Remarks – Top Qualifier here at Kirchberg, Robert is using a standard MTX-5, although he managed to test some new parts that might be released soon. Apart from those tests, Robert told us that he’s sticking with the standard setup he is used to and that the car is pretty well balanced. With new tires he experienced a bit of understeer, but that is the same for every other driver. Very happy with his complete package, he said he’s confident for tomorrow as longer finals are his natural habitat.
Robert Pietsch is the Top Qualifier for Race 2 of the Euro Nitro Series ‘Pilot Series’ taking place in Austria after he completed a hat trick of TQ runs in the third round of qualifying to wrap up early pole position for the tomorrow’s 1:10 and 1:8 A-Main finals. The German’s closest rivals in the opening two qualifiers, Jilles Groskamp and Eric Dankel, both crashed in Q3 and retired allowing him to take the round unchallenged ahead of Serpent’s Dominic Greiner and a much improved Dirk Wischnewski. In 1:8 which is lacking the dept of field seen at Race 1 in Hockenheim, Pietsch was easily the class of the field topping the times by over 6-seconds from the Shepherd of Euro B Champion Daniel Sieber and Xray’s Jernej Vuga.
Top Qualifier in 1:8 at the opening ENS Race at Hockenheim, Pietsch was particularly pleased to take the overall 1:10 TQ honours among the high quality field who he will come against in August as he tries to get back the European Championship title which he held in 2011. ‘Really happy’ with the performance of his car and Novarossi engine over the three qualifiers, changing very little between rounds, he said he is pretty confident for the finals as his cars and his driving tend to be better the longer the race is. Asked if he plans to use the remaining two qualifiers to work on a set-up for the 45-minute Mains he said while he would use the runs to try a few things this was purely as practice and that his intention is to run the cars the same as he did in qualifying.
Greiner was pleased with his run to the second fastest time. Less than 6/10ths off, the Serpent driver said his Picco powered 747 was real easy to drive. Planning to leave the set-up as is for the penultimate qualifier, the Euro B Vice Champion said he might try a different bodyshell to get a back to back comparison between the Protoform P37 he has run so far and Xceed’s Spark shell.
Looking a lot happier than he has so far this weekend, Wischnewski said a complete change of shock set-up gave him a car he is a lot more comfortable with. Having struggled with a lack of overall traction he said the base feeling of his Novarossi powered NT1 is now quite good and with a small bit of fine tuning together with him getting his confidence back he should be a lot more competitive in the final two qualifiers. Suffering an engine failure in Q2, he said his second engine, while set a little too rich, ran well and should run even better in Q4 with a little more fine tuning. Team-mate Alexander Hagberg posted his best round in Q3 setting the fourth fastest time but the Swede said he is just not fast enough. While the car feels good to drive he plans to take a completely different direction with the set-up for the remaining 2 heats.
Best of the Capricorn drivers for the round was French driver Leo Arnold who posted the 5th fastest time. The 17-year-old said compared with the morning, when his Orion powered LAB-C02 was difficult to drive, the car was now very good. Making a pretty radical set-up change after Q1, he said the car is now almost were he would like it to be and for the next run he will just make one change and run less rear toe-in. Team-mate Eric Dankel went from a 100K to 80K rear diff in his Novarossi powered example but said it was ‘not good’ and he will revert back to his Q2 set-up for the next run. Only 10th fastest, Francesco Tironi said he is struggling with a lack of steering. A Matrix tyres team driver, he said the handout Contact tyres and rims are very different to the Matrix he is used to running and as a result the set-up changes he is making have a different effect on the way the car reacts.
Completing the Top 6 and best of the Shepherd drivers was Patrick Nahr. The German said his Velox V10 PRO is not easy to drive with the warmer conditions of Q3 making the rear much looser than the morning qualifiers. Team-mate Groskamp whose was swapping the lead pace with Pietsch said he just pushed too hard resulting in his off half way through the run. The Dutch ace said while it is possible to ride all the curbs bar one this was the one he hit which sent his car airborne and off onto the grass ending his run as the car flamed out. Groskamp said he didn’t have a very good feeling from the way his clutch was set but planning to switch engine for the remaining qualifiers it should be better next time out.
For KM Racing’s Adrien Bertin, Q3 was the French veteran’s fastest run so far as he set the 8th fastest time just behind Shepherd designer Patrick Schafer and ahead off Xray designer Martin Hudy.
Robert Pietsch backed up his Q1 performance with a second TQ run in the second round of qualifying at Kirchberg. Running a slightly slower time in both 1:10 and 1:8, the German said his slower 1:8 time was down to running his tyres for a second time but that the 1:10 while a 13 lap run was very close to the time of his 14 lap opening run, him missing 14 laps by .961 of a second. Capricorn’s Eric Dankel was second fastest in Touring Car with Jilles Groskamp third despite losing part of his brake linkage in the closing laps of the run which left him without brakes. The round saw problems for Xray’s Dirk Wischnewski who suffered an engine failure on the opening lap and Serpent’s Dominic Greiner threw away a strong run when he made a mistake on lap 11 which cost him over 3-seconds.
