Jilles Groskamp and Mirko Salemi will complete the 1:8 A-Main grid at the season final of the Euro Nitro Series in Fiorano after finishing 1-2 in the B-Main this evening at the Mini Autodromo Jody Scheckter track. The 15-minute encounter would see Groskamp, who was to run out of fuel while attempting to bump up from the 1:10 B-Main, take the lead from Salemi due to the BP Racing driver needing to do an extra fuel stop. Salemi, who started 2nd, found himself in the lead when Bruno Coelho went crashing out after establishing an early advantage. Starting from pole, Coelho’s quest to bump up into both A-Mains, having just won the 1:10 B-Main, ended just before the 2-minute mark as the rear upper bulk heads came loose sending his Xray off the track spectacularly at the end of the main straight.
Commenting on his race Groskamp said, ‘It was a good start and I was running steady in third. I knew I didn’t need to win to get the car in to the B-Main so I was patient’. The Team Infinity driver continued, ‘then Bruno crashed and I was in second and when I saw Mirko stop at 4-minutes I knew I had an advantage on him as I could run one stop less. I saw Max (Vogl) was closing in third but I was able to keep the gap to him before Max crashed in the pitlane’. The only issue of the race for the Dutch driver was his brakes. Fitting new brakes to the car for the B-Main he forgot to adjust his radio which he said made it hard to stop in the pitlane. He added, ‘I was disappointed I didn’t bump up to the 1:10 final because after my flame out my lap times were very good but I actually I’m really happy to make the 1:8 final. It’s nice to have four cars in the final’.
Bruno Coelho has recovered from a qualifying disaster at the Euro Nitro Series season finale to bump up into tomorrow morning’s 1:10 A-Main. The Xray driver was to suffer engine failures in the opening two qualifiers and with 2 from the reduced 3 rounds to count, the season opener Top Qualifier found himself in the G-Main in Fiorano. Bumping up a total of six times, when it came to doing the B-Main the World Championship podium finisher had already amassed 90-minutes of race time and that stood to him in the 15-minute encounter which would decide the final to places on the 12-car A-Main grid. Well in his rhythm, starting the encounter from 9th on the grid he would take just 6-laps to get to the front. Once there he would pull away as his key revivals hit problems. Running in 2nd, having started from pole, reigning champion Jilles Groskamp would run out of fuel on his in-lap for his first fuel stop, ending the Team Infinity driver’s chances of progressing. Knowing his engine was too rich, the Dutch driver had called to his pit crew that he wasn’t going go the full planned distance, telling him to go one more lap as they got ready for the early stop but with two corners to complete his car ran dry and stopped. The battle for second was then between Spain’s Victor Pelaez and Martin Hudy but the Xray designer’s engine was to go pop at the 9-minute mark leaving Serpent’s Pelaez breathing space to claim the final bump up spot, 1-lap down on Coelho and 4-seconds up on Aigen A-finalist Jakub Rozycki.
‘A busy day’ was Coelho’s reaction after his B-Main win. Explaining the engine problems that left the former ENS race winner to qualify so lowly, he said, ‘I broke an engine in the first qualifying yesterday, which we put down to a bad engine. When we broke another in Q2 we knew there must be some other problem and there was with the fuel tubing’. Replacing all the tubing for the final qualifier, completing the heat without engine issues although his transponder did miss laps which were latter corrected, he said he knew he had a very good car and going into each final he ‘just needed to drive it’. Looking to the A-Main he said, ‘for the final everything is open, it is 45-minutes so there is plenty of time. I’m not here to make the A-Main, I am here to win, so that is what I will be going for’.
Chassis – Infinity Prototype Engine – Novarossi Mito .12 C Fuel – Runner Time Tires (handout) – HotRace Radio/Servo – Sanwa Body – SRC Spark
Remarks – Having qualified second for the start of the A-Main behind Dominic Greiner, Finnish star Teemu Leino is going to battle for the overall Championship running the same prototype he used to win in Aigen with an SRC Spark bodyshell being the only significant change from the Austrian race.
Teemu Leino has TQ’d the final round of qualifying at the concluding round of the Euro Nitro Series in Italy and will start the title deciding 45-minute A-Main in Fiorano from second on the grid behind Top Qualifier Dominic Greiner. The Team Infinity driver topped Q3 by 6/10ths from Q1 & 2 pace setter Greiner, with new team-mate Marc Rheinard a further 7/10ths off completing the Top 3. For Leino’s main title rivals the round would net a P6 for championship points leader Dirk Wischnewski while Erik Dankel would go out with conrod failure while setting the TQ pace. The result means Wischnewski starts 5th while 2014 Champion Dankel will line up 9th.
