Unfortunately its a damp start to the second day of the Euro Nitro Series in Melzo, Italy. With light rain arriving during the opening round of 1:8 qualifying yesterday evening forcing organisers to cut short the day’s programme. The rain would get worse into the night leaving the track unraceable this morning at the original 08:00 start time. Postponing the start by an hour, officials have since extended that by a further hour as they wait for the sun to break through the grey morning skies. The good news is the forecasts for the area shows it will be a sunny day so it is just a matter of playing the waiting game for the track to dry. On the schedule for Day 2, which is now somewhat provisional, is all four rounds of 1:8 qualifying, the cut short Q1 being fully rerun for all drivers, the remaining 3 rounds of 1:10, the weather having been perfect for their opening qualifier, followed by the first leg of the lower finals. Unlike the traditional fastest time qualifying format used in road nitro racing, for the ENS qualifying is done by points per round with 2 of 4 to count meaning a change in conditions should not effect too much the outcome of qualifying.
Despite having not raced 1:10 200mm nitro since the World Championships in Thailand in 2012, HB’s Teemu Leino got his return to the class off to an impressive start as he TQ’d the first qualifier at the opening round of the all new Euro Nitro Series in Melzo. Having set the pace in practice at the Italian event earlier in the day, the Finn completed a perfect first day posting the fastest time over the 4-minute qualifier by .638 of a second from World’s podium finisher Francesco Tironi with Serpent’s Dominic Greiner completing the Top 3. Having posted the second fastest time in practice, Dario Balestri would fail to complete a single lap in Q1 suffering a throttle servo failure in his Capricorn on his out lap.
‘Still think it can be better’ was how Leino summed up his TQ run. The World Championship Top Qualifier said he had not yet found a ‘super set-up’ for his R10 but added his Novarossi engine was ‘crazy good’. Under braking he does not have the steering he would like to have and he said ‘when or if’ they figure this out he can be a lot faster. With the car’s designer Takashi Miyashita as his pitman, Leino said because they do not have a lot of experience with the car and of running on such a large track he said the plan is to make changes to the car every qualifier as they try to work towards a good set-up for the finals. Racing also in 1:8 here at the Mini Racing Ayrton Senna track, he said switching back & forth between the two classes is challenging as the driving styles required for each car are so different.
Having ended practice sixth fastest, Tironi said 3-consecutive laps have never been his strong point but he knew he had the consistency for a good qualifying run. Moving the position of the bodyshell on his Novarossi powered Shepherd for Q1, he said this gave the Velox V10 more steering. Admitting he is not the outright fastest driver over a single lap, he is pleased with his overall pace and plans to continue with the car although with light rain causing the postment of the opening round of 1:8 qualifying to tomorrow morning he said he must wait to see what weather greets racers in the morning – currently the forecast show the rest of the weekend to be ideal for racing.
While still looking to get more steering from his Serpent 747, Greiner said the car was easy and consistent to drive and overall that was more important. Having reverted back to a gear diff in the front having tried a solid axle, the German said this made the car feel ever so slightly better under braking. Suffering from his engine dropping off power after 5-laps, he will fit a new Picco engine for Q2 adding that hopefully with a good nights sleep he can also come up with a solution as to how to find more steering.
Posting the fourth fastest time was Luca Redaelli, the Xray driver saying a problem with traffic on the last lap cost him a Top 3 run. Switching to a set of shocks from Italian company Black Tarmac, the 22-year-old said they improved his NT1 over how it ran on the standard shocks giving him more overall traction. For the second of the four scheduled qualifiers he plans to run the car as is.
Having had gearbox issues in the final practice, Dirk Wischnewski said he had to use the warm-up to adjust the gearbox but still it did not feel right for the qualifier. Setting the 5th fastest time he said considering this it was an ok result. Planning to fit a new gearbox for Q2 he said he will also make some set-up changes but these will depend on the morning’s track conditions.
Capricorn’s Eric Dankel posted the 6th fastest time, the Top 6 covered by just 2.3 seconds. The German said he didn’t want to be making excuses but felt he had bad luck with the set of tyres he was issued with for the run. With the German describing his car good through right turns he said it suffered from understeer when turning left. Despite this he said things are ‘super tight’ and he is looking forward to Q2.
