May 21, 2017

Coelho unassailable as he takes ENS France win

Bruno Coelho was unassailable in the opening round of the Euro Nitro Series today in France, the Portuguese ace leading an Xray 1-2 on the championship’s first visit to the Mulhouse track.  Top Qualifier for the 45-minute encounter, Coelho was quickly able to establish a lead and taking control of the race, the lack of pressure meant he could even switch from his originally pit strategy after the first refuelling.  His second ENS career win, Coelho would finish over two laps up on new team-mate Alessio Mazzeo, the Italian having a battle over second with the Mugen of Eric Dankel for a time with the German having to settle for third in the end.  Unfortunately for Leo Arnold he couldn’t pull off a home podium finish, tyres issues at the start of the race dropping up from his P2 starting position to 10th.  Once on new tyres however he would do well to recover to fourth.  For reigning champion Teemu Leino his weekend wasn’t to improve in the final with the Infinity driver crashing out at the 20-minute mark leaving him 12th in the final classification.

‘It was a very good race. I didn’t expect my car and engine to work so well’ was how Coelho summed his race.  He continued, ‘It was that good we changed strategy in the race.  After 5-minutes I already had a gap and could drive smooth. The tyres wear is much less when you are smooth so then we could change strategy.  We started the race to do 2 tyre stop and 4:30 refuelling but after the first fuel we changed to one time all tyres and second time half.  And for the fuel we went to 5-minutes’. With just two incidents over the final, he said the biggest was ‘something strange’.  With his Max powered NT1 veering on to the grass and costing him 3 to 4 seconds, he said I must have touched the paint or something because the car just turned, there was nothing I could do’.  On the second incident where he would hit a back marker he said, ‘I came in to the corner too fast and didn’t expect him to brake there but apart from this all was OK’.  Having taken the TQ bonus championship point, he concluded, ‘Its the perfect start to the championship for sure’.

Summing up his final, Mazzeo said, ‘It was a very hard race due to the management of the tyres’.  The World Championship podium finisher’s continued, ‘I had to start from the back down the grid and it was hard to pass and on the 3rd or 4th lap I tried to make an overtake and flipped which put me 1/2 a lap down’.  Originally planning to run the tyre strategy Coelho would switch to in the race, the former ENS race winner would end up switching to his team-mate’s original strategy.  He said, ‘After the flip I had to push a lot which was not good for the tyres for sure so we had to then switch to changing all tyres twice.  We were on the same laps as Bruno but then had a flame out at the tyres stop.  Congratulations to Bruno, he is an amazing driver’.  His first ENS event as an Xray driver he said, ‘I’m happy that we ca get Xray 1-2.  We work a lot this winter so this is a great result for the car’.

‘It was tough’ was how former Champion Dankel summed up his race.  The German continued, ‘In the A-Main practice the car had oversteer and no traction so we changed it for the final and it was easy to drive but how far it was off the pace was incredible’.  Running two complete tyre stops he said his biggest issue of the race was the ‘pace was not there’ but added ‘3rd is ok for the first race and hopeful we will much much stronger for the next race’.

Disappointed to not make the podium having taken the final round of qualifying at his home track yesterday, Arnold said his first set of tyres cost him the race.  With the rear left coming unglued he would lose half a lap in the first 15-minutes before his scheduled tyre change.  He said on the second set of the tyres his Orion powered NT1 was ‘good again’ and he could push hard. Pleased to be able to recover to 4th, which he said ‘showed the speed was there to fight for the win’ he concluding ‘but that’s racing’.  Behind Arnold, Spain’s Eduardo Escandon would open his Shepherd account with a 5th ahead of the Serpent of Mark Green and Infinity of 2015 ENS champion Jilles Groskamp.

‘Just a shit weekend’ was Leino response when asked to recap his weekend.  The Finn continued, ‘at the end the car was not that bad and was good enough to get a podium.  There was no chance to race Bruno but I could have raced the other two guys’.  Ultimately his race would come to an end when he crashed at the end of the straight which result in a broken rear shock tower.

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