October 22, 2016

Leino takes final qualifier to start 2nd behind Greiner

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Teemu Leino has TQ’d the final round of qualifying at the concluding round of the Euro Nitro Series in Italy and will start the title deciding 45-minute A-Main in Fiorano from second on the grid behind Top Qualifier Dominic Greiner.  The Team Infinity driver topped Q3 by 6/10ths from Q1 & 2 pace setter Greiner, with new team-mate Marc Rheinard a further 7/10ths off completing the Top 3.  For Leino’s main title rivals the round would net a P6 for championship points leader Dirk Wischnewski while Erik Dankel would go out with conrod failure while setting the TQ pace. The result means Wischnewski starts 5th while 2014 Champion Dankel will line up 9th.

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Describing his car as ‘a little bit easier to drive that time’, Leino added, ‘but sometimes the rear got loose but I think it was the same for everyone’.  Planning to ‘keep it the same for the final’, this year’s only double race winner added, ‘there is no need to win the final’, fourth place or better enough to secure him his first ENS title even if Wischnewski or Dankel can take the win.  In terms of his tyre strategy the Ettlingen and Aigen race winner said ‘we know what to do’ adding ‘Aigen the tyre wear was maximum high but here its more normal’.  Looking to take over the ENS title from team-mate Jilles Groskamp, who just missed a direct spot in the final ending qualifying P11, Leino said, ‘If I remember right Jilles did this race last year on one set (of tyres) but ran out and got passed for the win on the second last lap’.

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Using the final qualifier as a test session, Greiner would use his standard bodyshell in the warm-up and then switch to a new prototype shell from Xtreme Aerodynamics.  The World Champion said the prototype made his Serpent 748 ‘a bit difficult’ but he plans to back to back test it again in the morning’s A-Main Warm-up.  Also using the qualifier to run a second Novarossi engine he said it ran well and now the plan for tomorrow is to just refresh everything on the car adding in terms of a race strategy ‘everything seems ok’.

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Securing third on the grid, Alessio Mazzeo would make a mistake on his opening lap and opt then to use the rest of the qualifier as a test session.  Having completely changed his car’s set-up, the Serpent driver would pit for further changes.  Rejoining, he was happy to go back out and set his fastest lap of all three qualifiers.  Describing the car as ‘now more stable but not perfect’ the Italian said they ‘still need to find more’ from the set-up saying ‘stability in the corner continues to be the problem’.  One change he will try for the morning’s 10-minute warm-up is to change the position of the weight in the car concluding ‘I think this is the problem’.

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Having struggled in Q2 after a rear diff set-up change, Marc Rheinard would revert back to his Q1 ‘softer diff’ set-up to better his Q1 P4 run and secure fourth on the grid.  The German, who hasn’t raced nitro since the 2012 World Championships, said ‘because of my Q2 result I just drove a safe round to put it in the final, I didn’t try too hard, I did nothing crazy’.  Describing his Team Infinity as ‘easy to drive,’ he continued ‘maybe this is good for the final’.  More used to the short burst 5-minute finals format of the electric touring car, the 4-time electric World Champion said, ‘Qualifying 4th is a good result for my first ENS but I really have no idea what to do for the final’.  Although he ran the 1-hour Main at the 2010 World Championship and finished Runner-up he said working out a strategy wasn’t something he had any experience of.

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Behind Rheinard in the final qualifier, Thilo Tödtmann would post the fourth fastest time to 7th on the grid between the Xray’s of David Loppini and Leo Arnold.  The Capricorn driver, who finished on the podium in Aigen, said, ‘the car has always been good but the problem was with the driver but the last one I put it all together’.  The German, who sits fourth in the championship standings, added, ‘I am happy to be mixing against such great drivers’.  Describing his tyre and fuel consumption as ‘pretty good’, he said he will decided on his strategy once he has a better idea of the weather.

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Wischnewski was pleased that he had improved his set-up but ‘unfortunately (he) made a mistake in traffic’.  The Shepherd driver described the car’s Q3 performance as being ‘quite positive for the final’ adding the car was ‘getting better as the run goes on’.  Content to race the car as is for the final, the former European Champion said his strategy would depend on the race start time.  Currently set to start early in the morning due to the impending rain which is forecast, he said he would need to consider the conditions, adding track moisture could be a factor at the current start time.

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