April 4, 2014

Kurzbuch tops first 1:8 timed practice at ENS

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Former 1:8 World Championship finalist Simon Kurzbuch set the pace in the first timed practice at the opening round of the all new Euro Nitro Series which is taking place this weekend in Melzo, Italy.  The factory Shepherd driver posted the fastest 3-consecutive laps to head team-mate Oliver Mack by .070 of a second with former World Champion Robert Pietsch completing the Top 3.  Top Italian on the timesheets at the Mini Racing Ayrton Senna track with the fourth fastest time would be Alberto Picco.

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Having removed weight from his Novarossi powered Velox V8 for the run, Kurzbuch said this together with a small camber & caster adjustment gave him a better car to what he had for the morning’s two free practice runs.  Planning to leave his set-up as is for the final practice, the 22-year-old Swiss driver plans to use the 6-minute run to prepare tyres for qualifying, the first of which takes place this evening, bringing Day 1 of the ENS to close.

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Describing his example of Shepherd’s Velox V8 as ‘very consistent’, Mack was very happy to be second fastest in such a high quality field. Pleased with the performance of his Sonic engine, the German will switch to another motor for the final practice to tune it up as a spare should it be required during qualifying.

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Winner of the last season’s two race ENS Pilot Series and one of the big instigators of the setting-up of the Euro Nitro Series, Pietsch said basically everything feels OK but he said the tyres felt different to the morning’s practice runs and he will use the final practice to try and determine if that was down to a change in the track or just the set of tyres he got for TP1.

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Running a self modified Mugen MRX4 chassis Picco declared himself 90% happy with his practice run.  A driver who knows the track better than most as it is where he does majority of his testing, the Picco engine factory being just 30-minutes away, he said conditions are ‘still slippery’.  Admitting that in 1:8 you are always looking for grip lacking either steering or rear end traction he said he used the run to prepare a set of the handout Matrix tyres for qualifying and he will do the same again in the second run.

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Posting the sixth fastest time behind the BP Racing chassis of Mirko Salemi, Andrea Pirani was pleased with the pace of his WRC prototype saying the car has a good balance front & rear.  Also a newly signed OS engine driver, the Italian was very happy with the fuel consumption from the Japanese engine. Planning to leave everything as is for the final practice he will use the track time to pre-run tyres for qualifying adding the smaller the tyre the better it will be for the 4-minute qualifier.

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Setting the 7th fastest time, Britain’s Kyle Branson said his Capricorn was not good as he had ‘no rear traction’ through right turns.  Having been happy with his car in the free practice runs he said he is not sure why the car changed but suspects something might have been binding on the car.  Having looking over the car but found nothing for the final practice he will make a rollbar change in the hope of getting better stability.

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Eight fastest, Serpent’s Michael Salven says he is having just one problem with his 977 Viper.  Coming out of the hairpins he said unless he has his car perfectly lined up straight he can’t get on the power for the following chicane as he gets out of shape due to a lack of traction.   While elsewhere the car is ok, the German will try a different shock set-up in the hope of curing the issue.  Behind Salven the Shepherd’s of Francesco Tironi and Max Vogl completed the Top 10.

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Running a brand new package this weekend as he races for the first time a Mugen chassis and OS engines which he has bought himself rather than being sponsored, 9-time World Champion Lamberto Collari posted the 19th fastest. The Italian said for the moment his focus is on building up his knowledge of these new products rather than on trying to top the times but added winning is always the end goal.

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