The third & penultimate round of qualifying was a repeat of Q2 in terms of TQ runs with Robert Pietsch’s Mugen again topping 1:8 while Dario Balestri’s Capricorn set the pace once more in touring cars. Posting the fastest time of the three qualifiers, Pietsch also took the round by the biggest margin so far as he outpaced Alberto Picco by .573 of a second. Having been fastest in practice, Shepherd’s Simon Kurzbuch finally got a clean run in to post the 3rd fastest time followed by team-mate Oliver Mack. Having TQ’d the opening qualifier Lamberto Collari was on another strong run until an exhaust spring broke and he was forced to pull off on his final lap leaving him 10th for the round. Collari is the only one now that can challenge Pietsch for the overall TQ honours in the fourth & final qualifier this evening at Melzo.
1:10 was a similar story as Balestri too took a more convincing TQ run this time over Eric Dankel, the separation being 1.596 seconds. Still holding the fastest 4-minute pace, set when he TQ’d yesterday’s opening qualifier, Teemu Leino was third fastest. Having suffered engine problems in Q2, new Shepherd signing Dirk Wischnewski enjoyed his best run as he posted the 4th fastest time with Luca Redaelli and Dominic Greiner completing the Top 6. Like 1:8 the result means the battle for the overall TQ of the inaugural Euro Nitro Series season opener with be a two way battle in Q4 between Balestri and World Championship Top Qualifier Leino.
1:8 Q3 times – Top 10
1. Robert Pietsch – Mugen/Picco – 14/4:14.537
2. Alberto Picco – Mugen/Picco – 14/4:15.110
3. Simon Kurzbuch – Shepherd/Novarossi – 14/4:15.968
4. Oliver Mack – Shepherd/Sonic – 14/4:16.747
5. Andrea Pirani – WRC/OS – 14/4:17.293
6. Kyle Branson – Capricorn/XRD – 14/4:17.441
7. Daniele Ielasi – BMT/RB – 14/4:17.466
8. Michael Salven – Serpent/Picco – 14/4:18.041
9. Francesco Tironi – Shepherd/Novarossi – 13/4:18.402
10.Lamberto Collari – Mugen/OS – 13/3:58.183
1:10 200mm Q3 times – Top 10
1. Dario Balestri – Capricorn/XRD – 13/4:17.963
2. Eric Dankel – Capricorn/Maxima – 13/4:19.559
3. Teemu Leino – HB/Novarossi – 13/4:19.680
4. Dirk Wischnewski – Shepherd/Orcan – 13/4:20.212
5. Luca Redaelli – Xray/Picco – 12/4:00.549
6. Dominic Greiner – Serpent/Picco – 12/4:01.539
7. Francesco Tironi – Shepherd/Novarossi – 12/4:01.632
8. Mark Green – Serpent/Novarossi – 12/4:03.624
9. Michael Derderian – Xray/Gimar – 12/4:05.394
10.Gerhard Kandelhart – Shepherd/Orcan – 12/4:05.935
Mugen’s Robert Pietsch and Capricorn’s Dario Balestri TQ the second round of qualifying at the Euro Nitro Series season opener, Pietsch topping the 1:8 times from Alberto Picco by just .007 of a second while Balestri was the only driver who could manage 13-laps in 1:10 taking the qualifier over Francesco Tironi and Q1 pace setter Teemu Leino.
Having changed his engine for the run, having lacked power in Q1, Pietsch said he also adjusted the gearbox on his Picco powered MRX5 but in combination with the different engine it left the car to change up ‘way too late’ losing him some time. Describing both his car and engine as good, he said with the gearbox set right everything should be fine for the penultimate qualifier. A slower time than the morning, despite what started out as a damp track this morning having seen a full round of qualifying for the 120 car field, Pietsch said he was not so sure why the track was slower as it didn’t feel any worse for him and the temperature hadn’t increased significantly amount since Q1.
A driver who knows the track probably better than most, Picco described conditions as ‘worse’ even though he ran pre-run tyres having run fresh large diametre tyres in Q1. Happy that changes to the bodyshell position and rear geometry adjustments had given his Mugen more steering he said overall the grip levels were ‘still very low’. For Q3 his brother Edoardo, together with whom he runs Picco engines, will make some small changes to their self modified MRX4 to try and get it better suited to the loose track conditions.
Third fastest in 1:8 was Daniel Ielasi, the top 3 seperated by .036 of a second after 4-minutes. The new BMT/RB signing said a glitch in his engine meant he had to open up to allow Capricorn’s Kyle Branson through which would later cost him time as he couldn’t get back passed the British driver who would set the 6th fastest time for the round. Having adjusted his engines bottom end having suffered from fuel starvation 3 times in Q1, he said while it was a lot better but he still had it happen once. He will adjust the low end needle further for Q3 leaving his new 984 chassis set-up as is.
