Simon Kurzbuch has TQ’d the opening round of 1:8 qualifying at Round 2 of the Euro Nitro Series in Germany. With rain delaying the schedule, the reigning champion took what would turn out to be the day’s only qualifier from arch rival Dario Balestri, both drivers previous ENS race winner at the Minidrom Ettlingen track. Behind them Robert Pietsch maintained the strong form he showed in the morning’s seeding practice as he set the 3rd fastest time to make it an all Champions affair Top 3. Having topped seeding, Bruno Coelho would end up fourth with the ENS France winner taking the blame for less than perfect driving over the 4-minutes.
‘All the changes paid off, and we were there on the point’, was Kurzbuch’s reaction to taking the TQ in the first of the 5 qualifiers, the second round due to run today rescheduled into tomorrow’s timetable. The Shepherd driver continued, ‘I made a very good start and pulled away but then had a little traffic with 2 cars and lost a little time there. I knew it was going to be close at the end so I had to really push’. Setting the fastest lap of Q1 on his last lap, the Swiss driver said the performance has him ‘happy for tomorrow’.
Not happy with his seeding performance, Balestri was much happier looking after Q1. The Infinity driver said he went back to the set-up he arrived to the track with and just adjusting the rollbars for the grip levels ‘all was fine again’. Winner on the ENS’ first visit to the track in 2015, the Italian continued, ‘it was a good run and it was good to fight with Simon but in my opinion we can improve the car for tomorrow, at least I hope’. Also setting his fastest lap of the race on his final lap, being the only driver along with Kurzbuch to get down to 12-seconds, there was a sense from Balestri that is now game on for the rest of the weekend.
Pietsch was pleased with his P3 admitting to be ‘nervous at the beginning’ but happy ending the qualifier on the pace again. Once settled in to the run the Mugen driver said, ‘I could make time on Bruno and Dario but my last lap was a little slow and Dario passed me again’. Pleased with the performance of his car which features some prototype parts he is testing for the World Championship later this year he plans to leave the car set-up unchanged for Q2.
‘Mistakes on my side’, was how Coelho replied when asked about how his first 1:8 qualifying attempt had gone. The championship leader continued, ‘I had a number of slides because I over used the power. The car and engine where all good it was just my mistakes that were the problem’.
Opening his event with the fifth fastest time ahead of Mirko Salemi, Lars Hoppe was pleased with his run. New to the Shepherd team for the 2017 season, the German said his car was good but his Reds engine was ‘a little too lean especially at the end’. Describing it as a very clean run, he said for tomorrow he would change nothing on the car except tweak his gearbox to change a little earlier and get a better tune on his engine.