The fourth of five DBOX eNASCAR International iRacing Series races concluded on Tuesday with Paul Jouffreau winning at Circuit Zolder.
After 30 laps around Circuit Zolder in Belgium, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series competitor Paul Jouffreau was victorious on Tuesday evening (13th December), collecting his first career win in dominant fashion.
Jouffreau started from the pole position and led every single one of the 30 laps in the fourth race of the D-BOX eNASCAR International iRacing Series powered by Digital Motorsports season. The next closest finisher was NASCAR Mexico Series driver Alex de Alba, who finished more than 15 seconds behind.
Utilizing iRacing‘s NASCAR Xfinity Series Class B cars, 16 drivers took to the Belgian circuit with 12 drivers finishing the race, 10 of which completed every lap. NASCAR Pinty’s Series competitor Treyten Lapcevich extended his points lead to 10 points with only one race left on the season at Darlington.
Now with 12 races completed over three seasons, Jouffreau becomes the ninth different winner in series history, one of the few to have started in every race since the first one last year at Brands Hatch. The victory moves him up to third in the points, 15 behind Lapcevich with only the finale race remaining.
30 laps went up on the board, and every single one of them came back as a lap led by Jouffreau as he claimed his first win ever in the series.
Twice a bridesmaid, plus a podium finisher in Season 2 at Circuit Zolder, nothing seemed to plague Jouffreau on Tuesday night besides the 15 off-track incidents he gathered through the event.
It was fairly easy to collect those, however, with the strict off-track policy in play at Zolder. Most of them didn’t result in any slow down penalties though, which made the cutting beneficial in certain circumstances, especially in the many chicanes.
Actually going off-track or sending it in too deep would be a whole other issue, but Jouffreau kept the tires in between the lines otherwise, plus he able to pit in and out to perfection, briefly losing the lead to the #40 of Néo Lambert who had yet to pit for about 10 seconds as he rejoined the track from pit road.
Alex de Alba looked to have completed a decent undercut through pit strategy, but when he got behind Lambert on his older tires, whatever advantage he had built up was nearly extinguished almost immediately.
WHAT DO THEY CALL BEEF IN BELGIUM?
The race may have only had 15 cars start on Tuesday night, but two of the drivers in the field wound up connected more times than not when finding each other through the race.
NASCAR Whelen Euro Series representative and two-time Club Challenge Champion Gordon Barnes started the race in 10th while NASCAR Xfinity Series and Drive For Diversity alum Ryan Vargas wound up missing qualifying and started at the back with no time put down.
Vargas had his share of bumps and run-ins as he attempted to move his way up the scoring pylon, but suffered a multitude of damage along the way. Still, Vargas was working on getting into the Top 10 when he found Barnes just before halfway.
As Vargas made the move, he slid slightly as Barnes was heading into the corner in the preferred lane. The result would be both cars spinning out, but both able to continue. Vargas would suffer again from internet issues and fall out of the race server, losing a lap in the process.
Despite this and there being no chance at a yellow flag, Vargas continued and once again found himself in the same area as Barnes. The two went side-by-side into one of the final chicanes and once again made contact as Vargas swung out wide while Barnes contested the spot.
It wasn’t a place for position and ultimately didn’t affect the final running order, but the team behind Barnes was quickly heated over the situation, sending messages of disapproval towards Vargas on the in-race communications as well as after the race on Twitter.
ONE FOR YOU, ONE FOR YOU…
Jouffreau, a NASCAR Whelen Euro Series representative driver, joins Victor Barrales (NASCAR Mexico Series), Treyten Lapcevich (NASCAR Pinty’s Series) and Ryan Vargas (NASCAR Drive for Diversity) as the winners in this winter season.
With that, all four of the NASCAR branches represented in the eNASCAR International iRacing Series have a victory on the season. This is the first time this has ever occurred, as the Mexico Series went winless in Season 2 and both the Drive For Diversity and Pinty’s Series were without a win in Season 1.
Besides Lapcevich, who won the season finale in the second season at Phoenix earlier this year, once again this league has been filled with first-time winners. Last week, Vargas won in his first ever start. On the opposite end, Jouffreau becomes a winner after starting every single race prior.
