Making the switch to 1:8 for this season’s Euro Nitro Series, a number of key drivers changing over as it is a 1:8 World Championship year, Dario Balestri has topped the opening round of qualifying at L.Collari RC Raceway. Racing at the home track of Lamberto Collari, the 2014 ENS 200mm race winner TQ’d the first qualifier of a rain affected day by 0.360 of a second from the 9-time World Champion with WRC’s Andrea Pirani completing the Top 3. For last year’s title protagonists Simon Kurzbuch and Robert Pietsch the round would see them both have engine issues. For Pietsch a flame out on his out lap cost the Mugen driver a run while Kurzbuch’s engine would run out of fuel on the last lap however such was the champions pace he managed to get the 6th fastest time.
Setting the fastest lap on the way to taking the qualifier, Balestri was clearly happy at having taken the TQ from Collari in his own backyard. The Capricorn driver said other than his 2nd gear coming in a bit late everything else was ‘all ok’ and he was ‘happy’. Planning to adjust his gearbox the Italian said other than this he would just run the car as is for Q2 which is set to bring Day 1 of the event to a close.
Making some small changes to his OS Speed powered Mugen, Collari said while it felt pretty good it was better in the morning’s free practice. Having ran a 6mm chassis on his MRX5 yesterday which he said improves the car for the high grip conditions, following the overnight rain and the overcast day he reverted the car back to a kit standard spec. Very happy with the run time from his engine, for Q2 he plans to ‘try something different’ in terms of the car set-up adding it will be through small tweaks rather than anything too significant.
Pirani was very happy with his performance considering he finished with a stripped front belt and came close to an engine cut on the third lap. ‘Really happy’ with the performance of his WRC chassis, he said his OS engine was set too lean and coming onto the straight for the third time he had to come off the throttle to keep it running which lost him valuable 1/10ths of a second. Happy to keep it going he said he drove the rest of the race controlling full throttle on the radio. Not making any set-up changes for Q2, the Italian is very confident for the next run.
Having not raced 1:8 since last year’s European Championship, Francesco Tironi described his 4th fastest time as ‘not bad’. Still trying to find his rhythm with the 1:8, having finished 3rd overall the ENS last season in 200mm, he said Q1 was like a test for him. Making the move to XRD engines for 2015, he said he was very happy with how they ran and while he would like to try a longer 2nd gear he said to be safe he will leave everything as is for Q2 and if that goes well he will change the ratio for tomorrow.
Mugen’s Rick Vrielijnck said he went for an ‘easy run to have a finish’ and he was pleased to end up 5th fastest. Not quite sure of the run time from his Picco engine around the power circuit he said this was also a factor in him taking it easy but afterwards he said he had plenty of fuel left so he now knows he can push much harder in the second qualifier. The Dutch driver said he is also driving the track ‘better and better every run’ so things are looking good.
‘I think I am very fast but the tank was empty on the last lap’, that was Kurzbuch summary of things. The Swiss ace said said both his Velox and Novarossi engine where great but the engine is using too much fuel. For Q2 says he expects to change to a different engine to try make the 4-minutes.
Former World Champion and ENS instigator Pietsch will also make an engine change for the second qualifier. The Mugen designer said his Picco engine flamed out and on checking things afterward everything looks fine including the glowplug. Looking to allow a gap to build up between himself and the car starting ahead of him he said he didn’t throttle the car and this was the problem but as a precaution they will change engine.
2013 European Champion Alessio Mazzeo has TQ’d the opening round of 200mm qualifying at the Euro Nitro Series season opener in Bologna, Italy. With rain affecting the schedule for the first official day of the event, when qualifying did get underway on a dry track it was the championship debutant who put his Serpent at the top of the times. Just 0.185 behind, last year’s Round 1 Top Qualifier Teemu Leino would post the second fastest time with the Top 3 being completed by Mazzeo’s Serpent team-mate Dominic Greiner. It was a poor start to qualifying for reigning Champion Eric Dankel and World Champion Alexander Hagberg as they managed only the 9th and 19th fastest times respectively.
