Dominic Greiner has taken a hard fought win in the opening round of the ENS this afternoon in Italy. Better known for his 1/10th exploits, the Serpent driver pulled off a major upset, utilising a well executed tire and fuel strategy to get the better of multiple ENS Champion Simon Kurzbuch. A late flameout by Dario Balestri took the Infinity driver out of contention while mixing it at the front, ending up in 5th, allowing veteran racer Alberto Picco to pick up the pieces and claim 3rd. Coming home 4th, Lamberto Collari looked set early on to throw a curveball to his competitors by going 5 minutes between fuel stops, only to come short on the in lap of his 2nd stop. Having been stuck behind Carmine Raiola early in the 30 minute main, once passed Greiner had to set about catching the leading pair of Kurzbuch and Balestri, and was helped by doing 4 minutes between stops, his OS engine not as thirsty as the Novarossi based power units of those ahead. With all those up front on the same basic tire strategy, changing just the outside tires first and then all four, by the end of the race Greiner’s tires were done and with Kurzbuch catching him fast he said ‘I had to remain calm as I knew I had only one minute to go’. His first podium in the 1/8th class at ENS, the German praised the improvements made to his Serpent 988 over the winter and is looking forward to a competitive season.
Just coming up short, only 4 tenths back after 30 minutes, Kurzbuch was upset that Balestri caused what he felt was an avoidable collision as the Italian flamed out. The Swiss driver believed that Dario, having had his engine splutter on the 3 previous corners, should have pulled to the side to let the faster driver past as he slowed but instead came to a stop on the racing line causing a crash that sent the Shepherd driver off track, the time lost considerably more than the losing margin to Greiner. Despite this he said ‘Overall it was really good, our strategy was right’, but did feel that his engine lost a little power midway through the final but that his pit crew and himself gave it their all. Particularly happy with his final pitstop, some 2 seconds quicker than his others, he had warned his crew over the radio that he was going to come in fast and could be painful to catch but his father Christian didn’t miss a beat and could give him the advantage he needed. Summing up the weekend he said ‘I got the TQ point and 2nd, so it’s already a better start than last season’.
Alberto Picco would come through the field from his 9th place starting position to take the final podium spot, the likeable Italian putting it down to ‘just trying to be consistent’. Feeling he had a very good pace, almost on par with those in front, too much time was lost in an early incident, a bunch of cars coming together, Alberto admitting that when the carnage had settled he had lost where his car was for a moment. Once back on track his experience showed and he could work his way through the pack, inheriting 3rd place as Balestri hit trouble.
Racing on his home track, early on Lamberto Collari looked set for an upset as he was able to stretch his pit stop window to 5 minutes, which would have given him almost a 3 pitstop advantage over his rivals. However just before his 2nd stop his Max Power engine ground to a halt on the in-lap, losing him a considerable amount of time. Putting the run time down to a smooth driving style, the 9-time World Champion believed that without this flame out he would have been there at the end to fight the others for the win. Following his flameout a disappointed Dario Balestri was able to get his car started back up to bring his IF18 home in 5th position, just in front of his team mate Carmine Raiola in 6th and the two B-main bump up drivers Silvio Hachler and Rick Vrielijnck completing the top 8.
In the 1/8th 40+ class, it was a very exciting race as eventual winner Stefano Solaroli worked his way to the front having started from 5th, but even more exciting was the final laps of the 30 minute encounter that saw German Shepherd driver Andreas Giesa close rapidly on the Italian as he struggled with his tires. The pair eventually separated by 2 seconds at the finish with Rudi Scherer completing the podium as pole man Andrea Hächler had a troubled race finishing in 4th.
Teemu Leino has taken the win today in the 1/10th scale class at the opening round of the Euro Nitro Series in Bologna after rain caused a long delay in the day’s proceedings. The Finn took the victory from a hard charging Alessio Mazzeo, with pole man Leo Arnold having to settle for the final podium spot in 3rd after the he ran out of tires at the very end of the race. Thilo Todtmann would take 4th for Shepherd with Jilles Groskamp finishing up in 5th. Asked about his race win the Infinity driver simply said ‘the race was good’, noting that they changed their planned tire strategy during the race, going from an outside only tire stop to a full tire stop, after he felt that the track was more abrasive following the morning rain. Very pleased with the performance of his IF15, Leino was also quick to credit the very fast fuel and tire stops by his pitman Felix for him being able to take the lead in the 30 minute final. Running in 3rd for a very long time, his tire strategy played out in the final 5 minutes as he was able to pass both Mazzeo and Arnold within 1 lap of each other and go onto win the race even though he too began to run out of tires at the very end.
