Dominic Greiner is the top seed at season opening round of the Infinity Euro Nitro Series in the Netherlands. The Serpent driver left his mark on Friday’s track action by topping free practice and then both of the timed practices, the second of which would be 3/10ths quicker than the first. Behind the winner of last season’s finale, Jilles Groskamp would improve to the second fastest time with Infinity’s new car while Xray’s Alessio Mazzeo turned around a difficult day to finish up 3rd quickest. Making it four different cars at the top of the times, new WRC recruit Melvin Diekmann would post the 4th fastest 3-consecutive laps ahead of Teemu Leino and 1:10 rookie Lamberto Collari.
‘I am pretty confident for qualifying but it really close with Jilles, Teemu and now Mazzeo like always’, was Greiner’s reaction at the end of the first official day of the event at the De Baanbrekers track. Having not been completely happy with his car in the first timed practice, but still quickest, asked if he found conditions better for TP2, the World Champion replied, ‘I think a lot depends on the tyres but we tried something and it was better. We also got another free practice run after and tried something else so now we know what we can do if the track changes’.
‘Better’ was how Groskamp summed up the second timed practice. P4 after the first run, he continued, ‘the track was maybe slightly better that time and I also made the rear stable. It was a good run and I closed the gap to Dominic a little more so I’m ready to go qualifying. I’m really happy to be close to him’. The 2015 Champion added, ‘I don’t know if Dominic has any surprises for qualifying but I am going to start with what I have. 3 laps is way different to 4-minute pace’. On his car he said, ‘our new touring car is working very good, good steering, good power because the transmission is really free and I only need to make small changes each time not like before when we had to change everything’.
Summing up his day, Mazzeo said, ‘the car finally works good’. The Italian added, ‘yesterday and this morning have been difficult but we worked hard and now have found a good set-up balance’. Describing the track layout as ‘very hard’, the Vice-World Champion said, ‘the gear ratio is very critical for 1:10 but we have everything good now for qualifying’.
Putting his improved in TP2 down to ‘the driver improved’, Diekmann highlighted this being his first ENS race with WRC saying ‘It’s a new season and a new challenge’. The 19-year-old said having put the car on the track for the first time yesterday with his ‘basic set-up’ he has had to make very little changes. The biggest changes has come with a switch of bodyshell from a Spark to Protoform’s P47 which he said improved the car’s corner speed. On the track, he said it was a bit like Ettlingen with the ‘fast corner suiting (his) driving style’.
Never one to give away too much, Leino summed up practice with, ‘we are ok, the final is on Sunday’. The former champion said ‘From talking to a few drivers the split between the front and rear shore of the tyres is higher than the practice tyres. Maybe the track changed too I don’t know but we still have a few things we want to try’. The Finn concluded, ‘It’s not an easy track. It looks easy but it’s not’.