Jilles Groskamp lead home an Infinity 1-2 at the third round of the Euro Nitro Series in Austria today. Starting from 4th on the grid, the Dutch driver would win the 45-minute encounter from team-mate Francesco Tironi, benefiting from engine troubles that would strike both Top Qualifier Dominic Greiner and Eric Dankel. Taking early control of the race, Greiner looked destined for his second win of the season with his team executing a perfect tyre stop but as the Serpent driver rejoined the track his engine cut in the sweeper. Brought back to the pit lane, it fired up immediately, but again in the sweeper it stopped but again it was fired up without hesitation and third time lucky it kept going for the remainder of the race but it cost the dominant German any chance of the win. The only driver to really take the fight to Greiner today, Dankel’s race started to come undone when he made contact with Alessio Mazzeo who was exiting the pits but in the end the Mugen driver’s frustration would only get worse with a flame out, contact with a backmarker and finally a broken engine. All the while Groskamp was having a steady race even overcoming a slow tyre stop to take his 2nd ENS career win ahead of Tironi with Mazzeo hanging on to complete the podium ahead of Greiner.
‘I had the pace for the podium but not the win today but we ran super safe and others had problems’, was how Groskamp summed up his win. The former champion continued, ‘we started with a rich engine and it never got up to temperature which cost me some time and again my arm went numb which was the same problem I had in Holland and which is something I need to get checked but we went with a safe strategy, 5-minute fuelling, all four tyres. The tyre stop went wrong and we lost a nut but it didn’t matter because the others hit trouble. We went safe, the others were on the limit and our approach paid off today’. Extending his championship lead ahead of the season finale in Fiorano, with Greinier needing a dominant qualifying and race to deny him the title, he concluded, ‘we have to improve for sure. The car needs to be better but I’m happy with today’s result’.
Summing up his race, having started 5th behind Groskamp, Tironi said, ‘In the beginning I think we lose the race but from 5th you have to try to overtake, sometimes it works, sometimes not. I make a little crash and I have to wait to give back the position and lose a lot of time’. The incident he was referring to was his contact with Shepherd’s Thilo Todtmann who having started 3rd ended up in the grass at the end of the straight following the contact. A former Top Qualifier of the Aigen race, the Italian went on, ‘the car was good so I was able to push. Everything in the pits was really good and we also were a little lucky but we were always competitive for a podium today. To be part of an Infinity 1-2 feels good’.
‘Tired’ was Mazzeo reaction after the 45-minute encounter. The Xray driver said, ‘In the morning (A-Main practice) the car was super fast but to try improve the steering under braking we changed the diff for the final and it was undriveable’. The Round 1 Top Qualifier continued, ‘I had a quiet race and some luck came to me as Dominic and Eric went out which out me second but the magnetism went in the nut spinner and we lost a nut in the tyre stop which cost me 20-seconds’. With Greiner closing in the final laps of the race, he said, ‘I was never under much pressure as I knew the gap was too big. The big problem today was the bad choice of the diff. For sure the podium is always good but I am not satisfied with the race but as you see Dominic was fastest all weekend and finished 4th, that is racing. Congrats to Jilles for the win. We will keep fighting for Fiorano’.
‘Like most of the time, unbelievable’, was how a bemused Greiner summed up his problems. The World Champion continued, ‘we changed tyres perfect but then on full throttle it flamed out, it fired up again, then again on full throttle it stopped again. We changed nothing and started it again and it ran perfect for the rest of the race. I don’t know what caused this’. With some of his rivals expected to take risky strategies for the race in order to try in somewhat make up speed deficit to Greiner, it was him who would actually break from the norm. He said, ‘We went 5:40 because we thought maybe Jilles make but we only did it for the first one once we saw everything was going 5 and we had a good lead. The 5:40 then meant we had an empty pitlane for the rest of our 5-minute stops’.
Clearly annoyed with Mazzeo, telling the him he ‘maybe needs glasses’, to which the Italian replied, ‘I just stayed on my line’, Dankel said Mazzeo’s actions destroyed his race. Closest to Greiner in terms of outright pace, the German said, ‘I had a chance for the win before Mazzeo hit me but in the end the engine broke’.