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.
Jilles Groskamp has TQ’d the second round of the qualifying at the Infinity Euro Nitro Series in Germany this morning. The first of 3 rounds of qualifying on today’s schedule at Minidrom Ettlingen, the Infinity driver kicked off the day by topping the times by 6/10ths of a second from the Xray of Alessio Mazzeo. Despite running in the second fastest heat Thilo Todtmann would complete the Top 3 finishing ahead of last night’s Q1 pace setter Dominic Greinier, the World Champion having a coming together with Todtmann’s Shepherd team-mate Eduardo Escandon during the 4-minute qualifier. With the 1:10 field ultra competitive this season, last year’s race winner Eric Dankel made it five different manufacturers at the top of the times sheets taking his Mugen to 5th ahead of 2016 winner Teemu Leino.
‘Maximum result, I’m really happy’, was Groskamp’s reaction. Winner of the season opener in the Netherlands, he said, ‘I had a little understeer in the morning practice so changed the front camber but it started to bite a bit too much in the middle of the run as the tyres came in. I had a few bobbles but I knew I had a good car and could fight back and once I was in front I could pace myself because I could hear that Dominic had a crash with Edu and I was safe with Mazzeo. It is nice to TQ the morning run’.
Mazzeo said, ‘for sure it was a good run but I am a little disappointed because in the middle of the run I lost around 1-second as something critical happened with the car for 3-4 laps, I think maybe from the tyres’. The ENS Netherlands Top Qualifier continued, ‘for sure the track changed (due to more overnight rain) but like yesterday the car had good pace and good balance. Dominic is a little faster but lost time with another driver but I think everyone else is super close. I will leave the car the same for the next one with just a little toe in adjustment but nothing else. Without problems I think we could have got the TQ because I was first when I had the problem but we will try again the next one’.
‘A solid run, no mistakes, no problems with traffic. Sometimes it is good to not be in the top heat’, was a pleased looking Todtmann’s summary of Q2. Explaining that he was in the second fastest heat as a result of a throttle servo problem in controlled practice, the German continued, ‘I think my driving could improve. 1:10 is super competitive this weekend and that run will give me a little more confidence in my driving for the next one. I will change nothing on the car’.
Greiner summed up his car as ‘nearly undriveable’. The Serpent driver added, ‘the track as completely different again to yesterday so it is hard to work on finding the right set-up’. Asked if he had ideas to try for Q3, the German simply replied, ‘We will try a crazy thing’. On his incident with Escandon he said, ‘I think he was coming out of the crash but I crashed with him and lost 2-seconds’ – 2-seconds the time covering the Top 6 for the round.
Commenting on his P5 run, Dankel said, ‘the track is different to yesterday. My car was too edgy, it had oversteer. It also felt like something was broken so I just tried to drive safe’. Asked what changes he planned for the penultimate qualifier, the former champion replied, ‘I think maybe the rear diff is broken so I will fit a completely new one’.
Dario Balestri has TQ’d the first round of qualifying at the Infinity Euro Nitro Series in Germany this evening. The Infinity driver took Q1 ahead of top seed Simon Kurzbuch who suffered a lean engine that would result in him ending up 7/10th of a second off his Italian rival. Robert Pietsch would complete the Top 3, the Mugen driver only 2/10ths off Kurzbuch’s Shepherd with the gap back to Toni Gruber in fourth a more substantial 1-second.
Taking his TQ in his stride, World Champion Balestri said, ‘Everything was OK. I just had traffic for the first 3-laps and maybe this cost me 2/10ths but it was all ok’. The 2015 Ettlingen winner continued, ‘After I had a clean track in front. The car was OK, the engine was OK and hopefully we can do the same tomorrow’.
Kurzbuch said, ‘the first few laps were quite good but then the engine got more lean and I lost power to fight for the TQ’. The Shepherd driver added, ‘small tyres also made it change to second gear too early which made the engine even worse but we have 3 more to go and its a second place so I will take this one and see what we can do tomorrow’.
