The wait for the highly anticipated start to the third season of the Euro Nitro Series is over as the world’s best onroad drivers travel to Bologna, Italy, this weekend for the first of four stops on the 2016 calendar. New to the championship last season when it also hosted the opening round, the L.Collari RC Raceway circuit owned by RC legend Lamberto Collari has attracted over 150 entries with the biggest news of the new season being the arrival of the new Infinity team. Making their ENS debut with a small presence at the 2015 season finale in Fiorano, 1:8’s newest manufacturer has over the winter recruited an impressive driver line-up in it’s quest to win the prestigious ENS title.
In 1:8 it’s Capricorn who are the reigning champions with Dario Balestri and the successful Italian partnership remains upchanged for 2016. One interesting addition to Capricorn’s line-up is multiple World Championship Finalist Robin D’Hondt. Infinity’s intentions are clear with the Creation Model owned brand having signed up none other than 9-time World Champion Collari to lead a star studded team. Although they have yet to produce their own 1:10 car, another top signing is reigning ENS Champion Jilles Groskamp who is also joined by his race race winning HB team-mate of last season Teemu Leino. Racing in both classes this weekend, Groskamp will use a Capricorn in 1:10 while Leino will focus only on 1:8.
As the 2015 1:8 Champions, Team Shepherd will be relishing the prospects of a competitive campaign. Winners of the inaugural ENS title with Simon Kurzbuch and on the back of a great win at the season final back in October, the Swiss driver went on to be the World Champion in Brazil. The German manufacturer will also be looking for a strong 1:8 performance from European Champiom Oliver Mack. In 1:10 Dirk Wischnewski will again lead the Shepherd challenge.
Winners in Bologna last year with Collari, then running as a privateer, Mugen will this year look to former World Champion Robert Pietsch. By his own standards Pietsch didn’t have a great 2015 season and will be looking to make amends for that. Alberto Picco, the man responsible for Pietsch’s engine sponsorship, will again be another of the leading Mugen contenders. In 1:10, having lacked strong representation in the class last year, Mugen have boosted their efforts with the signing of 2014 Champion Eric Dankel. The German returns after a break from racing following a difficult & curtailed campaign last year.
While Xray have a new 1:8 car which they hope will bring them improved success in the sport premiere class, in 1:10 they can be expected to again be title contenders. A World Championship year for 1:10 nitro touring, they are the reigning World Champions with Alexander Hagberg and everyone knows the threat that is Bruno Coelho.
In 1:10, expect Serpent to be right at the sharp end thanks to the sometimes controversial but very fast Dominic Greiner. On outright speed the German is unquestionably one of the touring car classes’ fastest drivers but luck tends to elude him. Dominating the season finale, he was robbed of a potential title victory by an engine failure. That win would go to his team-mate Alessio Mazzeo, who with Greiner makes Serpent a formidable 1:10 title challenger. In 1:8, Merlin Depta showed strong for Serpent last year and should be one to watch.
Elsewhere ARC will be hoping to build on a strong debut season with Lars Hoppe a potential winner. Former ENS race winner John Ermen and Silvio Hachler will be aiming to be in the mix also with the R8. Having started 2015 with just one team driver but adding Michele Ramagnoli, WRC have high hopes of improving on their 4th position in last year’s overall championship with Andrea Pirani. Unfortunately Daniele Ielasi has opted to sit out the opening round.
Supported by Shepherd, Xray, Serpent and now Infinity, the Euro Nitro Series continues its single tyre supplier per race format with Contact providing drivers with traction for Round 1. Ettlingen in Germany is the venue for Round 2 when Enneti makes it return to the championship with Hotrace the supplier for Round 3 in Aigen, Austria. Having supplied the tyres for the season opener the past two season’s Matrix will now take care of drivers needs for the final round at Fiorano, Italy.