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  • Writer's pictureLIAM REDFORD

Alina Loibnegger roars into action at Brands Hatch

"It was another race weekend where I was able to put my strengths into positive focus" - At her first season in the EuroNASCAR Pro division, Alina Loibnegger is making huge improvements pace-wise and, bouncing back from a technical issue in race 1, the Austrian scored her second top five in the Challenger class in race 2 at Brands Hatch.

Photo credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Nina Weinbrenner

Alina Loibnegger continued her progress in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series with an encouraging performance at Brands Hatch. Competing in Euro NASCAR Pro, Alina achieved a best result of 19th coming in race two, while also securing a top-5 result in the Challenger Trophy. Loibnegger has shown considerable progress throughout the season to date and will be aiming for her first Euro NASCAR Pro Challenger Trophy podium next time out.

After two successful seasons racing in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in the Euro NASCAR 2 category, Alina stepped up to Euro NASCAR Pro for 2023. With longer races and stronger competition, Loibnegger aimed to test herself with the best drivers in Europe. Remaining with Racingfuel Motorsport for a second successive season, Alina rose to the challenge in the opening round of the season at Valencia, scoring a best result of 17th coming in race two.

Returning to the iconic Brands Hatch circuit for the second round of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series championship, Loibnegger was aiming to build upon her promising start to the season. Following free practice on Friday, Euro NASCAR Pro drivers took to the track for qualifying on Saturday morning. Due to the tight nature of the circuit, qualifying was split into two groups with Alina in group one. Loibnegger’s best time of a 51.663 was seven tenths faster than her qualifying time from last year, placing her 25th in Euro NASCAR Pro.

Taking the green flag from the 13th row of the grid, Alina made a superb start and moved ahead of Stefano Attianese on the opening lap. By lap three, Loibnegger had already beaten her fastest lap time from qualifying and was doing a superb job to maintain contact to the drivers ahead. As she began to close in on Yevgen Sokolovskiy for 22nd position, Alina set her personal best time on lap six, a further eight tenths quicker than her qualifying effort. Her pace continued to be strong in as the race progressed, until an engine issue forced Alina to bring the #94 Chevrolet Camaro into the pits to retire. Nonetheless, it was a strong showing for Loibnegger who was keen to make progress in race two.

Lining up 24th for race two based off fastest laps in race one, Alina aimed to move forward and contend for honours within the Challenger Trophy. After holding position in the opening lap, Loibnegger moved into 23rd on lap three and did a great job in maintaining a gap to Advait Deodhar ahead. By lap 11, Alina was inside the top-20 and continued to run consistent lap times in the #94 Chevrolet Camaro.

After falling a lap down on lap 23, the safety car was deployed two laps later following an incident involving Massimiliano Lanza. With Alina the second driver one lap down, she was ineligible for the free pass to get back on the lead lap but was in position to regain track position if a further caution period occurred. When racing resumed on lap 33, Alina was the only driver one lap down and after capitalising on an issue for Matthew Ellis, she moved into 19th. Loibnegger held this position to the checkered flag and in doing so claimed her second top-5 Challenger Trophy result of the season.

Alina made fantastic progress across the weekend, with her pace in race one particularly impressive. Claiming a top-5 result in the Challenger Trophy was a great way to end the meeting, with a class podium surely on the horizon.

"I am proud that I set my new personal best time on the track this weekend, even though I had to deal with technical challenges" - Alina commented. "It was another race weekend where I was able to put my strengths into positive focus and, at the same time, another chance for me to reflect on where I want to develop further both professionally and personally."

Loibnegger now sits 20th in the Euro NASCAR Pro championship standings, fifth among those eligible for the Challenger Trophy. The next round of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series takes place at the challenging Vallelunga circuit in Italy on the weekend of July 8th/9th.

"Italy is the opportunity to fight my way further up the Pro Series field, and I am m particularly looking forward to that!"

Photo credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Nina Weinbrenner



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