A much cooler start to Day 2 of the ENS Round 3 at the Hockenheimring, with some less than friendly clouds in the sky, it is going to be a busy day for drivers with 5 rounds of qualifying on the schedule. With the first round of qualifying taking place last night, the best 3 (updated) of the 6 qualifier will count towards tomorrow’s grid order.
Simon Kurzbuch made it a perfect opening day to the Euro Nitro Series for locally based manufacturer Team Shepherd as he TQ’d the opening 1:8 qualifier at the Hockenheimring in Germany. The Swiss ace topped the closing action on Day 1 of the championship’s third round almost 1-second clear of Mugen’s Robert Pietsch with Shepherd team-mate Lars Hoppe completing the Top 3.
‘All worked perfectly’ that was Kurzbuch description of his TQ run. Leaving his car as it was when he topped the first timed practice and only changing to a different Novarossi engine for Q1, the 22-year-old said this worked perfectly for the cooler conditions of the late evening run. Suffering only one minor moment when he had to slow due to a car sitting in the middle of the straight on its roof, he said the rest of the 4-minute run couldn’t have been better. Asked about his plans for tomorrow’s second qualifier, the championship points leader, who has finished the opening two rounds on the podium, said he will just leave everything as is and try to repeat the run again.
Having made a spring change to his Picco powered MRX-5 for the qualifying, Pietsch said the softer rear end was ‘much better’ but traffic issues at the start cost him a lot of time. With a slower car joining the track from the pitlane just in front of him, the 2011 World Champion couldn’t get passed for four laps. Eventually getting passed he said his lap times improved by up to 1/2 a second a lap and with a clear track ahead of him he was able to run good laps and recover from running only 6th fastest. The season opener Top Qualifier plans to make no changes for Q2.
Making a lot of changes to his Sonic engined Velox V8, Hoppe said the car was now very good but he lost time early on in the run. Planning to scrub in a set of the Enneti controlled tyres in the final practice he suffered a broken rear drive shaft after just two laps and so for the early part of the qualifier he lost time on the larger tyres.
Making his first outing since rejoining Mugen, Rick Vrielijnck would post the fourth fastest time with his Picco fitted MRX-5. Changing the rear spring on the car for the qualifier and despite setting the fastest lap of Q1, the Dutch ace said the change resulted in less traction. With ‘a racing line of only 50cm’ he said the lack of traction lead to inconsistency and for tomorrow he will revert back to the same set-up in ran in the first timed practice saying his issues were most likely down to the wind rather than set-up.
Racing a heavily self modified P81 while he waits for an all new car from Italian manufacturer Motonica, Belgium’s Robin d’Hondt set the 5th fastest time. Having struggled in practice, the 2-time Worlds finalist said his miscalculation of the Enneti tyre offset meant his car was far too wide in practice. Struggling with the corner at the end of the straight, he said reducing the width for qualifying had made the car ‘way better’. Still looking for more steering for Q2 he will move the body more forward. Also suffering with his clutch slipping towards the end of the run he will fit a new one for tomorrow.
Completing the Top 6 was 19-year-old Timo Schroder. Making changes to the ackermann on his Shepherd he said this gave him more direct steering. Now happy with how the car his running he said his focus for the next qualifier will be on getting a better tune on his XRD Engine which he said was not set so well for Q1.
Heading the Serpent challenge was Merlin Depta who would take his 977 to the 7th fastest time. The German said the run was good except for one mistake, him catching a corner dot on the last lap which resulted in his slowest lap of the run. Having reported braking issues in the final free practice, for Q2 he hopes to source teflon material so he can make up new pads which he hopes will allow him to run deeper into the corner at the end of the track’s 75 metre long main straight.
Teemu Leino TQ’d the opening 200mm qualifier of the Euro Nitro Series at the Hockenheimring, the HB driver narrowly outpacing Dominic Greiner who was left rueing a mistake that would cost the Serpent driver over 1-second. Leino, who was unavailable for comment having made a speedy return to his hotel after the qualifier, would have a slight incident of his own in the race. On the second lap, the Finn would have a coming together with Ronald Volker, the Mugen driver coming off worst but eventually recovering to take third for the round. For last year’s ENS Pilot race and Round 1 winner Eric Dankel, Q1 would see a DNF for the Capricorn driver due to a broken manifold spring.
