July 8, 2018

Kurzbuch takes first win of season at ENS Aigen

Simon Kurzbuch has taken his first win of the 2018 Infinity Euro Nitro Series in Austria.  Coming into the weekend with three consecutive ENS wins at the Aigen track, the Shepherd driver continued to add to that tally adding his 10th ENS career win. Capping off the perfect win having TQ’d all four rounds of qualifying, today’s result means the title goes down to the final round in Fiorano in September.  In contrast to the reigning champions successful weekend, for his main title rival & points leader coming into the event it was a 10th place DNF for Dario Balestri.  Starting 3rd, the Infinity driver suffered an early flame out but on his recovery drive he would later clash with Silvio Hachler with his car suffering damage that would end his race.  Pushing Kurzbuch in the first half of the race, Toni Gruber would finish 2nd with Merlin Depta taking advantage of others issue to secure the final podium placing ahead of Lars Hoppe.

‘It was a good final from our side.  We made no mistakes’, was how Kurzbuch summed up today’s vital win.  The Swiss ace continued, ‘we ran a different strategy to the rest. On my second stop we changed the outside tyres so all the time I would have enough tyres to push if needed.  This strategy also meant I could push for the stint before we did our full tyre stop’.  Having been robbed of victory due to engine stops in the opening two rounds of the championship, the 2015 World Champion dedicated the win to those involved in the development of the new engine.  He said, ‘the engine was very good and this is the new Mephisto line’s first win. Daniele (Ielasi) and the guys at Novarossi have worked really hard for this’.  He added, ‘My pit crew did a perfect job and now we have one more race to go.  We knew what we had to do, take the TQ and win in Aigen, and now we have to do the same in Fiorano’.

‘Finally a second place. I start 2nd and finished 2nd so I am happy’, said Gruber after the 45-minute final.  The WRC driver went on, ‘the car was really good at the start.  I picked the best of the two sets of tyres we ran in the warm-up to start the race and they were really good. I could really push.  After the tyre change the car felt difficult to drive and I think it was a tyre problem.  I knew it was not possible then to pass Simon so then I drive easy to save my second position and bring it home’.  Missing the opening round due to his wedding, Gruber opened his campaign with a 3rd in Ettlingen and now a 2nd with an ENS win still eluding him.  He said, ‘get a win is on my mind but my goal is to finish on the overall podium (3 of the 4 rounds counting in the final standing).  Fiorano is a good track for me so I will drive as fast as I can and hope for at least a podium’.

Claiming his first ever ENS podium finish, Depta said, ‘I took advantage of the casualties. Robert (Pietsch) and Dario had better pace but they were not there at the end’.  The Serpent driver continued, ‘I had a good battle with Silvio and Lars but Dominic (Greiner) was just telling me to safe fuel.  It was super close. Every stint was different. He was telling me push, don’t push but in the end it paid off’.

‘A little unlucky’ was how Hoppe summed up just missing out on the podium.  The Shepherd driver and a former podium finisher in Aigen, he said, ‘until the tyre change all was perfect. I was 3rd and had an easy gap over 4th but in the stop a shock came out at the top.  I had to drive one lap on three shocks and then they fixed it.  After that I had some engine tuning issues and the engine was too rich’. The German concluded, ‘P4 was good but more was possible today’.

In the 40+ class, the ENS crowned its first 2018 Champion as Arie Manten completed his third consecutive perfect weekend.  Starting from the TQ, the Infinity driver had an easy win over Tono Sloboda and is now uncatchable in the championship standings.

View the complete event results here.

View our event image gallery here.


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