‘A good clean run’, was how Pietsch described the first of the four qualifying attempts on the schedule. The German added, ‘It is super close, you can have the 1/10th on your side or the other side but the car is really really good. I will run everything the same tomorrow’. Asked if the evening timing of the top heat affected track conditions he replied, ‘the track was better. A 1 or 2 degree in the asphalt temperature and you can already feel it’.
Gruber felt ‘no more was possible’ adding, ‘I had a good gap over 5th and 3rd had a good gap ahead of me but the balance was good and I could make good points from the run. Overall I am happy with the car set-up and the engine and I will try to push a little harder tomorrow to get in the Top 3 and get a good starting position for the final’.
‘It was a clean first round to make some points’, was how Carmine Raiola summed up his P5 for Q1. The Infinity driver adding, ‘the car was ok but tomorrow we will try different gearing because we need more to try and getting something better from the run’. Behind the Italian, Serpent’s new star Jeffrey Rietveld completed the Top 6 ahead of Japanese driver Takaaki Shimo and the double driving Alessio Mazzeo. In the 40+ class, Olaf Engelmann got the better of top seed & championship leader Arie Manten, the pair the only two to manage 18-laps run with Peter Poldvere completing the Top 3.
Dominic Greiner has taken the opening 1:10 qualifier at the Infinity Euro Nitro Series second round in Ettlingen, Germany. The Serpent driver reversed the order of seeding, topping the first of the four qualifiers from Jilles Groskamp with the separation 6/10th at the end of the 4-minutes. Behind, last year’s winner Eric Dankel carried forward his pace from seeding to again complete the Top 3 ahead of Italian’s Francesco Tironi and Alessio Mazzeo.
‘Yeh not so bad, but the car was not so good and the engine was not so good’, was Greiner’s reaction to opening qualifying with a TQ run. The German continued, ‘considering everything the result is very good but the car is too difficult at the moment. Because we only found a set-up this morning we have to try something different every time and we have no choice but to try something different again for Q2. We can’t race the car like this in the final. Anyway I’m happy we got a TQ to end the day’.
Groskamp said, ‘I’m happy with second but the first lap I already lost 2 or 3 tenths because the engine was rich’. The Infinity driver added, ‘Also one time I had a small mistake in the sweeper. We went a little different on the set-up and maybe it was too aggressive. The gap is not far from Dominic, I just had a few bad laps but getting a P2 is always a nice way to start qualifying’. On set-up changes for Q2 in the morning, the 2016 champion replied, ‘conditions today are some much different to practice I’m not sure whether to change the set-up or leave it. Anyway I’m happy with second, it is always nice to start out qualifying like this’.
‘I really didn’t expect to finish this run’, was Dankel reaction. Having suffered radio issues in the final practice which forced him to stop, he said, ‘I changed the throttle servo and battery and was a bit nervous at the start because I didn’t know if it was fixed or not but everything worked and hopefully that is it done. I didn’t want to make any mistakes and from my side it almost worked out. I had a few small errors but was super close to Dominic and Jilles’. Mugen team-mate Dirk Wischnewski ended up 6th. The former Ettlingen winner said, ‘I messed up the start. I crossed the line too late and the clock was already started so I lost 1.5 seconds. I had the fastest lap so the car seems good. It was just my mistake I started too late’.
Tironi was pleased with his P4 feeling better is to come. The Italian said, ‘Thursday was a little difficult with the traction conditions because every time at this track you have to do something very different (with the set-up) to the standard tracks’. He continued, ‘today it was better from the beginning and we made a diff change which immediately worked which was good for my confidence. All was ok for the qualifier, everyone was very close together and I think I can do more tomorrow’.
Top Qualifier in the Netherlands, after Q1 Mazzeo said, ‘now we find a good set-up. The car was easy and balanced but I was unlucky with my engine being too rich at the start and lost time in the first minute’. On his earlier set-up issues, the Xray driver said, ‘yesterday there was too much grip and this morning the car was losing traction under braking and on throttle. Ettlingen is always the same, the hardest track to find a set-up. Racing two classes this weekend it is very hard’.