July 8, 2017

Coelho denies Dankel to take ENS Germany TQ

Bruno Coelho has denied Eric Dankel a home TQ at ENS Germany, the Xray driver putting in a dominant Day 2 qualifying performance at Minidrom Ettlingen. With Dankel in control of Q1 & 2 yesterday, championship leader Coelho found his form in Q3 and backing that up with TQ runs in the 4th & 5th rounds claimed his second consecutive Euro Nitro Series pole position.  Dankel would round out qualifying with a P2 and that is where the former champion will start tomorrow. Runner-up at the season opener having to come from the back of the grid, Alessio Mazzeo will line up third ahead of the previous two winners of the German round, Dirk Wischnewski and Teemu Leino.

Capping off qualifying with the fastest time of qualifying, Coelho said, ‘I drove (the last round) like the other qualifiers, easy at the start so as to make no mistakes’.  He continued, ‘This let Dankel ahead but after 1-minute I started to catch him and when he made a mistake I could overtake him’.  Pleased to bag the championship point offered for the TQ, he said, ‘the finals will be a different story, the tyre wear is not much, its strange and because of this there is many strategies you can use’.  He added, ‘Fuel consumption is very important here, it is high and a lot of guys cannot go more than 4:20.’  Asked where he expects his biggest challenge to come from the Portuguese driver replied, ‘I can’t really say. I know who is fast over 4-minutes but longer than that could be a different story.  Maybe some guys will be faster after 4 minutes, because I already know the car changes a lot over 4-minutes in qualifying’.

‘Too slow’ was Dankel’s reaction to missing out on repeating the TQ he took last year at his home race, the Mugen driver adding, ‘yesterday was better’.  Opting to not change his set-up for the showdown with Coelho, he said his car was ‘a little edgy’ and there was nothing he could do to take the fight to his rival.  Conceding ‘if Bruno has a clean run he will be hard to beat’, he said ‘we need to make a good tyre changes and I need to make no mistakes from my side’.  Asked about a strategy for the final he replied, ‘to make 5-minutes is too difficult especially on small tyres but 4:30 is no problem for us’.  On tyres he said, ‘It won’t be two sets like the first round (at Mulhouse) and I think we will do the outside only’.

Making some changes to his NT1 for Q5 after struggling with his set-up in the previous round, Mazzeo said, ‘the car was for sure better but the engine was too rich.’ Planning to change engine for the A-Main practice as well as use the track time to test one further change, the Italian wanted to congratulate his team-mate on his impressive performance today taking all 3 qualifiers but added, ’45-minutes will also be hard for Bruno so the race is wide open’.  Referring to the track’s ‘strange traction’ he said ‘it is very difficult to set the car’ and while it is easy to make the car fast at the start ‘the problem is after 10 or 15-minutes’.

After starting out the event looking very strong on his Mugen debut Wischnewski is struggling with the reason he lost his early form.  Topping practice and opening qualifying with a P2 behind team-mate Dankel he said, ‘At the beginning of qualifying the pace was good but Bruno has left us behind now and honestly I don’t know what to do’.  Winner of a rain effected race here in 2015, the German changed his set-up for the final qualifier but ‘the behaviour on the track was the same as before’.  On the final he said, ‘the cars are going to be edgy to drive on small tyres and I think you have to play safe on the refuel because of the high consumption.  It is not going to be an easy race’.

Taking one of his two victories here last year, reigning champion Leino was much happier with his car in the final qualifier as he posted another P3 to secure 5th on the grid. The Infinity driver said, ‘I changed the car for the last one and the engine too and it was much better and I have one more set-up change I now want to try in the final practice’.  He continued, ‘the fastest lap is there and its not far from Bruno but its still edgy to drive’.  Asked about strategy he replied, ‘last year we changed all four tyres and it worked for us while other just changed the outside. We can make 4:30 but in small tyres and with the (high) temperature maybe we will go safe and stop at 4:10 or something’.

Completing the Top 6, the final qualifier was a stressful one for Eduardo Escandon.  Needing to get a good result to get onto the A-Main, the Shepherd driver said, ‘there was too much pressure from my side but the team told me to relax and I could make the main so I’m happy to get P5 but I’m still not driving well’.  Qualifying third at the season opener, the Spaniard said, ‘I have the car and engine for a good result but I’m not happy with myself and how I am driving this weekend. My goal for the final is don’t hit the curbs.  There will be a lot of mistakes so I just want to keep putting in clean laps’.  Behind Escandon, team-mate Thilo Tödtmann will start seventh.

View complete event results here.

View our event image gallery here.



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