Remarks – Vice-World Champion Alessio Mazzeo is running the “WC” edition of the 748 which features new transmission, new differentials and new big bore shocks. Using his standard setup on the Mini Autodromo Jody Scheckter track where he took his first ENS victory last year, he is switching back and forth between the standard and the hard anodised chassis with different weight distribution configurations.
Dominic Greiner has taken the opening round of qualifying at the Euro Nitro Series in Italy this evening. The Serpent driver recovered after struggling in practice to top the time sheets in Fiorano from title contender Teemu Leino by 1.5-seconds. Having set the pace in practice, Greiner’s team-mate Alessio Mazzeo would complete the Top 3 ahead of a much improved championship leader Dirk Wischnewski. While Greiner and Wischnewski improved, practice front runners Erik Dankel, Bruno Coelho and Jilles Groskamp would all hit problems. Dankel would crash & break a rear tyre continuing to finish 12th, while Coelho DNF with a broken engine. Reigning champion Groskamp would suffer a flame out as he came in from the warm-up which turned out to be a broken plug causing him to miss the start as a new one was fitted.
Commenting on his TQ run, Greiner said, ‘we changed back to the engine we used in the first practice and together with the car it was ok’. He continued, ‘It was not perfect but for just two practice runs it was OK and we got the result we were after’. Top Qualifier at this race last year, the German said his ‘gearing was a bit too short’ and so for Q2 tomorrow they will change it along with making some set-up changes to try improve the car.
‘A safety run’ was how Leino summed up his first qualifier. Winner of the last two ENS encounters, the Finn said his Team Infinity car ‘was not super fast but it was super easy to drive which with the reduced rounds of qualifying was more important’. With yesterday’s rain leading to a more compressed first official day of action today, drivers get 3 rounds of qualifying of which 2 count, he was happy with his P2. Describing his car as ‘not even close to how good it can be’, his best lap almost 2/10th off the fastest set by Coelho, he plans to ‘change small things’ for the morning, his first priority of the weekend to lock himself into the A-Main after which a fourth or better will secure him the title irrespective of his rivals results.
Summing up his P3 time Mazzeo said ‘we made a little change and it was bad’. He added, ‘the car was very difficult and this caused me to to have two mistakes but even with this we showed we are competitive to the others’. Planning to revert back to his final practice set-up for the next qualifier he also plans to try a different diff in his 748 adding ‘it should be better for Q2 but its ENS so like always its going to be hard’.
‘It was quite OK but (the car) is still hard to drive’ was Wischnewski’s view of his P4 for the round. The Team Shepherd driver added, for how it started the result was ok’, a reference to a big moment the German was to have at the end of the straight. The former European Champion said ‘it was a solid start’ but as he is ‘very much on the limit now’ with the car for tomorrow he will try to find a set-up that makes his Orcan powered Velox V10 ‘more stable and easier to drive’.
Posting the fourth fastest time having been only 20th in practice, Marc Rheinard joked ‘I came from no where’. Making his first nitro outing since the 2012 World Championships in Thailand, the multiple electric Touring Car World Champion said he struggled with his Infinity car being ‘super loose’ in practice. Getting set-up advice from Dankel’s mechanic Philipp Hagnauer, he would change to heaver shock oil and springs as well as a harder front diff which he said made the car ‘drivable’. While the car suffered a little understeer, something he hopes to cure with a harder rear diff and camber change’, the German said his aim is to just try to get a similar run in Q2 as it would get him into the A-Main on his ENS debut, him admitting his aims for the final are not high as ‘I’m not used to long races and doing pitstops’.
Completing the Top 6 would be Xray’s Leo Arnold. The French driver said his Orion powered NT1 was ‘a bit loose’ leading him to having a last lap mistake that cost him almost 2-seconds although this wouldn’t have changed his result for the round. Struggling with the car under braking he said he ‘couldn’t have done more’ so overall it was an ‘ok first qualifier’ but they will ‘try to find something’ to have a better car for Q2.
