July 26, 2009

Quarter Final Update

The quarter finals have been completed and graduating from the 1/4 B to the Semi B are Swedish electric touring car star Alexander Hagberg, Spain’s Rodrigo Pahisa Lopez and Italian Antonio Pietroforte who is having a good morning having graduated from the 1/16th final.  In the 1/4 A Final, Finland’s Teemu Saarinen, Italian championship front runner Michele Romagnoli and young Belgian Maxim Claes move on to the back of the Semi A grid.  Casualties of the quarter finals include Mugen team drivers Rick V. & Walter Salemi, Germany’s Eric Dankel and factory Team Magic driver Mario Spiniello.

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July 26, 2009

World Champions packing up early

Current World Champion Daniele Ielasi’s tough week didn’t get any better this morning and the popular Italian will play no further part after his Shepherd suffered a rear belt failure 8 minutes into the 1/16 final. 2004 World Champion Adrien Bertin did go one better bumping up to the 1/8 final but a number of incidents meant the Kyosho/Team Orion driver missed out on the 1/4 Final by just 1.6 seconds. Afterwards the Frenchman said, ‘This is the worst event for me in 15 years’ but jokingly added ‘at least I went one better that Daniele.’

Other big names packing up early are Worlds Finalist Martin Christensen and Alessio Mazzeo. Debuting the new Capricorn chassis Christensen suffered an engine cut which ended his chances of progressing. Madrid podium finisher and reigning European Junior Champion Mazzeo, who started out in the bottom 1/256 Final due to his best qualifying run being disallowed after his fuel tank failed scrutiny, bumped up three finals but it all came to an end in the 1/32 final when the gearbox on his Serpent got stuck in second gear. Currently the quarter finals are underway.

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July 25, 2009

Balestri aiming to complete Euros hat trick from first pole position start

Dario Balestri will start tomorrow’s EFRA 1:10 200mm European Championships from pole position after the fourth and final round of qualifying failed to see any improvements from the front runners, Serpent’s Jilles Groskamp being the biggest improver going from 42nd after round 3 to a Semi Final place with 13th. Fastest for the round, which was overall slower due to the higher track temperatures, was Jerome Renaux who lines up a very impressive second on the grid.

Balestri failed to complete the last heat but the Italian, who is chasing his third consecutive European title, still posted the fastest lap with his Novarossi powered Team Magic and was very happy to secure his first ever European Top Qualifier honours. Having won his last two titles against all odds, after starting out in the 1/4 finals, Balestri hopes carrying the No. 1 race number on his G4RS 09 will bring him luck. ‘Two years I didn’t think it was possible to win. Now I hope being first will bring me luck here and the situation will not create any problems for me’. The last driver to win the Euros from pole was Michael Salven back in 2004 and since then the Top Qualifiers have failed to make it on to the podium.

A finalist at the last two Europen B Championships, Renaux is one of the big surprises of qualifying admitting himself that lining up second for the final was ‘totally unexpected’.  The Xray driver came to Italy hoping to qualify for the 1/4 final but the unfamiliar hot conditions have suited the two time Belgian Champion. Used to low traction circuits and plenty of wet racing in his home country he said getting directly into the Main is already a result for him but hopes he can finish higher than 10th, a result he has achieved on both occassions in the EC-B finals.

Jolly Italian Francesco Tironi joked ‘three is the magic number’ after securing third on the grid for the final, the same starting position he took at the World Championships. The Sirio team driver said he was very happy with the result in particular for Mugen whom he only joined this season. Talking about the final, the 2005 pole sitter said tyre wear will play a big part in the outcome of the race but he will try very hard for the win as claiming your first European title on home soil would be very special.

The fourth and final direct qualifier, Biagio Spataro said he is already satisfied with his European Championship no matter what the outcome of the race.  There was much hype about this emerging Italian talent before the race and the 15-year-old admitted he felt the pressure but making it into the Final he can now relax and enjoy the race.

‘It sucks’ was how Michael Salven summed up qualifying fifth, putting him pole for the extremely competitive Semi A final. The two time former Champion said it was frustrating as his 733 has been perfect all week but engine problems meant he was unable to challenge for the desired top 4 spot. Overall the designer of Serpent’s new 200mm chassis was disappointed for the team in particular for Groskamp who proved in the opening qualfier he had the pace to challenge for the TQ honours.