‘A stupid mistake’ was how Greiner described his clipping of the corner dots at the end of the main straight on lap 4. The Aigen race winner said his Picco powered 748 Natrix was perfect and it was just the driver that let the package down. Determined to make up for the mistake in tomorrow morning’s second of six qualifiers, the 21-year-old said there is no need to change anything other than eliminate that one mistake.
Setting the fastest lap of the race, somewhat nitro rookie Volker said overall he was happy to open qualifying with a Top 3 result especially considering his lap 2 incident. Opening the door to allow Leino through he said Leino also went wide causing the pair to make contact with his Mugen MTX-6 Prototype getting spun around. Loosing almost 2-seconds and dropping to last in the 11 car heat, the 4-time ETS Champion said while he struggled with the feeling of the car for the first 1-minute he was then able to make back up some of the lost time. For tomorrow the German said they will make a small adjustment to the set-up as he would like to have a little more steering.
Making the change from running a spool like Greiner to revert to a front gear diff, Serpent’s Mark Green would post the fourth fastest time saying he was ‘very happy with that’. Commenting on the set-up change he said it didn’t make much difference to the performance of his Novarossi powered Natrix 748 it just suited his driving style more and that overall led to more consistent laps that he could manage using his team-mate’s set-up. Looking to further improve on consistency for Q2, the British National Champion feels his clutch and gearbox settings could be improved on a little. Planning to see how the conditions are for the first of the morning’s qualifiers he said he might also make a roll centre adjustment on the car.
Having raced the opening round of the championship in Melzo in 1:8 just missing out on a podium finish, KM Racing’s Silvio Hachler has switched to 200mm this weekend. Running the World Champion manufacturers HK1 ‘Meen Version’, a simple front bumper change lifted the Swiss driver into a competitive form as he set the 5th fastest time. Only his second ever 1:10 nitro race, the 1:8 World Championship finalist replaced the cars foam bumper for a plastic version from a shepherd resulting in ‘a lot more steering’ and a 3/10th of a second improvement in lap times. Describing 1:10 as being ‘harder to drive’ than 1:8, he said he was ‘very happy’ with his run despite a last lap mistake that cost him over one & a half seconds.
Completing the Top 6 and the fastest Shepherd driver, Dirk Wischnewski said the run was ‘clean, no problems but just too slow’. Struggling with on power steering from the start of the event, the former Hockenheimring race winner and joint championship leader said hopefully overnight they can come up with a solution to the problem so he can get back in the race tomorrow.
Making his first appearance of the full ENS Championship, have raced the second of the Pilot Races last year, Alexander Hagberg would set the 8th fastest time behind Serpent driver Toni Gruber. The factory Xray driver said he is a ‘little confused’ as his NT1 is proving insensitive to set-up changes. Like Wischnewski, the Swede is hopeful some over night thinking will lead to him having a more competitive car tomorrow.
Chassis – Hot Bodies R10 Engine – Novarossi Fuel – Runner Time Tires (handout) – Enneti Radio/Servo – Sanwa Body – Protoform SRS Lightweight
Remarks – Making the trip to Germany together with HB’s very own Miyashita, Teemu is running a R10 equipped with Avid bearings and a revised upper deck, its design being more balanced between the left and the right side, this allowing for a better and more uniform flex. The receiver has also been moved from alongside the fuel tank on the left side to the outer right.
Robert Pietsch topped the final practice at the Hockenheimring making him the top seed for qualifying at the third round of the Euro Nitro Series. Last year’s Top Qualifier of the ENS Pilot Race at the German track, an improved car allowed the Mugen driver/designer to improve his time by almost 8/10ths to jump ahead of CP1 pace setter Simon Kurzbuch. Kurzbuch and Rick Vrielijnck failed to improve their time but still complete the overall Top 3 at the end of practice.
‘Still not like I want it to be but much better than earlier’, was how Pietsch described his the handling of MRX-5 for CP2. Improving the corner speed of the car he said that had resulted in it being now difficult to drive. Hoping to cure this for Q1 the Round 1 Top Qualifier and runner-up will try a different spring set-up to make the rear of the car a little softer.