Xray driver Mazzeo finished in a very close 2nd place, less than 1 second behind his Finnish rival, and despite not winning after having lead close to the midway point of the final was happy with his performance. Under some serious pressure at the start of the final from a number of drivers the Italian was happy to keep his concentration despite having to defend so rigorously. Noting that he had a small gearbox problem during the race that saw his NT1 stuck in 2nd gear for most of the run, with the size of the gap at the end of the 30 minutes, without the issue, and with his tire strategy perfect, he felt he could have taken the win.
A disappointed Leo Arnold, ended the race in a lonely 3rd having looked very fast all weekend including the A-main, but a risky tire strategy as well as higher than expected wear saw the Xray driver run out of tires completely on the last laps. Changing only right side tires at 10 minutes, while his competitors changed all 4 at 15 minutes, it at first looked as though the strategy would work but having checked the tires following the final, the Frenchman found that he had 3mm more than expected and so was losing a second a lap on his rivals as the final came to an end. Despite the result, Leo was able to happy to take his first ENS podium and with this performance is very confident for the season ahead.
Taking 4th place, Shepherd driver Thilo Todtmann said ‘everything went great’ especially considering the German crashed heavily in the warmup for the final. With another racer calling a 10 minute delay, he was able to get the car fixed just in time and afterwards the ‘race went as expected’, concluding that ‘4th was the maximum today’. Fifth would go the Jilles Groskamp, the Dutchman needing a retune of his Max Power engine during the first stop, which combined with a messy tires stop that lost him 10 seconds on his rivals, meant his race was compromised from the start. Melvin Diekmann would complete the top half of field.
The rain expected to fall after lunch today in Bologna arrived early just as the 1/10th B main was reaching the halfway point. With it now expected to continue until midday the organisers have taken the decision to delay all on-track action until 2pm in the hope that the rain will stop and to give the L.Collari RC Raceway some time to dry before continuing with the re-run of the 1/10th B main. The two remaining lower mains will be shortened from 20 to 15 minutes with the A-mains now all set for 30 minutes in place of 45 minutes.
Taking his 3rd TQ run in Q4 of 1/10th qualifying, Leo Arnold put the pole position starting spot out of the reach of his rivals, the Xray driver dominant this weekend so far save for his Q2 collision with a slowing Teemu Leino. Jilles Groskamp will start directly behind the French man tomorrow with Alessio Mazzeo, Eduardo Escandon and Teemu Leino completing the top half of the grid. ‘My first TQ, I am very happy, the hard work pays off’ was how Leo described his qualifying, continuing ‘my car is easy for the final, if I want to push I can push’. With his father checking over the tires from qualifying, they will make a final decision on tire strategy once they have all the data, no changes to his NT1 planned.
Pleased to secure 2nd but disappointed that they weren’t able to rectify an engine tuning problem in the last two rounds of qualifying, Jilles Groskamp used the final heat to practice his fuel stops with mechanic Armin after it was immediately apparent the tune was once again not good. With the engine now with Max Fantini to see if they can find the problem with his race motor, the Dutchman will have tomorrow’s A-main practice to see if the issue has been solved.
Despite a ‘stupid mistake’ at the start of the heat when he half spun his car just before the loop, Mazzeo was able to recover and take 2nd in Q4 and secure 3rd on the grid. Very happy with the pace of his Xray for the final, he will look for a little bit more steering in tomorrow’s A-main practice. Quick to congratulate his team mate Arnold, the Italian was very happy for his team, saying that they have been working a lot together to get the best from the new car.
‘I think it was OK’ was Eduardo Escandon’s description of his qualifying performance, the Spaniard feeling they are still missing the last little bit. Changing a number of things for the final run, the aim is to make the car more comfortable for the final. Teemu Leino ended qualifying with two 3rd place finishes from the first and last qualifier to end up in 5th with Thilo Tödtmann, Melvin Diekmann, Jakub Rozycki, Leonardo Varga and Sergi Franch Codina from Spain completing the main final direct qualifiers.