Lamberto Collari is Top Qualifier for the title decider of the Euro Nitro Series with championship protagonists Robert Pietsch and Simon Kurzbuch set to line up directly behind the 9-time World Champion for the 45-minute Fiorano encounter. Going into the fifth & final round of qualifying with the exact same results as Pietsch, Collari would get the better of the German by just 0.225 seconds to secure his third TQ run of the day and with it pole position. Missing out on the championship bonus point on offer for the TQ, Pietsch will start the season finale from 2nd on the grid with Kurzbuch set to carry the number 3.
Changing his MRX-5 set-up slightly for the TQ showdown, Collari said he was not sure this improved the car but it was good and he was pleased to be able to take the overall TQ. Liking to allow himself a 10% margin in his driving he said for the first 2-minute he drove at 90% but for the second half he pushed hard. On the penultimate lap he would become the first driver of the weekend to do a 14-second lap of the Mini Autodromo Jody Scheckter track. Predicting a two stop tyre strategy, the Italian who is famed for his race strategies, said in terms of fuel stops he doesn’t plan to take any risks as using a fuel gun its hard to be sure the tank is completely full each time. In terms of set-up he said while the car is very close to perfect for a final he is always looking to get more from it and during the full rebuild they will look at possible changes.
Describing his car in the last qualifier as ‘super good’, Pietsch said the run was great until he came up on Shepherd’s Oliver Mack. Pietsch said with everyone so close, opening up for a faster car was costly and with Mack in a battle of his own to secure a direct spot in the Main he knew he could really afford to open up. A good friend of Mack, Pietsch said he was actually more comfortable starting second as its easier to follow than to lead adding that when he started second in Valencia last year he won the European Championships where as this year in Austria he finished 3rd having started on pole. Feeling he will need only one tyre stop the ENS Round 3 winner, Kurzbuch having beaten him to the TQ in Germany, said in terms of fuel mileage he thinks his Picco is very good.
Kurzbuch said he was happy with third having been consistent throughout the qualifiers. The 22-year-old said while over 4-minutes he was an average of 1-second off the Top 2 he doesn’t believe they can continue to run such a pace in the final. Due to the track’s low tyre wear, the Swiss factory Shepherd driver thinks strategy will not play a huge part in the race. Asked about the run time of his Novarossi engine he said they will analyse that in the final practice and work out their race tactics from there but he thinks based on qualifying that he should be ok.
Describing the battle at the front as being ‘almost like a World Championship’, Alberto Picco said the pace of the Top 3 makes it very difficult to compete for a podium unless you have a car that is 100% perfect. Set to start fourth, he said while they have been improving his Mugen each run, the way they are doing this is different to how they used to normally do it having discovered that their old way was resulting in the car doing the opposite to what they thought the changes would do. If they can find some more in the car he said then they should he should be able ‘to play his game’ in the final.
Having set himself the target of making it into the Main, Andrea Pirani said securing 5th on the grid was ‘very good’. Running an OS engine, the WRC team driver said he hoped to use the Japanese engine’s good fuel consumption to his advantage in the final. Like Collari, the Italian feels maybe two tyre stops will be required. In terms of his GTX chassis set-up he said it ‘is more or less there’ with maybe just some small adjustment required to take into account the tyre wear of the longer race.
With 20-year-old Andrea Lorenzi completing the Top half of the grid having qualified his Shepherd 6th, Daniele Ielasi starts 7th. The BMT driver said for the final qualifier his car was slow and he doesn’t know why. Part of another championship battle, this one for 3rd overall, with Pirani and Oliver Mack, with the final due to be run at a similar time to that of last qualifier when his RB powered 984 became super stable in the rear, inducing understeer, he said he needs to find a better set-up.
Dario Balestri pulled off a clean sweep of qualifying at the season finale of the ENS in Fiorano with the Capricorn driver topping all five rounds. Having wrapped up his first overall TQ in the championship in Q3, the Italian showed no signs of letting up continuing his domination in the final two rounds. Posting the 2nd and 3rd fastest time respectively in the closing qualifier, that is the position Serpent’s Dominic Greiner and Shepherd Dirk Wischnewski will line up behind Balestri for the 45-minute final.
With it hard to bet against Balestri taking his first ENS win tomorrow bar mechanical issues, Round 2 winner Greiner seems to be the only real threat to a home win for Capricorn, the Mini Autodromo Jody Scheckter being where the manufacturer does most of its development testing. Having ‘changed a lot’ on his Max powered 748 for the final qualifier, Greiner said this gave him oversteer with him describing the 4-minutes as being ‘very difficult’. Needing to find the right balance for tomorrow, the German said they will test for this in the 10-minute A-Main practice but he thinks they know what direction they need to go in.
