Teemu Leino is the Top Qualifier at ENS Austria, the Infinity driver putting in a dominant performance to take all four rounds of qualifying at the Aigen track. A two time winner up in the Austrian hills, the Championship leader will start ahead of team-mate Jilles Groskamp, the reigning Champion unable challenge to match the Finn’s blistering pace. Claiming his best ever ENS qualifying result, Jakub Rozycki will start from 3rd on the grid for the 45-minute encounter, which, due to inbound rain has been rescheduled to run tonight. Matching his 2017 qualifying result at the track, Melvin Diekmann will start 4th ahead of Milan Holthuis and 2017 podium finisher Thilo Tödtmann.
His second consecutive TQ of the season, Leino said, ‘today was really good, all worked good. Yesterday was good too but we just had the engine issue in the first qualifier’. Chasing his third win of the Season, which would secure him the ENS title he previously won in 2015, he played down his dominance of the event so far saying, ‘I just want to finish the final, I don’t need to take the win’. Asked about strategy for the final, he replied, ‘tyre wear is going to be important. The tyre wear is high but we will see in the practice what we will do for the race’.
Asked to sum up his qualifying, Groskamp replied, ‘Teemu is in a different world although in the last one I closed the gap a little. The car is really good but we struggled with the engine tuning.’ Suffering a flame out in Q3, the Dutch driver explained, ‘the bottom power is not so good so we will run a different engine in the practice to be safe for the final. It is my engine from ENS Round 2 so I know it is stable’. He concluded, ‘the car is working really well and 45-minutes is a different story. I’m looking forward to it’.
A very pleased Rozycki said, ‘my car and engine have been perfect. We found a set-up in practice and didn’t have to chance it in qualifying’. The 22-year-old Polish Xray driver added, ‘I am comfortable with car and confident of a good final. Our tyre strategy is to change just one but we want to check this in the 10-minute final practice’.
Diekmann described his qualifying as having gone ‘very good’. Admitting to a making a nervous start in the first two qualifiers, the German said Q3 was good as the temperatures came. With his Shepherd having too much steering in the cold conditions he said he hopes some set-up changes will give him a better car for the final which is due to take place just before 18:00 when the track should be starting to cool again. The 20-year-old said it’s been a busy event with him having to learn how changes to the many new parts on his car effect the set-up.
Chassis – Velox V10 Black Edition Engine – Gimar Eagle.12 Fuel – Energy Tires (handout) – Matrix Radio/Servo – Futaba/Futaba Body – Protoform P47
Remarks – Melvin is running a host of new test parts on his Shepherd this weekend in preparations for the up coming European Championships. The car features a prototype battery mount which positions the battery to the left side of the car to allow the use of adjustable brass weights. He is also running new front bulk heads which unlike their predecessor are now full closed, the focus be on reducing flex. A new front carbon insert in the front of the chassis is also being tested for flex as is a brace plate mounted at the front of the radio plate.
Remarks – Simon is running Shepherd’s all new Velox B8.2 which they just announced last month. Running the car pretty much out of the box but has been trying out different option parts to play around with the flex characteristics of the all new chassis design. The factory Novarossi driver is also testing a new prototype manifold which he said he was unsure if it was something they planned to release.
Simon Kurzbuch has taken the second round of qualifying at ENS Austria this morning on what is going to a be busy day for drivers. With rain forecast for tomorrow the schedule has been revised to include the running of all finals tonight following the conclusion of the four rounds of qualifying. Having just missed out on the TQ in yesterday evening’s opening qualifier to Dario Balestri, Kurzbuch would take Q2 by over a second from Carmine Raiola with Balestri just 3/100ths further off in third as the only drivers to 17-lap runs of the Aigen track. New to the Shepherd team for the 2019 season, Toni Gruber posted the 4th fastest time ahead of Silvio Hächler with Merlin Depta the top Serpent after ENS Italy winner Dominic Greiner had an off while running on a Top 3 pace.
Commenting on his TQ run, the fastest of the two qualifiers so far, Kurzbuch said, ‘It was a good run. I had a clear track for all the 4-minutes. The car and engine was good like yesterday and I was happy I could show what it could do. I would like to do the same again in the next one’. A four time winner at Aigen, looking to Q3 the Shepherd driver said, ‘I will leave the car as it is and try to get a clear track. That is the important thing around here’.
‘It was not bad’, was Riola’s reaction to his P2 for the round. Setting the fastest lap of Q2, the Infinity driver explained, ‘the car is still nervous. I can make super fast lap times but it’s not consistent’. Hoping to reduce how aggressive his car is, the Italian will reduce his ride height for the next one hoping it will make it less aggressive.
Balestri said, ‘I started with new tyres and this is the result’. He added, ‘we made a mistake with the tyres yesterday and now I needed new ones’. Top Qualifier at the Dutch ENS encounter, asked he expected a better Q3 now he had used tyres at his disposal, the World Champion re;pied, ‘the was the best one (round) because of cooler morning conditions. For sure the next one will be more hot but we will see what we can do’.
Reacting to his fourth fastest time in Q2, Gruber said, ‘the first round yesterday was difficult so we did a lot of work on the car in the practice last night. We changed the rear roll bar, the body and the camber at the front and it was really good to drive but the track changed a lot this morning and it was not good’. The German said for the next qualifier they will change back to yesterday’s settings, with last year’s race runner-up confident ‘it should be better the next one’.
In 1:10, Teemu Leino continued to lead proceedings backing up his Q1 TQ with another again over his Infinity team-mate Jilles Groskamp. The reigning Champion was over 3-seconds off the Finn with young Dutch driver Milan Holthuis making it an all Infinity Top 3. Thilo Tödtmann was best of the others taking his Shepherd to a P4 ahead of Dirk Wischnewski and Melvin Diekmann. In 1:8 40+, Alain Levy took a very closely contested TQ over Q1 pace setter Arie Manten with Andreas Giesa third.