Team Xray’s John Ermen made the perfect debut in the Euro Nitro Series as he overcame less than perfect conditions in Austria to win the second round of the new nitro onroad championship. Having had to miss the season opener in a sunny Italy last month due to clashing date with his National Championship, the Dutch driver would survive the super wet conditions of the Aigen track to win the 45-minute endurance test to win by two laps from Shepherd’s Simon Kurzbuch. Driving under the Team fahr(T)raum banner local star Michael Klausner completing the podium with his Mugen. The race saw five different leaders but they would all, including Ermen, suffer from the horrible wet conditions. Making the perfect start and pulling clear of the field one of the first drivers to fall fowl of water in his engine was Top Qualifier Oliver Mack. The Shepherd driver would end the race as the last classified finisher in 8th one place behind the Mugen of No.2 qualifier Robert Pietsch.
‘In 25-years of racing this is the first time I have actually finished a wet race’ said a very happy Ermen. Starting the race from 5th on the grid, his Reds Racing powered RX8 took to the the front of the 13 car field when the engine of Robert Pietsch, who took over the race lead from Mack, started to smother in the water. Looking in control of things, the former Dutch National Champion would come to a more sudden stop on the track due to a glow plug failure. Using the unplanned stop to also fit a new dry airbox to his engine, local KM Racing driver Manuel Gremlic the newest leader, Ermen said this set him up well for the remainder of the race. While he lacked a little in top speed on the straight he said everywhere else the engine was good and he just focused on keeping it going. This approach would pay off as with around 8-minutes to go Gremlica’s engine would stop, handing Kurzbuch the lead but losing his front body clips he too would be delayed handing the lead back to Ermen for Xray’s first ENS race victory. Now a serious contender for the inaugural ENS Championship title, Ermen said he is really looking forward to travelling to Hockenheim for round 3 where he joked ‘hopefully it will be a little drier’.
Running the same new wet Kiss tyre as Ermen on his Novarossi powered Velox, Swiss ace Kurzbuch was pleased with second despite losing out on a potential win late on. Giving up a round of his National Championship this weekend, which took place in dry conditions, the World Championship finalist said everyone had some bad luck in the race which is what happens with racing in the rain. Starting from 8th on the grid he said when he lost his front body clips on the straight it was lifting making the car very hard to control and this lead to his off that cost him the lead. On the podium at the season opener today’s result sees him take over the lead of the points standings.
Supported by the fahr(T)raum car museum of Mr. Piech, which last weekend hosted Round 4 of the Euro Touring Series, Klausner was very happy to finish his home race on the podium. Like the rest of the field the 29-year-old’s OS engine suffered a cut due to water but he said his biggest problem during the race was his tyre choice, his MRX5 suffering badly from understeer.
Having only taken to the track today, not wanting to run his own prototype HB R8 in the wet, Adrien Bertin was very happy to come away with fourth overall using the personal car of its designer Takashi Miyashita. Making the main as one of the bump up starters, the head of Orion engine development started the race 14th. Saying he was ‘the only one not to have flamed out’ in the race, he said he had the wrong tyres, using old design Kiss rubber tyres, and he was too slow to ever challenge at the front. Commintted to the entire four rounds of the ENS, he said from that perspective the points for fourth position were good.
Pietsch said he tried everything but in the end there was too much water for his Picco engine. While running in the lead the 2011 World Champion said his MRX5 felt really good but even stopping to retune his engine in the pits it was impossible to keep it going in the extreme wet conditions. Mack said the start was perfect with his Velox V8 working really well as was his Sonic engine until everything just got too wet.