Posting the 7th fastest time, Adrien Bertin was pleased with his run despite losing time after contact with the Shepherd of Patrick Nähr. His debut race with HB, the former World Champion said he is enjoying working with Leino & Miyashita and overall his focus is learning the R10. Looking to get a better feeling with the car through low speed corners he said for a first outing its working good but if he could get the car to rotate more it would be much easier.
Martin Lissau took his Shepherd to the 8th fastest time despite having to deal with some ‘hectic traffic’ at the start of the qualifier. The Danish driver said switching to a stiffer shock set-up improved the overall feeling of his Velox V10 but added he may have taken the wrong direction with a harder front anti-roll bar and for Q2 he will switch to a softer rollbar. Behind the former 1:5 Touring Car World Champion Xray’s Rico Krober and Serpent’s Mark Green completed the Top 10.
Former 1:8 World Championship finalist Simon Kurzbuch set the pace in the first timed practice at the opening round of the all new Euro Nitro Series which is taking place this weekend in Melzo, Italy. The factory Shepherd driver posted the fastest 3-consecutive laps to head team-mate Oliver Mack by .070 of a second with former World Champion Robert Pietsch completing the Top 3. Top Italian on the timesheets at the Mini Racing Ayrton Senna track with the fourth fastest time would be Alberto Picco.
Having removed weight from his Novarossi powered Velox V8 for the run, Kurzbuch said this together with a small camber & caster adjustment gave him a better car to what he had for the morning’s two free practice runs. Planning to leave his set-up as is for the final practice, the 22-year-old Swiss driver plans to use the 6-minute run to prepare tyres for qualifying, the first of which takes place this evening, bringing Day 1 of the ENS to close.
Describing his example of Shepherd’s Velox V8 as ‘very consistent’, Mack was very happy to be second fastest in such a high quality field. Pleased with the performance of his Sonic engine, the German will switch to another motor for the final practice to tune it up as a spare should it be required during qualifying.
Winner of the last season’s two race ENS Pilot Series and one of the big instigators of the setting-up of the Euro Nitro Series, Pietsch said basically everything feels OK but he said the tyres felt different to the morning’s practice runs and he will use the final practice to try and determine if that was down to a change in the track or just the set of tyres he got for TP1.
Running a self modified Mugen MRX4 chassis Picco declared himself 90% happy with his practice run. A driver who knows the track better than most as it is where he does majority of his testing, the Picco engine factory being just 30-minutes away, he said conditions are ‘still slippery’. Admitting that in 1:8 you are always looking for grip lacking either steering or rear end traction he said he used the run to prepare a set of the handout Matrix tyres for qualifying and he will do the same again in the second run.
Posting the sixth fastest time behind the BP Racing chassis of Mirko Salemi, Andrea Pirani was pleased with the pace of his WRC prototype saying the car has a good balance front & rear. Also a newly signed OS engine driver, the Italian was very happy with the fuel consumption from the Japanese engine. Planning to leave everything as is for the final practice he will use the track time to pre-run tyres for qualifying adding the smaller the tyre the better it will be for the 4-minute qualifier.
Setting the 7th fastest time, Britain’s Kyle Branson said his Capricorn was not good as he had ‘no rear traction’ through right turns. Having been happy with his car in the free practice runs he said he is not sure why the car changed but suspects something might have been binding on the car. Having looking over the car but found nothing for the final practice he will make a rollbar change in the hope of getting better stability.
Eight fastest, Serpent’s Michael Salven says he is having just one problem with his 977 Viper. Coming out of the hairpins he said unless he has his car perfectly lined up straight he can’t get on the power for the following chicane as he gets out of shape due to a lack of traction. While elsewhere the car is ok, the German will try a different shock set-up in the hope of curing the issue. Behind Salven the Shepherd’s of Francesco Tironi and Max Vogl completed the Top 10.
