Alessio Mazzeo has booked his place in the Nitro Touring Car World Championship final alongside fellow countryman & Top Qualifier Dario Balestri. Running third of the four Super Pole contenders, there was a huge roar from the crowd as the Serpent driver bettered the time of provisional pace setter Dominc Greiner who bettered the opening time of Robert Pietsch. With Simon Kurzbuch to run last, Mazzeo wasn’t content with his lap and sending the crowd into a frenzy with a blistering 6th & final lap that was almost 1/10th faster. With the benchmark clearly set, 16.302 the time to beat, Kurzbuch would try but was no match for the popular Italian managing a best time of 16.467 on his last lap, an identical time to that of Greiner.
‘Amazing, that is the only word’, was an overwhelmed Mazzeo’s reaction. Having described himself ‘the little guy’ of the four Super Pole competitors as he is the only one without World Championship credentials, he summed up the 2 minutes of track time, as ‘one of the best moments of my life’. Always personable, the 24-year-old continued, “I thank everyone in the stadium for making this so special’. Asked about his lap he said, ‘I wanted to do it for everyone that has motivated me in racing, my family , my friends and my team’. Thanking his father & mechanic Giuseppe he said he owed a big thanks to his engine sponsor Gimar who he said ‘have worked very close’ with him to make it possible to race at the top level. Complimenting controlled tyre supplier Hot Race on ‘the quality of the tyres’, their consistency making it easier to work on set-up, when asked about a plan for the 1-hour final he gestured his plan was just to enjoy it.
Officially second in the Super Pole, as he had a faster second best lap to Kurzbuch, Greiner’s reaction was to the point, ‘Alessio was the fastest’. Joking it was ‘super close’ between himself and Kurzbuch, the Serpent driver said while they tried to improve the car after the final qualifier the ‘car feel not so good’. Planning to change his 748 for tomorrow he concluded, ‘racing for 30-minutes is another story’. The 2014 Podium finisher will line-up on pole for the Semi B final.
Starting on pole for the Semi A, Kurzbuch said, ‘I don’t know why but the car was not as good as in qualifying’. Contesting only his second 200mm Worlds, his P2 in qualifying bettering his P8 2014 performance in Bangkok, the reigning 1:8 World Champion said ‘maybe the 2-minute warm-up was not enough time for me (to bed in the tyres) as the car was loose in the rear for the 6-laps’. Complimenting Mazzeo for ‘two super good laps’, the Swiss driver said having to race in the Semi gives him a good opportunity to test for the final.
Running first as the lowest qualifier of the four, and almost a 30-minute break without any track activity, Pietsch felt going first put him at a disadvantage but added a change to his Mugen MTX6 set-up had left the car ‘not good’ for the shoot out. Planning to revert to his Q6 set-up for the Semi in which he will start directly behind long time 1:8 rival Kurzbuch, he pointed out ‘tyre wear is quite a lot’. Asked about tyre stops he replied, ‘nobody can do it on one set’.