With the first round of qualifying completed it is Michael Salven who is the man to beat here in Spain, the German securing the overnight TQ with a run of 17 laps in 05:02.580 almost two seconds clear of team-mate Massimo Fantini who sits second on the time sheets.
Salven switched back to the setting he ran in this morning’s first practice and said his Mega powered 960 ’08 was perfect. ‘I went back to the set-up from this morning and it worked better than it did then because the track was hotter. It was perfect.’ The former Champion also ran 18% fuel (a mix of 16 and 20% Merlin) and believes the blend gave him the perfect run time/power balance.
Second fastest Fantini believes he could have been quicker but with his engine running very lean the Italian had to be very careful.
Driving his Novarossi powered Motonica, Dario Balestri claimed third in the first qualifier but the Italian says he can go faster. ‘For the first run it is important to arrive at the finish so I drive very safely. I had some problems with traffic but I didn’t want to take any risk at this moment. For sure we can go faster as the car is really good and run time is no problem.’
Alberto Picco was next on the time sheets but was on for second when he got caught up in a last lap last corner incident that was triggered off when Mark Green and Robert Pietsch touched. ‘I had to drive conservative and adapt my driving to make the fuel but I think I found a good compromise. The incident at the end cost me 2 seconds so I think I would have been second.’
Fifth fastest was Mark Green who says his car is underpowered compared to his rivals but otherwise he was very happy with this Serpent. With a faster Mega at his disposal, the British Champion should be in the hunt tomorrow morning
when the track is expected to be at its best as it will be coolest of the four rounds of qualifying.
Rounding out the Top 6 was Andrea Cristiani whose Max engine was a little rich meaning he had to lift off the throttle through the fast corners. Setting the fastest lap time of qualifying with a time of 17.532, another Italian Andrea Pirani claimed seventh with top local driver Josue Artiles eight despite a costly crash during his run.
The top heat saw a number of incidents. Spanish Champion Oscar Cabezas was on for a very fast run but caught a slower Daniele Ielasi. Trying for two laps to pass the Italian with Balestri in tow Cabezas had to make an aggressive move in which the pair touched with the Serpent driver coming off worst as his car rolled and cut out. Ielasi was given a stop go penalty for the incident and while Cabezas was angry he says he must focus on Heat 2 in the morning which is when he and most of the other drivers feel the TQ will be set.
Elsewhere Lamberto Collari and Adrien Bertin both ran out of fuel in their runs. Collari reported brake problems on his car but was unsure of the cause. A relieved looking Adrien Bertin was in much better spirits despite not completing the run but the radio change has transformed his Evolva M3 and as he put it himself ‘Now I can start to race.’
So Salven sits in the No.1 position as Day 5 of the Euros closes here in Valencia but three more qualifiers await the 127 drivers with the tension set to be extremely high for the first outing tomorrow morning.
Top 10 after Round 1 of 4
1. Michael Salven (DE) – 17 Laps in 05:02.580
2. Massimo Fantini (IT) – 17 Laps in 05:04.466
3. Dario Balestri (IT) – 17 Laps in 05:04.561
4. Alberto Picco (IT) – 17 Laps in 05:04.693
5. Mark Green (GB) – 17 Laps in 05:05.097
6. Andrea Cristiani (IT) – 17 Laps in 05:05.152
7. Andrea Pirani (ITA) – 17 Laps in 05:05.251
8. Josué Artiles Santana (ES) – 17 Laps in 05:06.058
9. Robin D´hondt (BE) – 17 Laps in 05:06.191
10.Philip Sting (DE) – 17 Laps in 05:06.258
Full results can be found on the official timing site here.
Spanish driver Josue Artiles was the pace setter in Control Pratice 2, the final practice of the event, with the Mugen driver being one of the few drivers to improve on this morning’s times as temperatures begin to rise here the Autet track. The 23-year-old said his car was slower through the corners but as he had a clean run this time he was able to improve by a second to go fourth fastest overall for controlled practice. Overall Massimo Fantini remained top of the times sheets with his morning’s 17 lapper in 5:00.803.
