Simon Kurzbuch and Teemu Leino are the top seeds at ENS Austria in Aigen. Second fastest to Carmine Raiola in free practice, Kurzbuch produced a new fastest 3-consecutive laps in the first of the two controlled practices to secure the top seeding ahead of Dario Balestri, the World Champions split by 9/100ths of a second. Topping CP2 ahead of Kurzbuch, this time would leave Dominic Greiner 3rd overall ahead of Riola who also was unable to improve on the time he set in CP1. Last year’s race runner-up Toni Gruber will be seeded 5th ahead of Silvio Hächler with Jeffrey Rietveld being the only other driver in the Top 10 to improve his time in CP2 ending up 7th fastest. In 1:10 Leino was able to remain at the top as he had done in free practice. Topping both his runs, the Finn’s closest challenger was again team-mate Jilles Groskamp with Shepherd’s Melvin Diekmann stepping into the Top 3.
‘Everything is good, the car is a bit easier to drive now’, was how Kurzbuch summed up his form after seeding. Chasing his fifth consecutive win at the Aigen track, the Swiss ace said, ‘we have been slowly adjusting the rear of the car each run to get more rear traction. We might adjust it a little more for the first qualifying but I should be able to make a consistent 4-minutes now’. The Novarossi driver also added, ‘I have 3 good engines I can choose from for qualification so things look good’.
Summing up his performance in controlled practice, Balestri said, ‘honestly all is OK and I just need to drive slow and then I can try to make something more consistent in pace. It (the track) is really loose’. Infinity team-mate, Raiola admitted changes in CP1 did little to get his car easier to drive saying ‘we added more camber but we still had the same problem. It’s a difficult track’. For the final practice the Italian said they used the track time to ‘just bed in tyres for the qualification’ and they will pick the best tyres from the two sets for Q1.
Enjoying his first ever 1:8 win of the ENS at this year’s season opener in Bologna, Greiner described his controlled practice as ‘so so’. The Serpent driver added, ‘I am not really happy with the car. We just need a little bit more and then it would be perfect. My car is better for long runs not for 4-minutes, we have a good car for the final’. Fastest in CP2, the German said, ‘I think I can go faster if I can make the car more stable but the issue is the consistency over 4-minutes. I will try a different shock in the rear for Q1 as now it was a little too loose’.
Reacting to topping 1:10 seeding, Leino said, ‘my car has been good here from the first practice. It is almost the same as we ran in Holland but we found more rear traction and it is better. I leave it as is for Q1’. A two time Aigen winner, asked his thoughts on the track he replied, ‘For 1:10 it is the perfect size of track. For 1:8 it is a little small but I like it’.