In the opening timed practice for the 1/8th scale class it was former world champion Robert Pietsch who was the clear leader, the Mugen driver some 5 tenths up on his nearest rival over 3 laps. Francesco Tironi was the best of the rest, the Italian driver heading another former World Champion Simon Kurzbuch in 3rd, with Andrea Pirani and current World Champion Dario Balestri completing the top 5. Asked about his rather large advantage on his rivals, the German put it down to a number of factors such as his good working relationship with his mechanic and new engines from sponsor OS which he says has more power which together makes for a better overall package. Looking ahead he doesn’t plan to make any changes to his Mugen, instead focusing on his driving saying ‘the track is easy, but it also very easy to push too much and go wide, losing a lot of time’, continuing ‘my main focus is stay calm and drive smoothly’.
Tironi was very pleased with his car and engine combo, the Infinity driver saying the feeling with the car is really good having worked a lot on setup and ending up using a much narrower track width setting which they normally can’t use, but which the current conditions allow. Working closely with Max Fantini, Francesco has been testing a lot of different engines as well as settings and now has to pick the best one before qualifying gets underway this afternoon.
Some 7 tenths back on Pietsch, Kurzbuch was very happy with his Shepherd but will continue to try different things, such as further shock changes. The Swiss driver’s main focus is to select the correct engine, looking for the best balance between outright speed and fuel economy. On that point he has been testing different blends of fuel from fuel sponsor Energy to get the most out of his package.
Andrea Pirani sits in 4th place following CP1 and described practice so far as ‘quite good’. Searching for more steering as well as more traction, the aim is to make the car more safe to drive due to the heavy tire wear. For CP2 he plans to raise the rear shocks on his Shepherd as well as check the run time so that are no surprises when qualifying starts. Completing the top 5 is reigning ENS champion Dario Balestri, who heads two of his Infinity team mates Lamberto Collari and Rick Vrielijnck, with Dominic Greiner, Luca Piromalli and Anthony Abisset rounding out the top 10.