September 4, 2016

Kurzbuch regains ENS title with 3-in-a-row

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Inaugural Euro Nitro Series Champion Simon Kurzbuch has regained his crown over the four round onroad nitro championship. The Shepherd driver secured the 2016 1:8 title with a perfect score of three wins, the latest of which came at the Austrian round in Aigen today with another great display of driving from the World Champion.  Top Qualifier for the third visit to the high altitude track, Kurzbuch would come under a stronger than expected challenge from the reigning champion Dario Balestri, the Capricorn driver leading a number of time throughout the 45-minute encounter. In the end however as drivers strategies played out it was Kurzbuch that took an expected win 4-seconds up from Balestri, with Robert Pietsch completing the podium as the top five finished in the same order they started.

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Having won his first title in 2014 without actually registering a win, Kurzbuch said it was nice to do it second time round with 3 wins from 3 races.  Highlighting that today’s win is his fourth in succession, the Swiss ace added ‘now we’ll try to go for all four in Fiorani’ (the final round of the championship).  On today’s race, he said ‘we picked a different strategy to everyone else stopping more frequently so that we weren’t in the pits the same time as the others’.  Stopping for outside tyres on 9-minutes, all four at half distance and the outside again with 9-minutes to go, he said this strategy was to ‘safe some time’ over those who did two 4-tyre stops.  Admitting to being a little surprise by the Balestri challenge saying, ‘I didn’t think it would be that close all the time’ he continued ‘while it was really close the whole race I didn’t get stressed ad knew at the end we would have enough to win’.  Thanking his father and Shepherd’s Alex Kempe for ‘a great job’ in the pits he said as a team this year’s ENS has been ‘just amazing’.  Thanking Novarossi and Shepherd for their ongoing support, his chassis/engine package unchanged over the three seasons of the ENS, he also attributed today’s win to his Xtreme Aerodynamics R18 ‘Flat’ bodyshell which was ‘perfect for this track’, the smallest visited by the championship.

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‘No more than this was possible.  His package is more perfect than mine’, was the reaction of Balestri after the race.  The Italian continued, ‘My car and engine was good but all I could was make his life more difficult with my strategy.  Simon won because he was faster.  We have to work hard for the next one’.  In terms of that strategy, Balestri would bring his Tesla powered LAB C802 in for two tyre stops changing all four each time.

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Summing up his race, Pietsch said, ‘For me it was a good race, 3rd was the maximum I could do’.  Last year’s Top Qualifier in Austria, finishing the race as runner-up behind Kurzbuch, the Mugen driver was pleased with his car and with how he drove his own race saying ‘I didn’t make any mistakes or have any issues so I happy from my side’.  Copying the strategy of Balestri he said it was ‘the right decision’ and ‘both stops were good’ concluding, ‘I’m happy’.

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Just missing out on repeating his 2015 podium finish, Lars Hoppe said ‘fourth was my speed today’.  One of four ARC drivers in the final, making them the best represented manufacturer on the grid, the German added, ‘maybe a battle with Robert was possible as we had one less stop but my last set of tyres was slow’.  Stopping to fuel his Reds Racing engine on 5:30, admitting one was very tight with it ‘down to the last few drops’,  he went with a two stop tyre strategy, with both stops going good except for his last set of tyres not having the same pace as the previous set.  Calling it ‘a very good event for ARC with 4-cars in the final’, behind Hoppe team-mate Toni Gruber would get 5th ahead of the Infinity of 9-time World Champion Lamberto Collari.

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