After topping practice, Dario Balestri opened up qualifying with the fastest time in Q1 and backed it up with a slightly faster time in Q2 to hold the lead here in the 1/8th scale class at Round 2 of the Euro Nitro Series.Two very close rounds of qualifying saw two seconds cover the top five in the first qualifier, and two seconds then covering the top eight in the second round.The top four positions were the same in both rounds, as Balestri headed Simon Kurzbuch, Carmine Raiola and Robert Pietsch after each four minute encounter.
Despite taking both rounds, Balestri was not so happy with how the weather conditions affected his car, describing that it became “nervous and less stable” than yesterday.However, very happy with the overall speed and lap times he ran, the Italian will just focus on driving the best he can, and not make any changes on the car for this evening’s final two qualifiers.
Finishing second to Balestri in both of the first two rounds, Kurzbuch led each of the heats with his Shepherd but came up short by six tenths of a second in Q1 and half a second in Q2.Describing his car as “OK”, he highlighted one mistake in each run, and with the close field it was “too difficult to get [the lost time] back”.The former ENS Champion will try to drive better in the remaining qualifiers and hopes he can take the fight for pole to Balestri.
Showing some great pace this weekend, Raiola led the first half of the second run, ultimately losing out on second place to Kurzbuch on the closing laps as his pace dropped off slightly.Saying that “it went good”, the driver who has been with the Infinity programme since its beginning is searching for more initial steering on his IF18, and will make big changes for the next round.Reflecting on his qualifying strategy, he said that now knowing the speed of his car, he “should have pushed more” to improve his points score.
Mugen designer Robert Pietsch holds fourth overall, with last year’s winner Robin D’Hondt in fifth.Dutch drivers Jeffrey Rietveld and John Ermen are sixth and seventh, with the top ten rounded out by Bologna winner Dominic Greiner, Toni Gruber and Romain Picard.The organisers are pressing ahead with their plan to complete all four planned qualifying rounds this evening, meaning racing will complete around 20:30 local time.
In the +40 Masters category, Dutch driver Arie Manten continues to be the class of the field, taking both opening rounds ahead of Belgian John Lenaers.Despite taking the win at the Dutch National round held here in Rucphen last month, Manten said his results were “amazing”, after making some big changes earlier in the day after the rain, “it was now perfect”.