1:8 A-Main Result
1.(5) John Ermen (NL) – Xray/Reds Racing – 121/45:07.694
2.(8) Simon Kurzbuch (CH) – Shepherd/Novarossi – 119/45:06.418
3.(7) Michael Klausner (AT) – Mugen/OS Speed – 118/45:06.961
4.(14)Adrien Bertin (FR) – HB/Orion – 110/45:10.365
5.(12)Manuel Gremlica (AT) – KM Racing/Wordt – 110/45:16.609
6.(6) Lars Hoppe (DE) – Shepherd/Sonic – 109/45:21.061
7.(3) Robert Pietsch (DE) – Mugen/Picco – 104/45:31.971
8.(1) Oliver Mack (DE) – Shepherd/Sonic – 97/45:03.927
9.(2) Michael Salven (DE) – Serpent/Picco – 57/26:04.515
10.(9)Andrea Pirani (IT) – WRC/OS Speed – 42/19:54.105
11.(11)Olaf Engelmann (DE) – Xray/OS -29/35:03.042
12.(10)Mirko Salemi (IT) – BP Racing/Novarossi – 13/5:50.144
13.(4) Daniele Ielasi (IT) – BMT/RB – 13/7:58.183
14.(13)Michal Abrahamek (CZ) – Xray/OS – DNS
Team Serpent’s Dominic Greiner overcame a drenched Aigen track to win a race of attrition at Round 2 of the Euro Nitro Series in Austria. Starting from third on the grid, the 21-year-old took an early lead only to fall foul of water in his engine but a body tuck would prove the turning point in his return to the front. At the end of the 45-minute encounter his new 748 Natrix took a four lap win over Team Shepherd pairing of Patrick Schafer and Martin Lissau, both of whom enjoyed long stints at leading the 12-car field until they too succumbed to water issues. Getting passed off the start line by Shepherd team-mate Dirk Wischnewski, Top Qualifier Francesco Tironi’s race would quickly go down hill with the Italian suffering particularly badly with water in his engine. The season opener runner-up would struggle through the painful to watch race to finish 9th, two places behind Melzo winner Eric Dankel, who also had a bad day at the office.
Having hoped for a wet or completely dry track for the final, Greiner’s wish would be granted with rain ensuring the former and immediately the quick German was able to capitalise on the same set of Pitshimizu tyres he used to dominate the day’s opening third round of qualifying. With standing water on parts of the track, eventually like almost every car in the race, he would fall fowl of this his engine taking in water with it eventually stopping. Needing to be brought back to the pits this handed the lead to Schafer leaving him 3-laps down, but trying to recover the lost time an off would cause the right side of his bodyshell to tuck under and unintentionally act as a water guard allowing his Picco engine to run less hindered for the rest of the race. Delighted with the win, which puts him right in contention in the championship after his disappointing 7th at Round 1, he said the race was extremely difficult and he would have far preferred a dry race for everyone involved. Unofficially setting the fastest time of Thursday’s dry open practice, he said the new car is proving to be ‘very good’ and he is looking forward to Round 3 in Hockenheim Germany.
‘Better than I expected’ was how a very satisfied Schafer summed up second place finish. Starting from 8th on the grid, the Shepherd boss said he was just lucky with his tyre choice for the final making a last minute change right before the start. With the tyres ‘Work(ing) out pretty good’, he said the only issue in the race was water in the engine which like Greiner cost him the lead. With all the cars coming to temporary halts around the track as drivers tried to clear their engines of water, Schafer’s would suffer a stall allowing Lissau’s Reds Racing powered example of the Velox V10 to the front.
With a car that featured ‘a lot of home made water proofing’, Lissau said the race was going so well but the last 10-minutes was a real struggle to survive. Starting from 7th on the grid and managing ‘to steal’ a set of good wets just minutes before the final from HB’s Teemu Leino after the Round 1 Top Qualifier failed to bump up, he said that while he didn’t have the fastest car he was able to run trouble free laps for the most part of the race. Looking like he was starting to do a slalom course on main the straight this was the start of water in the electrics. With the cars steering unable to centre, something he is not sure was caused by water damage to the receiver or the servo, he said he battled with it but in the final minutes of the race his radio would completely die. With a podium finish still on the line his fast acting mechanic Tommy Vinge raced to the pits drying out the car with a compressor and replacing the battery which he said he literally ‘threw into’ the car. With the car coming back to life the former 1:5 World Champion was able to complete enough laps to see off Wischnewski for the final step on the podium.
‘A joke of a race’ was how Melzo podium finisher Wischnewski described the horrid conditions. The former European Champion said the race started off really well with his Orcan powered Velox V10 working in the conditions really well. 2-minutes in however he said the engine start to drown in the water leaving him to drop back. Completely changing his driving style and hardly using full throttle he said that seemed to work and for the end of the race things ran ok but it was too late to mount any serious challenge for a podium.
Running 3rd after 10-minutes, Dankel said the race distance was ‘too long to survive’ without water getting into the engine and eventually it did. His Capricorn team-mate Dario Balestri would last just 7-minutes as he spun out trying to avoid two stopped cars on the track and then got collected putting him out of the race.
