October 23, 2015

Collari tops controlled practice at Italian ENS

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Making his ENS debut with new 1:8 entrant Infinity, Lamberto Collari topped controlled practice at the concluding round of the Euro Nitro Series in Italy. Winner of the Fiorano event last year, then driving a Mugen, the 9-time World Champion set the fastest three laps ahead of fellow Italians Andrea Lorenzi and Mattia Collavo. Best of the visitors would be ARC’s Silvio Hächler, the Swiss driver posting the fourth fastest time around the Mini Autodromo Jody Scheckter track.  Of the title contenders it was defending champion Simon Kurzbuch who would prove fastest with 5th, almost 3/10th off Collari.  Having set the pace in practice, points leader Dario Balestri would be sixth ahead of Andrea Pirani, while Robert Pietsch would manage only 12th meaning the Mugen driver will run in the second fastest heat for qualifying.

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‘Not bad’ was Collari’s reaction to topping the times.  The winner of the season opener added ‘every time we change the car we make it better and develop it for this track, and now the overall speed is good’.  He continued while ‘the balance is good it is a little nervous to drive’ adding they still need to work on consistency.  Despite this, he plans to leave the car unchanged for the first of the four qualifiers which will bring the day’s action to a close.

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Winning the title here last year when he finished runner-up to Collari in the 45-minute Main, Kurzbuch declared his controlled practice performance as ‘OK’ but it was clear from the Swiss driver’s body language he was disappointed.  The Aigen race winner said he was finding it hard get the optimum set-up from his Shepherd.  Feeling there are ‘little differences between the sets (of handout) tyres’, he said this was creating problems for the small changes he was making to the car based on the car’s feeling over the previous run.  Looking to qualifying he thinks over the full 4-minutes things should be better.

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Balestri also felt his drop off in form was due to tyres.  Having used his own batch of Hot Race tyres for free practice, he said the batch from which the handout tyres are being issued is slightly different and he has had to change his Capricorn’s set-up for this.  He continued ‘I hope we are on top of it now’ adding ‘the handout system does make it very hard for getting the set-up right’.

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Pietsch summed up his seeding runs as ‘bad’.  In the first of the 5-minute runs he had a problem with a badly glued rear tyre, while in the second he said the problem was he simply missed getting in three good consecutive laps.  The only driver to match Collari’s 15.0 fastest lap pace with a 15.077 compared to his Italian rival’s 15.076, the German is confident his new MRX-6 is on the pace and good for qualifying.  Asked about running in the second fastest heat he said this might play to his advantage for the opening qualifier as the light will be starting to fade at that time of the evening.

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