The Swiss driver had strong pace and finished in the top-10
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) welcomes the largest grid in its history in 2022 and right in the middle of it is Giorgio Maggi, who competed against 31 NASCAR drivers from around the world in Valencia, Spain. At the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, the Swiss really fired up the competition and impressed with a solid race pace. A seventh-place finish in the first race on Sunday hinted at what Maggi is capable of with Race Art Technology in the 2022 season.
In free practice, Maggi took it easy to get used to the team’s new car from Switzerland and the track. With two 16th-place finishes, the 24-year-old didn’t let his guard down too much yet. In qualifying, Maggi then drove to a strong ninth place at the wheel of the #18 car, securing his participation in the Superpole session in which the top-10 battles for pole position in just five minutes. With a ninth-place finish, Maggi started the first race of the 2022 NWES season from a solid grid position.
“It was all new after three years with Hendriks Motorsport,” says Maggi. “In the pre-season test, a new tire blew up right after a few laps, so we didn’t do many test kilometers on new tires. But the first laps in qualifying went very well. I wasn’t at the limit yet and there was still some room for improvement in the setup, but overall it was very good. In Superpole it was a different story. In the cold car I had no grip on the rear axle.”
In 18 exciting laps, the Swiss really let it fly: He thundered around the approximately four-kilometer-long track in his Toyota Camry with start number 18 and made up two positions in the race despite the sweltering heat in the car. When the checkered flag waved, Maggi crossed the finish line in a strong seventh place. The lap times were also promising as the youngster was clearly within the top-5.
“I got off to a good start and fought my way up to fifth place” sums up the Swiss. “When I was in the fight for fourth place, the safety car came out. At the beginning the car felt good, but as the race went on I lost grip on the rear axle. That’s why I had my problems holding my own against the competition toward the end of the race. At the second restart I had to make way for a competitor in turn 2 who had misjudged the situation. But in the end I was satisfied with seventh place.”
The second race didn’t go according to plan for the Swiss. On Sunday, Maggi started the race from twelfth place. However, a penalty for an offense at the start ruined the 24-year-old’s run. Due to the additional ten seconds added to his final result and a technical issue, Maggi ultimately only finished 18th – a result that does not reflect his performance in the race.
“The second race was a disaster because I got stuck in midfield right away,” Maggi says. “The restart was better, but more would have been possible. On top of that, my brakes then stopped working. I was glad that I was able to cool them down during the caution period, because I’m not sure if I could have finished the race under green.”
The results in the Junior Trophy for drivers up to 25 years of age were pleasing. In the special classification, Maggi finished a very strong second in the first race. In Sunday’s race, however, he only ended up sixth because of the penalty, of course. The Race Art Technology driver clearly has the goal of making the leap into the overall top-5 in 2022 and winning the Junior Trophy.
“We made good progress, but unfortunately a little too late,” concludes the youngster. “Except for the brakes, the car felt good in the second race. It was great to race again. In the winter I spent a lot of time on iRacing to keep the feeling of the duels. That worked because I had some good battles – especially with Fred Gabillon. I’m not entirely happy with the result, but it was a lot of fun. As we’ve done very little pre-season testing, I’m looking forward to Brands Hatch with confidence.”
Rounds three and four of the 2022 NWES season will take place on the British Indy circuit at Brands Hatch on June 11 and 12. There is sure to be plenty of action on the small circuit not far from London with over 30 cars on the grid. Giorgio Maggi’s races can be followed live and in full on the official EuroNASCAR YouTube channel.