Having targeted a Top 3 starting position, Wischnewski said third on the grid was ‘ok’. Tied for second in the championship standings with Greiner and team boss Patrick Schafer, the former European Champion said while he made a mistake on the first lap of Q5 and then overdrove for a few laps he is happy with how easy his car is to drive. Planning to run the car the same for the final, the German said due to the low tyre wear of the track, strategy is going to be less of a factor in the final so finding a way to catch Balestri will be hard. Describing his Orcan engine’s consumption as good this is possibly one place he can try to make up time with less fuel stops.
Shepherd team-mate Francesco Tironi will start 4th on the grid. Having tried different set-ups in the final two qualifiers, the World Championship podium finisher said he will revert to a set-up he ran yestrerday. Describing that set-up as a good compromise between speed and consistency he said his aim for the final was consistency adding once he had that he would go from there.
With 10 direct qualifiers and two bumping up from the B-Final to make a 12-car grid, champion elect Eric Dankel will start 5th. Winner of two ENS races, the Capricorn driver said since this morning he has struggled. A lack of feeling from the car’s steering he said as it stands now he is ‘not competitive’. While his set-up not much different to Balestri, he said his team-mate just knows the track better and he is better able to drive it better even as the conditions change over the day. Behind Dankel, Mario Spiniello completes the top half of the grid as the top Xray followed by Patrick Schafer.
The overall TQ at the ENS season finale in Fiorano will be decided in the fifth & final round of qualifying after Robert Pietsch claimed his second TQ run in the penultimate qualifier. Taking the round from Lamberto Collari, the two former World Champions now have identical scores going into deciding qualifier. While becoming Top Qualifier will make little difference to Collari’s ENS season, for Pietsch the bonus point on offer for securing pole position could prove vital in terms of his battle with Simon Kurzbuch to become the championship’s inaugural 1:8 Champion. Kurzbuch, who leads the standings by 2-points would for a third time complete the Top 3 for the round.
With his mechanic Felix Heyse getting the Picco powered MRX-5 out ahead of Collari as the top heat left the pitlane to start the 4-minute qualifier, Pietsch said he ‘benefited from the good start’. Posting the fastest lap of the round, the German who struggled in the morning’s cooler track conditions said his car ‘worked good’ this time round. With the ENS championship on the line, he said he would be trying extra hard to top the final qualifier and looking to get more rotation in the car, to help make that task easier, he would make a small change for Q5.
Pleased that the gap to Pietsch was ‘still only 1/10ths’, Collari said having tried something different on his privately run Mugen he would revert back to his Q3 set-up. Asked about the possibility of taking the overall TQ, the winner of the season opener in Melzo said while it wasn’t the main goal of his weekend he thinks he can do it. Also running privately bought OS Speed engines, the 9-time World Champion’s lack of factory support doesn’t seem to be hampering his performance in any way. Declaring for now he is enjoying being a free agent in terms of which equipment he can use he confirmed his intentions to travel to Brazil next year to vie for World title number 10.
Top Qualifier at Round 3 of the championship in Germany, Kurzbuch said his last run ‘was ok’. The Swiss ace and former Worlds Finalist believes he has a very good car for tomorrow’s 45-minute main with his Novarossi powered Velox V8 easy to drive. With third on the grid pretty much locked in, for Q5 he will discuss with the car’s designer Patrick Schafer if there is anything they should try in the last qualifier and tomorrow’s A-Main practice that might give them an advantage over title rival Pietsch for the final.
In a championship battle of his own with Daniele Ielasi, who was only 8th in Q4 due to an out of balance set of tyres, and Oliver Mack, Andrea Pirani posted the fourth fastest time. The WRC driver was pleased with the improved steering he had after changing to a harder rear anti roll bar on the GTX. Hoping to start the final ahead of his rivals for a Top 3 in the final championship standings he said he will leave the car the same for the last qualifier.
Starting to find his form just in time, Xray’s John Ermen would post his first Top 6 run just behind Andrea Lorenzi. Winner of a wet Round 2 in Austria, the Dutch driver said he has been improving his RX8 every run. Having had issues with his Reds Racing engine going lean after three & a half minutes he said the fitting of a new fuel tank for Q4 cured the issue which cost him time in the previous rounds. Also lowering his ride height he said this too improved the car but they had to make some prompt changes in the 3-minute warm-up to the rear spoiler and the steering end points to compensate for that change. Describing the car as now a little twitchy particularly under braking he will make an adjustment to the downstops.
In the penultimate round of 1:10, Top Qualifier Dario Balestri continued his domination of the top of the time sheets. Wrapping up pole position in Q3, the Capricorn driver topped the latest round by 2.2 seconds from the Shepherd of Dirk Wischnewski. Dominic Greiner completed the Top 3 ahead of Eric Dankel, the champion elect still needing another top time to ensure he directly qualifies for the final, with KM Racing’s Silivio Hachler enjoying his best run taking 5th.
