Cypriot race driver Vladimiros Tziortzis won the biggest distinction in his career and Cyprus motorsport history after finishing third place at the 2022 EuroNASCAR 2 championship.
After a recent injury and wrist surgery three weeks ago in Belgium, Tziortzis had dropped to fifth place in the ranking, but his second place on Sunday in Croatia, moved him up to the third place, surpassing last year’s champion Martin Doubek.
Dutchman Liam Hezemans won the championship.
“I could have taken more risks, but after assessing Doubek’s performance, I concluded there was no reason to risk third place in the championship.
“I am very happy about this success for my country,” Tziortzis said after the race.
New EuroNASCAR 2 Champion Hezemans rounded out his 2022 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season with a perfect streak of four consecutive race wins to become the second member of the Hezemans family to win a European NASCAR championship.
The Hendriks Motorsport driver sped to victory at Automotodrom Grobnik to overtake Alberto Naska in the overall standings in the last race of the EuroNASCAR 2 season.
The 19-year-old also took the victory in the Rookie Trophy.
Hezemans beat Tziortzis, 25, at the start on Sunday to take the lead and placed the Cypriot between himself and Naska in third.
It wasn’t an easy journey for the driver of the #50 Toyota Camry as Tziortzis was on his back bumper all 14 laps.
The two even made contact when the Academy Motorsport / Alex Caffi Motorsport driver tried to pass the youngster in turn 15 on laps 1 and 2.
Hezemans survived a restart after a crash by Miguel Gomes on the start-finish straight and afterwards defended his position for the remainder of the race.
He crossed the finish line first to become the 2022 EuroNASCAR 2 Champion and celebrated his victory with spectacular doughnuts in front of the fans in pure NASCAR style.
His father, Toine Hezemans, celebrated the championship win with his son in Victory Lane; he is a famous endurance race legend.
Even Liam’s and Loris’ brother Mike Hezemans is involved in racing.
“I cannot believe it! I made my first race car start ever in Valencia at the beginning of the season, coming from go-kart and immediately winning the championship!
“There were so many close battles all the time; we made progress every week; I cannot describe it with words!
“It’s just an awesome weekend, and we couldn’t hope for more!” said a jubilant Liam Hezemans after securing the title.
“That was such a hectic race; I saw that Tziortzis was so fast with the number 5 car, so I knew we had to get a great start.
“He tried to pass me at the hairpin, and I had to defend all the time; congrats to him as well!
“That has been such a championship battle; it was just awesome all the way from the beginning to the end!”
Tziortzis had third place in the overall standings in mind and always got updates about his closest rival in the battle for third, Martin Doubek.
The Cypriot tried everything to overtake Hezemans and even bumped the #50 Toyota Camry two times but found no way past the Dutchman.