September 22, 2018

Kurzbuch again in Q2 as traffic costs Balestri

Simon Kurzbuch has taken another TQ run at the ENS Season Finale in Italy but only after title challenger Dario Balestri hit traffic over the final two laps.  Posting the fastest lap of the second qualifier, Balestri was leading the times but lost around 7/10th in the closing 2-laps to cross the line 0.247 off Kurzbuch.  Again the pair would be the only drivers to record 17 laps of the Fiorano track, the TQ pace just slightly slower than that recorded by Kurzbuch last night which all but assures him the overall TQ if it came to a tie breaker.  Behind the two title contenders, Robert Pietsch, who set the pace at the beginning of the run, completed the Top 3 ahead of the Andrea Pirani, Lamberto Collari and Alberto Picco.

Summing up the 2nd of the 4 qualifiers, Kurzbuch said, ‘It was all good.  I’d a free track for the first minute and a half.  The engine was a little bit on the limit.  It was maybe too lean but it worked and we are now really close to the TQ point’.  With Balestri having the tall order now of taking the remaining two qualifiers and doing one of them in a quicker time than that which Kurzbuch recorded in Q1’s cooler evening conditions, the Shepherd driver is already switching his attentions to the final.  He said, ‘Daniele (Ielasi) will prepare now my engine for the final which we will try in the 3rd or 4th one (heat) to check the fuel consumption in race conditions’.

Frustrated to lose out again to Kurzbuch, Balestri said, ‘I had traffic in the last two lap and lose the TQ because of this’.  The Infinity added, ‘Everything on the car was OK’.

A driver who had to deal with traffic frustration in the 11 car top heat in Q1, Pietsch summed up his run by saying, ‘It was OK. I was lucky now with traffic’.  The Mugen driver continued, ‘At the beginning I was leading but I couldn’t keep up the pace.  I was lacking a little power but don’t know the cause of this but I think it is the fuel.  I think they have a special additive they use only in qualifying and it give them more power over the run while my engine drops off a little’.

Pirani was pleased with his second qualifier after suffering a flame out at the start of Q1.  The ARC driver said, ‘today yes was better.  Yesterday we had a flame out before the start but today is good’.  The former ENS podium finisher continued, ‘I need a little more speed and to get that we need to find a little more steering.  I will make some changes after the next qualifier because I need to make one more safe run but we need to change something to be more competitive for the final.’

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