Lining up on Pole for the Semi B Final Dirk Wishnewski was still reflecting on his mistake this morning which almost certainly cost him a Top 4 time.  Originally setting himself a target of making the Semi, the German Champion is disappointed to have come so close but said he must now focus on the job in hand.  Having already tested his Xray on larger tyres he is pretty confident he will be strong over the 20 minute encounter and can progress to the Main.

Elsewhere ‘Warm Up’ race winner Giuseppe D’Angelo said he is very dissappointed to end up eight. Having struggled with understeer on his Reds Racing powered Mugen today he dropped from holding second overnight but the Italian is confident he can progress from the ‘difficult’ Semi A to the Main and from there challenge for the outright victory.

For the two World Champions racing here in Gubbio tomorrow it is set to be a very busy day. Current Champion Daniele Ielasi summed up their week very well, ‘Its crazy, two World Champions are here but we are no where after qualifying. I hope tomorrow we will make many kilometres.’ Ielasi said 50th position was not a true reflection of the new Shepherd as earlier in the week the car was able to achieve 16.1 lap times easily. Despite rebuilding the car last night and reverting back to the set-up he ran Monday and Tuesday he can not get the car to his liking.  Lining up 47th, 2004 World Champion Adrien Bertin said its been one tough week but he finally has a car that is driveable. With his Team Orion powered Kyosho feeling strong in the final qualifier, the Frenchman said he pushed too hard and crashed as he desperately chased a good time.

Top 18 qualifiers
1. Dario Balestri – Team Magic/NR – 26 laps in 07:09.413 (Q3)
2. Jerome Renaux – Xray/Novarossi – 26 laps in 07:11.161 (Q3)
3. Francesco Tironi – Mugen/Sirio – 26 laps in 07:11.328 (Q3)
4. Biagio Spataro – Xray/JP – 26 laps in 07:11.502 (Q3)
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5. Michael Salven – Serpent/Mega – 26 laps in 07:11.594 (Q3)
6. Dirk Wischnewski – Xray/Novarossi – 26 laps in 07:12.733 (Q3)
7. Giuseppe D’angelo – Mugen/Reds – 26 laps in 07:12.978 (Q2)
8. Giorgio De Felici – Xray/Max – 26 laps in 07:13.326 (Q3)
9. Teemu Leino – Xray/Team Orion – 26 laps in 07:13.728 (Q3)
10.Manuel Huber – Xray/Max – 26 laps in 07:14.013 (Q4)
11.Martin Hudy – Xray/Max – 26 laps in 07:14.369 (Q4)
12.Kyle Branson – Serpent/Sirio – 26 laps in 07:14.866 (Q3)
13.Jilles Groskamp – Serpent/Max – 26 laps in 07:15.254 (Q4)
14.Niki Duina – Xray/Max – 26 laps in 07:15.490 (Q1)
15.Mark Green – Serpent/Novarossi – 26 laps in 07:15.609 (Q3)
16.Robert Pietsch – Mugen/Novarossi – 26 laps in 07:15.940 (Q4)
17.Gerhard Kandelhardt – Xray/NR – 25 laps in 07:00.733 (Q3)
18.Guido Barbera – Xray/Max – 25 laps in 07:01.069 (Q3)

Complete qualfiying results can be found here (PDF)

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July 25, 2009

New in the Pits – Part 3

After qualifying ended we sat down with Engine tuning guru Mario Rossi to discuss his latest venture Reds Racing. The name comes from Mario’s second name which translates to the english word Red and is the result of his collaboration with Salvatore Schepis of SM Models that we announced back in April. Using the BOSS engine as a base, Mario will tune the unfinished parts that he receives from LM, who currently manufacturer these engines. Together with his son Marco, who brings his engineering skills to the project, the two will work on creating the new line of motors.

Expected to be available in Septemeber, there will be 2 types of engines to choose from, a hand modified top of the line motor with ceramic bearings and aluminium carburettor and a standard version that has steel bearings and a plastic carburettor. The two are easily differentiated by their case colour which is grey for the modified version and silver for the standard. Available in .12 and .21 versions, Schepis Models will handle the worldwide sales through their network of BOSS engine distributors.

