Team Serpent’s Dominic Greiner overcame a drenched Aigen track to win a race of attrition at Round 2 of the Euro Nitro Series in Austria. Starting from third on the grid, the 21-year-old took an early lead only to fall foul of water in his engine but a body tuck would prove the turning point in his return to the front. At the end of the 45-minute encounter his new 748 Natrix took a four lap win over Team Shepherd pairing of Patrick Schafer and Martin Lissau, both of whom enjoyed long stints at leading the 12-car field until they too succumbed to water issues. Getting passed off the start line by Shepherd team-mate Dirk Wischnewski, Top Qualifier Francesco Tironi’s race would quickly go down hill with the Italian suffering particularly badly with water in his engine. The season opener runner-up would struggle through the painful to watch race to finish 9th, two places behind Melzo winner Eric Dankel, who also had a bad day at the office.
Having hoped for a wet or completely dry track for the final, Greiner’s wish would be granted with rain ensuring the former and immediately the quick German was able to capitalise on the same set of Pitshimizu tyres he used to dominate the day’s opening third round of qualifying. With standing water on parts of the track, eventually like almost every car in the race, he would fall fowl of this his engine taking in water with it eventually stopping. Needing to be brought back to the pits this handed the lead to Schafer leaving him 3-laps down, but trying to recover the lost time an off would cause the right side of his bodyshell to tuck under and unintentionally act as a water guard allowing his Picco engine to run less hindered for the rest of the race. Delighted with the win, which puts him right in contention in the championship after his disappointing 7th at Round 1, he said the race was extremely difficult and he would have far preferred a dry race for everyone involved. Unofficially setting the fastest time of Thursday’s dry open practice, he said the new car is proving to be ‘very good’ and he is looking forward to Round 3 in Hockenheim Germany.
‘Better than I expected’ was how a very satisfied Schafer summed up second place finish. Starting from 8th on the grid, the Shepherd boss said he was just lucky with his tyre choice for the final making a last minute change right before the start. With the tyres ‘Work(ing) out pretty good’, he said the only issue in the race was water in the engine which like Greiner cost him the lead. With all the cars coming to temporary halts around the track as drivers tried to clear their engines of water, Schafer’s would suffer a stall allowing Lissau’s Reds Racing powered example of the Velox V10 to the front.
With a car that featured ‘a lot of home made water proofing’, Lissau said the race was going so well but the last 10-minutes was a real struggle to survive. Starting from 7th on the grid and managing ‘to steal’ a set of good wets just minutes before the final from HB’s Teemu Leino after the Round 1 Top Qualifier failed to bump up, he said that while he didn’t have the fastest car he was able to run trouble free laps for the most part of the race. Looking like he was starting to do a slalom course on main the straight this was the start of water in the electrics. With the cars steering unable to centre, something he is not sure was caused by water damage to the receiver or the servo, he said he battled with it but in the final minutes of the race his radio would completely die. With a podium finish still on the line his fast acting mechanic Tommy Vinge raced to the pits drying out the car with a compressor and replacing the battery which he said he literally ‘threw into’ the car. With the car coming back to life the former 1:5 World Champion was able to complete enough laps to see off Wischnewski for the final step on the podium.
‘A joke of a race’ was how Melzo podium finisher Wischnewski described the horrid conditions. The former European Champion said the race started off really well with his Orcan powered Velox V10 working in the conditions really well. 2-minutes in however he said the engine start to drown in the water leaving him to drop back. Completely changing his driving style and hardly using full throttle he said that seemed to work and for the end of the race things ran ok but it was too late to mount any serious challenge for a podium.
Running 3rd after 10-minutes, Dankel said the race distance was ‘too long to survive’ without water getting into the engine and eventually it did. His Capricorn team-mate Dario Balestri would last just 7-minutes as he spun out trying to avoid two stopped cars on the track and then got collected putting him out of the race.