Having taken the opening qualifier with a time that was 1.3 second faster than Pietsch Q2 pace, Lamberto Collari posted the fourth fastest time. Having made changes to his Mugen MRX5, he said they were not so good and he will revert back to his Q1 set-up for the next one. Behind the 9-time World Champion, Shepherd’s Oliver Mack set the fifth fastest time. The German said having started off well the rear end of his Velox V8 got very loose after 2-minutes and so for Q3 he will go to a harder front spring together with adjusting the position of the rear upper arms.
In 1:10 Balestri was pleased to post a TQ run having suffered a throttle servo failure in yesterday’s opening qualifier, but the Capricorn driver said the track (was) very loose. Expecting the track to be different again for Q3 he will go with a softer oil in his front shock adding he hopes he can get another good run so as to lock himself into the A-Main – a drivers 2 best rounds of 4 to count.
Repeating his Q1 performance, posting another second fastest time, Tironi said he was pleased with his pace. With a strong position secured in the A-Main, the Shepherd driver plans to use Q3 to try some ideas he has for his set-up. 2/10ths behind Tironi, Leino summed up the track for Q2 as ‘maximum loose’ and for the next qualifying said he will try a different set-up on his HB R10 as he searches for more grip.
Fourth fastest, Eric Dankel was very happy with his equipment second time round saying his Capricorn chassis and Maxima engine were really good but two mistakes cost him a shot at the TQ while leading. Getting out of shape through the sweeper he also did some curb hopping but going into the next round he is feeling very confident.
Serpent’s Dominic Greiner, despite his Picco engine being too rich, would post the 5th fastest time followed by the Xray of Italy’s Luc Redaelli. Greiner said a change of shock position after Q1 had made his 747 nicer to drive but said in addition to his engine tuning the driver was not so good adding he hopes for a better third run.
1:8 Q2 times – Top 10
1. Robert Pietsch – Mugen/Picco – 14/4:18.024
2. Alberto Picco – Mugen/Picco – 14/4:18.031
3. Daniele Ielasi – BMT/RB – 14/4:18.060
4. Lamberto Collari – Mugen/OS – 13/4:00.127
5. Oliver Mack – Shepherd/Sonic – 13/4:00.889
6. Kyle Branson – Capricorn/XRD – 13/4:01.009
7. Mirko Salemi – BP Racing/Novarossi – 13/4:01.691
8. Francesco Tironi – Shepherd/Novarossi – 13/4:02.033
9. Teemu Leino – HB – Mugen/Picco – 13/4:02.433
10.Andrea Pirani – WRC/OS – 13/4:02.512
Chassis – Capricorn Lab-C02 Engine – XRD F12 Fuel – Runner Time Tires (handout) – Matrix Tyres Radio/Servos – Sanwa/Savox Remarks – Former European Champion Dario Balestri is running the Capricorn LAB C02 for only the 2nd time here in Melzo and is still learning the setup and finding the feeling for the car, yet despite that has TQ’d the 2nd round of qualifying. Also running the XRD F12 engine, having ran Novarossi all his career, he is having to get used to how to set the motor as well as adapt to the power delivery. In terms of setup he is running gear diffs all round with 500k up front and 150k in the rear and a medium stiff setting on the suspension. One interesting piece on the car is the tower of foam on the throttle servo used to stop the body tucking under in the high speed corner at the end of the main straight.
After some rain delays, 1:8 qualifying at the opening round of the new Euro Nitro Series saw Lamberto Collari top the first of the four qualifiers in Melzo, Italy. Driving a privately entered Mugen/OS combination the 9-time World Champion topped the round from the BMT of Daniele Ielasi with Mugen’s Robert Pietsch completing the Top 3 of what was an extremely competitive affair with the first 8 drivers covered by just 1.8 seconds.
After a 3-hour delay to proceedings this morning at the Mini Racing Ayrton Senna track due to overnight rain, light rain having already caused the postponement of Q1 of 1:8 yesterday evening, when the drivers did take to the track the general feedback was that conditions were loose. Having been some what under the radar for most of yesterday’s practice runs, Collari said a change of shock oil and springs on his MRX5 for Q1 had improved the feeling of his car even though conditions were ‘loose from (the) rain’. Pleased with his run, the ENS running point qualifying rather than Fastest time, the Italian legend will make a few further changes to his OS powered chassis in anticipation of improved track conditions, the sun now shining at the track.
Having only driven his new BMT984 for the first time on Thursday, former 200mm World Champion Ielasi said he was ‘really really happy’ to start his qualifying with a second. Switching to RB engines for the 2014 season, he said his engine was set a little too lean on the bottom end with this costing him some time – his separation from Collari over the 4-minutes being just 1/10th of a second. In terms of his chassis set-up he said the feeling he has with the car is good and so for Q2 he will leave it as is.
‘A solid run’ was how Robert Pietsch described his opening qualifier. The former World Champion said his MRX5, on which he is running a prototype chassis, the same as Takaaki Shimo & Atsushi Hara ran at the World Championships in Japan, was good but his engine was a little down on power. For Q2 the German will fit a new Picco engine leaving everything else as is.