‘A good start’ was Mazzeo’s reaction, the 23-year-old highlighting the fact that this is his first outing in the ENS. With all drivers starting out on a brand new set of Matrix tyres, the Italian company the official tyre supplier for Round 1, the Italian said as a result the traction at the start was not perfect on the large tyres but over the run his Gimar powered 748 improved. Asked if the rain had affected the track in any way he said for him it was the same as yesterday when drivers tested in sunny conditions. For Q2, which is hoped to run today as more rain is forecast for tomorrow, he said as he is ‘very happy’ with his car he will leave it unchanged.
Using some colourful language to describe a driver that delayed him on the final lap of the qualifier costing him the TQ, Leino said other than this he was happy with the run and the important thing was he has a good run to his credit should the weather take a turn. Describing his R10 as feeling good, the Finn said the track is ‘an engine track’ and in that department everything was working well too.
Greiner wasn’t happy with his run and in particular with his own driving. The World Championship Top Qualifier said while his 748 had a little oversteer, a few small mistakes over the 4-minutes were down to him not driving well. While the car got better he said the ‘oversteer was not much’ and for Q2 he will only make a weight distribution adjustment to the weights positioned in the chassis under the tank. ‘Always looking for more power’, the German said his engine was a little too rich so there should also be improvement from getting this right for the next run.
Running Xray’s new NT1’15, Bruno Coelho posted the 4th fastest time. The Portuguese star, who has been at the L.Collari RC Raceway all week for testing, described his car and Max engine as ‘super good’ but a mistake cost him a Top 3 for the round. Happy to run the car as is for Q2 he will just focus on trying to tidy up his driving and making a clean run.
Setting the fifth fastest time Jilles Groskamp said ‘it was just a steady run’. His first nitro outing with his new HB team, the Dutch ace said after a lot of trouble with his set-up on arriving at the track, a switch to Leino’s shock set-up for Q1 improved the car a lot. Finding the race tyres to have more traction than the sets he used in practice, he said for a first run it was ‘not bad’ and ‘step by step’ they were making progress.
Completing the Top 6 was Dirk Wischnewski. The Shepherd driver said it was a ‘difficult run’ with traction an issue for the former European Champion. Describing his pace as ‘just too slow’, he said the track felt like it had less traction than in practice and he also looked to have less traction than the other cars on track. To try improve this he will try a little harder shock set-up for Q2.
Having been right on the pace in practice yesterday, Dankel said his Capricorn was ‘super slow’ in Q1 with the car suffering from understeer. With his Tesla engine also going rich towards the end of the run, the German said the only thing he can put the lack of pace down to is the fitting of a new bodyshell. Suffering a heavy crash in practice but seeing out the day with the damaged body he said he fitted a new Protoform SRS to his car for qualifying but for some reason it brought in understeer. For Q2 he said he will revert back to his rather secondhand looking SRS bodyshell.
Hagberg was clearly frustrated with his car, the factory Xray driver saying ‘I can’t even drive it in a straight line’. Struggling with the car he said this led to a couple of mistakes one of which lost him more than 10-seconds. With the issue developing in practice yesterday he said there is ‘something wrong’ with the car as he hasn’t been able to get the car in any way drivable.
Chassis – Capricorn LAB C03 2015 Engine – Tesla T12 Fuel – Maxima Tires (handout) – Matrix Radio/Servo – Sanwa Body – Protoform SRS
Remarks – Reigning ENS 200mm champion Eric Dankel is running a 2015 version of the Capricorn LAB C03. Making the switch over the off season to the Tesla engines – a brand owned by Capricorn – the main differences from the stock car are the optional chassis, meant to be stiffer in the rear end, and a new front bumper. The German is also using the front upper arm holders from the 2014 version of the car, which allow for a slightly higher roll center.
Remarks – Recently signed by Taiwanese company ARC, 2014 ENS race winner John Ermen is giving the 1:8 onroad newcomer’s brand new R8.0 its international race debut this weekend in Bologna. The Reds Racing powered car is equipped with a substantial list of option parts. The entire drivetrain features kevlar pulleys while the front end features carbon fibre wheel discs, lower shock mounts and ackermann levers. On the rear end, the Dutch driver has opted for the optional “flex” driveshaft mount and is also running ProjectX quick release hubs all round.