September 6, 2019

Raiola TQs opening 1:8 qualifier at ENS Finale

Carmine Raiola has TQ’d the opening round of qualifying at the ENS Season Finale in Germany, the Infinity driver cutting things ultra close and running out of fuel crossing the loop.  Fourth fastest in practice, the Italian looked to be battling for second position with Dominic Greiner in the first of the four qualifiers as already crowned champion Simon Kurzbuch set the pace out front. However with less than 20-seconds on the clock, Kurzbuch would suffer an engine failure allowing Raiola to secure a TQ run by 1/10th of a second from Greiner.  Having topped seeding ahead of Merlin Depta, last year’s race winner Dario Balestri hit problems before the run had even started. Coming down pitlane after completing his warm-up, the Infinity driver hit the bottom of the lowly held Shepherd of Toni Gruber which pulled the trim tab from the body.  While his mechanic tried to fix it back into position the body was ripped and it came undone again causing Balestri to have a high speed off on the entry to the main straight while holding P2.  In the end he would finish 4th behind Depta, who completed the Top 3 with the fastest lap of Q1.

‘Not bad considering I had a flame out on the last lap’, was Raiola’s reaction to making it an impressive Q1 for his team as Jilles Groskamp took the opening 1:10 qualifier.  The ENS Aigen podium finisher explained, ‘I was on new tyres and this is why the fuel was so close but on used tyres for Q2 we should be OK’.   In terms of his car’s performance he said it was good for the first three minutes but then in the last minute started to loose traction.  Asked if he would change anything for Q2, he replied, ‘I will start on old tyres so I don’t want to change anything so I have a good back to back test of the difference in tyre sizes’.  Asked about his own personal performance he said, ‘I had two mistakes. Small mistakes but still mistakes so I hope to have none next time’.

The 1:10 winner in Ettlingen last year, Greiner summed up the first of the day’s qualifiers, all four rounds on today’s schedule due to rain being forecast for Sunday, by saying, ‘It was close in the end but overall I’m happy with a 2nd’.  The Serpent driver continued, ‘(the engine) went rich in the middle and then lean again and I had to be careful with the throttle. I ‘m not sure why the tuning changed. Maybe its the tank’.  On his car’s performance, the winner of the season opener in Bologna, said, ‘It was a little difficult to drive.  It was loose so we need to try and make it more stable’.

Pleased with his P3 run to back up his practice form, Depta said his Serpent is ‘super hard to drive’ adding ‘I think that’s because the traction is not there.  The others are not so much faster so its the same for everybody’.  With limited racing mileage this season due to the growth of his Merlin McFly brand and machining business, he expects the traction to improve over the remaining qualifiers and believes he has a good car for this.  The German was a little critical of the start, Balestri’s dramas not helping, saying, ‘there was a big rush out the pitlane at the start and a lot cars exited the pits together but no one went to put gaps between each of us. It was a little messy’.  Asked about tyres for Q2, Depta said he will be on fresh tyres for each qualifying admitting, ‘I’m slower on used’.

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