Andrea Pirani has topped practice at the season finale of the Euro Nitro Series in Italy. Rain yesterday meant drivers would have only three practice rounds to find a set-up for qualifying, the first practice effectively a track drying run. The WRC driver was quickest in the third & final practice ahead of Italian compatriot Dario Balestri, the pair separated by 0.15 over their best 3-consecutive lap times. Behind them despite not improving on his pace from the second of the practice runs, ARC’s Toni Gruber would complete the Top 3 ahead of newly crowned champion Simon Kurzbuch.
‘This time it was very good’ was Pirani’s reaction to being fastest. A podium finisher at the season opener, a body change for the final practice would allow him to improve his time by half a second. Running Xtreme Aerodynamic’s R18 body he used one that was mounted 1mm more forward in his GTX which he said gave him better steering. Admitting ‘it is a little easier for (him) than other tracks as (he) practiced a lot here’ and given the reduced track time because of the weather, he declared ‘we are all very close’. Happy he has a good car for qualifying, 1:8 running 2 of their 3 qualifiers tonight due to a threat of further rain on Sunday, he said his aim was to get ‘2 clean rounds in and hope it is not wet in the morning’. With 2 of the 3 counting towards the final grid two decent runs could prove very important.
Balestri, who is in contention to become Vice-Champion, summed up practice with ‘it was ok’. The Capricorn driver described track conditions as ‘a bit different to normal’ with ‘less grip’. Changing his rear shock oil to get more stability from the car he said it was ‘ok’ in the final practice adding ‘I hope its good for the first qualifier’.
‘All in all really good’ was how Gruber described how practice had gone. The ARC driver, who has been one of the stars of this year’s ENS, was to suffer from losing a screw from his layshaft pulley in the final practice. Asked about his R8.0 set-up the German replied, ‘there was not much time to find a perfect set-up but I think its all good for the first qualifier’.
Chasing a clean sweep of wins to cap off his championship winning campaign, Kurzbuch said his practice had gone ‘not so bad given we had 2 times 4-minutes of practice’. The Team Shepherd driver added, ‘I didn’t work too much on the car but instead tried different bodies and re-learned the track’. Running both the R18 normal and Flat versions from Xtreme Aerodynamic his preference was with the flat as it ‘give more traction in the front which is good for a fast lap time around this track’. Planning to check over the car for Q1, he said ‘I might make some little changes but I think I’m ready for qualifying’.
Winner when the ENS made its first visit to the Mini Autodromo Jody Scheckter track 3-years ago, Lamberto Collari would post the 5th fastest time. The 9-time World Champion, for whom the race marks his first year with Team Infinity, declared himself content saying, ‘the feeling is OK’. The Italian said, ‘we tested very few times here and with the bad weather reducing track time we can only try fine adjustments. We don’t have the knowledge to do more’. For qualifying the legend of the sport expects the track to be ‘worse every round’ due to the evening humidity, conditions much colder than previous visits to the track which where also in the month of October.
Alessio Mazzeo has set the pace at the end of a reduced practice at the Euro Nitro Series in Fiorano. The Serpent driver went quickest in the final practice ahead of earlier pace setter Erik Dankel as the traction came up at the Mini Autodromo Jody Scheckter track after a wet start to the season finale. The only driver to run 3-consecutive laps in 49-seconds, the Italian would end up little over 1/10th of a second faster than Dankel with Bruno Coelho completing the Top 3. After struggling in his first practice, CP2 the first dry run, leading title contender Teemu Leino would manage the fourth fastest time in the 3rd & final practice albeit 7/10ths off Mazzeo’s pace.
