Simon Kurzbuch is Top Qualifier for the season finale of the Euro Nitro Series in Fiorano. Going into the fourth & final qualifier with only Andrea Pirani having a chance of denying him his fourth overall TQ of the season, the reigning champion topped the round in style having over a second in hand over title rival Bruno Coelho. While twice a winner of the Italian ENS round, today’s result is the first time the Shepherd driver will start from pole. Behind, Pirani will start second having enjoyed his best ever ENS qualifying with Coelho lining up for his shot at the title from 3rd on the grid. Playing a watching brief in the ENS title fight, World Champion Dario Balestri completed qualifying with his best run of the weekend with the P3 securing him 4th on the grid ahead of Lamberto Collari and Francesco Tironi.
‘It’s a great feeling. I’m super happy as this is my best ENS qualifying result in Italy. We had a lot of fun today’, said a very pleased looking Kurzbuch, this the Shepherd driver’s 8th time to be Top Qualifier at an ENS race. He continued, ‘We have really good pace and we showed that in the last qualifier. I didn’t feel anything but we still had the fastest lap. Everything is good for the final I would say and the TQ puts us one step closer to the goal’.
Going one better than his previous best ENS qualifying, third in Bologna in 2015, Pirani said, ‘Everything has worked good. I’m happy because I arrived at my aim of making the A final. 2nd is super good for me’. The ARC driver added, ‘I had to use a new set of tyres in the last one and I could still manage fourth. The car was working really good on the bigger tyre so I am confident for the final tomorrow’. Asked about strategy for the race, the Italian said, ‘tyre wear is ok and I think it will be just one change for all drivers’. Not planning to take any risks with refuelling, again most drivers reporting normal consumption he concluded, ‘I want to make a safe final without mistake and don’t want to risk any flameouts’.
Coelho, who must win tomorrow to have a chance at the title, said, ‘Now it was a clean round but we were not fast enough compared to Simon’. The Portuguese driver continued, ‘For me the car feels perfect but when I drive against Simon I can see he is faster so we need to work on that in our preparations for the final’.
‘They are more fast than me but all is OK and we will see what we can do tomorrow’, was Balestri’s summary after Q4. Claiming the 2015 ENS title in Fiorano when he took second in the final behind Kurzbuch, the Infinity driver said, ‘I have a lot of grip, maybe too much to be super quick but for the final I think it will be OK’. Team-mate Collari said, ‘we tried a different set-up for the final qualifier but it was not better’. Asked about the 45-minute Main he replied, ‘For the final I will try something else on the set-up and a different body in the practice to see if we can make the car for the final. On strategy he said with tyre and fuel consumption ‘normal’ the important thing was going to be to have a ‘clean race’.
Completing the top half of the A-Main grid, two cars bumping up from the B-Main to make it a 12 car grid, Tironi said, ‘Everyone is really close. The level is really high and if you are not perfect in your driving you lose out.’ The Infinity driver added, ‘I have a good feeling with the car but maybe I will change the engine for tomorrow as this one has driven a lot of runs’. On a strategy for the final he said, ‘normally Fiorano is ok for tyre wear and it is easy to do race with just one change but I need to check (the wear) before we decide our plan’.