanked for this by being able to get close to the drivers, speak to them and ask for autographs, as well as having their photos taken with them! All the right ingredients were on hand to make this Season 2 a real success. Roll on 2014!

Unlike the previous day, Frédéric Gabillon (#5 Rapido Racing by Still) did not lead from start to finish. Although he was the quickest driver on the track he got caught up in traffic and lost first place after a few laps by trying to pass tail-enders on the outside while the interior, chosen by Eric Hélary (#100 Still Racing - Convergences), was the right way to go. On the restart from one of the many neutralisations in this thrilling race full of unexpected twists, he retook the lead and won the Tours Evenements 100 race.

His perfect weekend has put him back in the running for the title before the Playoffs, which will begin at the next round at Monza on 28 - 29 September. “I haven’t had much luck up till now when I’ve been in the lead so I was expecting a lot from my first outing on an oval to break my duck. All the circuits should be like this! As double points are awarded from Italy onwards it’s the start of a whole new championship,” he laughed. Willy Boucenna (#17 Pole Position 81), in the first 5 yesterday before running into a power steering problem, had an easier race and climbed onto the second step of the podium in front of Yann Zimmer (#64 OverDrive). The Swiss passed four cars on the last lap to round out the top-3!

Anthony Garbarino (#3 TFT Alpes-Carrelage) spun at the beginning of the race and then fought his way up to fourth in front of Nicolo Rocca (#18 Scorpus Racing / Forza Motorsport), who had already put on a good performance in qualifying by getting on to the front row. Then came Vincent Gonneau, Rick Crawford, who started from the last row, Ander Vilarino, victim of a brush with another car although he has kept his lead in the championship, Bruno Cosin, first Challenger, and Eric Hélary finishing in the top 10 despite a spin after tagging one of his rivals.

The heat played havoc with the drivers and the tyres were starting to go off. These parameters led to an action-packed race marked by numerous neutralisations, and a winner, Josh Burdon, whose victory was not a turn up for the books. Since the start of the season the Australian has shown remarkable consistency, and with the exception of Brands Hatch, he has always finished in the top 3. His win today on the Tours oval was his fifth of the 2013 season. The driver of the #18 Scorpus Racing / Forza Motorsport entry started on the front row, but lost a few places at the start as he was on the outside line. Then as neutralisations intervened and the places he pulled back he took advantage of the inside line to latch on to Gabriele Volpato (#64 OverDrive), who was boxed in early on, on one of the restarts, and took the lead with 28 laps to go to the chequered flag. The Italian held on to his second place and scored his third top-3 finish in the second race after Nogaro and Dijon.