Running a brand new package this weekend as he races for the first time a Mugen chassis and OS engines which he has bought himself rather than being sponsored, 9-time World Champion Lamberto Collari posted the 19th fastest. The Italian said for the moment his focus is on building up his knowledge of these new products rather than on trying to top the times but added winning is always the end goal.
Dario Balestri has set the pace in the first 1:10 200mm timed practice at the opening round of the all new Euro Nitro Series in Melzo, Italy. The factory Capricorn driver ran the fastest 3-consecutive laps of the Mini Racing Ayrton Senna track over the 6-minute session to head HB’s Teemu Leino by .097 of a second. Behind the two well known racers Xray driver Luca Redaelli was 3rd fastest as the Top 5 was filled by cars from 5 different manufacturers, Shepherd’s Dirk Wischnewski fourth fastest and Dominic Greiner’s Serpent 5th.
Changing to a different pipe & manifold for the first of the two timed practices to test run time, Balestri said this resulted in his own edition of his XRD Racing engine running hotter and having less overall speed. Planning to revert back to the pipe set he ran in free practice, drivers having 2 untimed runs in the morning, he said in terms of his car he will leave it as is, describing it as ‘very good’.
Having been limited to what he could try in yesterday’s open practice day after his luggage with all his spares was lost by his airline, Leino said considering they are having to catch up a little today it was an ‘OK’ run. Having not raced since the World Championships in Thailand in 2012 where he was Top Qualifier on the debut of the R10, the Finn now has all his spares and for his final practice run will try a different & slightly stiffer shock spring. Running Novarossi engines he will also try a different motor.
Running his Picco powered NT1, Redaelli was pleased with his car set-up sighting traffic as his biggest issue with 15 cars running on the large track for practice. Struggling a little with his clutch set-up, for the final practice the Italian will fit a new one along with testing a different front shock set-up.
Making his debut for Team Shepherd, former European Champion Wischnewski said he has a lot to learn but added its getting better every run. Looking to find more steering the German plans to try a heavier rear diff in his Orcan powered Velox V10.
Greiner was another driver looking to find more steering. Having changed to a solid front axle in his Picco powered 747 for the first timed practice, the 21-year said overall there was ‘not much difference’ between it and the gear diff due to how heavy an oil he was using when he ran the diff in the morning’s practice runs. Admitting most drivers are looking for more steering he is undecided as to what he will change for his next run.
Setting the 6th fastest time Francesco Tironi declared himself happy with his early pace. Living just 2km from the track, the multiple World Championship finalist is running in both categories describing the undertaking as ‘not easy’. Feeling quite comfortable with both his Shepherd chassis, in 200mm he will run the rear arms in a lower position to try and improve the car’s steering.
‘Not bad but not good’ was how Eric Dankel described his run to the 7th fastest time. An ENS Pilot Race winner last season, the Capricorn driver tried a different front spring for the run. Having ran a rear spring in the front which he said is perfect for German track conditions he followed his team-mate Balestri’s spring choice. While it made the car more responsive and it was a good direction to take in terms of set-up for this track he said he needs more time to adjust his driving to get the best out of the change.
A 1:8 winner in the ENS Pilot Series, Serpent’s Mark Green is this weekend running 1:10. Setting the 8th fastest time with his Novarossi Virtus powered 747, the British ace said he is struggling to get out of his 1:8 driving style. Confident his car set-up is good he said he is just driving it way too aggressively and he needs to calm it down a bit.
Making a return to onroad nitro after a 3-year absence, Denmark’s Martin Lissau took his Reds Racing powered Shepherd to 9th fastest. With no suitable conditions to practice ahead of the race in his home country, the former 1:5 world Champion said considering the mileage he has with the car its going ok. Looking to find more corner speed for the final practice he will switch to a stiffer shock set-up.
Completing the Top 10 and another driver making a debut for a new manufacturer this weekend was Adrien Bertin. Now running for HB, the former World Champion said he is ‘working & learning how to be fast again’ having not raced 1:10 for quite some time. Conducting just 2-days of testing with the new car in his home country of France before coming out to Italy, the Orion engine’s head of development said the car is super consistent but added he needs to find more slow speed steering from the R10 under braking.