Kurzbuch remains benchmark at ENS Germany
Just as he was at the season opener at ENS Netherlands, Simon Kurzbuch is the 1:8 benchmark going into qualifying at Round 2 of the Infinity Euro Nitro Series in Germany. The Shepherd driver was fastest over 3-consecutive laps around the Minidrom Ettlingen track at the end of controlled practice topping the times from fellow World Champions Dario Balestri and Robert Pietsch. On his first outing of the 2018 season, Toni Gruber would settle into the event with the fourth fastest time with Round 1 find Jeffrey Rietveld fifth fastest ahead of fellow Dutchman Rick Vrielijnck who made it six different brands of cars in the Top 6.
‘It was just two more practice sessions. There was quite a lot of practice for everybody and I’m ready for qualifying’, was Kurzbuch’s reaction to topping the seeding practice. Also fastest at the end of the 1o rounds of free practice, the reigning ENS Champion continued, ‘I am thinking of making a little change to my front shock oil but it’s nothing big. My engine and everything else feels very comfortable so I’m ready’. Asked about changes in track conditions from the overnight rain, the Swiss driver replied,’ the track is much slower than yesterday but it is still good for me but lap times like yesterday are not possible anymore’.
Balestri also seemed keen to get down to the more serious business of qualifying. The Infinity driver said, ‘practice was ok so we are almost ready. Today we needed to change to set-up because the track changed. Yesterday the traction was maximum, today it is normal which is a little better for us’. Looking to Q1, the reigning World Champion said, ‘it is important to be consistent but it is not easy on the track because you have a lot of front traction’.
‘The car is super good, it is only a matter of my driving it. The car for sure has the pace’, was how Pietsch summed up his practice pace. The Mugen designer said, the track is completely different to yesterday. I prefer the higher traction but still today it is ok. It wasn’t only the track that was different it is a lot more hot today. When clouds come my car is faster than when in the sun’.
Gruber described his P4 in practice as ‘not bad so far’. The WRC Racing driver continued, ‘the temperature is a little high today so the lap times are slower but it is the same for everybody. The balance of the car is good also for the hot weather so we will see how it goes for qualifying but I feel pretty good going into Q1’. Asked about finding a set-up for the track, the German replied, ‘from the start the car felt good and we just made the usual small changes and it was quickly got to a good set-up’.
‘It is going really good today’, was Rietveld’s reaction after practice. Qualifying a surprise fourth in Rucphen, he said, ‘yesterday we struggled a bit. The traction was really high and I am not used to that’. Making his ENS debut here last year, returning to racing after a number of years away from competition, he continued, ‘We made a few set-up changes and they worked out well so I will leave it now for qualifying. It is easy to drive which is good for the 4-minutes of qualifying. I will try to keep it clean’.
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