Having dominated the earlier 1:10 A-Main in France, Bruno Coelho has gone on to also win the 1:8 A-Main at the opening round of the Euro Nitro Series. The feat makes the Xray driver the first in the championship’s history to win both finals on the same day and further highlights the Portuguese ace’s amazing ability to drive anything RC. Having shown great form in 1:8 qualifying, a class in which he has previously never featured, he would carry that form into the 45-minute A-Main putting it up to World Champion Simon Kurzbuch. Unfortunately the showdown was to last only 15-minutes as Kurzbuch’s chances of making it six ENS wins in a row would end with a flame out on the in-lap for his first scheduled tyre stop. While the Shepherd driver would push hard to try salvage a podium, while having a great battle for 2nd with Jilles Groskamp he would again run out of fuel on the last lap, his eventual classification 7th. Having bumped up from the B-Main, Groskamp would be delighted with second with Toni Gruber benefiting from Kurzbuch running dry to complete the podium on what has been a hugely successful first visit for the ENS to the Mulhouse track.
A driver would could now potential set another record of being the first champion of the ETS, EOS and ENS, he is the current champion of two already, Coelho said, ‘I am trying to win the 3 but for sure this is the most difficult to win because there are many extra factors outside of your control. I also practice EOS and ETS but my last time to race nitro was last year’. Summing it up as ‘a great weekend for sure’, he continued ‘while I did not drive we came here better prepared in terms of the set-up of car. The set-up was 80% ready when we came here thanks to Fabio (Domanin) and for sure the fact I found the track layout amazing was a big point’. Describing the 1:8 encounter as ‘much harder’ than 1:10, he said, ‘at the beginning Simon was quite fast and I was driving maximum to catch him. Fabio’s refuelling was amazing which allowed me to overtake him and after that I just tried to pull away slowly. At the end of the race I was shocked when I see I was 3-laps in front’.
‘What can I say I am very happy with second, it was the max I could do’, was Groskamp’s reaction to his ENS 1:8 podium finish with Infinity. The Dutch driver who finished a frustrating 7th in the 1:10 A-Main, continued, ‘I had to get used to driving again after the 1:10 final and I had a lot of emotion because me and my mechanics didn’t agree on strategy for the 1:10 final. I think we could have done good in that too.’ Lining up 11th on the grid having won the B-Main to book his place in the main event, recapping the A-Main he said, ‘I made a bad start and was last but then suddenly switched on and in the end was battling with Simon and I was faster on smaller tyres which shows the race pace is there’. He concluded, ‘I’m happy this was another race I could show I can still do it. Bruno was 2-laps ahead but thats OK for me because everyone knows he is in another world at the moment’.
Making his first race with WRC with a podium, Gruber summed up the race as ‘totally crazy’. The WRC driver continued, ‘The start was all good and for the first 5-minutes was good with all the Top 3 fast but then I had a problem with the glowplug which was changing the engine between lean to rich’. Making two tyre stops, he said this put extra pressure on his crew to make perfect stops which they did. Sitting fourth with 10-minutes to go he thought that was his race but then Kurzbuch flamed out ‘so I was bumped up to 3rd’. He said, ‘that was shit for Simon but that’s racing and while the glowplug ruined my race I am happy with the end result. Its definitely a good start to my season with WRC.’
For Kurzbuch the result was difficult, his team normally completely on top of refuelling. The ENS Champion said, ‘The first 5-minutes were OK. I think I had a small touch with Bruno and maybe my tyre get damaged so I was some metres behind Bruno, it was OK. Then we flamed out. I pushed really hard to catch back up but the fuel was empty in the end, Maybe I pushed too hard.’ He concluded, ‘it is a lesson learnt so we’ll regroup and be back at the next race’. Just off the podium, ENS debutant Takaaki Shimo would bring his Infinity home in 4th place ahead of the Mugen of Robert Pietsch. Making his 1:8 debut, reigning 1:10 World Champion Dominic Greiner would complete the Top 6 as the top Serpent in the final.
Remarks – Current World Champion and reigning ENS Champion Simon Kurzbuch is using the WC edition of the Velox V8 from Shepherd. Having test previously on the track with the Shepherd team in preparation for this race, he has made only a few small changes to the car for race conditions include harder shock oil, roll centre adjustment and giving the car less front caster. He also tried the Flat body from Xtreme but felt the Strong had better balance.
