May 20, 2017

Coelho takes opening 1:10 qualifying at ENS France

Bruno Coelho took the opening round of qualifying at ENS France, heading an Xray 1-2 ahead of new for 2017 team-mate Alessio Mazzeo. Opening the fourth season of the ENS by topping the morning’s two rounds of seeding practice from former champion Jilles Groskamp, Coelho would be almost 3-second quicker than Mazzeo over the 4-minute qualifier. Preventing an Xray Top 3 , Capricorn driver Kyle Branson would set the third fastest time just ahead of the Xray of Mulhouse track resident Leo Arnold.   With Groskamp completing the Top 6 behind the Serpent of Mark Green to be the quickest of the Infinity drivers, for team-mate & reigning champion Teemu Leino it was not a good first round. Posting the 12th fastest time, the Finn said, ‘I was just making donuts.  When I hit the gas I would just spin so we need to figure something out’.

‘It was a very good round’ was Coelho’s summary of Q1.  The Portuguese driver, who is a huge fan of the track layout, continued, ‘the last practice we tried different stuff and it was not good so we went back to our normal set and for the 4-minutes it was very consistent’.  Top Qualifier at last year’s season opener, held in Bologna, he would also make an engine change for the first of the four qualifiers.  Not happy with the feeling of the engine, he said they opted to change everything engine related with bad fuel tubing suspected to have been the issue.  Setting the fastest lap, a 17.717, he will leave his Max powered NT1 unchanged for Q2.

Mazzeo described his first heat as ‘not so bad’ adding ‘but we must still work on the set-up’.  Pointing out it is his first ENS encounter with Xray, the friendly Italian feels he is a little behind in getting his new car set-up due to weather limiting running – yesterday having been rained off. Looking to ‘learn the car more’, the World Championship podium finisher and former ENS race winner said, ‘the problem is the car is loose in the rear under braking so we will try changing the down stops for the next one and see’.  Asked about the track layout, this the ENS’ first visit, he replied, ‘it is one of the best 1:10 tracks in the World.  I really like it’.

While summing it up as a ‘good first run’, Branson was somewhat disappointed with his pace. The British driver, who returns to Capricorn after briefly departing the Italian manufacturer, said, ‘the car is ok but it needs more steering and more on power traction. I just drove around.  This was the best I could do, its consistent but not quite fast enough’.  Referring to Coelho, ‘as one of the best in the World’ adding ‘Bruno is Bruno’, he hopes to get closer to him in Q2 by changing the rear swaybar and ‘maybe a rear roll centre change’.

On his P4 Arnold said, ‘It was OK but my car was loose on the rear’.  Also losing some time having to open to let Coelho passed, he plans to make a spring set-up change for Q2 to get more traction.  A driver who knows the track better than anyone else having start in the sport here, when asked about traction levels following Friday’s rain he said they were already back to Thursday’s levels with him predicting that the traction would remain ‘stable’ for the rest of the day.

‘I’m quite happy. My car and engine are quite good’, was Green’s reaction to posting a P5 run, adding, ‘I’m trying to improve my driving more than anything’. The veteran British driver continued, ‘as normal I’m struggling with my braking points, I’m inconsistent but everything else is OK’.  Finishing half a second up on Groskamp, behind them new Shepherd recruit Thilo Todtmann would be P7 ahead of former Champion Eric Dankel who was the quickest Mugen.

View complete event results here.

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May 20, 2017

Track Focus – Mulhouse

Track Name – Mulhouse
Club – Mini Car Club de Mulhouse (MCCM)
Country – France
Location – Mulhouse (close to the Swiss and German borders)
Direction – Clockwise
Surface – Asphalt
Previous ENS hosted – None

New on the calendar for 2017, the Euro Nitro Series season opener at Mulhouse marks the first international event to be hosted by the long established Mini Car Club de Mulhouse.  Built on government provided land in 1988, the club of around 40-members, is in for a busy 2017 going from none to 2 international events in the same year, the European Championship’s coming here later in August. In preparation for the arrival of the international visitors, the club has been busy investing in the facility including a brand new kitchen to cater for drivers and their teams.  The biggest entry the mainly nitro club has had to cater for, they have also extended the area of asphalt on which to set-up pit spaces.

In terms of the track itself a lap covers 305 metres and the surface is still the original asphalt that was laid 29-years ago.  One change the track has undergone is new curbing. Explaining the change top French racer Leo Arnold, who learnt his trade at Mulhouse as it is his local track, said, ‘the original curbing was higher and particularly high at the chicane and the beginning of the straight and it was super hard especially if you got your line wrong now the curbs are lower and its much better’.