With the higher 50 degree plus track temperatures causing the circuit to be slower, the second controlled practice saw a lot more pitlane activity during the faster runs as drivers tested things. Serpent’s Fantini made a very swift body change during his run changing to a brand new Zytek bodyshell which the Italian found made the car slightly easier to drive.
Mark Green improved his time second time of asking. The British driver said his 960 ’08 works better in the hot conditions so unlike the rest of the field here in Spain he is happier running in the middle part of the day. Green managed to find 1.8 seconds.
Elsewhere Alberto Picco did as expected sit out the session to save his Kyosho for the first qualifier. Fellow Evolva M3 driver Adrien Bertin didn’t have that luxury having another troubled run. The Frenchman can’t get his car to go in a straight line and believes the problem is radio related and so will change radio for qualifying.
Mugen driver Rick V who failed to finish first controlled practice because the pin came out of his glowplug posted a good time in his second run. The Dutch Mugen/JP Racing driver posted 17 laps in 5:08.401 which he was happy with as taking the heat into consideration he feels he is running at Top 6 pace.
With 5 days of practice now complete we are down to the serious business of the 2008 EFRA 1:8th scale On road European Championships with the first round of qualifying just getting underway.
Massimo Fantini has topped the first controlled practice at Day 5 of the EFRA European Championship where conditions are both hot and very humid. The Italian was again on for an 18 lap run but fuel consumption remains a factor with drivers having to throttle back on the final lap to complete the run. With many driver trying their qualifying engines this morning they are being cautious over the last lap, not wanting to run out of fuel on the main straight which is 3/4 way round the lap.
Second fastest was another Italian, Dario Balestri who appears to have found a solution to the run time problems that have plagued the Novarossi driver so far. After the run, the European 1:10 200mm Champion who had a torrid day yesterday, described his Motonica/Novarossi combination as ‘Perfect’.
Serpent’s Michael Salven was next up on the time sheets. Having switched from 16 to 20% Merlin Fuel the German said the run time was closer and over the final lap he had to lift off the throttle to make it to the finish line. Salven will try the 20% again in the final controlled practice to see how it works also in hotter conditions.
Fourth fastest was Alberto Picco. The engine guru was pleased with his run, so much so he says he may sit out the final practice and save the car for the first qualifier later this afternoon.
Top Spanish Championship contender Josue Artiles set the fifth fastest time despite hitting a car that was stopped on the track. The Max powered Mugen driver says his car is working really well and other than a new set of tyres he will leave it the same for his next outing.
Motonica development driver Stefano Solaroli completed the Top 6. Responsible for the new rear end on the P8.0R, the Italian says the car is very good with the changes making it more stable and easy to drive. Solaroli, who has his own range of hand tuned Picco engines, says his only concern is the last lap which remains very tight for fuel.
Rounding out the Top 10 was Lamberto Collari, Mark Green, Jernej Vuga and European B Champion Richard Volta. Some news from the Shepherd camp was Robert Pietsch’s failure to post a quick run, the German ace was running a new engine but it was set too rich and he had to to pit for adjustments.
Massimo Fantini just missed out on the first 18 lap run as he took advantage of cooling temperatures in the final run of Day 4 of the 2008 EFRA European Championships. The Italian Serpent driver who has been quick from the start of the event completed 17 laps in 5:00.948 to top the time sheets from Robert Pietsch. Fantini was shown on the timing screens to be on target to do 18 laps but over the final lap his pace dropped and he just missed out.
Pietsch who ran out of fuel in his first run was very pleased to be second fastest and even happier with the amount of fuel left in the tank of his Novarossi powered Shepherd Velox. Michael Salven, who topped the time sheets first time round, improved his time but dropped to third. The German factory Serpent driver said his car felt much faster but he was dissappointed with the time as he thought it would be much better than the 9/10th of a second improvement he actually made.
Mark Green had the opposite to say when informed he was fourth replying with a rather shocked ‘Really’. The British Champion said the car felt slow but was easy to drive and he was surprised but really happy to set such a time.
