July 9, 2017

Dankel ends victory drought with ENS Germany win

Eric Dankel has finally ended a three year Euro Nitro Series victory drought by taking the win in an incident filled Round 2 in Germany.  Having qualified second behind Top Qualifier Bruno Coelho, the ENS’ inaugural champion would take his third career win ahead of first time podium finishers Eduardo Escandon and Marco Kaufmann.  Originally the results of the race would show reigning champion Teemu Leino as having claimed third but he had benefited from his car crossing the loop as it was returned to the pits after suffering a flame out.  Losing the lap, the Infinity driver would end up fourth.  For ENS France winner Coelho the race would ultimately end with a broken belt but while leading at the 10-minute mark he would have an off that would damage his rear wing with the repairs together with a tyre change costing him 4-laps.

‘I have never won something on this track, I can’t believe it’, was Dankel’s reaction after the race, the German would have his own moments running out of fuel once over the 45-minute encounter.   Going over his race, the Mugen driver said, ‘the beginning was pretty good, Bruno was slightly faster but then he crashed so I got lucky but then I ran out of fuel’.  Pleased he had improved his car from yesterday’s qualifying, he continued, ‘They had just called me in (to fuel) and on the straight it cut out.  I think we miscalculated the consumption on used tyres because in qualifying it was always new tyres’.  Delighted with the win, the first in 1:10 for Mugen, he concluded, ‘it is a long time since I won before so this feels really good’.

Reacting to second place an emotional Escandon said, ‘Finally I think the driver came good. I am delighted with second’.  The new Shepherd signing continued, ‘I made changes to the car and made it more stiff in the rear and it was better but Alex (Kempe) helped the most as he talked to me before the race and that really helped me focus’.  Making ‘just two mistakes’ during the final, one would result in a chunked tyre as he ended up the grass which would force him to pit for his tyre change 2-minutes earlier than planned but he said his crew did a great 4-tyre stop.

Having to wait some time to have his first podium finish actually confirmed as officials went over video footage of the race to decide if Leino’s car had triggered the loop, Kaufmann described his race as a ‘a good run’.  The Xray driver said, ‘I was not the fastest but we were consistent, I had no mistakes and this worked out in the end’.  Happy with how his car and engine worked throughout the race the 23-year-old said they benefited from a good strategy opting for tyres later than everyone else.  Changing just the outside tyres he said this left him a better car towards the end of the race.

Having thought he had managed to salvage a podium having lost the race lead due to a flame out, Leino was understandably frustrated to find out he had lost 3rd place.  Winner of this race last year, the Finn said, ‘I changed the set-up for the final practice because the car was too difficult to drive and this made it very easy to drive which is perfect for a final.  At the start I just tried to follow Bruno and Eric but after racing 1:8 (in the B-Main just before the 1:10 A-Main) it took time to adjust my driving.  When I see Bruno’s problems then I thought maybe I can race with Eric but then I had problems’.  With his engine dying on the straight, contact from the following car would cause a body tuck and with his car limping around Kaufmann would unintentionally hit the slowing car sending it onto grass but as the marshal put it back on the track the engine cut.  Having been the long time race leader before this the time lost given the car stopped just before the loop would end his hopes of a repeat win in Ettlingen.

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