It was a good first day at ENS Germany for Eric Dankel as the Mugen driver made it two out of two in the second round of qualifying at Minidrom Ettlingen. Having led a Mugen 1-2 in the opening qualifier, the German picked up where he left off when Q2 was finally run after a number showers delayed the day’s schedule. With Dankel having a much greater advantage in the second qualifier it was Alessio Mazzeo, 1.2-seconds back, who would be closest to the German. With a lack of rear grip forcing him to pull off in the first round, Eduardo Escandon would resume his Top 3 seeding form and take 3rd for the round ahead of Dirk Wischnewski with Bruno Coelho and Thilo Tödtmann completing the Top 6. Having got a P4 in Q1, reigning champion Teemu Leino would hit trouble just as the cars completed the warm-up for Q2 – the screw in the pulley on the two speed shaft coming loose with him missing the first 3-minutes of the qualifier as they fixed it.
Commenting on his Q2 run Dankel said, ‘It was pretty good but I thought my car wasn’t as good in the conditions’. With two rain stoppages between the first and second qualifiers causing Q2 to run much later than originally scheduled, Dankel said the hotter asphalt suited his MTX6R better with the car pushing a little on the cooler track. Despite this he said the overall feeling was still pretty good. Looking to tomorrow, 3 more qualifiers on the timetable and the weather showing no signs of further rain interruptions, the 2014 Champion said, ‘for sure I don’t change anything for Q3, I need one more run so we will see what we can do’.
‘A big improvement’ was Mazzeo’s reaction to his improved pace. Driving to a safe P5 in Q1 due to struggling with the feeling of his NT1, he said changes to the downstops and shock oil had made the car more stable. Using the 4-minute warm-up to test the changes, he said he pushed too hard and as he got to the end of the actual qualifier he struggled as the tyres developed a lot of camber causing him a few moments. A lot happier with how the day ended, the Italian will try a different camber for Q3 but is confident they now have a competitive car for the event.
Escandon was delighted to be back on form and when asked what had been the problem in Q1 replied ‘it was my fault’. The Shepherd driver said, ‘I changed my servo linkage but didn’t check it and afterwards found it was giving me too much steering on one side but thanks to Alex Kempe I have a very good car again’. With ‘small mistakes’ over the qualifier he concluded, ‘The car is there, I just need to sleep more and that should help me to drive better tomorrow’.
‘Again the engine tuning’, was how Wischnewski summed up posting the fourth fastest time. The German added, ‘the weather changed a lot (affecting the engine) and also the car was not as perfect as the first one’. He continued, ‘It took a long time to come in but at the end I had the same pace as Eric but I lost too much time at the start’. Like Dankel he feels ‘in the hot conditions our car is better’ and will leave it unchanged for Q3 based on tomorrow forecast.
Coelho would also report his engine tuning as the reason for a slower second run. The Xray driver said, ‘my engine was too rich and I was waiting for second gear then when I was not expecting it to change it did causing me to crash in the sweeper’. Having had issues with his NT1 in Q1, he said a set-up change and a change of body position left ‘the car working very well but the engine didn’t want to cooperate’.