Frederic Gabillon sat on top of the Euro NASCAR standings at the end of the regular season and saw his lead disappear in an instant in the Semi Finals, but he strongly believes he can be the one to be crowned European NASCAR Champion at the end of the Circuit Zolder Finals on October 21. The Frenchman’s gap from the leader Lucas Lasserre amounts to just 4 points and with a maximum of 176 still to be awarded in Belgium, any of the four contenders could earn a place in the Whelen Hall of Champions at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Gabillon is looking forward to an exciting conclusion to the 2018 season.
“Do you know a lot of championships in which four drivers have a chance to win the biggest trophy at the last race? I really don’t! That’s why Zolder is going to be a huge event for us, for the fans, for the teams and for the championship. We all have only one way to be the champion: we have to win, ” said the 11-time Euro NASCAR race winner, who finished second in points twice in his career.
Gabillon’s route to the October 20-21 Circuit Zolder Finals was highlighted by an excellent regular season – he won twice, at Brands Hatch and Tours – that granted him a 26-point advantage before heading to Germany in September. The Semi Finals quickly turned into an heartbreaking weekend: the Uzes native suffered a puncture on Saturday and came from a lap down to salvage the points lead but ended up in a contact on Sunday and dropped to third in the standings.
With his characteristic fatalism, Gabillon prefers to look forward rather than backwards.
“On Sunday I just made a big, huge mistake. I thought I could pass Salvador Tineo, but I misjudged the move, I locked my wheels a little bit near the apex of the turn and I touched him, so I got another puncture. It was all my fault. There’s nothing I can change about that, so we have to think forward and focus completely on Zolder,” Gabillon said. “It’s difficult to accept, but in the end even if we had a 20-point advantage on second place, it wouldn’t really change much for Zolder, it would very close 8anyway.”
As Alon Day, who almost threw the championship away in the same weekend at Hockenheim, Frederic Gabillon believes that going for the win “no matter what” is part of what makes a driver a true racer.
“When you are in the car, you have a split second to make your decisions. I’m a racer and I want to gain every place I can. It wasn’t clever, for sure. Not for my championship and not for the team, but it happens, it’s just racing. I don’t make mistakes very often, but when I do, they’re big,” laughed Gabillon. “I race all the races the same way: to win them. Maybe it’s not the most best strategy, but it is who I am.”
To win at Zolder, Gabillon thinks he’ll need a car capable of grabbing the pole position and sustain a strong pace throughout the races.
“First we have to do a good job on our car and be able to challenge for the pole position. Starting first is always a big advantage, but in the end you never know. I won from fifth place in 2016. Each race is different, only the checkered flag has the final word and that’s what makes motorsports exciting. We’ll see what happens,” concluded Gabillon.
To add to an already special weekend, at Zolder Gabillon will welcome to Euro NASCAR and into the RDV Compétition team Jean-Francois Dumoulin. Dumoulin will pilot the #04 Spectra Premium car to complete the driver exchange that brought Gabillon to make his Canadian debut in August at Trois-Rivieres.
All the Euro NASCAR Finals races from Zolder will be streamed live on Fanschoice.tv, the EuroNASCAR Facebook page and Youtube Channel, the EuroNASCAR Twitter account, Motorsport.tv and a vast network of websites and social media profiles across the globe.