Oliver Mack gave Team Shepherd the perfect qualifying result at the Round 2 of the Euro Nitro Series in Aigen, Austria, as he secured the overall TQ honours for 1:8 adding to the 1:10 TQ secured by team-mate Francesco Tironi. Like Tironi, Mack claimed his third & fastest TQ run in the final round of qualifying to secure pole position for the 45-minute 1:8 Main. In the closely contested final qualifier, Robert Pietsch was second fastest just 3/10th off but it will be the Serpent of Q1 pace setter Michael Salven, despite two tough qualifiers today, who will start second on the grid with Pietsch’s Mugen third. Third in both of today’s qualifiers, BMT’s Daniele Ielasi will start 4th.
Delighted to secure his first ENS TQ, Mack said he didn’t realize that Pietsch and himself were so close on the TQ pace in the final qualifier and he had to push really hard at the end. Changing to a different set of tyres so as to save his good damp tyres, he said the change made his Velox V8 harder to drive with this compounded by his Sonic engine also being set too rich. With conditions starting to dry out for the first time in the weekend but with many threatening clouds still in the area, he said it was still too early to make a call on what to do for the final. With a dry car ready to go he said he will also change his wet car to a more suitable Mains set-up and then choose which to run just before the race. If it is damp he said he expects Pietsch, Salven and Ielasi to be though competition but if its a dry affair he said Pietsch is his biggest concern as he showed very good speed in the dry on Thursday.
Pietsch said it was now super close between him and Mack but he lost out on the TQ run for Q4 due to problems with traffic in the final laps. Changing the overdrive on his Picco MRX5 he added he is now very happy with the performance of his ‘wet’ car. Hoping for a dry final, the former Aigen race winner said his dry car is also ready to go.
Struggling with tyre selection today as he looked to save the good damp condition tyres that took him the Q1 TQ, Salven was both surprised & delighted to get second on the grid despite having ‘terrible runs’ in Q3 & 4. Having found his 977 very loose in Q3 due to a poor tyre choice, a change to another tyre for the final qualifier made the car ‘horrible to drive’. While he has enough damp tyres now for the final, it is looking increasingly likely the final will be a dry affair meaning all drivers will run on the same handout tyre being supplied this weekend by Contact.
Ielasi was disappointed to end up fourth but said the position will make little difference to the outcome of the long race. Describing his Q4 run as ‘OK, like before’, he said the big challenge was to find the right tyre for later as racing in such conditions between dry and wet makes it very difficult to choose. Running Matrix Umido damp tyres in Q4 he said as the track dried up the wear got very high on the abrasive track surface. Making his ENS debut Xray team driver John Ermen will complete the top half of the grid with his Reds Racing powered RX8 securing 5th. The grid will expanded to 12 cars with two drivers, based on their fastest race time, bumping up from the lower mains to join the 10 direct qualifiers.
1:8 Qualifying Round 4 times
1. Oliver Mack – Shepherd/Sonic – 13/4:09.064
2. Robert Pietsch – Mugen/Picco – 13/4:09.383
3. Daniele Ielasi – BMT/RB – 13/4:11.305
4. Simon Kurzbuch – Shepherd/Novarossi – 13/4:13.321
5. Lars Hoppe – Shepherd/Sonic – 13/4:13.729
6. Michael Klausner – Mugen/Novarossi – 13/4:14.515
7. Andrea Pirani – WRC/OS Speed – 13/4:15.829
8. Armin Baier – Motonica/Picco – 13/4:17.020
9. Steven Cuypers – Mugen/Picco – 13/4:17.474
10.Timo Schroder – Shepherd/Somic – 13/4:18.080
1:8 A-Main Grid (2 drivers still to bump up)
1. Oliver Mack (DE) – Shepherd/Sonic – 310 pts
2. Michael Salven (DE) – Serpent/Picco – 307
3. Robert Pietsch (DE) – Mugen/Picco 306
4. Daniele Ielasi (IT) – BMT/RB – 304
5. John Ermen (NL) – Xray/Reds Racing – 302
6. Lars Hoppe (DE) – Shepherd/Sonic – 301
7. Michael Klausner (AT) – Mugen/Novarossi – 299
8. Simon Kurzbuch (CH) – Shepherd/Novarossi – 298
9. Andrea Pirani (IT) – WRC/OS Speed – 298
10.Mirko Salemi (IT) – BP Racing/Novarossi – 297
Remarks – The WRC factory driver is running a car that he says is now 95% close to the definitive production car, the only thing not produced by the Italian company being the shocks. Since Round 1 of the ENS in Melzo, the biggest visible news are the black anodized aluminum parts than now are nicely laser-engraved, while in terms of performance the team has updated the front geometries with the addition of a new ackermann plate on the servo-saver which is meant to confer more overall steering to the car. After he had some gearbox problems in Melzo, they’ve also implemented some new shoes, made in a different material, that are now working flawlessly.
