The Swiss was the best driver in the special classification for drivers aged 25 and under
Giorgio Maggi took home an important title at the end of the 2022 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season. After a race weekend with ups and downs at the Automotodrom Grobnik in Croatia, the Swiss was presented with the Junior Trophy for drivers aged 25 and under in the EuroNASCAR PRO Championship. In addition, the Race Art Technology driver took his first pole position in the top division of the European NASCAR championship.
The final weekend, with double points at stake, got off to a very solid start for the 24-year-old. In the two free practice sessions, Maggi matched the pace of the best drivers in the series, finishing fourth and sixth. In qualifying, he qualified for Superpole, in which the top-10 drivers from Q1 compete for pole position. In the five-minute session, Maggi set the ninth-fastest time. This meant that the driver in the No. 18 Toyota Camry started the first race from the front midfield.
Maggi showed a strong recovery on the approximately 4.2-kilometer circuit on the Croatian Riviera. In 17 laps he came step by step closer and closer to the top-5. His pace was outstanding, which is why he secured pole position for Sunday’s race with the fastest race lap. He also drove up to fourth place, narrowly missing out on the overall podium. In the Junior Trophy standings, he recorded his seventh win of the season, which meant that the title was almost safe in his hands.
In the second race, Maggi started from pole position and defended his lead against title contender Gianmarco Ercoli, who absolutely had to win the race in order to win the championship battle against Alon Day. Maggi defended his lead at the start as well as at the later restart and kept the Italian behind him. However, after another caution period he had to let Ercoli go after the restart.
In the closing stages, Maggi once again tried everything to get past Ercoli for first place to secure his first EuroNASCAR PRO win. However, there was a contact between the two after the hairpin, causing Ercoli to spin out and Maggi to retire a short time later with a flat tire in turn 1. This meant that a strong weekend for the Swiss was over prematurely, but he was still presented with the Junior Trophy as fifth overall in the 2022 season. On the positive side, Maggi was in the title fight right up to the last race of the 2022 NWES season and showed that he can keep up with the front runners.
The 2022 season was a year of ups and downs for Maggi. After finding his rhythm with Race Art Technology at Brands Hatch, things went steadily uphill for the Swiss. The race driver from Hergiswil took his first podium on Sunday in Great Britain. It was to be the start of a streak of three consecutive top-3 results – by the end of the season there were four podiums in total. Maggi clearly came out on top in the Junior Trophy and achieved a solid overall result with fifth place. Still, he’d like to challenge for the big NWES title in the future.
“The best moment of the season was definitely my first EuroNASCAR PRO podium at Brands Hatch,” Maggi said. “The event is unmatched for its atmosphere and the race was really good as well. Of course it’s nice to have won the Junior Trophy, but our focus was on the overall title fight. That’s why I’m not completely satisfied with the result. We’ll do our best to improve our chances next season and continue to go full throttle.”
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will return to the most spectacular tracks in Europe in 2023. The season opener will take place May 6 and 7 at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain. Before that, there will already be an All-Star Race in Rovaniemi, Finland, on March 3 and 4. The first NASCAR race on ice will take place in the home of Santa Claus.