June 19, 2016

Leino wins exciting German ENS encounter

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Teemu Leino took victory in an exciting 1:10 A-Main at Round 2 of the Euro Nitro Series in Germany, the Infinity driver winning by 1-second from Dominic Greiner in a battle that would see the podium all finish on the same lap after 45-minutes of racing.  Starting second on the grid, the Finn would take the initial lead after 3-laps but chased by Greiner would end up on the grass when the Serpent driver ran into the back of his Capricorn.  With Greiner waiting for Leino to rejoin the track, the pair would drop down the order handing Top Qualifier Erik Dankel back the lead before being passed by Bruno Coelho.  Unfortunately for former champion Dankel a flame out would scupper his chances of a podium result at his home track.  Holding his lead for 45-laps, Coelho would lose the lead when he made a stop for tyres but his race hopes would later fade when he suffered a flame out on his in lap with 2-laps lost getting it fired back up.  All the time Leino and Greiner were working their way back to the front but ultimately able to stretch his fuel a few seconds more between stops to save one trip to the pits it was Leino who would come out on top with an impressive drive by Patrick Nahr seeing him join them on the podium.  For last year’s race winner and winner of this season’s opening race Dirk Wischnewski today’s race would net a fourth from ninth on the grid.

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His second ever ENS win, Leino said, ‘I really happy with the timing of this win in a World’s year.  I want to thank all my sponsors for this opportunity’.  With Team Infinity yet to produce a 1:10 car, last year’s championship runner-up, then running for HB, said with team boss Kenji Taira giving him the choice to choose whatever car he wanted for his first 1:10 ENS outing this year this was key to today’s result. Going into the final on the back of a strong 3rd qualifier, Leino ‘was confident with the car before the final’ and said other than his rear diff being a little too hard for the start of the race once it warmed up ‘the car was really really good’.  Surviving getting ‘3 times together with Dominic’, he added another key to the win was ‘good fuel mileage’ which resulted in Greiner and the rest of the field had to do one more stop than he did.  In terms of tyre stops he said he ‘did the same as everyone else (and) changed just the outside tyres at 15-minutes’.

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‘A very difficult and close race’ was how Greiner summed up his battle with Leino.  The German continued ‘small mistakes cost me the win’ continuing ‘I hit Teemu at 4-minutes and put him on the grass so I had to wait’.  Suffering a body tuck with 6-minutes to go he said that was the final blow to his chances of the win. Stopping for tyres on his third refuelling, changing only the outside, he said his 748 ‘felt strange’ to drive after that but concluded ‘the strategy was perfect and it was the mistakes from me and the body tuck that messed things up but I’m still happy with 2nd’.

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Securing his second ever ENS podium finish, Nahr was happy with the result but also pleased with how he himself drove the race. Starting 5th on the grid the Team Shepherd driver said everything went to plan in terms of fuel stops and his tyre change. With the result is a good confidence boost ahead of the World Championships in Italy, the former European B Champion is also looking forward to trying to continue this weekend’s form into the third round of ENS in Austria declaring ‘Aigen is my favourite track’.

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Declaring ‘4th place is ok for the championship’, Wischnewski was on the back foot from the start.  Flipping his Shepherd in the warm-up and damaging tyres he would then have to start the race with one unbroken-in tyre.  Getting hit from behind at the first corner he said this left him ‘half a lap behind’ and it was always going to be difficult after that.  With his ‘pace not so good’, only two drivers on the 12-car grid running a slower lap time, he afterward would discover that this was due to a problem with the gluing of his inside front tyre.

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Behind the championship leader Jilles Groskamp would finish 5th. Using a Serpent for the German round having run a Capricorn in Italy, the Team Infinity driver said at the start he could follow the leaders but then spun on his out lap after his first fuel stop.  After that he made the call to do the race on the one set of tyres but when both Greiner and Nahr came out from their tyre stops on the same lap he know he was in trouble.   Starting to struggle with the car on the low tyres, he said the car also started to feel strange, it later discovered a pin had come out of the front arm.

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Having claimed his first TQ of the ENS in Ettlingen, Dankel would finish 6th saying he ‘didn’t have the same pace as qualifying, in the final’.  Putting his drop off in pace down to not having the right set-up for today’s track conditions, the Mugen driver felt a podium would still have possible until he suffered a flame out.  Behind Dankel, Round 1 Top Qualifier Coelho would finish 7th.  The Portuguese ace said his Xray was ‘very good’ when he was leading and putting his pace down to the engine running rich due to cooler conditions he said he was ‘a bit unlucky’ to be caught just short.

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