Team Shepherd’s Francesco Tironi is Top Qualifier for Round 2 of the new Euro Nitro Series, the Italian securing the No.1 starting position for the 45-minute 1:10 A-Main after posting the fastest time of the weekend in the fourth & final qualifier at Aigen in Austria. In contention for overall TQ going into the final round, team-mate Dirk Wischnewski would finish Q4 second fastest 3 seconds off Tironi to make it a Shepherd 1-2 on the grid. Serpent’s Dominic Greiner, who excelled in the very wet Q3, would post the third fastest time to put his new 748 Natrix third on the grid.
Having sat out the morning’s Q3 due to conditions, the track then being at its wettest of qualifying, Tironi said for the damp track of Q4 his Novarossi powered Velox V10 was ‘the same like yesterday so very good’. Fastest in Q1 and second in Q2, the runner up to Erik Dankel at Round 1 in Melzo said the biggest problem now is to see what conditions the final will be run in with the track now quickly drying out. Having only ran three sets of tyres in the dry on Thursday after only getting in half a day’s testing, he said he is not no sure of his pace should it be dry but if it’s a damp track again he said his car is more than good for the win. He said half an hour before the main they will make the final call of which set-up and engine to run.
Only his second big race for Shepherd, his debut being the opening round of the ENS last month in Italy, Wischnewski said he was lacking power in the final qualifier as he ran his rain engine and the track dried much better than expected. With both a dry and a wet car he said he will make the call on which to use nearer the time but said if its a dry race he is pretty sure drivers will need to stop twice for tyres and this could have a big bearing on the race outcome.
Greiner said for the lightly damp track he doesn’t have the right tyres so third in Q4 was an ‘OK’ performance. The German said he needs either a very wet race or a completely dry track if he is to challenge for the win. Expecting that 20-minutes is ‘possible but not easy’ on one set of tyres on the abrasive track, should it be dry he said it will ‘be fun to see how drivers deal with such conditions’.
Starting fourth on the grid Eric Dankel feels if the final is damp he doesn’t have the pace to match those starting ahead of him. The German said nothing has changed since yesterday and he is still struggling a little on the wet track. Praying that conditions dry up for the Main, he said based on Thursday’s dry practice he is confident he would have a very fast car and be easily able to challenge for his second win of the season.
Starting behind Austrian Shepherd driver Leonardo Varga, Balestri is another who so desperately wants the final to be dry having struggled to get to grips with the damp conditions. The former 2-time European Champion, like team-mate Dankel, believes his XRD powered Capricorn with a dry set-up would be a competitive package.
Overnight TQ holder Oliver Mack moved a step closer to the overall TQ for Round 2 of the Euro Nitro Series in Austria as he again topped the times in the third of the four qualifiers. Another wet day at the Aigen track, the Shepherd driver was fastest from Mugen’s Robert Pietsch with BMT’s Daniele Ielasi completing the Top 3. In 1:10, only a hand full of drivers took to the wet track with Serpent’s Dominic Greiner in a completely different class running almost a full lap more than the Shepherd of Leonardo Varga with Q2 pace setter Dirk Wischnewski 3rd.
With the track wetter for Q3 than both of yesterday’s two qualifiers, Mack said conditions were more difficult but after getting over some traffic issues early on the rest of the run was ‘perfect’. Finishing 1.3 seconds faster than Pietsch, Mack was ‘very happy’ to post his second TQ run of the weekend and now plans to use the final qualifier to test a different set of tyres adding that his damp tyre choice is limited.
