Bruno Coelho led an Xray 1-2 in the third round of qualifying at ENS Germany, the championship leader setting the pace from team-mate Alessio Mazzeo. With Erik Dankel having topped both of yesterday’s qualifiers, the first round of Day 2 was to prove a difficult one for Mugen with Dankel suffering a flameout after an off and Dirk Wischnewski hitting traffic leaving him with a P7. Completing the Top 3 with his best run so far would be reigning champion Teemu Leino with Thilo Tödtmann getting a fourth that locks him into the A-Main.
Third in Q1 but struggling to P5 in the second round due to a rich engine, Coelho said, ‘the car was very good yesterday but the engine didn’t co-operate but we leaned it out a little today and everything was very good’. Bringing the battle for the overall TQ alive with his run, the ENS France winner said, ‘In the ENS the most important thing is to get in the final and use the qualifying to test for the final. A lot can happen in 45-minutes so where you start is not so important but for sure we will try to get the TQ’. Top Qualifier at the season opener, he will leave his NT1 unchanged for the penultimate qualifier.
‘We are happy for sure, we are fast and a second for the round is good for the grid’, was Mazzeo’s view of his Q3 performance. The World Championship podium finisher said he had a couple of mistakes, the conditions today somewhat different to yesterday and making it more difficult to push hard. Set to change body position and his downstops for the conditions, the Italian said, ‘we didn’t want to make the same mistake as Mulhouse and start from the rear but we have a Top 4 start position now so we will try to improve on that for sure’.
Leino summed up his third attempt as ‘a good, pretty clean run’. The Finn who won here last year and currently sits 12th in the qualification ranking, added, ‘I need one more run’. In terms of his car, the Infinity driver said, ‘I didn’t change the car from yesterday but I need more smooth steering so I will change for the next one’.
Commenting on his DNF, Dankel said, ‘My car was a little tweaked but in the end my driving was not clean enough’. He added I think maybe it was a tyre but it was difficult in left corners and because of this I made a mistake which caused the flame out. Team-mate Wischnewski said his car and also engine this time were really good but he hit a back marker and that was any chance of a good run gone but the top seed in Germany he is confident for Q4.
‘I benefited from the mistakes of the other guys and got important points’ was Tödtmann view of his P4. The Shepherd driver added, ‘I just brought it home and made sure I didn’t throw it away’. Asked about his car, the German replied, ‘It is not so good as the traction goes up but I’m in the final now I have two more runs to try make it easy to drive’.
Setting the fifth fastest time ahead of Xray team-mate Leo Arnold, Marco Kaufmann said, ‘It was better than before, now I have a chance for the Main’. The German suffered engine problems yesterday and with a new unit fitted for today he said it was much better’. Happy with his car he said, ‘It is not super fast but it is easy to drive’.