NASCAR Whelen Euro Series playoffs!

Ander Vilarino (#2 TFT-Banco Santander Chevrolet SS) won the Saturday Race at the Autodromo dell’Umbria di Magione. The Spaniard had the better of poleman Eddie Cheever III (#51 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) at the start of the first round of the 2014 playoffs and after a couple of restarts seemed to hold a reassuring lead on the rest of the field. But a late surge by Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) in the closing stages of the 25-laps race put Vilarino’s win at risk, because the Belgian ace rapidly closed the gap on the struggling Spaniard to cross the finish line just one second behind. Cheever held the second position until mid-race, but had to surrender to the charging Kumpen to finish third and win the Jerome Sarran Trophy classification. Borja Garcia (#1 Ford Autolix Competition Ford Mustang) came home fourth, ahead of Frederic Gabillon (#12 Still Racing Chevrolet Camaro).

Eddie Cheever III had revenge delivering a winning performance in the Sunday Race. Cheever took advantage of an animated start to jump from third to first at the first corner and went on to lead all the race, but he had to constantly resist the pressure Ander Vilarino put on him until the checkered flag. They were separated by just .240 second at the end of the race, with the Spaniard increasing his lead in the championship standings. Frederic Gabillon climbed the third step of the podium at the end of a very fatiguing race on the twisty Italian track. The Frenchman bested Borja Garcia and Anthony Kumpen, who slipped from second to eight at the first corner and had to climb back to finish fifth.

Eddie Cheever Magione

Eddie Cheever III, Ander Vilarino and Fredric Gabillon

The championship will now be decided in the Le Mans Finals, on October 11-12, when Vilarino will have to defend 11 points on Kumpen, 21 on Garcia, 32 on Gabillon and 38 on Cheever.

In the ELITE 2 Maxime Dumarey (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) had to wait until the beginning of the playoffs to score his maiden NASCAR win. The Belgian started from the pole and jumped to an early lead, but had to face the return of championship leader rookie Thomas Ferrando (#22 Overdrive Chevrolet Camaro) and Guillaume Rousseau (#13 Bull Racing Team Ford Mustang). The trio engaged a tight battle that lasted until a contact between Ferrando and Rousseau sent both spinning. Rousseau had to retire, while Ferrando slid to third place behind Italian rookie Gianmarco Ercoli (#25 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS).

Dumarey Magione

Maxime Dumarey

Philipp Lietz (#86 TB Renauer Motorsport Ford Mustang) went to Victory Lane for the first time in his NASCAR career in the ELITE 2 Sunday Race by taking advantage of a late restart after Maxime Dumarey dominated the first part of the race. Simone Laureti (#51 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) won a hard fought battle for second with Guillaume Rousseau, who recovered from an early contact in turn 1 with Thomas Ferrando that resulted in a drive through penalty for the young French rookie. Laureti also won the Gentleman Trophy classification.

Lietz Magione

Philipp Lietz

The championship standings see Dumarey enter the Le Mans Finals with 12 points on Ferrando and 15 on Lietz. Everything will be on the line again on October 11-12.