Jilles Groskamp has topped the 2nd round of qualifying here in sunny Bologna this morning, aided to some extent by problems for his competitors. Teemu Leino first hit trouble when his back pressure tube came off causing him to slow dramatically. This in turn forced a fast approaching Leo Arnold to take avoiding action, resulting in him clipping the pitlane and breaking both right side tires. Another to suffer a broken tire was Alessio Mazzeo who felt the damage occurred when he clipped the inside of the curb coming on the straight. Behind Groskamp was the inseparable Shepherd team lead by Worlds podium finisher Eduardo Escandon in 2nd, Thilo Todtmann in 3rd and Melvin Diekmann in 4th with Jakub Rozycki taking 5th. Having changed to a stiffer, and more importantly new, chassis plate on his IF15, Groskamp said the pace was similar but now much easier to drive, enabling him to carry more corner speed. Planning to make the rear suspension slightly stiffer for Q3, the Dutchman concluded by saying ‘so far I’m very happy, the pressure is now on the other guys’.
Spanish driver Escandon described his run as OK, admitting he was a ‘little nervous’ at the start and that he made a number of small mistakes in the 4 minute run. Happy to have Alex Kempe on hand to help him with his car setup as well as in the pitlane, his first duty however was to talk to race control and get back a lost lap which failed to be counted. For the next round he will make some adjustments to the clutch and go for a repeat performance.
The second of the Shepherd team in Q2, Thilo Todtmann said it was a clean run and that he benefitted from the mistakes of the others. Feeling that the track is changing every run because of the sun, this is causing him problems with finding the right setup. For Q3 he will make some changes to the front of his Velox V10, making the anti-roll bar stiffer in an effort to bring back some more corner speed.
The last of the trio of Shepherd drivers, young German Melvin Diekmann was happy with his 4th place describing it as ‘really good’. Quick to admit that he was helped by the problems that hit the others in the run, he also felt that the car was better this run, having focused on aerodynamics rather than the chassis itself which he says is really good. Changing body position as well as adjusting the rear wing, he found more mid corner steering and was able to make it less edgy in the big corner before the main straight. He will again change body for Q3 to compare and see if it was in fact the body change or the track conditions that was the cause of the improvement.