Dario Balestri is Top Qualifier for the Euro Nitro Series season finale. The Capricorn driver booked pole position for the Round 4 A-Main after he backed up his opening qualifying run with another TQ run in the second of the three scheduled qualifiers. Again racing under flood lights as they did for Q1, the 2015 ENS Champion would go 1.5-seconds faster this time, topping the times from practice top seed Andrea Pirani after Toni Gruber threw away another P2 run with a mistake on his final lap. Dropping the ARC driver to P6 for the round, it was Lamberto Collari who would again complete the Top 3 ahead of Simon Kurzbuch, the 2016 champion struggling with a bent chassis.
Claiming his fourth overall 1:8 TQ of the ENS, Balestri was much happier with his second run in the night conditions. He said, ‘I changed the rear toe and it was ok but I really had a super engine’. Again setting the fastest lap of the round, it 7/1000ths slower than his Q1 fastest lap, he said, ‘with Simon at the start I pushed a lot but I was able to drive safe from half way because my pitman told me the gap was enough’. Looking to secure the runner-up spot in the overall championship behind Kurzbuch, the bonus championship point for the TQ now puts him clear of Gruber with whom he shared second in the standings coming into the weekend.
After struggling with his eyesight in Q1 on his way to a P6, Pirani said ‘I just drove in a safe way and it worked out very well’. He continued ‘my aim was to make the A-Main so I am happy for that’. Leaving his WRC GTX unchanged, the car’s designer said now ‘with nothing to lose I will push more tomorrow in the light and try to improve my grid position’.
‘Not so good at all’ was how Collari summed up Q2. The Team Infinity driver added, ‘it cant be good because the track was worse’. He said with the increased humidity he was getting ‘wheel spin on throttle’ adding it felt a ‘not perfect tyre’ may have also contributed to this issue. Only changing the carb on his OS Speed engine after his temporary performance drop off in Q1 he said the problem didn’t occur again with his ‘pace consistent from start to finish’ but now that they have more time, the time between Q1 and Q2 just over an hour, he said they still need to check that it wasn’t a car issue.
Kurzbuch was another to suffer from the lack of time between qualifiers. Concerned over his chassis following a heavy impact with the blunt inside edge of the curbing after an off in Q1, the Swiss driver said it turned out to be damaged but even if he had of picked up on that before going back on track there wouldn’t have been enough time to change it. Planning to rebuild his Novarossi powered Velox V8 for the third and final qualifier which takes place tomorrow morning, sitting 8th in the overnight qualification ranking he said ‘we will get the car right again and use Q3 to get ready for the final’. Behind Kurzbuch, Francesco Tironi would again take his Team Infinity to the fifth fastest time to book a direct qualifying spot in the A-Main.