Getting off to the best possible start to regain his ENS title, Simon Kurzbuch has taking the bonus TQ point here in Italy as the only person who could take that away from him, Dario Balestri, was unable to better the time of his Swiss counterpart despite taking the final round. Dominic Greiner would take 2nd for the round to seal 4th overall on the grid, while starting ahead of him will be Carmine Raiola who was unable to better his Q1 and 2 results. Robert Pietsch will set off for tomorrow’s 45 minute A-main from 5th, ahead of fellow World Champion Lamberto Collari, who starts his home race in 6th. Simon, who took the TQ on tie break due to his blistering Q3 run, said he pushed hard at the start of Q4 to be in a position to respond to Dario but receiving the information over the radio from his father that the Infinity driver wouldn’t be able to beat him, he pulled off the track. Checking the forecast for tomorrow he will prepare his car as normal and maybe make some small changes if any rain is expected.
Starting 2nd despite 2 TQ runs, Balestri simply said it was super hot and therefore he was unable to improve. Asked whether he can take the race to Simon tomorrow, the World Champion and current ENS Champion replied that he ‘absolutely’ has the pace to compete the Simon, continuing that the ‘car is easy and stable to drive, perfect for the final’.
Carmine Raiola had a difficult Q3 and with his results from Q1 and Q2 locking him into 3rd spot, he used Q4 to run-in a new conrod in preparation for tomorrow’s main event. The Infinity driver says he’s now ready for the final and will ‘see tomorrow how it goes’. Asked about tire stops, the Bologna track particularly heavy on right side tires, the Italian replied that most of his competitors will do at least 2 stops and so he will look to see if he can do just a single stop.
Having started qualifying in the worst possible way, being taken out, Saturday’s 3 qualifiers showed marked improvement for the former 1/10th World Champion Dominic Greiner. Ending qualifying with a 2nd, the German simply said ‘only 1/10th behind Dario, not so bad for a 1/10 driver’. Admitting to be being somewhat confused when Kurzbuch opened the door to let him through, he made some small mistakes but overall is very pleased with his Serpent 988 commenting that ‘the car is getting better as it gets hotter’.
Robert Pietsch used Q4 to test some setup changes but admitted afterwards that it had not worked out. Planning to revert to his Q3 setup for the final, he mentioned as others have that when running close behind another car that you lose front grip and so if you steer more to compensate you in turn lose speed on the straight making it very difficult to pass. Another to comment on the large tire wear, the 2011 WC believes that after 15 minutes the outside tires are finished and so we should expect 2 stops.
In the 40+ class, it was Andrea Hachler who took Q1 and 3 to take the overall class TQ ahead of Shepherd driver Andreas Giesa from Germany in 2nd, while reigning class champion Arie Manten from the Netherlands will start his title defence from 3rd.
Simon Kurzbuch took his second TQ run of the day, throwing down the only 17 lap run of the event so far, to respond in the best way possible to Dario Balestri’s Q2 TQ run. The Italian crossed the finish line in 2nd and was just less than a second ahead of a much improved Robert Pietsch in 3rd who put in his best time of the weekend. Dominic Greiner complete the quartet of World Champions at the front of the field as the Serpent driver came home 4th just ahead of engine maestro Alberto Picco.
Following a little hiccup in Q2, Leo Arnold also bounced back to take the 3rd round of qualifying in the 1/10th class. The Xray driver was joined at the top of timesheets by his team mate Alessio Mazzeo who finally managed to get in a trouble free run. Teemu Leino was next up followed by the trio of Shepherd drivers with Eduardo Escandon getting the better of his team mate Melvin Diekmann, who flamed out on the final lap and failed to finished, with Thilo Todtmann in 6th, while Jilles Groskamp ended the round in 7th. For all drivers there is one final round of qualifying this afternoon before we head straight into the lower finals.
The 2nd round of qualifying for the 1/8th scale class at the season opening round of the 2019 Euro Nitro Series has gone to Dario Balestri. Putting in some very fast laps at the end of the run, the Italian was able to overhaul Simon Kurzbuch who ended the run in 2nd. Carmine Raiola took 3rd from the 2nd fastest heat while Dominic Greiner recovered from an unlucky Q1 yesterday to take 4th, in front of Mirko Salemi while top seed Robert Pietsch had a messy run to take sixth, the top 17 for the round covered by 5 seconds. Describing his run as ‘not perfect because of traffic’, Balestri elaborated by explaining that when you run close to a competitor in front of you at this track it affects the cars aerodynamics meaning you loose some time. Once passed and into clear air the run went a lot better and he was able to push for the rest of the run. His Max engine spluttering once passed the finish line, the World champion said he can’t do more, ‘fuel is marginal but everyone has the same problem’.
Having lead for the majority of the race, Kurzbuch said ‘I don’t know what happened with Dario in the last 3 laps’, joking ‘I need to ask him what line he took’, his rival setting the fastest lap of the race on the 3rd last lap. On his own run he was happy calling it ‘really good and consistent’ but for the 3rd qualifier he will change engine as he feels his current unit has lost power and he knows he can gain a few tenths with one of his other engines.
Carmine Raiola once again put in a very good performance from the 2nd fastest heat, the Infinity driver now sitting in 3rd place after 2 rounds. Also in consistent form and coming out of the same heat Mirko Salemi, driving for Capricorn was once again 5th, the Italian sitting 4th overall.
Asked about his improvement in pace, Greiner mentioned that he wasn’t taken out this time, before going to say it was a good run but he was a little nervous at the start causing him to lose a few tenths saying ‘a few tenths are a few positions’. Taking a pragmatic approach to the remainder of qualifying the German says his first goal is to make the final and despite his car feeling too aggressive, once assured of his place in the 45 minute main tomorrow, he will will play around with setup further.
Top seed Robert Pietsch called his 6th place ‘another bad run, driving very shit’, quick to emphasise that the Mugen car he has designed is working very well and the fault lies with the driver. Making 3 mistakes during the heat, he feels that starting system that the ENS uses, where all drivers go at their own pace to the line, means there is always traffic and this makes him too nervous.
Chassis – Infinity IF15 Engine – Max XP3 World Edition Fuel – Maxima Tires (handout) – Matrix Radio/Servo – Sanwa/Sanwa Body – Xtreme Hammer
Remarks – Jilles Groskamp is running what he calls a standard IF15 from Infinity with the optional stiffer chassis. Looking for a mix between corner speed and steering he feels he has found a good balance using his standard setup from fast tracks like Fiorano. Going for a softer setting on the front anti-roll bar to get the initial turn in, he says the Bologna track is deceptive in its speed as while it has some very fast corners there are a number of very tight hairpins. Also playing with different bodies he is currently using the Hammer from Xtreme but feels that the P47 from Protoform would make the car more settled and so is an option for the main.