Having struggled in Q2, Pietsch said a switch from the soft rain set-up to the standard dry setting on his Picco powered MRX5 transformed the car despite the wetter conditions. With his place in the A-Main now secured, the former World Champion will use the last heat to test saying he is ‘still missing pace to Oliver (Mack)’. Feeling his front tyre wear is quite high, the ENS Round 1 Top Qualifier will change his overdrive to add more drive to the front.
‘Drifting a little but all OK’, was how Daniele Ielasi summed up his third qualifier on the wet track. Having failed to make the start of Q1 due to a lack of screws in the rear end of his BMT, he said he was happy to get another third to go with his Q2 time. With his putting him directly into the A-Main, the Italian who again posted the fastest lap of the race being the only one to break into the 19seconds, he said for Q4 he will ‘push a little bit’ more and see what the limits of the damp track are.
Another driver to move away from a full wet set-up and find a good pace as a result was Shepherd’s Lars Hoppe. Switching from Kiss Rain to Shepherd Umido tyres, he said they made a ‘big difference’ but hardening up the front end of his Sonic engined Velox V8 he said this made it a lot easier to drive. For the final qualifier he plans to move another step closer to a dry set-up switching to a harder spring all round.
Making his first appearance on the track today, having opted to sit out yesterday’s wet running, HB’s Adrien Bertin posted the 5th fastest time. The French onroad nitro ace, took to the track with the personal car of the R8’s designer Takashi Miyashita, saying with his own car contain many prototype parts they didn’t want to damage them running in the wet. The former World Champion who is not a fan of racing in the wet said the Orion powered chassis was ‘super stable, maybe too much’. With no points on the board and 2 of the 4 counting he said he took a very careful approach to the run as he knew he needed to get a good finish and overall he was very happy with how it went.
Topping the opening qualifier Michael Salven could only manage the sixth fastest time. The Serpent driver/designer said his tyres did suit the wetter conditions. The only driver who can now challenge Mack for the overall TQ, he said conditions were ‘really slippery’ and he hopes that it is slightly dryer for Q4 so he can get the best from his 10-year-old foam wet tyres.
Having hoped for a wet track last night, Greiner got what he was looking for so he could make the most of his Pitshimizu rubber tyres. The German was visually quicker than the rather small field, many of the drivers opting to sit out the round. Fastest in Q1 and second fastest in Q2, Shepherd’s Francesco Tironi sat out the round due to the much wetter conditions saving his car for what will hopefully be a drier Q4 when there will be a three way battle between himself, Greiner and Wischnewski for TQ.
For Dario Balestri, who would clearly prefer to be back in Italy enjoying the sunshine, his weekend didn’t get any better as a spin in the warm-up saw his Capricorn get collected by his team-mate Eric Dankel causing the receiver box to split open and he only managed 1 lap of the actual qualifier. Dankel was unaffected but the ENS Round 1 winner could only manage the 6th fastest time.
1:8 Qualifying Round 3 times
1. Oliver Mack – Shepherd/Sonic – 12/4:03.707
2. Robert Pietsch – Mugen/Picco – 12/4:05.032
3. Daniele Ielasi – BMT/RB – 12/4:07.044
4. Lars Hoppe – Shepherd/Sonic – 12/4:09.984
5. Adrien Bertin – HB/Orion – 12/4:10.901
6. Michael Salven – Serpent/Picco – 12/4:11.580
7. Andrea Pirani – WRC/OS Speed – 12/4:13.632
8. Michael Klausner – Mugen/Novarossi – 12/4:14.002
9. Sabrina Lechner – Serpent/XRD – 12/4:14.183
10.Simon Kurzbuch – Shepherd/Novarossi – 12/4:15.542
1:10 Qualifying Round 3 times
1. Dominic Greiner – Serpent/Picco – 12/4:16.835
2. Leonardo Varga – Shepherd/Orcan – 11/4:15.462
3. Dirk Wischnewski – Shepherd/Orcan – 10/4:01.275
4. Bernd Hasselbring – Xray/ORcan – 10/4:01.895
5. Patrick Schafer – Shepherd/Sonic – 10/4:03.015
6. Eric Dankel – Capricorn/Maxima – 10/4:03.789
7. Marco Nenner – KM Racing/Orion – 10/4:04.651
8. Steve Baumgarten – Mugen/Novarossi – 10/4:11.690
9. Christoph Rohrmoser – Shepherd/Novarossi – 10/4:13.928
10.Marcus May – Shepherd/RB – 10/4:14.897