SEASON 3 RACE 4 – CIRCUIT ZOLDER TOP 10 FINAL RESULTS
|1||1||33||Paul Jouffreau||Whelen Euro Series||30 LAPS||30||40|
|2||4||14||Alex de Alba||Mexico Series||+15.543||0||35|
|3||2||10||Ulysse Delsaux||Whelen Euro Series||+19.123||0||34|
|4||5||20||Treyten Lapcevich||Pinty’s Series||+25.295||0||33|
|5||6||39||Victor Barrales||Mexico Series||+28.257||0||32|
|6||3||8||Giorgio Maggi||Whelen Euro Series||+37.082||0||31|
|7||9||46||Miguel Gomes||Whelen Euro Series||+54.740||0||30|
|8||11||21||Justin T Campbell||Drive For Diversity||+59.269||0||29|
|9||8||7||Jean-Philippe Bergeron||Pinty’s Series||+1:00.938||0||28|
|10||10||148||Gordon Barnes||Whelen Euro Series||+1:17.451||0||27|
LAPCEVICH LEADS ENTERING DARLINGTON FINALE
There’s only one more race left in the third iteration of the eNASCAR International iRacing Series. With no chance from Simon Pilate (season 1 champion) or Alon Day (season 2 champion) to take the crown again, that means we will have a third different champion after things settle down next week.
NASCAR Pinty’s Series representative Treyten Lapcevich concluded the second season with a win and followed it up in Season 3 with another, plus a strong showing throughout. His fourth place finish at Zolder, one spot ahead of Victor Barrales, increased his point lead to 10 heading into Darlington.
The NASCAR Mexico Series driver had control up until Daytona, where an errant 15th place finish cost him the overall lead in the points. He’s likely the only one with a realistic shot at taking down Lapcevich at the track Too Tough To Tame.
Jouffreau climbed up to third in the standings, leap frogging over Jake Cosio and a number of others that he came into Zolder tied for sixth with. Miguel Gomes had a moment at Zolder that saw him lose a ton of spots, and now after finishing seventh, he’s tied for sixth in the standings.
Barnes did grab another spot as well, now up to ninth overall while Zolder’s runner-up de Alba moves himself back into the Top 10 after missing Daytona.
POINTS STANDINGS AFTER RACE 4 – CIRCUIT ZOLDER
|1||20||Treyten Lapcevich||Pinty’s Series||1||138||LEADER|
|2||39||Victor Barrales||Mexico Series||1||128||-10|
|3||33||Paul Jouffreau||Whelen Euro Series||1||123||-15|
|4||51||Jake Cosio||Mexico Series||0||121||-17|
|5||10||Ulysse Delsaux||Whelen Euro Series||0||117||-21|
|6||46||Miguel Gomes||Whelen Euro Series||0||116||-22|
|6||7||Jean-Philippe Bergeron||Pinty’s Series||0||116||-22|
|8||8||Giorgio Maggi||Whelen Euro Series||0||114||-24|
|9||148||Gordon Barnes||Whelen Euro Series||0||98||-40|
|10||14||Alex de Alba||Mexico Series||0||95||-43|
FINALE: STATESIDE IN SOUTH CAROLINA FOR DARLINGTON DUEL
Another eNASCAR double header will decide two championships next Tuesday. Kicking off the night will be the epic conclusion of the eNASCAR International iRacing Series at Darlington Raceway, a 70-lap event with caution flags once again turned on.
This will be the series’ first trip to the egg-shaped oval in South Carolina. Previous oval winners in the series include Rajah Caruth (Homestead-Miami), Lapcevich (Phoenix), Barrales (Las Vegas) and Vargas (Daytona).
2022 ENASCAR INTERNATIONAL IRACING SERIES SEASON 3 SCHEDULE
15th November– Las Vegas Motor Speedway 22nd November – Canadian Tire Motorsport Park 4th December – Daytona International Speedway (9 a.m. ET) 13th December – Circuit Zolder
- 20th December – Darlington Raceway