July 9, 2017

Kurzbuch claims ENS win despite ‘far from perfect’ final

Simon Kurzbuch has claimed the first win of his Euro Nitro Series title defence with victory at Round 2 of the championship in Germany.  Running out of fuel at the season opener in France and finishing seventh, the Shepherd driver would register his 7th ENS career win with victory ahead of Round 1 winner Bruno Coelho with former champion Dario Balestri completing the podium.  While Kurzbuch would lead the majority of the 45-minute final, it was another rough race for the World Champion with a not so perfect tyre stop and contact with a backmarker leaving him with a damaged exhaust that left him down on power.  Coelho looked like he might once again beat the Swiss driver but bad communications between the Xray driver and his pit crew cost him the win as he ran out of fuel.  There was also drama for Balestri as he made a late fuel stop but hit another car in pitlane resulting in him losing steering, the Infinity driver somehow limping the car to the finish line with a lot of trips onto the grass.

‘A final far from perfect’, was how Kurzbuch summed up his race.  The two time ENS Champion continued, ‘The first 15-minutes it was good but the tyre stop wasn’t perfect’, the mounting of the new front left tyre giving his crew some issues despite the team repeatedly practicing stops last night after qualifying.  He continued, ‘he still had the lead but then I hit backmarker and it destroyed the pipe and the engine got more rich and rich so I had to drive with no mistakes because Bruno was chasing but he had bad luck and in the end we could win’.   A driver known for having a super quick pit crew, he said, ‘I won and I’m super happy as it put me back in the championship but need do better next time’.

In contrast to Kurzbuch, Coelho said, ‘It was a very good final, it was more stressful than the last time for sure but it was a very positive race so I’m not unhappy with the result’.  He continued, ‘Bad communication between me and the pits were a problem.  They called me in but I didn’t hear them and it cost me the win’. He added, ‘we had one less refuelling than him (Kurzbuch) and I was right behind him so in the end we would have been there’.  Pleased with the performance of his RX8, he said the communications problem, a large number of drivers using headsets this weekend, ‘is easy to solve and get back on point again’.  With today’s result keeping him at the top of the championship standings he concluded, ‘a second for the championship is very positive’.

Summing up his race, a marked improvement on the season opener, Balestri said, ‘The strategy was to take care of the right side tyres and push when we changed the ride side but Salemi was not looking and caused a crash in the pits’.  The impact would brake the servo saver and his body, with Balestri just managing to get the car to the finish line.  Despite the incident, the former Ettlingen race winner said, ‘I’m happy anyway because I am the first Infinity driver which has a lot of dream drivers and we know the gap with Simon (Kurzbuch) is really close and we will work on this for the World Championship’.

Balestri’s team-mate Alberto Picco would finish 4th. Bumping up from the B-Main, the Italian described his final as ‘a nice race’.  He continued, ‘I started P11 so I was very careful at the start because with all the traffic there was a big chance to crash.  My car was ok and I was building up my speed.’  With the race leader coming up behind him he said, ‘I let the leader passed but the car behind crashed me and I lost a lot of time.  The car was still good but I think something was bent on the car but it was drivable so I just did my own race to the end’.  He concluded, ‘I’m happy with 4th, I couldn’t do better’.  Only 5-second behind Picco, former race winner John Ermen, who also bumped up from the B-Main, finished 5th with Robert Pietsch, who suffered a flame out, completing the Top 6 at Minidrom Ettlingen.

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