Jilles Groskamp has topped practice at Round 2 of the Infinity Euro Nitro Series in Germany. Winner of the season opener in the Netherlands, the Infinity driver was fastest around the challenging Minidrom Ettlingen track from Dominic Greiner. Groskamp set his fastest 3-laps in the first of the two controlled practices while Greiner found improvement in the final practice round, all drivers reporting overnight rain had changed the track from yesterday’s free practice. On his first outing of the 2018 championship, Eric Dankel made it three different manufacturers at the top of the time sheets ahead of Mugen team-mate Dirk Wischnewski who also missed the season opener. Behind, Rucphen podium finisher Eduardo Escandon completed the Top 5, the entire field very closely matched with 4/10ths covering the Top 10.
With Infinity owner Kenji Taira joking his driver hasn’t stopped smiling all day, Groskamp said, ‘I’m really happy with the car. We had a pretty good free practice yesterday too when we were quickest but today the track feels to have a little less bite, I guess because of the overnight rain’. The Dutchman continued, ‘It was really nice yesterday (his car) but still feels good today just there is not as much grip as yesterday’. Trying two different engines over the two controlled practice, which he called a qualifying engine and finals engine, he said the one from CP1 was better and this is what he intends to use for this evening’s opening qualifier which will bring the day to a close. Expecting Q1 to be ‘a little cooler’ due to the evening timing he said ‘maybe this will go more my way but deciding tyre strategy will be important. Smaller were better in controlled practice but I need to decide if I go with used or new. The traction is not as much now so new could work’.
‘Compared to yesterday I am much happier’, was how Greiner summed controlled practice. The Serpent driver continued, ‘we got lost with the set-up yesteday and I couldn’t drive 1 clean lap but now we have a completely different set-up and today I am almost in the 1st place. I’m not super happy with the car but it is getting better. I am close to Jilles who is super fast’. The German added, ‘the track being slower today is good for me, our car is not so good on the asphalt but we will fix that hopefully’.
Setting the fastest of his times in CP1 as radio problems caused him to stop early in the second run, Dankel said, ‘I don’t know what the problem is. I don’t know if it is the receiver or the battery, I really don’t know what it is’. Asked about his car set-up the 2015 champion replied, ‘it is pretty ok, it’s not perfect but ok. Last year conditions were a bit more easy but there is more in the set-up for sure’.
Wischnewski said, ‘yesterday went quite good but the track changed hugely after the (overnight) rain and we needed to adapt the set-up so I struggled in the morning’. Getting his seeding time in the second run, the 2015 winner continued, ‘the change in traction messed up everything. We had a good car in the high traction yesterday but that last one was good after we changed back my set-up for lower traction’.
Summing up practice ahead of Q1, Escandon said, ‘It went OK, I’m happy’. The Shepherd driver continued, ‘it takes more time than usual to adapt to this track and get used to the grip which is completely different to any other track’. He added, ‘we changed the car every time to get it better. A change we made for the second one was not better so I will go back for Q1 but the important thing will be to have a clean run because it is super tight at the front’. Behind the Spaniard, Francesco Tironi rounded out the Top 6 ahead of Infinity team-mate Lamberto Collari who clearly enjoyed his 1:10 debut at the Dutch ENS encounter and is back for more.