Despite having not raced 1:10 200mm nitro since the World Championships in Thailand in 2012, HB’s Teemu Leino got his return to the class off to an impressive start as he TQ’d the first qualifier at the opening round of the all new Euro Nitro Series in Melzo. Having set the pace in practice at the Italian event earlier in the day, the Finn completed a perfect first day posting the fastest time over the 4-minute qualifier by .638 of a second from World’s podium finisher Francesco Tironi with Serpent’s Dominic Greiner completing the Top 3. Having posted the second fastest time in practice, Dario Balestri would fail to complete a single lap in Q1 suffering a throttle servo failure in his Capricorn on his out lap.
‘Still think it can be better’ was how Leino summed up his TQ run. The World Championship Top Qualifier said he had not yet found a ‘super set-up’ for his R10 but added his Novarossi engine was ‘crazy good’. Under braking he does not have the steering he would like to have and he said ‘when or if’ they figure this out he can be a lot faster. With the car’s designer Takashi Miyashita as his pitman, Leino said because they do not have a lot of experience with the car and of running on such a large track he said the plan is to make changes to the car every qualifier as they try to work towards a good set-up for the finals. Racing also in 1:8 here at the Mini Racing Ayrton Senna track, he said switching back & forth between the two classes is challenging as the driving styles required for each car are so different.
Having ended practice sixth fastest, Tironi said 3-consecutive laps have never been his strong point but he knew he had the consistency for a good qualifying run. Moving the position of the bodyshell on his Novarossi powered Shepherd for Q1, he said this gave the Velox V10 more steering. Admitting he is not the outright fastest driver over a single lap, he is pleased with his overall pace and plans to continue with the car although with light rain causing the postment of the opening round of 1:8 qualifying to tomorrow morning he said he must wait to see what weather greets racers in the morning – currently the forecast show the rest of the weekend to be ideal for racing.
While still looking to get more steering from his Serpent 747, Greiner said the car was easy and consistent to drive and overall that was more important. Having reverted back to a gear diff in the front having tried a solid axle, the German said this made the car feel ever so slightly better under braking. Suffering from his engine dropping off power after 5-laps, he will fit a new Picco engine for Q2 adding that hopefully with a good nights sleep he can also come up with a solution as to how to find more steering.
Posting the fourth fastest time was Luca Redaelli, the Xray driver saying a problem with traffic on the last lap cost him a Top 3 run. Switching to a set of shocks from Italian company Black Tarmac, the 22-year-old said they improved his NT1 over how it ran on the standard shocks giving him more overall traction. For the second of the four scheduled qualifiers he plans to run the car as is.
Having had gearbox issues in the final practice, Dirk Wischnewski said he had to use the warm-up to adjust the gearbox but still it did not feel right for the qualifier. Setting the 5th fastest time he said considering this it was an ok result. Planning to fit a new gearbox for Q2 he said he will also make some set-up changes but these will depend on the morning’s track conditions.
Capricorn’s Eric Dankel posted the 6th fastest time, the Top 6 covered by just 2.3 seconds. The German said he didn’t want to be making excuses but felt he had bad luck with the set of tyres he was issued with for the run. With the German describing his car good through right turns he said it suffered from understeer when turning left. Despite this he said things are ‘super tight’ and he is looking forward to Q2.
Posting the 7th fastest time, Adrien Bertin was pleased with his run despite losing time after contact with the Shepherd of Patrick Nähr. His debut race with HB, the former World Champion said he is enjoying working with Leino & Miyashita and overall his focus is learning the R10. Looking to get a better feeling with the car through low speed corners he said for a first outing its working good but if he could get the car to rotate more it would be much easier.
Martin Lissau took his Shepherd to the 8th fastest time despite having to deal with some ‘hectic traffic’ at the start of the qualifier. The Danish driver said switching to a stiffer shock set-up improved the overall feeling of his Velox V10 but added he may have taken the wrong direction with a harder front anti-roll bar and for Q2 he will switch to a softer rollbar. Behind the former 1:5 Touring Car World Champion Xray’s Rico Krober and Serpent’s Mark Green completed the Top 10.