Having pre-run tyres in yesterday’s timed practice run in preparation for qualifying, with the track conditions a little off Alberto Picco ran his opening qualifying on a brand new set. Describing the run as ‘very conservative’, the Italian still managed to post the fourth fastest time. On the large diameter tyres he said his was unable to push but feels saving the tyres for the later qualifiers is a good call. Looking to get more grip for Q2 he moved the position of the bodyshell on his self modified MRX4 along with changing the rear upright geometry.
Making his race debut for KM Racing this weekend, World finalist Silvio Hachler said he went for a safe run and overall he was pretty happy with 5th. Having to learn a lot about the Novarossi powered K8, and not having another competitive driver to work with, the 22-year-old Swiss driver said under braking the rear end of the car is a little loose but he isn’t exactly sure what is the best changes to make to rectify this.
Driving a prototype chassis from WRC, the number of new manufacturers an encouraging development for 1:8 Onroad, Anrea Pirani was pleased with his car’s performance but maybe not his own driving. In contention for a TQ run a late mistake left the Italian 6th as he lost 1-second when he got out of shape through one of the tracks high speed corners. Having arrived on Wednesday for testing last night he gave the car a full rebuild saying that this improved the feeling of the chassis, the three days of track time having taken its toll. Planning to leave the car as is for Q2 he said he will instead wait for the track to improve.
British driver Kyle Branson used a fresh set of tyres for Q1, Matrix being the handout tyres for ENS Round 1, saying that this cost him a lot of time early in the run with him ending up 7th fastest. With his Capricorn improving over the run he plans to run the same set of tyres in Q2, drivers having to leave tyres they wish to reuse in a controlled area before leaving the pitlane after their runs. Looking to make the C801 a little easier to drive for Q2 he will add toe out to the front as well as adding a 1mm shim to the top of the rear hub.
‘Not so bad, not so fast’ was how Oliver Mack summed up his run to 8th. With the times ‘so close’, he said a lean bottom end on his Sonic engine meant he twice suffered from it starving for fuel costing him precious time. While his Shepherd Velox V8 was ‘not so easy to drive’ compared to yesterday he is putting this down to the track conditions and will leave it as is for Q2.
Having topped yesterday’s practice Mack’s Shepherd team-mate Simon Kurzbuch would post the 9th fastest time despite not finishing the 4-minutes. On a TQ run with a lap to go his Novarossi engine stopped, a broken fuel tank having afterwards being discovered to be the cause of the problem. With the engine damaged the 2011 World Championship Finalist will fit a new engine but having run it yesterday he said its good so everything should be fine for Q2. Just missing out on 14-laps BP Racing’s Mirko Salemi completed the Top 10 ahead of Francesco Tironi and 200mm Q1 Top Qualifier Teemu Leino.
1:8 Q1 times – Top 10
1. Lamberto Collari – Mugen/OS – 14/4:16.691
2. Daniele Ielasi – BMT/RB – 14/4:16.804
3. Robert Pietsch – Mugen/Picco – 14/4:16.883
4. Alberto Picco – Mugen/Picco – 14/4:17.164
5. Silvio Hachler – KM Racing/Novarossi – 14/4:17.266
6. Andrea Pirani – WRC/OS – 14/4:17.791
7. Kyle Branson – Capricorn/XRD – 14/4:18.142
8. Oliver Mack – Shepherd/Sonic – 14/4:18.278
9. Simon Kurzbuch – Shepherd/Novarossi – 13/3:57.386
10.Mirko Salemi – BP Racing/Novarossi – 13/4:00.635
Chassis – Shepherd Velox V8 EC Engine – Sonic 21X Fuel – Maxima Tires (handout) – Matrix Tyres Radio/Servos – Futaba Remarks – Having not driven since the World Championships in Japan Oliver Mack was surprised with his pace in controlled practice and really happy with his Edo prepared Sonic engine. Unlike some other drivers the German said his car actually handled better with the controlled batch of tires compared to those he used in free practice. Still running the EC version of the Velox V8, Shepherd have a new car coming in the next 2 weeks but due to some critical parts missing he wasn’t able to run it, he chose to use the rear lower wishbones with their pivot ball ARB link and bumper from the new car. In terms of setup its stiff all the way around especially on the front saying if he goes softer for more steering he will end up losing the rear end.
Chassis – WRC GTX Engine – OS Speed 2101 Fuel – MLC Tires (handout) – Matrix Tyres Radio/Servos – Sanwa/Futaba Remarks – Andrea Pirani is running the soon to be released (May) and provisionally names GTX from Italian company WRC Racing. Only the 5th time driving the car and one of the first using a majority of production parts he is pleased with the car saying it has a lot of traction and with the drive train giving more rotation to the front and less to the rear. Another unique system is the rear braking system which mounted to the rear axle uses magnets to release the brake pads from the disk. Since arriving in Melzo, like most drivers he has gone to a stiff setup, at least in the rear, while making it softer in the front compared to his home track of Bologna. Pirani is also making his race debut with his new OS engine and pleased with his speed and consumption, able to make 5 and a half minutes, helped by the use of 16% fuel.