In terms of the track all drivers agree its more challenging that traditional nitro track layouts with Bruno Coelho going as far as saying, ‘its one of the best tracks I have driven on to date, I really like the track’. Looking strong in both 1:10 & 1:8 practice, the Xray driver continued,’It has fast parts and super difficult parts, its not an Italian style full throttle track.  You need really to work and not just pull the throttle’.

With 1:10 Champion Teemu Leino calling it one of the most difficult tracks he has ever driven on, 1:8 Champion Simon Kurzbuch described it as having a ‘special layout’. The Shepherd driver continued, ‘It more technical than other 1:8 layouts but it is exciting to drive’.  Asked the most challenge sections, he highlighted the end of the straight chicane saying it was possible to go ‘full gas’ through it but only if you are on the right line.  He said how you take the chicane will then determine your entry into the infield which he said if you miss the apex of one corner is hard to get correct lines for the following corners.

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May 19, 2017

Day 1 of ENS France rained off

Day 1 of the 2017 Euro Nitro Series has been rained off. Waking to overnight rain, the organisers waited until lunch to make the call to cancel Friday’s official program with weather conditions looking far more favourable for the rest of the weekend. With Thursdays traditionally an open practice day run by the host club, with official timing having been in place the decision was made to use those times to seed the heats for qualifying. While drivers will provisionally get two practice runs in the morning, due to today’s conditions these two rounds will be purely for drivers to familiarise themselves with the track again before going into qualifying. Getting four rounds of practice yesterday afternoon, the track having been wet up to lunch time, there was a particular surprise in 1:8 as Bruno Coelho leads the times for Xray ahead of the Shepherd of reigning champion Simon Kurzbuch, the Infinity of Takaaki Shimo and Mugen of Robert Pietsch. Coelho was also, more expectedly, up there in the 1:10 times setting the third fastest time. The Top 3 separated by just 8/100ths of a second, it was the Mugen of Eric Dankel which was fastest ahead of the Xray of Leo Arnold. Reigning champion Teemu Leino would post the 9th fastest time with former Champion Jilles Groskamp the fastest Infinity driver in P6.

May 19, 2017

2017 ENS opens with first French encounter

A new season of the Euro Nitro Series and it is a new destination for the high profile onroad nitro championship as the first encounter of Season #4 takes drivers to France this weekend (19-21 May).  With all previous seasons of the ENS having started at Italian locations, the addition of the Mulhouse track is certain to mix things up but only time will tell if it is enough to end the domination of reigning 1:8 Champion Simon Kurzbuch.  Also the reigning World Champion, the Shepherd driver completed a perfect 2016 campaign winning all four races having started his run of success the previous year when he won the season finale.  In 1:10, reigning Champion Teemu Leino claimed two victories on the way to wrapping up his first ENS title.  Like Kurzbuch, the Finn comes into the weekend, the ENS’ 13th championship race, looking to get started on becoming the first back to back ENS Champion.

In 1:8, this a World Championship year for the class, Kurzbuch’s biggest challenge will come from the Infinity team mainly in the form of Dario Balestri and Takaaki Shimo.  Both are new signings to Infinity for 2017 but both are very familiar rivals of Kurzbuch.  In 2015 Balestri took the ENS title from the Swiss driver and last year he was the only one to get the better of Kurzbuch albeit only in qualifying when he took the TQ at the season opener & the season finale.  Making his ENS debut in France, Shimo had an epic battle with Kurzbuch for the 2015 World title in Brazil with just 0.214 of a second separating them after the 1-hour final.

Finishing third overall behind Kurzbuch and Balestri, Toni Gruber was the find of the 2016 season and the German will be looking for that first break through win.  Driving for ARC last season, his two podium finishes didn’t go unnoticed and he has been duly snapped up by Italian manufacturer WRC Racing.  Another double podium finisher in 2016, Robert Pietsch can never be discounted as he again leads the Mugen challenge.  With one ENS career win and two TQ’s, the former World Champion will be hoping to find that form again having had some rough races last year. One interesting 1:8 newcomer this year will be 1:10 World Champion Dominic Greiner.  The 1:10 specialist, who has TQ’d nearly half of the ENS races over the last three seasons, will drop his 1:10 programme and now focus solely on 1:8 as class pioneers Serpent look to get back in the mix in what is the Formula 1 category of RC racing.

