Euro Nitro Series Champion Simon Kurzbuch will see out his successful 2019 campaign by starting the final race of the season at Ettlingen in Germany from pole position. The Shepherd driver secured his 15th ENS career TQ by taking the fourth & final qualifier as his only remaining challenger Carmine Raiola posted the third fastest time, over 2-seconds down on the Swiss ace. Raiola’s team-mate Dario Balestri would push Kurzbuch hard in Q4 heading his rival a number of times before traffic ended the Italian’s chances. Ending up tied on points, Raiola’s Q1 TQ run gives him second over his Infinity team-mate who will start third. Winner of the season opener in Italy, Dominic Greiner will start the scheduled 45-minute final from P4 with Serpent’s new 989 ahead of the ARC of former ENS race winner John Ermen with Jeffrey Rietveld completing the top half of the grid.
Reacting to his TQ, Kurzbuch said, ‘all day the car was really good and the second engine delivered what we expected’. Leading the opening qualifier before suffering an engine failure in the final 20 seconds, the ENS’ most successful driver said, ‘we came into the weekend with a good starting point and from the first practice the car was perfect’. Looking to tomorrow’s final, the schedule brought forward due to rain being forecast for Sunday, he said, ‘set-up wise I will change nothing. We have data for the tyre wear and also it helps that we know that we are already champions. The pressure is off so I can enjoy the race but I still want to win’. The former World Champion added, ‘It’s 2-months to the Worlds so we will take tomorrow as important practice to try and improve everything more’.
Claiming his best qualifying position of the season with P2, having qualified 3rd at all previous rounds, Raiola wasn’t overall pleased with his performance. The Aigen podium finisher said, ‘the first 2-minutes is OK but then I start to lose out to the first two (Balestri & Kurzbuch)’. Asked his plan for the final, the Italian said, ‘I will have to take a risk to stay with the other two. Maybe I will try to make 5-minutes (fuelling) and one tyre change’.
Commenting on his Q4 performance in which he set the fastest lap, Balestri said, ‘I just need to be faster in the traffic’. He continued, ‘the speed is there to race with Simon tomorrow as always but we will try to make his life not so easy’. Asked his thoughts on the final, he replied, ‘first of all we have to see if it is dry or not but we will refresh the car, the car is fine, and then we need work on our tyre strategy’.
While Jilles Groskamp wrapped up the overall 1:10 TQ in the penultimate round, Thilo Tödtmann sent out a strong message in the final qualifier that he plans to take the fight to the Infinity driver in tomorrow’s 45-minute final. Continuing to be the outright fastest driver around the Ettlingen track setting yet another fastest lap in Q4, the Shepherd driver posted a TQ run ahead of team-mate Melvin Diekmann to secure second overall on the grid. While retiring with a diff problem right after the start of the final qualifier, Patrick Nähr will start third followed by Diekmann with the Top 5 competed by Milan Holthuis. Top Qualifier at the season opener, after a difficult start to the weekend which put him in the second fastest heat grouping Leo Arnold will start 7th.
In the 40+ 1:8 class, it will be Andreas Giesa who starts on the pole, the German taking the opening three qualifiers. Topping Q4 from reigning champion Arie Manten, John Lenaers will start second ahead of Michael Pätz, Rudi Scherer, Manten and ENS Aigen winner Alain Levy.