With the newly resurfaced MAV Aigen-Schlägl the venue for the third round of the Euro Nitro Series, it is Simon Kurzbuch who leads a competitive 1:8 field at the end of practice. The Shepherd driver was fastest in both rounds of controlled practice and will go into a busy evening of qualifying as the top seed. With five different manufacturers in the Top 5, Kurzbuch was fastest over 3-consecutive laps from Robert Pietsch, Toni Gruber, Bruno Coelho and Merlin Depta. While a perfect summer day in Aigen, unfortunately the forecast in particular for tomorrow morning is less favourable so the decision has been made to run late and ensure 4 of the 6 scheduled qualifiers get run today in dry conditions.
Winner in Aigen for the last 2-years, Kurzbuch said, ‘Practice went good. I had two good runs and got to run two different engines which both worked good so I’m confident we are prepared for qualifying’. The reigning champion continued, ‘we want to take the extra point for TQ so we can catch up to Bruno after what happened in Mulhouse so will give our best for that’. Asked about his car set-up the Swiss driver replied, ‘yesterday we tried a lot but we have ended up back at our standard set-up’. With the new asphalt improving with the more running it got, the World Champion said the traction levels as now very stable adding ‘the heat is not affecting the lap times which is quite surprising’.
‘I think we found something good in the car from the year before’, was how Pietsch summed up his practice. The Mugen driver continued, ‘we are running some new parts on the car for the Worlds and they work really well’. Asked his thoughts on the new surface he replied, ‘it’s getting better and better each run and it’s much better on the tyre wear’. Describing his car as being ‘on the edge’ he will add ‘a little more toe-in on the rear to be more safe’.
Fresh from being crowned the new European 1:10 Champion at Mulhouse in France last week, venue of the ENS Season opener, Toni Gruber said, ‘I think we are on the right way now for qualifying’. The WRC driver said, the event started off ‘difficult’ as they struggled to find a set-up for the track. He said having ‘needed a lot of time to find a set-up’ he is now able to get his lap times under 15-seconds with a car he described as ‘consistent’. Another driver pleased with the track’s much reduced tyre wear, the German said for Q1 he will run the car ‘how it is now’.
Fourth fastest, Coelho reported his clutch not being perfectly set for the final practice adding he was ‘lacking bottom power’ as a result. The Xray driver said this aside, ‘everything is looking good’ given how close the field is adding ‘the first four guys are within the same 1/10th (of a second)’. Describing the track as having a ‘very difficult layout’, this being only his second time to Aigen, he said the key to the track is ‘you have got to be consistent’. Planning to adjust his clutch but leave the rest of the car unchanged he concluded, ‘I should get some time from that’.
‘Quite OK’ was how Serpent’s Merla Depta summed up practice. The German used both seeding rounds to run the championship’s controlled MR33 tyre saying ‘I am never super fast on big tyres’. Asked about qualifying, he said, Dominic (Greiner) is fast so I think we have a good car but I think everyone’s times are almost the same. It is super close’. Greiner, a former 1:10 winner in Aigen, described his event as ‘ok so far’. He added, ‘we tried different engines and set-ups and while not 100% its close’. The 1:10 World Champion who has switched his attentions to 1:8 this season said, ‘I had too much steering on throttle in the last (practice) and its difficult with the curbing here. If you touch them you lose so much time so we will look to make the car more stable for Q1.’
With the timing of last week’s 1:10 European Championship affecting the 1:10 entry in Aigen, it looks like the perfect opportunity for Bruno Coelho to make back ground following his retirement from the A-Main at Round 2 in Ettlingen. Winner of the season opener, he was easily quickest in seeding from Xray team-mates Leo Arnold and Jakub Rozycki. Thilo Tödtmann heads the early Shepherd challenge with the fourth fastest time.