June 1, 2013

Green & Wischnewski TQ opening ENS qualifier


Having been delayed by bad weather for over a day & a half, the new Euro Nitro Series finally fired into life at the Hockenheimring in Germany this evening with the opening round of qualifying with Serpent’s Mark Green setting the pace in a very close 1:8 encounter ahead of Robert Pietsch and Michael Salven while in 1:10 Touring Xray’s Dirk Wischnewski was fastest from Freddy Sudhoff & Pedro Rombouts.


With the Top 3 separated by just .286 of a second, Green was very happy with opening the event with a TQ especially as the ENS runs a qualifying points system meaning he takes the maximum 155 point haul.  While the result was perfect for the British ace, the factory Serpent/Novarossi driver said his 977 was not all that good after he switched to a wet radio tray in anticipation of running in the wet.  A complete unit prepared for use in wet racing, he said the radio tray change made the car feel ‘terrible to drive’ causing in particular a lack of braking.  For Q2 Green will switch back to his dry radio tray which he said worked well in Thursday’s dry and sunny open practice.


Winner here at the Hockenheimring 12-months ago when the race was known as the European Nitro Challenge, Pietsch who was .162 off Green at the end of the 4-minute qualifier, described his run as ‘safe’ adding that he had a little problem with traffic.  In terms of his car, the Mugen designer said it didn’t work well with the diameter of pre-trued handout tyres which are a key feature of the ENS format.  Suffering from understeer, the German said he will use the same set of tyres again for Q2 and expects they will be much better second time round but he will also change the set-up on his Novarossi powered MRX-5 to better suit the Matrix supplied tyres.

Salven Stand

Salven was the early pace setter but also had traffic issues. Coming up on a ‘train of traffic’ the German said it cost him a lot of time with one driver making it particularly difficult for him to pass.  Almost coming together with that driver he said it put him out of his rhythm for 2-3 laps.  A major contributor to the creation of the ENS, Salven said the closeness of the first qualifier highlights that controlled tyres are the way forward.  Happy that the rain has passed, the Serpent designer said the wind made for tricky conditions with the car having a load of grip as it ran directly into the wind at the end of the main the straight but on the opposite side of the track the wind was trying to lift the rear of the car. Asked if he planned to change his set-up for Q2 the German quickly replied ‘no way’, a sign that he is happy with how the car he penned is working.


Fourth fastest was German driver Nicolai Bähr who declared himself very happy with his opening run.  Running a Sonic powered Serpent the 20-year-old said he will leave everything as is for Q2.  Making it four Serpents in the Top 6, Merlin Depta set the 5th fastest time with his Xceed powered 977.  Like his team boss Salven, Depta said he had to battle with the wind catching the car but all in all he was happy with his run and the only change he will make for his next qualifier is to switch to a higher second gear.

Completing the Top 6 was Team Xray’s Tobias Hepp.  The 19-year-old said his Novarossi engine was set too lean but his RX8 felt good given the low traction after the rain and as an opening run it was ‘OK’.


Winner here last year Wischnewski said his run was not so good after a mistake in the warm-up saw him damage one of his handout tyres.  Rolling his Novarossi powered NT1 it caused part of one of his tyres to part from the rim and that combined with the low traction made the car very unpredictable to drive.  Able to re-glue the tyre after the qualifier, before having to hand it into the tyre control area, he said he will run the same set of tyres again in Q2.  This combined with a better tuned engine, it being too rich in Q1, the former European Champion believes he can improve on his pace quite a bit.


Debuting Shepherd’s new Velox V10 PRO, Sudhoff was happy with how the car went in the first qualifier.  Describing it as ‘easy to drive’, the German said as the tyres came in the car got better and better and in the last two minutes he was near perfect to drive.  Planning to just lean off his LRP engine which ran a little rich in Q1 he said he will leave the car set-up as is and run the same set of tyres again.


Winner of the opening round of this year’s Dutch Nationals, Rombouts said conditions were ‘tricky’ due to the low traction but overall it was a ‘clean run’ and he will leave everything as is for Q2 and wait for the grip to come up.  Behind the Dutch Xray/Orcan driver was Frenchman Michael Derderian.  Also running an Xray NT1 but but powered by a G-Mar engine, the French National Championship race winner said he had a lack of steering and will make some small changes for his second qualifier.  Only arriving yesterday, and therefore not getting the same dry running that his rivals got in open practice on Thursday, he said considering this 4th for his first run was very good.


Elsewhere last year’s European Nitro Challenge Top Qualifier Eric Dankel had a troubled run.  Hitting Shepherd boss Patrick Schafer early in the run the incident broke the front body post on his Capricorn CO2.  This left his bodyshell rubbing on the ground and causing him some trouble but a mistake on lap 8 which he said was of his own doing ended any chance of a decent result as he lost 12 seconds with the car ending up on its roof.


Also having trouble in the first qualifier was top Austrian driver Gerhard Kandelhart who suffered an engine problem.  Making his first appearance at the controls of a Shepherd this weekend he said the is pleased how the car is running and is confident without engine trouble he can put in a good performance.

1:8 Qualifying Round 1
1. Mark Green – Serpent/Novarossi – 14/4:16.714
2. Robert Pietsch – Mugen/Novarossi – 14/4:16.876
3. Michael Salven – Serpent/Xceed – 14/4:17.000
4. Nicolai Bähr – Serpent/Sonic – 13/4:01.629
5. Merlin Depta  – Serpent/Xceed – 13/4:03.743
6. Tobias Hepp – Xray/Novarossi – 13/4:05.693
7. Alexander Thilo Tödtmann – Shepherd/Sonic – 13/4:06.644
8. Maximilian Vogl – Shepherd/Sonic – 13/4:07.091
9. Timo Schröder – Shepherd/Sonic – 13/4:10.712
10.Olaf Engelmann – Shepherd/OS – 13/4:11.251

1:10 Qualifying Round 1
1. Dirk Wischnewski – Xray/Novarossi – 12/4:11.294
2. Freddy Sudhoff – Shepherd/LRP – 12/4:11.944
3. Pedro Rombouts – Xray/Orcan – 12/4:15.610
4. Michael Derderian – Xray/G-Mar – 12/4:15.888
5. Sebastian Burge – Shepherd/Sonic – 12/4:19.315
6. Tom Kragefski – Serpent/OS – 12/4:19.476
7. Patrick Schafer – Shepherd/Sonic – 12/4:19.905
8. Patrick Nahr – Shepherd/Sonic – 11/4:00.702
9. Leonardo Varga – Xray/Orcan – 11/4:01.045
10.Sander Borghoff – Shepherd/Picco – 11/4:01.523

View complete results here.

View our event image gallery here.


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