‘Now good’ was Mazzeo’s reaction to topping the third round. Winner of this race last year after passing champion to be Jilles Groskamp on the penultimate lap, the World Championship podium finisher said, ‘to be fast the (racing) line is very little. In the first practice my car was not so good but we made a lot of changes and for that one I’m very happy’. The former European Champion continued, ‘It is not perfect, I don’t think anyone has a perfect car yet, but it is a good package to be going into the first qualifier with’. Asked about changing the car for the improving track conditions he replied, ‘I think I will make just a little change’.
Dankel summed up his final practice with, ‘I was more used to the track that time and once I don’t push too hard it was OK’. The Mugen driver said while the track was better he expected traction to have been higher for the second dry run. Runner-up behind Leino at the previous round in Austria, his best result this season, the ENS’ inaugural champion said for the opening qualifier he ‘need(s) to talk to Robert (Pietsch) but maybe I will change the car because I need more steering mid corner but the goal for Q1 is to get a clean run in’.
‘Very good pace now’ was Coelho summary of his final practice. The Portuguese ace added, ‘I didn’t drive nitro since the World Championship so I think to be this close already is very good’. Describing the track as having ‘improved a lot’ between the two rounds, in terms of his Max powered NT1 he said, ‘we are still missing some stability, normally we have too much, but we are there on pace and will make some small changes to improve the car for Q1’. Team-mate and designer of the NT1, Martin Hudy would complete the Top 6 with his example.
A much happier looking Leino said, ‘I changed bodyshell, shocks, camber, everything and now the car is more easy to drive’. Switching from a Protoform SRS bodyshell to a SRC Spark, the Team Infinity driver said ‘the car already feels OK now but I forgot to change one thing’. Running 5-degrees of toe-out in the front, he said for Q1 he ‘will go to what I normally run’. He added, ‘there is no need to win practice, its more important to find the right car set-up’.
‘The second one was super’ was how Patrick Schafer summed up his final practice. The Team Shepherd boss and designer continued, ‘the first practice I struggled a lot so I changed the car a lot and seems I found the right spot’. A former ENS podium finisher he added, ‘Maybe I will change the front toe in otherwise I will leave it the same. I am really satisfied too with my engine so the important thing for the first one (qualifier) is to put in a safe clean run’. Unfortunately for his lead team driver and points leader Dirk Wischnewski his practice pace wasn’t to improve. Winner of the season opener, he said ‘we are struggling a bit. I have too much steering and this is making the car edgy to drive. He continued, ‘I expected a lot more understeer from the track but we will change the car now for the higher traction’. Asked if he knows what changes he needs to make he replied, ‘we are guessing. It’s a gamble and I think the others who are fast just got their gamble right’.
Ending up 9th fastest behind team-mate Alex Thurston, Dominic Greiner would struggle in the final practice after an engine change. The World Champion said, ‘I needed to use the run to have a second engine ready but it wasn’t right’. Changing his 748 set-up, he said ‘the car is much better’ but added ‘without power it difficult to fully tell’. For Q1 the German plans to leave the car unchanged but is unsure whether to put in his first engine or to risk running a different one.
Third fastest in the previous practice, reigning champion Jilles Groskamp could only manage the 13th fastest time on the faster track. The Team Infinity driver said, ‘I didn’t change anything. There was more traction and my car got loose, it even flew off the track one time’. The former Electric Touring Car World Champion continued, ‘I don’t know why I had too much steering but I think I will change bodyshell. With just 2 practices on a changing track its hard to get it figure it out but I think I will just change from an SRS to an SRC body which I think should improve the car enough to allow me have a clean run’.
Chassis – ZF Z4 Engine – XRD FT Line Fuel – Homemade Tires (handout) – Matrix Radio/Servo – Sanwa/Futaba Body – Protoform R18
Remarks – Italian veteran Enrico Burato is debuting the new Z4 car from the all new company ZF, which takes its name from the initials of its owner Federico Zugno, formerly involved in the production of a very successful classic car. Nearing the end of the development process, the car is totally designed from scratch and although this example still features a pre-production front end due to a delay in the production of the molds, for the rest it is the very same car that will be available soon.