Having opened qualifying at Round 2 of the ENS in Germany with a TQ run last night, Simon Kurzbuch got Day 2 of the event off to the perfect start as he again set the pace in Q2. The second of the five qualifiers in Ettlingen was a repeat of the Q1 result with Dario Balestri again Kurzbuch’s closest challenger and Robert Pietsch completing the Top 3. The surprise of the qualifier would be Oliver Mack, who running in the fourth fastest heat, would set the 4th fastest time just 0.026 off Pietsch. Francesco Tironi would improve on his opening run post his first Top 6 run with fifth ahead of the Belgian Steven Cuypers.
‘A perfect run’ was how Kurzbuch referred to his run. Making a front downstop change to his Novarossi powered Shepherd, the reigning ENS Champion said, ‘the car was very stable and easy to drive, I just had to lift once when a car came out of the grass but despite that it was perfect’. Improving on his time by almost one and a half seconds and also improving his fastest lap, the Swiss ace said, ‘the lower temperatures are better for my car’. Looking to Q3, when another TQ run would make him Top Qualifier for the second time this season, he said, ‘I don’t think I will change anything, I have one hand on the point (for TQ) so lets try bring it home’.
‘Simon was too fast. Simply he is more fast than me at the moment’, was Balestri’s reaction after Q2. The Infinity driver continued, ‘my car & engine are good so I’m still happy but we need to see what we can do’. The only driver to TQ a round of the ENS last season apart from Kurzbuch, the 2015 ENS Champion said, the ‘hotter conditions are better for our car’ and with the sun already warming things up, today’s schedule having started earlier due to yesterday’s rain delays, he will be hoping to try take the fight to his arch rival.
Pietsch said, ‘again I was too nervous at the beginning but when I settled down my mind I was ok again’. The Mugen driver said, the reason for being nervous this morning was because his nerves yesterday had led him to making mistakes in the first lap of Q1 and he was trying to make sure not to repeat that. Describing traction conditions as ‘a little different’ with the track having more traction, he plans to adjust the rear shock position for the next one.
‘Finally’ was Mack’s reaction to his P4, the popular German adding, ‘this is my track’. Having tested for the event 2-weeks before he said ‘now its totally different’ and having worked on his Infinity to remove front grip based on the test that has led him to playing catch up. Winner of the European Championships held at Ettlingen in 2015, Mack said he had the benefit of running earlier in the round and had cooler track conditions but an engine change for Q2 has improved his performance, the engine one he had loaned to a friend who is pitting next to him.
Tironi summed up his run as ‘ok’. The Italian added, ‘from the first free practice my car feels ok and I have worked on improving my driving. It is a long time since I am competitive and I am working to get that feeling back’. He continued, ‘Dario, Simon and Robert are faster and it will be hard to get on their pace, for this time I am happy with where I am at and we will of course try to improve on this’.