Simon Kurzbuch will start Round 3 of the Infinity Euro Nitro Series on pole position, the Shepherd driver taking all three of today’s qualifiers in Austria. Missing out on the TQ in the opening qualifier yesterday to Dario Balestri, Kurzbuch would open Saturday’s action with a comfortable TQ run over Carmine Raiola. Q3 was to be a closer affair with the former World Champion snatching the fastest time from Balestri on the final lap. With Q3 the rocket round this effectively sealed the deal for Kurzbuch with the hotter conditions of the final qualifier making it an impossible task for Balestri. In the end it was Kurzbuch who topped it ahead of Balestri, albeit over 2-second slower than his previous effort. Brought forward to tonight due to the bad weather being forecast for tomorrow, Balestri will line-up second for the A-Main ahead of Raiola, Silvio Hächler, Toni Gruber, Oliver Krähemann and ENS Italy winner Dominic Greiner.
Reacting to his 14 ENS Career TQ, Kurzbuch said, ‘qualifying today was really good. In the second one (Q3) I was running right behind Dario and in the last few laps I could make the gap on him. The last one was almost the same, I ran behind Carmine and had a clean run’. Coming into the weekend as the Championship points leader, the three times Champion added, ‘it is good to get the extra point for the Championship’. Asked about the final he said, ‘the tyre wear is not so high and we will test our strategy in the practice run. It should be more cold too which is better for us. I also don’t think there will be any issues with visibility from the setting sun’.
Commenting after Q4, on his P2 on the grid Balestri said, ‘It is OK, we had no chance with the temperature and I also had no tyres of the right diameter’. Looking to the final, the Infinity driver said, ‘we will see in the final practice if we can make something with tyre strategy. The tyre wear here is ok but a good strategy is still important. Asked running so late, the Infinity driver replied, ‘It will be cooler conditions while is better for us for sure’.
Raiola was a little frustrated with his qualifying times saying, ‘At the start of the run I was there with them for the TQ but then over the last 5 or 6 laps I was dropping of. I don’t know why, maybe it was tyres, I’m not sure’. On strategy for the final, he said, ‘the tyre wear is not too bad but it depends on the temperature. Maybe I will gamble on 5-minutes with the fuel but if it’s hot I can’t try this’.
‘For not being here Thursday, qualifying was pretty good’, was Silvio Hächler’s thought on securing P4. The ARC driver continued, ‘we improved the car a lot from the first qualifier’. Not quite having the pace of the three in front of him, the former Worlds Finalist said, ‘we need to do less fuel stops then the 3 guys in front and see what happens.’
In 1:8 40+ qualifying, a very happy Alain Levy took the TQ thanks to topping Q2 & 4 after some close battles with reigning champion Arie Manten and Andreas Giesa. Taking the opening qualifier Manten will start 2nd with Q3 winner Giesa lining up third.