Dominic Greiner has taken the opening round of qualifying at the Euro Nitro Series in Italy this evening. The Serpent driver recovered after struggling in practice to top the time sheets in Fiorano from title contender Teemu Leino by 1.5-seconds. Having set the pace in practice, Greiner’s team-mate Alessio Mazzeo would complete the Top 3 ahead of a much improved championship leader Dirk Wischnewski. While Greiner and Wischnewski improved, practice front runners Erik Dankel, Bruno Coelho and Jilles Groskamp would all hit problems. Dankel would crash & break a rear tyre continuing to finish 12th, while Coelho DNF with a broken engine. Reigning champion Groskamp would suffer a flame out as he came in from the warm-up which turned out to be a broken plug causing him to miss the start as a new one was fitted.
Commenting on his TQ run, Greiner said, ‘we changed back to the engine we used in the first practice and together with the car it was ok’. He continued, ‘It was not perfect but for just two practice runs it was OK and we got the result we were after’. Top Qualifier at this race last year, the German said his ‘gearing was a bit too short’ and so for Q2 tomorrow they will change it along with making some set-up changes to try improve the car.
‘A safety run’ was how Leino summed up his first qualifier. Winner of the last two ENS encounters, the Finn said his Team Infinity car ‘was not super fast but it was super easy to drive which with the reduced rounds of qualifying was more important’. With yesterday’s rain leading to a more compressed first official day of action today, drivers get 3 rounds of qualifying of which 2 count, he was happy with his P2. Describing his car as ‘not even close to how good it can be’, his best lap almost 2/10th off the fastest set by Coelho, he plans to ‘change small things’ for the morning, his first priority of the weekend to lock himself into the A-Main after which a fourth or better will secure him the title irrespective of his rivals results.
Summing up his P3 time Mazzeo said ‘we made a little change and it was bad’. He added, ‘the car was very difficult and this caused me to to have two mistakes but even with this we showed we are competitive to the others’. Planning to revert back to his final practice set-up for the next qualifier he also plans to try a different diff in his 748 adding ‘it should be better for Q2 but its ENS so like always its going to be hard’.
‘It was quite OK but (the car) is still hard to drive’ was Wischnewski’s view of his P4 for the round. The Team Shepherd driver added, for how it started the result was ok’, a reference to a big moment the German was to have at the end of the straight. The former European Champion said ‘it was a solid start’ but as he is ‘very much on the limit now’ with the car for tomorrow he will try to find a set-up that makes his Orcan powered Velox V10 ‘more stable and easier to drive’.
Posting the fourth fastest time having been only 20th in practice, Marc Rheinard joked ‘I came from no where’. Making his first nitro outing since the 2012 World Championships in Thailand, the multiple electric Touring Car World Champion said he struggled with his Infinity car being ‘super loose’ in practice. Getting set-up advice from Dankel’s mechanic Philipp Hagnauer, he would change to heaver shock oil and springs as well as a harder front diff which he said made the car ‘drivable’. While the car suffered a little understeer, something he hopes to cure with a harder rear diff and camber change’, the German said his aim is to just try to get a similar run in Q2 as it would get him into the A-Main on his ENS debut, him admitting his aims for the final are not high as ‘I’m not used to long races and doing pitstops’.
Completing the Top 6 would be Xray’s Leo Arnold. The French driver said his Orion powered NT1 was ‘a bit loose’ leading him to having a last lap mistake that cost him almost 2-seconds although this wouldn’t have changed his result for the round. Struggling with the car under braking he said he ‘couldn’t have done more’ so overall it was an ‘ok first qualifier’ but they will ‘try to find something’ to have a better car for Q2.