Dominic Greiner has TQ’d the opening round of 1:10 qualifying at the Infinity Euro Nitro Series in Austria. With qualifying originally scheduled to get underway yesterday evening before rain forced the cancellation of the second half of the day, Greiner picked up where he left off. Fastest in free practice yesterday, those times determining the seeding after this morning’s planned controlled practice were made into untimed practice as the track proved much slower following the rain, Greiner took the first of the four qualifiers by a second over a much improved Jilles Groskamp. Francesco Tironi would post the third fastest time followed by Alessio Mazzeo and Eric Dankel, the latter two both suffering early mistakes at the start of the 4-minutes.
Summing up Q1, Greiner said, ‘It was pretty OK. I was a little nervous in the beginning’. The Serpent driver continued, ‘I am not 100% happy with the set-up. After the rain the track is not like the first day so we need to make small changes to make it easier to drive’. Describing the car as ‘a little nervous’ he is confident they can make it more stable for Q2 but concluded ‘the grip and track conditions are now difficult. You need to drive close to the curb but if you touch them you have problems. It’s not easy here’.
‘Not bad for the first round’, was Groskamp’s reaction to Q1 as he looked over the time sheets. The Infinity driver added, ‘I was surprised I wasn’t more off. 1-second is acceptable especially given how much we were off in practice and after the rain the track changed again. Looking at practice I expected worse than that’. Coming into the weekend leading the points standings he said, ‘I had a few bad laps and lost half a second but we need to improve the car. The problem is the middle of the run when the tyres come in the rear gets more loose. We need to find a solution for that and if we can find another 1/10th a lap we are there’.
Tironi called his P3 performance ‘ok’. A former Top Qualifier at the Aigen track, he said, ‘we made some changes between the last practice and qualifying and that gave us a little more traction’. The Italian continued, ‘it felt ok but I think we can be more competitive for the next one’. Hoping to ‘find a little more traction’ he is considering a rear roll bar change for Q2.
‘The track has change and there is less grip so it is very hard to keep the car in the right direction’, was Mazzeo’s reaction after the first qualifier. The Xray driver’s run got off to a bad start after he ‘lost the rear on the first lap’, but the Italian added, ‘we are fast for sure and without the mistake would could fight with Dominic but for the next one we need to find more grip in the rear’.
Completing the Top 5, Dankel said his first attempt was ‘not a good run’. The Mugen driver continued, ‘I had a small mistake already on the first lap. My driving was not good enough and it cost me 1 or 2 places’. Asked about his car, the German replied, ‘the car could be better. The speed is not enough for sure’. Planning to go for a harder front diff in Q2, he said, ‘On new tyres and when the diff is cold it is ok but with the long warm-up during the qualifier I get oversteer so I hope a heavier diff with fix this’.
Remarks – Thilo is running a completely redesigned rear end on his Velox V10. Still in prototype stage, he said the design is to combat the car suffering a lack of corner speed in high traction conditions. No release date has been set for the new parts but he said they hope to have it ready for release before the World Championships later this year. The other main item on his car is the new for 2018 radio tray. Offering more flex, this now comes standard with the latest Velox V10 kits. This weekend see a new power source for Thilo with him having switched to Gimar engines.
Remarks – Back in ENS action here in Aigen having had to miss Round 2 due to attending his sponsor ARC’s Trophy Race in Italy, Silvio is running an almost identical car to that which he used to secure his best ever ENS qualifying position of 2nd at the season opener in the Netherlands. The car continues to feature a prototype narrower rear bulkhead together with longer arms. Finding track conditions ‘different to last year’ here in Aigen, he said springs have netted the greatest improvement in set-up together with the rear anti roll bar.
Chassis – Infinity IF15 Engine – Max XP3 Fuel – MLC Tires (handout) – Matrix Radio/Servo – KO Propo Body – Protoform P47
Remarks – A former Top Qualifier here in Aigen, Francesco is running Infinity’s recently announced IF15, saying his car is pretty much what racers can expect to come in the kit. The only difference is the choice of spring he is using. Commenting on the set-up work he has carried out so far to get the car dialled in to the track here, he said the biggest difference is the front diff having going away from the softer diff he normal prefers to use to a much harder set-up. With ‘not a lot of rear traction’ he has also changed the rear shock position a lot as well as running the rear of the car ‘close to the limit’ in terms of width. Used to racing with the rear 198mm wide he said they are now very close to 200mm.
In an all too familiar situation at races this Summer, rain has halted action at the third round of the Infinity Euro Nitro Series in Austria. After completing 8 rounds of free practice in dry conditions yesterday and a further 3 rounds this morning, just after the drivers briefing and scheduled lunch the rain arrived at the Aigen-Schlägl. With 2 rounds of controlled practice and the first of the 5-scheduled qualifiers on today’s timetable, racers waited for the track to dry with the Uruguay – France World Cup game helping to pass the time. However, with the track drying slowly, the rain returned and with no chance of any meaningful running the ENS organisers called time on the day.
In terms of free practice it was Toni Gruber who was fastest over 3-consecutive laps, the WRC driver running a time of 44.002 in the 11th and final run. Behind him, championship leader Dario Balestri managed a best of 44.136 with Robert Pietsch, yesterday’s pace setter, completing the Top 3. Chasing four wins in a row at Aigen, Simon Kurzbuch would end free practice half a second off Gruber’s pace. In 1:10, Serpent’s Dominic Greiner had a 1/10th of a second advantage over the Mugen of Dirk Wischnewski who in turn had the same advantage over his team-mate Eric Dankel. Championship leader Jilles Groskamp would end up 7th fastest but as we have come to know, the Dutchman’s practice pace usually has little reflection on his qualifying form. Instead for Infinity it was former event Top Qualifier Francesco Tironi who was their quickest driver in 4th ahead of Alessio Mazzeo. With dry weather expected for the rest of the weekend, a revised Saturday timetable will start with a round of free practice followed by 2-seeding round and all four qualifiers, the fifth round cut from the program.
Chassis – Serpent 988 Viper Engine – OS Speed 2103 Fuel – Maxima Tires (handout) – Matrix Radio/Servo – Sanwa/Savox Body – Blitz TS0040
Remarks – Not just a team driver for Serpent but also a supplier of prototype parts to one of nitro onroad racing’s pioneering manufacturers, Merlin’s car features a a prototype rear body mount. Using the Blitz as a template for profile of the mount, it is designed to provide a better sitting of the bodyshell and Merlin’s says the profile is almost uniform across the various brands of bodyshell. While not running them here this weekend, the mount also has the option to run additional adjustable side stiffeners. From his own ‘Merlin McFly’ brand, he is running a carbon throttle lever, which he says offers ‘play free’ movement, as well as a carbon radio cover. Running a low profile servo in his car, he says the radio cover which has a mounted tungsten weight corrects the cars centre balance. The car is fitted with a selection of both aluminium and titanium screws.