Reigning Champion Simon Kurzbuch has TQ’d the second round of qualifying at ENS Germany this morning at Minidrom Ettlingen. Having had to settle for second in Q1 yesterday behind Dario Balestri due to a lean engine, Kurzbuch had no such issues on his second attempt. The Shepherd driver topped the times by a comfortable 1.2-seconds from Toni Gruber who would have a similar advantage over Robert Pietsch. For Balestri, it was not to be a good start to his day with the World Champion taking to the grass and somehow just missing team-mate Oliver Mack as he return onto the asphalt. This excursion would leave the Infinity driver 15th fastest for the round.
‘Perfect’ was how Kurzbuch summed up his Q2 performance, although the time didn’t beat that of Balestri from Q1. The Swiss ace continued, ‘in the morning practice we tried something completely different with the set-up and it paid off. The car is quite stable but fast. Now we are back in the fight for the TQ’. Explaining the changes to his Velox V8 he said, ‘we didn’t change too much over Thursday and Friday but decided to try something for lower grip this morning and the changes were good’. He concluded, ‘I will leave it the same as now I just need one more but everyone is going to give 100% to try take this TQ’.
Commenting on his qualifier, Gruber said, ‘Finally a 2nd place, I’m happy’. The WRC Racing driver added, ‘Like I said yesterday I was going to push more and that is what I did. We didn’t change the car and temperature today is better for the engine. It all feels really good and felt safe’. Asked what improvements he could make for Q3, the German replied, ‘I will try to drive more consistent in the next. I want to try and get a little higher on the grid so I hope I can replace my 4th from Q1 with a 2nd or 3rd’.
Reacting to his P3 for the round, Pietsch said, ‘I had some problem in the car. I’m not sure what it was but maybe it was the tyres’. The Mugen driver continued, ‘In practice it was super good but but immediately out of the pitlane I could feel something was wrong. I think it was a bad set of tyres but still the result was good. I will check everything incase there is some issue with the car but my feeling is that it is was the tyres. I will have a new set for the next one’.
‘It went really well I think’, was Jeffrey Rietveld’s reacting to setting the fourth fastest time. Sixth in Q1 yesterday, the Serpent driver added, ‘we decided to go with used tyres because the car is quicker on smaller tyres. Now we have two good results from Q1 & 2 we can try things in Q3 & 4 for the final’. The Dutch driver said, ‘we lack a little bit of steering so if we can find this we can go a little faster’.
Celebrating his birthday today, Oliver Mack joked his P5 in Q2 was down to ‘Birthday Power’. With Minidrom Ettlingen the track at which he became the 2015 European Champion, the Infinity driver said, ‘All is OK, I only need 1/2 a tenth per lap but its not possible. I am on the limit’. Struggling in Q1 with a bad engine saying, ‘when it doesn’t go forward you can’t make fast lap times’, he said a new engine fitted this morning was ‘much better’. Somehow missing his team-mate Balestri by millimetres as the Italian rejoined the track, he said, ‘after I passed Dario I let him go and that lost me 4th position’. Behind Mack, Serpent’s Merlin Depta competed the Top 6 ahead of Rick Vrielijnck and Naoto Matsukura. In the 1:8 40+ class it would be Bo Nielsen who would TQ the second round as with Q1 winner Peter Poldvere and championship leader Arie Manten having an altercation on the penultimate laps.