Euro-Racecar News & Notes: Dijon
Series Heads To French Road Course Reminiscent Of Sonoma
BLOIS, France – The third and fourth rounds of the Euro-Racecar NASCAR Touring Series season will take place on May 11-12 at the the very quick Dijon-Prenois circuit. Ander Vilarino and Josh Burdon, victorious in both races in the Elite and Open Divisions at Nogaro in the 2013 season opening races, are determined to drive home their advantage. However, they will have to watch in their mirrors for their rivals whose aim will be to dethrone them and don the crown of the Duke of Burgundy.
The 2012 Euro-Racecar NASCAR title and the NASCAR race at Daytona (USA) this winter have given Ander Vilarino’s (No. 2 TFT-Banco Santander) motivation an extra boost. In Nogaro the Spaniard had a clean sweep with two pole positions and two victories, which gave him the early advantage in the point standings. The Dijon track – reminiscent of Sonoma in California – is a favorite of Vilarino’s.
“I love this circuit. Unlike Nogaro, which is very hard on brakes, here you have to able to corner quickly. I’ve always gone well here and I hope it’ll be the same story this time round. I’ve got confidence in my TFT-Banco Santander team and although I know everybody wants to win, my aim is to score another double,” he said.
Yann Zimmer’s program with the Gonneau Racing-OverDrive team was signed and sealed at Dijon before the season began. In the wake of his promising debut, which saw him snatch second place in the championship thanks to a pair of top-three finishes, the Franco-Swiss competitor could claim his first victory.
“I’m not going there with this in mind but rather as an outsider,” says Zimmer. “Thanks to the layout of the circuit it’ll be closer than at Nogaro. The most important thing will be to find the right setup to feel at home in the quick sections.”
Romain Iannetta and his new team (No. 26 RDV Competition) have also put a lot of work into preparing for this meeting with a test session on the Burgundy circuit between the two rounds.
At Nogaro, Frédéric Gabillon (No. 5 Rapido Racing by Still) showed his speed but didn’t obtain the results he was hoping for.
“My aim will be to bag a big haul of points,” says Eric Hélary’s driver. “I need them to fight for the title. What happened at Nogaro was just a racing incident and I’m going to push. I like Dijon and I’ve won there in the past.”
The first round highlighted the intensity of the mid-field battle and the many drivers capable of clinching top-five finishes. Thus, Guillaume Rousseau (No. 13 Bull Racing Team), Freddy Nordström (No. 44 Rapido Racing by Still), Anthony Garbarino (No. 3 TFT-Alpes Carrelage), Bruno Cosin (No. 55 Pole Position 81) and Javier Villa (No. 9 Scorpus Racing/Spirit) almost pulled off a win in Nogaro and are separated by only 15 points. Belgian Vincent Vosse in No. 20 entered by Racing Club Partner in one of the team’s two new Toyota Camrys will also be a driver to watch closely. Everybody knows how quick Vincent is and Franz Dubois is famous for his tuning skills.
The Open Division will be just as hotly disputed. While Australian Josh Burdon (No. 18 Scorpus Racing Forza Motorsport) left his mark on the opening round like Vilarino in the top spot, the last two places on the podium went to different drivers. Frenchmen Anthony Gandon (No. 7 TFT-E Leclerc), Guillaume Rousseau (No. 13 Bull Racing Team) Julien Goupy (No. 44 Rapido Racing by Still) and Italian Gabriele Volpato (No. 64 Gonneau Racing-Overdrive) all scored a place in the top three. A solid finish also is well within the grasp of Enzo Pastor from the Philippines (No. 3 TFT Philippines), Frenchman Vincent Gonneau (No. 15 Gonneau Racing-OverDrive), and Spanish female driver Zihara Esteban (No. 9 Scorpus Racing/Spirit. And last but not least, Brazilian driver William Ayer Jr (No. 92 Scorpus Racing) will make his debut making him the 12th nationality to race in Euro-Racecar.
Prizes: In addition to the various prizes awarded to the highest-placed drivers; Race and Win along with Stand 21, faithful partners of the series, give their own prizes to the drivers. Race and Win has increased their contribution by awarding four prestigious sports watches worth 9200 euros to the Elite and Open Champions, the winner of the Challenge Trophy, and also to the winner of the Race and Win Pole award for the driver having the most poles over the course of the season. Stand 21, a motor sports accessory supplier based in Dijon, gives gift vouchers to the drivers who have made the best comebacks in Elite and in Open. Euro-Racecar NASCAR’s drivers will take advantage of the Burgundy round to visit their factory not far from the circuit.
Trophies: Thanks to his two wins at Nogaro Yann Zimmer (No. 64 Gonneau Racing-OverDrive) leads the Junior Trophy, reserved for drivers of under 25 years of age, ahead of Freddy Nordström (No. 44 Rapido Racing by Still) and Anthony Garbarino (No. 3 TFT-Alpes Carrelage). In the Challenger Trophy, Guillaume Rousseau (No. 13 Bull Racing Team) leads Bruno Cosin (No. 55 Pole Position 81) and Nathalie Maillet (No. 46 Racing Club Partner). In the Open Division Joaquin Gabarron (No. 5 Rapido Racing by Still) and Jérôme Laurin (No. 55 Pole Position) lead the Gentlemen and Legend Trophies, respectively.
The Format: The starting grid will consist of 24 cars in Elite and 24 in Open. The drivers of the two cars share it during the two 45-minute free sessions after which they each take part in a 15-minute qualifying session. Elite and Open divisions each have two 35-minute races.
The Circuit: Located in Prenois, around 10 km northwest of Dijon this very quick circuit was inaugurated on May 26, 1972. It hosted the French F1 Grand Prix on five occasions as well as the last Swiss GP in the history of F1. In its original version its length was 3.289 km, which was increased to 3.801 km in 1975. Dijon-Prenois is known for a few corners like Pouas for drivers with nerves of steel, and it is hosting the Euro-Racecar NASCAR for the third time after 2009 and 2010.