Chassis – WRC GTX 1.3 Engine – Novarossi Mito WCS Fuel – Runner Time Tires (handout) – MR33 Radio/Servo – KO Propo Body – Blitz TS040
Remarks – Newly signed WRC driver Toni Gruber is using the GTX 1.3 from the Italian manufacturer this week in Mulhouse. Having not had any track time at the French track prior to the event he had to change a lot to his base setup since arriving for the ENS season opener. Switching to softer front springs, more caster, harder shock oil in the rear and softer sway bars all around, the German said that this gave the car the steering he was lacking. Also playing around with different Blitz bodies, while he also tried the TS035, he felt the TS040 gave the car more steering. Finally the car features a new chassis plate that has the brace around the steering post removed for more flex in the front of the car.
Bruno Coelho was unassailable in the opening round of the Euro Nitro Series today in France, the Portuguese ace leading an Xray 1-2 on the championship’s first visit to the Mulhouse track. Top Qualifier for the 45-minute encounter, Coelho was quickly able to establish a lead and taking control of the race, the lack of pressure meant he could even switch from his originally pit strategy after the first refuelling. His second ENS career win, Coelho would finish over two laps up on new team-mate Alessio Mazzeo, the Italian having a battle over second with the Mugen of Eric Dankel for a time with the German having to settle for third in the end. Unfortunately for Leo Arnold he couldn’t pull off a home podium finish, tyres issues at the start of the race dropping up from his P2 starting position to 10th. Once on new tyres however he would do well to recover to fourth. For reigning champion Teemu Leino his weekend wasn’t to improve in the final with the Infinity driver crashing out at the 20-minute mark leaving him 12th in the final classification.
‘It was a very good race. I didn’t expect my car and engine to work so well’ was how Coelho summed his race. He continued, ‘It was that good we changed strategy in the race. After 5-minutes I already had a gap and could drive smooth. The tyres wear is much less when you are smooth so then we could change strategy. We started the race to do 2 tyre stop and 4:30 refuelling but after the first fuel we changed to one time all tyres and second time half. And for the fuel we went to 5-minutes’. With just two incidents over the final, he said the biggest was ‘something strange’. With his Max powered NT1 veering on to the grass and costing him 3 to 4 seconds, he said I must have touched the paint or something because the car just turned, there was nothing I could do’. On the second incident where he would hit a back marker he said, ‘I came in to the corner too fast and didn’t expect him to brake there but apart from this all was OK’. Having taken the TQ bonus championship point, he concluded, ‘Its the perfect start to the championship for sure’.
Summing up his final, Mazzeo said, ‘It was a very hard race due to the management of the tyres’. The World Championship podium finisher’s continued, ‘I had to start from the back down the grid and it was hard to pass and on the 3rd or 4th lap I tried to make an overtake and flipped which put me 1/2 a lap down’. Originally planning to run the tyre strategy Coelho would switch to in the race, the former ENS race winner would end up switching to his team-mate’s original strategy. He said, ‘After the flip I had to push a lot which was not good for the tyres for sure so we had to then switch to changing all tyres twice. We were on the same laps as Bruno but then had a flame out at the tyres stop. Congratulations to Bruno, he is an amazing driver’. His first ENS event as an Xray driver he said, ‘I’m happy that we ca get Xray 1-2. We work a lot this winter so this is a great result for the car’.
‘It was tough’ was how former Champion Dankel summed up his race. The German continued, ‘In the A-Main practice the car had oversteer and no traction so we changed it for the final and it was easy to drive but how far it was off the pace was incredible’. Running two complete tyre stops he said his biggest issue of the race was the ‘pace was not there’ but added ‘3rd is ok for the first race and hopeful we will much much stronger for the next race’.
Disappointed to not make the podium having taken the final round of qualifying at his home track yesterday, Arnold said his first set of tyres cost him the race. With the rear left coming unglued he would lose half a lap in the first 15-minutes before his scheduled tyre change. He said on the second set of the tyres his Orion powered NT1 was ‘good again’ and he could push hard. Pleased to be able to recover to 4th, which he said ‘showed the speed was there to fight for the win’ he concluding ‘but that’s racing’. Behind Arnold, Spain’s Eduardo Escandon would open his Shepherd account with a 5th ahead of the Serpent of Mark Green and Infinity of 2015 ENS champion Jilles Groskamp.
‘Just a shit weekend’ was Leino response when asked to recap his weekend. The Finn continued, ‘at the end the car was not that bad and was good enough to get a podium. There was no chance to race Bruno but I could have raced the other two guys’. Ultimately his race would come to an end when he crashed at the end of the straight which result in a broken rear shock tower.