Describing his car as ‘a little bit easier to drive that time’, Leino added, ‘but sometimes the rear got loose but I think it was the same for everyone’. Planning to ‘keep it the same for the final’, this year’s only double race winner added, ‘there is no need to win the final’, fourth place or better enough to secure him his first ENS title even if Wischnewski or Dankel can take the win. In terms of his tyre strategy the Ettlingen and Aigen race winner said ‘we know what to do’ adding ‘Aigen the tyre wear was maximum high but here its more normal’. Looking to take over the ENS title from team-mate Jilles Groskamp, who just missed a direct spot in the final ending qualifying P11, Leino said, ‘If I remember right Jilles did this race last year on one set (of tyres) but ran out and got passed for the win on the second last lap’.
Using the final qualifier as a test session, Greiner would use his standard bodyshell in the warm-up and then switch to a new prototype shell from Xtreme Aerodynamics. The World Champion said the prototype made his Serpent 748 ‘a bit difficult’ but he plans to back to back test it again in the morning’s A-Main Warm-up. Also using the qualifier to run a second Novarossi engine he said it ran well and now the plan for tomorrow is to just refresh everything on the car adding in terms of a race strategy ‘everything seems ok’.
Securing third on the grid, Alessio Mazzeo would make a mistake on his opening lap and opt then to use the rest of the qualifier as a test session. Having completely changed his car’s set-up, the Serpent driver would pit for further changes. Rejoining, he was happy to go back out and set his fastest lap of all three qualifiers. Describing the car as ‘now more stable but not perfect’ the Italian said they ‘still need to find more’ from the set-up saying ‘stability in the corner continues to be the problem’. One change he will try for the morning’s 10-minute warm-up is to change the position of the weight in the car concluding ‘I think this is the problem’.
Having struggled in Q2 after a rear diff set-up change, Marc Rheinard would revert back to his Q1 ‘softer diff’ set-up to better his Q1 P4 run and secure fourth on the grid. The German, who hasn’t raced nitro since the 2012 World Championships, said ‘because of my Q2 result I just drove a safe round to put it in the final, I didn’t try too hard, I did nothing crazy’. Describing his Team Infinity as ‘easy to drive,’ he continued ‘maybe this is good for the final’. More used to the short burst 5-minute finals format of the electric touring car, the 4-time electric World Champion said, ‘Qualifying 4th is a good result for my first ENS but I really have no idea what to do for the final’. Although he ran the 1-hour Main at the 2010 World Championship and finished Runner-up he said working out a strategy wasn’t something he had any experience of.
Behind Rheinard in the final qualifier, Thilo Tödtmann would post the fourth fastest time to 7th on the grid between the Xray’s of David Loppini and Leo Arnold. The Capricorn driver, who finished on the podium in Aigen, said, ‘the car has always been good but the problem was with the driver but the last one I put it all together’. The German, who sits fourth in the championship standings, added, ‘I am happy to be mixing against such great drivers’. Describing his tyre and fuel consumption as ‘pretty good’, he said he will decided on his strategy once he has a better idea of the weather.
Wischnewski was pleased that he had improved his set-up but ‘unfortunately (he) made a mistake in traffic’. The Shepherd driver described the car’s Q3 performance as being ‘quite positive for the final’ adding the car was ‘getting better as the run goes on’. Content to race the car as is for the final, the former European Champion said his strategy would depend on the race start time. Currently set to start early in the morning due to the impending rain which is forecast, he said he would need to consider the conditions, adding track moisture could be a factor at the current start time.
Chassis – ARC R8.0 2016 Engine – Novarossi Mito C “WC” Fuel – Meccafuel Tires (handout) – Matrix Radio/Servo – KO Propo Body – Blitz TS035
Remarks – Breakthrough star of the 2016 ENS, Toni Gruber is set to start from second spot on the grid in tomorrow’s A-Main here in Fiorano at the controls of an R8.0 2016. His car is equipped with a number of options, such as aluminium wheel axles, low friction pulleys and belts, a front carbon steering plate and front air disks. He is also using the rear long arm suspension block set, which utilises a narrower suspension mount to compensate for the longer arms.
Chassis – WRC GTX ’16 Engine – XRD FT Line Fuel – Energy Tires (handout) – Matrix Radio/Servo – Sanwa/Futaba Body – Xtreme Aerodynamics R18
Remarks – Italian top driver Andrea Pirani is running the 2016 version of the Italian manufacturer’s GTX, equipped with kevlar pulleys and Hiro Seiko aluminium screws. He is also using a FT Line clutch and handmade front bodyshell stabilisers.