Brilliant EuroNASCAR season finale for American Julia Landauer
With a third place in EuroNASCAR's final weekend of 2020, Julia Landauer become the first woman to ever score an overall podium in the European NASCAR division and the highest American finisher in the series history.
The Valencian Ricardo Tormo circuit played host to the Whelen EuroNASCAR 2020 season finale last week - and it was a history-making round of American racer Julia Landauer.
The busy schedule of the Spanish round saw the drivers competing in four races to round out the shortened 2020 season - between Thursday, Friday Saturday and Sunday.
One of the protagonists of the 2020 EuroNASCAR championship was rookie Julia Landauer: at her first year in European racing, the 30-year old driver from New York had a remarkable campaign despite her limited experience of the tracks and, with a stunning performance in Saturday's Final 1, she was able to secure a historic result as she became the first ever woman to score an overall podium finish in the series history.
"To say I'm excited is an understatement." - she commented just before the race week in Valencia. "I've been preparing, working hard, building on my season, talking with the team, and simply cannot wait to have four back-to-back races to try and get that first win this year".
Starting from the tenth position on the grid on Saturday, Landauer had a great start and placed her #11 PK Carsport machine in sixth place at the end of Lap 2, as she recovered four positions in the very opening stages of the 15-laps race.
Tobias Dauenhauer won the battle for victory against other championship contender Vittorio Ghirelli, as the German led after a perfect drive from start to chequered flag.
The Italian driver was forced to an early retirement with 2 laps to go after suffering a technical issue on his #18 Hendriks Motorsport's Mustang.
Behind them, the exciting fight between Vladimiros Tziortzis and Francesco Garisto was heating up - with the Cypriot racer ultimately clinching his first EuroNASCAR podium as Garisto was handed a penalty for his aggressive moves.
After a great start, Landauer continued her way to her best result in the series and claimed the final podium spot, also winning the Lady Trophy.
The American lady, had also showed impressive pace in Friday's race, when she won several door-to-door battles and recovering until the Top 5 after starting from the 13th grid slot.
"13th to 5th today! It was a wild race with so much passing and contact and messiness and fun" - wrote Julia Landauer on her social media feeds.
Despite a small mistake in Sunday's season finale, Landauer closed her first season in EuroNASCAR with yet another top-10.
Rounding out a remarkable week in Valencia, Landauer was classified fifth in the 2020 EuroNASCAR overall standings, third in the Rookies classification and winner of the Ladies Trophy.
"I captured my first podium finish in Valencia, making me the first woman to finish on the podium in either division of EuroNASCAR since its inception in 2013." - said Julia.
"I ended the 10-race season 5th in final championship standings, which is also the highest finish for an American in the history of the EuroNASCAR series. I also won the Lady Trophy and finished 3rd in Rookie Standings."
"I am so grateful I got to race with PK Carsport, and want to give a huge thanks to Anthony Kumpen, who signed me to the team. Anthony has built a phenomenal team, one with incredible people who welcomed me immediately.", she added, thanking the whole Belgian team.
Landauer, a NASCAR Next program graduate, competed last year in a part-time campaign in the Canadian-based NASCAR Pinty's Series. 2020 marked her return to a full season seat and, despite the troubled and shortened season due to the coronavirus pandemic, she proved to be a frontrunner and a potential title contender with more experience of the European circuits under her belt.
"Looking to 2021, I sincerely hope I can return to PK Carsport and run for the Championship in EuroNASCAR. It's dependent on external funding/sponsorship, which has been made more challenging during this pandemic, but we are working very hard over the winter to put the budget together!"
Like the previous seasons, EuroNASCAR featured also other female racers throughout the season: Italian Arianna Casoli finished the 2020 championship in eleventh overall point standings after her first top-5 finish in the Zolder round. She had a best result of P12 in Valencia, where also local driver Zihara Esteban joined the field.
Hopefully, we'll get to see Julia, Arianna and many more women in the European NASCAR division in 2021.