Chassis – Xray RX8 Engine – Reds M7 WCS Fuel – Tornado Tires (handout) – Hot Race Tyres Radio/Servo – Sanwa/Savox Body – Blitz R18 V2 Remarks – ENS Round 2 winner John Ermen is running the latest RX8 from Xray with a number of self made modifications to the geometry. At the rear he has cut the upper a-arm to create more flex which gives the car more on throttle traction. He has also lowered the front upper arm holders by 1mm for less roll and as a result get more steering. He is also using Italian company Project’s 1/8th quick release wheel axles front and rear. The setup he is running is his basic one from the recent German nationals but he has tried to reduce roll by running harder oil in the shocks and opting for softer springs.
The third round of qualifying in 1:8 was a repeat of Q2, with Lamberto Collari again topping the times for the 85-strong entry from Robert Pietsch, the pair again separated by 3-tenths. Behind the two Mugen’s, Shepherd’s Simon Kurzbuch turned around a tough Q2 to record the 3rd fastest time followed by Daniele Ielasi, the round being the best run so far for the BMT driver. Andrea Pirani and Alberto Picco completed the Top 6. The round also saw the best run from ENS Round 2 winner John Ermen, the Xray driver taking his Reds Racing powered RX8 to the ninth fastest ahead of fellow countryman Rick Vrielijnck.
Dario Balestri is Top Qualifier for the fourth & final round of the Euro Nitro Series. The Capricorn driver wrapped up pole position for tomorrow’s A-Main with a clean sweep of the opening three qualifiers at the Fiorano event, taking Day 2’s opening Q3 from team-mate Thilo Todtmann. Dirk Wischnewski completed the Top 3 for the round ahead of Shepherd team-mate Francesco Tironi while ENS race winners Eric Dankel and Dominic Greiner both had issues.
The only driver to run 15-laps this morning, Balestri was pleased to secure his first overall TQ of the ENS, declaring his latest qualifier as being ‘very good’. Seeking his first ENS race win, the Italian said ‘all is perfect’ in terms of his car and XRD engine but added he was taking nothing for grant going into the final. Happy that his car is ready for the final, having tested on small tyres in practice yesterday, he planned to use the remaining two qualifiers to test different clutch systems saying that in some situations Capricorn’s old clutch can be better and this is what he will test in Q5.
Although Dankel tried it on his CO3 and didn’t like it, Todtmann on advice from Balestri ran a front bulkhead brace on his car for Q3 and found it to be a huge improvement. Giving the car more front end traction, the European B Champion said he was able to push harder in the corners especially in the sweepers. Also helped by having clear track for most of the 4-minutes and benefiting from mistakes by quicker drivers in his heat, the German said he planned to run the same set-up for the penultimate qualifier with his goal being to put in two more clean rounds and improve on his opening two qualifiers.
Wischnewski said the ‘result was ok’ but he ‘did not have a good feeling’ with his car. Changing to lighter shock oil in the front of his Orcan powered Velox V10, he said the change made the car worse and for Q4 he will go back to what he ran yesterday. With Balestri ‘super fast’, the former European Champion said he was now working towards the final and improving his car for that.
Describing his Novarossi powered example of the Velox V10 as being ‘quite good’, Tironi said while he is ‘not super fast he is quite consistent’. The World Championship podium finisher is confident he is headed in the right direction with set-up to have a competitive car for the final. Planning to make a small change to increase steering he will also go up in the size of his second gear looking to get a better transition from 1st to 2nd gear.
After getting hit in each of the opening two qualifiers, Mark Green managed an incident free Q3 allowing him to post the 5th fastest time. The factory Serpent driver said his 748 has been working good but twice he found himself pushed off the track yesterday. Without a Top 10 finish in the first two rounds and 3 from 5 to count, he said he has to just focus on being really careful today something which meant he had to sit behind a slower driver towards the end of the latest run. Needing two more solid runs if he is to directly qualify for the A-Main, the British driver said his focus for now is just on finishing the last two qualifiers.
‘Finally got a good one’, that was the reaction of Shepherd boss Patrick Schafer to his sixth fastest time. Suffering a mistake in Q1 and slowed by his Sonic engine being set too rich in Q2, the ENS Round 2 podium finisher said his car was a little loose in the rear this morning but he was hopeful a harder rear spring would cure that for Q4.
Having retired with broken exhaust springs in Q1, Champion elect Dankel suffered a stripped second gear in the warm-up for Q3. While Capricorn owner Patrizio Rossi managed to return to the pits and get a new one by the time it was fitted the German had missed the start. Running the rest of the round, the Round 1 & 3 race winner said his C03 felt really good but needing two results from the final qualifiers he is going to have to drive safe rounds.
Posting the fastest lap of the round, Greiner said he drove more than 100% trying to take the TQ battle to Balestri but this caught him out. Running up on the curbing, which following last weekend’s large 1:5 race at the Mini Autodromo Jody Scheckter are very grippy, his Serpent was pulled into the corner ending up on the morning’s damp grass. The ENS Round 2 winner said his 748 had more understeer this morning and for the next one he will change the rear shock position as well as the camber angle. While the battle for pole is done, the German is confident he has the pace for the final adding that his car is easier to drive than Balestri’s and that his Max engine has better consumption that the XRD.