Dario Balestri pulled off a clean sweep of qualifying at the season finale of the ENS in Fiorano with the Capricorn driver topping all five rounds. Having wrapped up his first overall TQ in the championship in Q3, the Italian showed no signs of letting up continuing his domination in the final two rounds. Posting the 2nd and 3rd fastest time respectively in the closing qualifier, that is the position Serpent’s Dominic Greiner and Shepherd Dirk Wischnewski will line up behind Balestri for the 45-minute final.
With it hard to bet against Balestri taking his first ENS win tomorrow bar mechanical issues, Round 2 winner Greiner seems to be the only real threat to a home win for Capricorn, the Mini Autodromo Jody Scheckter being where the manufacturer does most of its development testing. Having ‘changed a lot’ on his Max powered 748 for the final qualifier, Greiner said this gave him oversteer with him describing the 4-minutes as being ‘very difficult’. Needing to find the right balance for tomorrow, the German said they will test for this in the 10-minute A-Main practice but he thinks they know what direction they need to go in.
Having targeted a Top 3 starting position, Wischnewski said third on the grid was ‘ok’. Tied for second in the championship standings with Greiner and team boss Patrick Schafer, the former European Champion said while he made a mistake on the first lap of Q5 and then overdrove for a few laps he is happy with how easy his car is to drive. Planning to run the car the same for the final, the German said due to the low tyre wear of the track, strategy is going to be less of a factor in the final so finding a way to catch Balestri will be hard. Describing his Orcan engine’s consumption as good this is possibly one place he can try to make up time with less fuel stops.
Shepherd team-mate Francesco Tironi will start 4th on the grid. Having tried different set-ups in the final two qualifiers, the World Championship podium finisher said he will revert to a set-up he ran yestrerday. Describing that set-up as a good compromise between speed and consistency he said his aim for the final was consistency adding once he had that he would go from there.
With 10 direct qualifiers and two bumping up from the B-Final to make a 12-car grid, champion elect Eric Dankel will start 5th. Winner of two ENS races, the Capricorn driver said since this morning he has struggled. A lack of feeling from the car’s steering he said as it stands now he is ‘not competitive’. While his set-up not much different to Balestri, he said his team-mate just knows the track better and he is better able to drive it better even as the conditions change over the day. Behind Dankel, Mario Spiniello completes the top half of the grid as the top Xray followed by Patrick Schafer.