Whelen Motorsports

Tours Speedway - Day 1: Gabillon and Goupy make History

NWES • July 08, 2013

TOURS, France - Today, the first round of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series era took place on the Tours Speedway. Starting from pole Frédéric Gabillon led the race from start to finish - a rare occurrence in oval racing - to score his first win in a NASCAR series. The Open Division race was just as exciting as the Elite event and the outcome remained in doubt right till the very end. Victory went to Julien Goupy, his first in the championship.

“Above all, I’d like to congratulate my team on their work and my crew-chief,” insisted Frédéric Gabillon (#5 Rapido Racing by Still). “It was my first time racing on an oval and as soon as we put the car on the track, it was perfect.” The Frenchman, who dominated free practice and then qualifying, led the 108 laps of the race, which ended in a Green-White Checkered Finish. In other words, a final 2-lap sprint as the green flag signalled the restart and the white one the last lap: this procedure can be used on three occasions.

Behind the winner drivers used to racing on American ovals were on the podium. On his first appearance in theNASCAR Whelen Euro Series after a tough qualifying session Italian Max Papis (#33 OverDrive), who is competing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, started from thirteenth place and patiently worked his way up to second. “I’m happy to bring my experience to this high-quality championship. It was a pretty intense race,” laughed the Richard Childress Racing driver in the USA. His fellow-countryman Davide Amaduzzi, tenth on the grid (#68 T-Engineering), who has had several races in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, also played a waiting game and took third place in front of Yann Zimmer (#64 OverDrive), 1st Junior, and woman driver Carole Perrin (#42 Autosport 42), pole « woman » in 2012.

Another debutant in the series, former Indy Car racer Bertrand Baguette from Belgium (#20 Racing Club Partners) who qualified in twentieth spot, fought his way up to sixth. He finished infront of Romain Iannetta (#1 RDV Compétition – Mc Donald’s), Stéphane Jaggi (#22 OverDrove-Moser Vernet), first Challenger, and Ander Vilarino (#2 TFT-Banco Santander). The championship leader, who was pushed back to last place behind Eric Hélary (#100 Still Racing – Convergences), rounded out the top 10.

Julien Goupy (#44 Rapido Racing by Still) won the race and also led for only one lap: it was the last, the onethat really mattered! The Frenchman qualified fourth and he played a waiting game. As he admitted he didn’t really begin to push until the closing stages. First of all, he passed Guillaume Rousseau (#13 Bull Racing Team), then Vincent Gonneau (#15 Gonneau Racing),followed by pole sitter Anthony Gandon (#7 TFT – E. Leclerc), and finally Josh Burdon (#18 Scorpus Racing / Forza Motorsport) in a thrilling climax to an event that the big crowd that flocked to the Tours Speedway really enjoyed!

The leading trio saw the flag ahead of Rousseau, Joaquin Gabarron (#5 Rapido Racing by Still), first in the Gentleman Trophy, Gabriele Volpato (#64 OverDrive), Gonneau, Frédéric Johais (#33 OverDrive), Philippe Baudinière (#17 Pole Position 81), who had rarely been so well placed and winner of the Legend Trophy, while Stéphane Sabates (#100 Still Racing – Convergences) completed the top-10.