1:10 Qualifying Round 2
1. Robert Pietsch – Mugen/Novarossi – 13/4:00.961
2. Eric Dankel – Capricorn/Novarossi – 13/4:01.200
3. Jilles Groskamp – Shepherd/Maxima – 13/4:01.284
4. Francesco Tironi – Capricorn/Novarossi – 13/4:03.208
5. Alexander Hagberg – Xray/Orcan – 13/4:05.372
6. Leo Arnold – Capricorn/Orion – 13/4:05.501
7. Patrick Hahr – Shepherd/Novarossi – 13/4:05.527
8. Patrick Schafer – Shepherd/Sonic – 13/4:05.538
9. Dominic Greiner – Serpent/Picco – 13/4:05.876
10.Gerhard Kandlehart – Shepherd/Orcan – 13/4:06.348
Robert Pietsch set the pace in the opening round of qualifying at Race 2 of the the Euro Nitro Series in Austria this morning, the Mugen driver topping the 4-minute qualifier ahead of Shepherd’s Jilles Groskamp. The only drivers to record 14 laps of the Stöhr-Ring track, the pair were separated by just 3/10ths with Capricorn’s Eric Dankel the fastest driver on 13 laps in third. Pietsch would make it the perfect morning by also topping the times in 1:8 from Serpent’s Toni Gruber with the Xray of former European Champion Jernej Vuga completing the Top 3.
Continuning where he left off yesterday when he set the pace in practice, Pietsch was happy to take Q1 but said nerves played a part in some less than perfect laps at the beginnng of the run. Very happy with how his Novarossi powered MTX-5 is working he said for Q2 the plan is just to fit a fresh set of the handout Contact tyres and improve his driving, something he said should be no problem now that the first qualifier is out of the way. On his 1:8 performance in which he was over 5-seconds faster than his closest rival, the World Champion said the track really suits his driving style and with no tyre additive he is also able to steer his MRX-5R from the rear adding he is really enjoying driving the car here this weekend.
Groskamp said he was ‘quite surprised’ by how close he got to Pietsch pointing out that he just needed to find 2/100th per lap to match the German. Admitting that while he doesn’t have the fastest car the Electric Touring Car World Champion said he is able to compensate somewhat for this by his consistency. His first tyre additive free race since returning to Shepherd he said everything in terms of set-up is different and to learn the new car he will make just one single change to the set-up, running new tyres each time, to see what effects the change has. His first 200mm race since last year’s World Championships, he said this weekend is all about building up as much data as possible for the European Championships.
Dankel was ‘not happy’ with his run after he made two mistakes, the first of which was on the opening lap and which cost him a 14 lap run. The ENS Race 1 winner said it was simply bad driving on his behalf as changes to the car since practice have given him the steering he was looking for. Describing his Novarossi powered LAB-C02 as really good he said he will make one small adjustment for Q2 and lower the rear roll centres. Team-mate Francesco Tironi took his car to the 8th fastest time splitting the Shepherds of Patrick Nahr and Patrick Schafer. Running a radio plate that gave the car more flex he said it was the wrong choice and he will revert to the standard one for Q2. Also distracted by a mosquito that landed on his glasses during the run, the Italian said while he may not have the pace to match Pietsch he is sure he can be much more competitive than he has been so far. The World Championship podium finisher is still trying to get to terms with the points system used in the ENS as he normally only needs just one good run to qualify well rather than the three required using this system and he needs to be more mindful of this.
Serpent’s Dominic Greiner was reasonably happy with his run to the fourth fastest time but thinks there is plenty of room for improvement. Changing the gearing on his Picco powered 747 for the first qualifier, the German said it was too short and he lost time on the straight as a result. The 21-year-old Euro B Championship runner-up also drove ‘too safe’ and for Q2 with the right gearing fitted the plan is to ‘push harder’.
Behind Greiner Dirk Wischnewski was the fastest of the Xray drivers setting the fifth fastest time just ahead of his team-mate Alexander Hagberg. Clearly not happy with his performance the former European Champion said his Novarossi powered NT1 was not much better than yesterday. Suffering a ‘lack of overall traction’, he said they will try running a heavier shock oil in Q2 and just take a single step by step approach to trying to improve the car and hopefully end up with something that allows them to be competitive come the final. Hagberg was pretty happy with the performance of his NT1 but was hampered by a clutch that went loose during the run.
For KM Racing’s Adrien Bertin it was not a good start to the day. The former World Champion crashed heavily in the warm-up resulting in a broken connector on his battery lead. Missing the start of the run while they fixed the lead, when the Frenchman did get up and running it was discovered that the crash had also broken the front bumper which was rubbing the ground. The Orion engine guru said he got the feeling the crash on the straight may have also tweaked the HK-1 and so they will fully rebuld the car for Q2 as a precaution.