While a lot of drivers are focusing on a 1:8 program this year, the opening race of the season has still attracted a healthy & ultra competitive 1:10 entry. While it might be void of Greiner, the competition chasing Leino’s title is world class, literally.  Having stood next to Greiner on podium at the Worlds, Alessio Mazzeo and 4th place finisher Bruno Coelho head up a very strong Xray team.  Having been rivals last year when Mazzeo drove for Serpent, they will now work together on trying to secure Xray’s first ENS title to complete the magic set with Coelho the reigning Champion of both the ETS and EOS.  Leo Arnold also represents the Slovakian manufacturer and as Mulhouse is his home track expect the Frenchman to be in the running for the win.

With 2016 Vice-Champion Dirk Wischnewski making the surprise announcement earlier this month he was leaving Shepherd, new recruit Thilo Todtmann will be the German manufacturer’s main 1:10 charge.  Inaugural ENS Champion Eric Dankel, 3rd in the 2016 standings, heads Mugen’s effort while after a brief departure Kyle Branson returns to Capricorn to lead the Italy team which holds the most number of ENS race wins in the class.  Serpent are pinning their 1:10 hopes on British duo Mark Green and Alex Thurston.

March 6, 2017

ENS chooses single tyre partner for Season #4

The Euro Nitro Series is pleased to announce that for its upcoming fourth season it will switch to a single tyre partner for all four rounds of the championship.  With 2016 another growth year for the high profile onroad nitro championship, the number of drivers registering points at the end of the third season breaking the 300 mark, feedback highlighted a desire among racers for the ENS to switch to a single brand of tyre for the entire season.  Also taking onboard racers’ experiences of previous seasons, tyre quality was identified as the No.1 priority for drivers and reacting to this the ENS has agreed a partnership with Matrix for 2017. The Italian tyre manufacturer supplied the tyres for the very first ENS race in 2014 and has provided tyres for a race each season since.  Apart from the single tyre brand creating a level of familiarity for drivers another key benefit is that racers can carry sets of tyres through for practice at the following round.

With Infinity’s Teemu Leino (1:10) and Shepherd’s Simon Kurzbuch (1:8) out to try & defend their respective ENS titles, Season #4 kicks off in France over the weekend of May 19-21. A country with a rich onroad nitro racing history, and with the ENS attracting a growing number of French competitors last season, the addition of the Mulhouse track has been welcomed by racers and manufacturers. After the season opener it is back to more familiar surrounds as Ettlingen in Germany holds Round 2 in July. From there it is on to Aigen in Austria in August with Fiorano in Italy once again bringing the season to a close at the end of September.

2017 Euro Nitro Series Calendar (Season #4)
Round 1 – Mulhouse/France (19 – 21 May)
Round 2 – Ettlingen/Germany (7 – 9 July)
Round 3 – Aigen/Austria (18 – 20 August)
Round 4 – Fiorano/Italy (29 Sept – 01 Oct)

December 12, 2016

2017 Euro Nitro Series to open in France

The Euro Nitro Series is excited to announce that it will travel to France for the first time in 2017 with Mulhouse in the east of the country the location for the opening round of Season #4 of the high profile Onroad Nitro Championships on May 19-21.  Continuing as a four round championship, this will be the first year all rounds will be staged in different countries with Germany, Austria and Italy making up the rest of the schedule.  A country with a rich history of onroad nitro racing, and with the ENS attracting a growing number of French competitors each season, the addition of Mulhouse has been welcomed by both manufacturers and racers.

Following Mulhouse, which will also host the 1:10 200mm European Championships later in the season, the Euro Nitro Series travels to Germany and the popular Ettlingen track on July 7-9. First appearing on the calendar in 2015, the track has proven very popular and on both occasions the 1:8 winner there has gone on to be crowned overall champion. After a 5 week break, Austria hosts the third round as the championship returns to Aigen on August 18-20. One of two tracks that has been on the calendar since the inaugural ENS season, it has become somewhat of a Teemu Leino specialist track with the 2016 1:10 Champion the winner there for the last two years.

Continuing as the curtain closer on the season, the world famous Mini Autodromo Jody Scheckter track in Fiorano, Italy, hosts the season finale. For 2017 the date has been brought forward by almost a month with the biggest race of the year taking place on September 29 to October 1st. With the Euro Nitro Series having just enjoyed its’ biggest season to-date, 191 drivers registered points in 1:8 and 121 in 1:10, 2017 has all the making of being another great year for onroad nitro with both Team Shepherd’s Simon Kurzbuch and Team Infinity’s Teemu Leino aiming to defend their titles.

2017 Euro Nitro Series Calendar (Season #4)
Round 1 – Mulhouse/France (19 – 21 May)
Round 2 – Ettlingen/Germany (7 – 9 July)
Round 3 – Aigen/Austria (18 – 20 August)
Round 4 – Fiorano/Italy (29 Sept – 01 Oct)