Simon Kurzbuch is knocking on the door of his first overall TQ of the Euro Nitro Series as he posted two more fastest runs in Q3 & 4 at the Hockenheimring. The championship points leader can now only be denied pole position for tomorrow’s 45-minute Main by Mugen’s Robert Pietsch should the former World Champion top the remaining two qualifiers. With three of the six rounds to count, if Pietsch does take Q5 & 6 it will be thanks to his faster Q2 pace that he will be Top Qualifier for the second time in the championship having taken the honour at the season opener in Melzo.
After his communications misunderstanding that cost him a shot at taking Q2, Kurzbuch resumed where he left off last night when he topped the opening qualifier. In Q3, the Round 1 & race podium finisher headed a Shepherd 1-2 from team-mate Lars Hoppe with Motonica’s Robin d’Hondt third. Leaving his Novarossi Velox V8 the same for all of today’s runs, in Q4 he would top the times from Pietsch and BMT’s Daniele Ielasi. Describing both runs as having ‘worked out perfect’, the former World Championship finalist plans to continue as is for Q5 before using Q6 to test possible set-up tweaks for tomorrow’s final.
Only 5th fastest in Q3 after an early driver error, Pietsch said after some further set-up changes to his Picco powered MRX-5 for Q4 he was much happier with how it is now working. Commenting on the final two qualifiers, the German said he would actually prefer to start second than on pole position saying it is easier to follow than set the pace. Referring to Melzo where he started ahead of Lamberto Collari but the Italian took the win, he added that following also gives you the opportunity to see what options you have as out front your focus is just on setting the pace.
Struggling with traffic in Q3 leaving him only 7th fastest, Ielasi said passing on the track is quite difficult. In Q4, the Italian also had trouble with getting stuck behind the Mugen of Rick Vrielijnck late in the run leading him to hit a corner dot and flip the front of his RB powered 984 up into the air costing him over a second. Despite his traffic woes Ielasi said his car and engines are all good and he is confident for tomorrow final with one more strong qualifier ensuring he starts towards the front of what will be a 12 car grid.
Vrielijnck would post the fourth fastest time of Q4. Chunking a tyre off a cone in Q3 which would leave him only 11th fastest, the Mugen/Picco team driver said his target for Q4 was just to ‘do a safe run’ and he was happy to come away with fourth. Finding track conditions a ‘little loose’, the Dutch driver will change shock oil for he penultimate qualifier.
19-year-old Shepherd driver Timo Schroder would enjoy two strong outings setting the 4th and 5th fastest times. Running his Velox V8 the same as in Q1, he said the changes he made were to the tune of his XRD Engine which he said was running much better today. Running the same set of tyres for today’s three qualifiers, he said in Q4 they reached their limit leaving the rear end of his car very loose. For Q5 the German will run a fresh set of Enneti tyres leaving his car set-up as is.
Schroder’s team-mate Lars Hoppe would have similar issues with his tyres having also run them three times. Second fastest in Q2 he said other than a bit of a delay with traffic everything was working really well on his car. With his tyres getting too small in Q4 he could only manage 7th but with new tyres for Q5 he said he is confident he can run again at the front.
Narrowing the front end of his heavily modified Motonica as far as he can, d’Hondt said the car was really good allowing the Belgian to post the 3rd fastest time of Q3. Hoping to build on that in Q4 unfortunately his Picco engine was set too lean and he struggled around ending up 12th fastest. Leaving the car as is for his next run, he will said he will just set the engine as well as making a small adjustment to his clutch.