Alberto Picco claimed the fifth fastest time but was critical of the heat structure which is resulting in much unnecessary car damage. Pointing to a very dejected Adrien Bertin, who collected another car in his run, the Italian said, ‘He is a World Champion and his car is broken not because he is a bad driver but because of the difference in speed between the drivers is too big. The practice runs should have been sorted based on EFRA’s Ranking for A drivers, that way we can concentrate on driving at 100% instead of having to avoid slower drivers. Its not fair on any of the drivers’. Dario Balestri also fell victim to the big differences between driver speeds and was quick to let race officials know his thoughts as his Motonica was lifted off the track less a front corner. Asked about his car former World Champion Picco said he was quite happy and while the lower temperatures had improved run time it was still very close.
Completing the Top 6 was Italy’s Nicola Marrone ahead of fellow countrymen Andrea Pirani, who failed to improve on his earlier time, while current World & European Champion Lamberto Collari apppears to have gotten his Kyosho working much better now.
Another racer failing to improve his time was Daniele Ielasi, saying his clutch was not set correctly but he was not worried as tomorrow is the race, referring to the first qualifying heat tomorrow evening.
Tomorrow will start off with two more timed practice runs, which are being seeded based on the two timed runs from today, before we get down to the serious business of qualifying with one round scheduled to start at 15:30 local time.
Michael Salven is the quickest driver over five minutes as the first round of timed practice has just been completed here in extremely hot conditions. The Serpent driver recorded 17 laps in 5:04.728 and had another 3/4 of a lap in reserve after the run. The German says his car was not as good as this morning with the chassis feeling a little stiff but hesome changes planned for the next session.
Mugen driver Andrea Pirani was second fastest 0.9 of a second behind the former European Champion. Running the same set-up as he ran at the Warm Up race, the Italian thinks an 18 lap run is possible but only in the morning or the last run of the evening when the temperatures are lower. Leaving the car the same for his second timed run this evening the youngster will change engine running a Collari so as to save the factory Novarossi unit he just ran.
Daniele Ielasi took third but reckons the times are not a true indication of everyone’s pace as the difference in driver levels in the unseeded 15 car sessions at this stage is too big and the top drivers are having to be cautious. In fact Massimo Fantini and Adrien Bertin clashed during their run as they both tried to pass a back marker.
Big surprise of the run was former European B Champion Jernej Vuga who clocked the fourth fastest time with his Novarossi powered Mugen. The talented Slovenian has had very limited running this season and did make a few mistakes during the run but overall appears to have found a nice rythm and is pleased with the balance on his MRX4. Running large diameter tyres he will try smaller tyres for his final run of the day.
Mark Green was happy with fifth saying he was running one of his less powerful engines so as to save his good Mega for qualifying. Andrea Cristiani completed the Top 6 ahead of Walter Salemi and Belgian Champion Robin D’hondt.
While 5 minute run time was less of a problem for the field one or two leading drivers didn’t make it including Shepherd ace Robert Pietsch, Italian Motonica driver Stefano Solaroli and reigning Spanish Champion Oscar Cabezas.
Free Practice runs 3 & 4 saw little change in terms of lap times as the temperatures here in Valencia rose and the track lost pace. In general the track appears to be 2 to 3 tenths slower than this morning. The only big change came from local hot shot Oscar Cabezas who produced a 17.544 to go fourth quickest on overall lap times but the Serpent driver appears to be well short on run time.
Kyosho appear to be still struggling with too much grip on the Evolva M3 and this is hampering their efforts to make 5 minutes as the engines are being made to work that bit harder. Bertin, Ilia Van Gastel and newly crowned German National Champion Stefan Hanauer are all reporting the same problem and so far have been unable to find a solution however with their quality line up, which includes 2 World Champions, they are sure to find some solution in time for all important qualifying.
Now official timing is underway to determine the seeding for tomorrow’s heats with drivers having two chances this evening to post a 5 minute run. With a number of top drivers having avoided our timing radar so far we should get a true indication later today of who is in contention for the 2008 EFRA 1:8 Onroad European Championship title.