July 7, 2018

Kurzbuch from Gruber in opening ENS Austria qualifier

Simon Kurzbuch has taken the opening round of qualifying at Round 3 of the Infinity Euro Nitro Series in Aigen, Austria.  A 3-time winner of the event, the Shepherd driver took the first of the 4 qualifiers by 7/10ths of a second from yesterday’s practice pace setter Toni Gruber.  Behind, championship leader Dario Balestri posted the 3rd quickest time a further 4/10ths off with Robert Pietsch next up ahead of Lars Hoppe and Carmine Raiola.

Coming into the weekend needing a perfect event if he is to keep his hopes of retaining his title alive, Kurzbuch summed up his TQ for the first qualifier as ‘very good’.  With the start of qualifying delayed because rain yesterday and also reduced from 5 to 4 rounds because of the time lost, the Swiss driver was quick to not take things for granted on a track he has enjoyed much success saying, ‘we still have three more rounds’. Commenting on the 4-minute qualifier, he said, ‘the first 1 or 2-minutes I drove very well but then I controlled the heat and so for the next one I will try to keep my pace for the whole run but I think for the first qualifying my approach was right because now I have one (TQ) already in the pocket and I can push a little more the next one’.  He also feels he will be forced to push harder by his rivals saying, ‘I think the others will improve the next round’.

‘The car has more to come from it. I was just a little nervous and the first few laps were not great’, was Gruber’s thoughts on his first qualifying attempt.  The WRC driver continued, ‘the car is good and fast enough to TQ and this was an easy second’.  Setting the fastest lap of Q1, more than a 1/10th fastest than the second best set by Kurzbuch, the German said while conditions were different to yesterday after the rain, his car was still working well today with the only adjustment they made being the positioning of the rear wing.

Winner at the previous round in Ettlingen, Balestri summed up his Q1 performance as ‘OK.  The World Champion said, ‘we tried something in the car because today the track is completely different to before and there is not much grip after the rain so we need to change more.  The Infinity driver continued, ‘yesterday the car was really good but now we need to fine tune for the lower traction and find again a good balance’.

Piestch said, ‘I feel I have the pace in the car just it is to difficult to drive a clean run’.  The Mugen driver continued, ‘I have to find something for the rear traction’.  Explaining the problem he said before the rain the balance between the front and rear grip was normal but now it is ‘worse than Ettlingen’ with the car having all the grip in the front and none in the rear. With Ettlingen famed for its unique surface that requires untraditional set-ups on cars, Pietsch feels one factor that might now be at play is the shore of the championship’s handout tyre with the front slightly too soft.

View the complete event results here.

View our event image gallery here.


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