Setting out to use the final practice to scrub in tyres for qualifying Kurzbuch was pleased with how the run went despite being knocked off the top of the timing sheets. The Shepherd driver said having used tyres, which are faster than fresh ones, was the important thing and overall he was happy with where he is at going to Q1. With the opening qualifier set to be in much cooler conditions than the practice runs, the championship’s points leader will switch his Novarossi engine for the run to one he said is set-up for such conditions.
Changing to harder front springs on his Mugen, Vrielijnck said while the change had given him a more consistent car it was ‘a little slower’. To try and get back some of the steering while maintaining the consistency the Dutch National Champion will now also go for a harder rear spring which should make the rear end more stable.
Although he would improve his time Stefano Solaroli would stay fourth one position ahead of Serpent’s Merlin Depta who made the biggest move at the sharp end of the time sheets. Changing bodyshell for the run, the German said using the same style Protoform P909 with the only difference being that the second one is cut to sit 4-5mm more forward on his 977 gave him more steering and better corner speed. Happy with the set-up of his car, he said braking is his main issue. Running alongside Solaroli on the track he said the Italian could brake so much later into the corner particularly at the end of the straight. Adjusting his radio to get more break he said this resulted it the car dragging in the infield and he had to back it off again. Not sure what is causing the problem he said he will have to run it as is for Q1 but added he hoped to find a solution for tomorrow possibly by change the materials used in brake pads.
Behind Depta, Team Shepherd’s Maximilian Vogl completed the Top 6 while further back Round 2 race winner John Ermen continued to struggle with finding at set-up for his Xray. Unable to improve on his opening time the Dutch driver dropped to 17th one place behind WRC’s Andrea Pirani who is also struggling to get to terms with the track.
Dominic Greiner is top seed for qualifying at the third round of the Euro Nitro Series. Having set the pace in the opening timed practice, the Serpent driver was able to improve by 3/10ths of a second, the gap that would separate him and HB’s Teemu Leino who became only the second driver to run 3-consecutive laps in under a minute around the large track. Unable to improve on his time Ronald Volker would drop to third followed by Eric Dankel who also couldn’t better his CP1 time and dropped one position.
Leaving his new 748 Natrix the same as in the first controlled practice, the only difference to Greiner’s car was the engine. Switching to the second of his Picco race engines, the German said the previous engine felt fractionally quicker but having discussed it with Eduardo Picco he will run the ‘No.2 engine’ for qualifying saving the ‘better one’ for the final. In terms of the car he said he is very happy with his set-up and its ready as is for Q1.
Making a shock set-up change for the final practice, Leino said while it might not have been super fast his Novarossi powered R10 was ‘super easy to drive’. Adding that he was still not sure whether the improvement was all down to set-up or his latest set of tyres, the Finn he is happy to go into tonight’s first qualifier running the car as it is now.
Having tried a shock geometry change on his prototype Mugen, Volker said the car didn’t feel as good as earlier and so for Q1 they will revert to the set-up used in CP1. Also finding the rear geardiff to be not as smooth as he would like, his mechanic Freddy Sudhoff will fit a new one for qualifying.
The next best place driver to improve in CP2 after Greiner and Leino, Mark Green would knock a 1/10 off his time but remain 5th. The Serpent driver said small changes to the Greiner set-up he was running did improve his Novarossi powered 748 Natrix but the improvement wasn’t big enough. As a result the British ace will make ‘big changes for qualifying’ and ‘drop (him)self in it’ by going back to his standard UK Set-up, a risk he hopes to not regret.
Capricorn driver Leo Arnold, who impressed on his ETS debut with Team Magic last weekend making the Modified A-Main in Luxembourg, improved two positions in CP2 to complete the Top 6. The French driver changed from a spool to a diff as well as lowering the front upper suspension which he said gave him better mid corner steering. Having also run an old Orion engine previously he fitted a fresh one for the final practice which he said was also a lot better. Still joking to make his LAB CO2 a little easier to drive he will change to harder shock oil.