October 19, 2014

Collari wins as Kurzbuch crowned ENS Champion

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Lamberto Collari made it two wins from two appearances in this season’s Euro Nitro Series but it is Simon Kurzbuch & Team Shepherd who are the inaugural 1:8 Champions.  Starting the fourth & final round from the TQ position, Collari took a commanding victory with the 9-time World Champion running the 45-minute final relatively unchallenged.  Starting 3rd behind his only title rival Robert Pietsch, whose quest to become the ENS’s first champion ended after contact with Andrea Pirani, Kurzbuch would finish the race second with an impressive drive by last chance qualifier Robin D’hondt seeing the Belgian complete the podium.

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With no championship worries having missed Rounds 2 & 3 due to other commitments, Collari was pleased to have won both the opening & final races of the season.  Beating Pietsch to the win at the season opener in Melzo, today he became the first Top Qualifier to go on to win.  In terms of his race, the Italian legend said a problem with his OS Speed engine going rich after each refuelling forced him to change his strategy to pitting earlier.  Other than this he said the rest of the race was fine with him having no issues, with his single tyre stop half way through going exactly to plan. Missing Round 2 due to preparing his own track for hosting the 1:8 Euro B Championships, he said he was a big fan of the ENS and next year he would contest the full championship a commitment that will make him a formidable title contender.

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With his championship win proving hugely popular, Kurzbuch said of the final ‘I think that was nearly perfect’.  Admitting beating Collari was always going to be a hard ask, he said without Pietsch’s unfortunate crash he felt the race they ran would have been good enough to beat the former World Champion.  Changing his outside tyres at 10-minutes and then doing a full change at 25-minutes, he said that strategy ‘worked out very good’.  Coming in a lap early for one of his fuel stops due to a mis-communication with his pit crew the World Championship finalist said this, although nothing major, was the only blotch on the race.  After being ‘a little unlucky’ at the European Championships, the 22-year-old said it was nice to be able to reward Shepherd at the end of the season with the title.  He was also very happy to thank his other sponsors Novarossi and Contact with a championship win he says he plans to try to defend next season.  Although the calender for the second season of Euro Nitro Series has yet to be decided he said he very much relishes racing a round in his home country on the world famous Lostallo track.

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Motonica driver D’hondt summed up his race from 11th on the grid to 3rd as ‘not bad, better than expected’.  Having struggled finding a set-up for his Picco powered P81 RS3 in qualifying, the multi time World Finalists found himself in the B Final.  Making changes for that 20-minute encounter he said this only left him with a very aggressive car but crediting his father with ‘perfect, fast’ fuel stops he was able to get the car into the Main event.  Making big changes to his shock set-up and ackermann after the B Final, he said the car ‘turned out to be great’.  Making just one tyre stop, the 25-year-old said the race, unlike Round 3 when he did just 3-laps in the final, couldn’t have gone much better.

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Setting the fastest lap of the final, being the only driver to run a 14-second lap,  sixth place qualifier Andrea Lorenzi finished fourth.  ‘Satisfied’ with having posted the fastest lap in the second half of the race, he said for him fourth was a good result.  Having a coming together with BP Racing’s Mirko Salemi, the Shepherd driver said it was otherwise ‘a smooth race’ with his one tyre stop going to plan.

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Finishing fifth Alberto Picco described his race as ‘difficult’.  A problem with the clutch/gearbox on his Mugen meant that it would not pick up out of the corners.  Also having a crash with Michael Salven as the Serpent driver rejoined the track following an excursion onto the grass, the Italian would lose half a lap in the incident.  He said the feeling of the MRX-5 was good but with the transmission gremlins he couldn’t make the most of it.

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Completing the Top 6, Pietsch was frustrated by his incident with Pirani.  WRC driver Pirani lost power coming onto the straight due to running out of fuel, his stop planned for a lap later, but in the path of Pietsch they made contact.  Seeing the wheel of his Picco powerd MRX-5 in ‘a strange position’, he said he was ready to come down from the driver stand but his crew got the car back on track.  With the impact bending the bumper and ‘the suspension not right’, he said it was hard to drive but he had to try everything to get the car to the finish just in case Kurzbuch was to hit problems.  Doing two tyre stops, he thought with his rivals tyres going to be so small at the end of the race he would have had a very fast car with which to finish the race had it not been for the unavoidable crash.  Behind Kurzbuch and Pietsch, Oliver Mack would complete the overall championship podium.

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