View more photos of this new engine here.


July 25, 2009

Champion to start 2009 EC on pole

Dario Balestri will start tomorrow’s European Championship final on pole after the fourth qualifier failed to see his Round 3 time bettered.  The defending champion will be joined in the final by Jerome Renaux, Francesco Tironi and wonder kid Biagio Spataro.  The other six drivers who will join them on the grid for the 45 minute encounter will have to battle their way through from the Semi Finals first.

Full report to follow.


July 25, 2009

Balestri ups pace in Gubbio

He said yesterday evening before leaving the track he would go faster and that exactly what the defending champion Dario Balestri has done here this morning bettering his overnight TQ time by 3 seconds. The factory Team Magic/Novarossi driver said his car was good in the cooler conditions but traffic in the pitlane during his fuel stop cost him some time. Aiming to claim a hat trick of European titles on home soil, the Italian thinks it will be very difficult to improve in the final qualifier as the temperature starts to rise here in Gubbio.

Coming closest to Balestri’s provisional pole position time was Jerome Renaux who was just 1.7 seconds off. The Belgian driver is finding his Xray really easy to drive and very consistent over 7-minutes. One of the few front runners using the Stratus bodyshell, the Euro B finalist says he hopes the track is slower for the fourth qualifier and that he wouldn’t even mind some rain! Planning no changes to his NT1/Novarossi/Kronos combination he said he will try to again to maintain his form in the final round of heats.

‘Always third’ was Francesco Tironi’s reaction to setting the third fastest time for the round.  An improvement on the time that he set yesterday it keeps him third overall.  The factory Sirio driver said some sloppy driving over the opening three laps cost him a few tenths but overall his Mugen was working well.  Asked if he could take the challenge to Balestri the Italian replied ‘I think Dario will start the final on pole’.

One of the finds of the 2009 EFRA European Championship is most certainly Biagio Spataro.  The 15-year-old, who is running in one of the lower heats, has been quick all week and just produced a 26 lap run in 07:11.502 to put himself into the all important Top 4 who directly qualify for the Main Final.  Spataro lost around a second during his pitstop after spinning his JP powered Xray on fuel spilt in the pitlane but said fourth overall will do just fine.

After a terrible day yesterday Michael Salven finally produced a full run. Stripping gears in opening two qualifiers it was discovered last night that the crankshaft on his Mega ZX was bent. Fitting a new crankshaft, clutch and gearbox to his Serpent 733 the German was able to post the fifth fastest time despite the car shifting into second too early. Finding out he was in the unwanted fifth position, meaning a place in the Semi Final, the former two time European Champion said ‘We have to go faster’.

Dirk Wischnewski who held fourth overnight dropped to sixth despite improving his time by almost 2 seconds. The German was annoyed with himself saying his Xray was very good but he had messed up running off the track and losing around a second and a half. His Xray teammate Martin Hudy was also annoyed, but with Guiseppe D’angelo who ran in to him chunking his tyres forcing the Slovak driver to retire. D’angelo who drops from being second overnight to seventh also retired with his Reds Racing powered Mugen suffering traction roll.

Having been relieved to finally set a decent time, good enough to put him sixth, Madrid podium finisher Alessio Mazzeo’s Serpent was disqualified for the tank being too big.  The young Italian said he was very nervous during his run as he knew he needed to produce a good time but unfortunately it was all in vain and he will now have to do it all again in the last round of heats.

Drivers have one last chance to record a decent time but as proved by Balestri, qualifying 25th in 2005 and 26th in 2006, victory is still possible even if qualifying hasn’t gone your way.

Top 10 after round 3 of qualifying
1. Dario Balestri – Team Magic/NR – 26 laps in 07:09.413 (Q3)
2. Jerome Renaux – Xray/Novarossi – 26 laps in 07:11.161 (Q3)
3. Francesco Tironi – Mugen/Sirio – 26 laps in 07:11.328 (Q3)
4. Biagio Spataro – Xray/JP – 26 laps in 07:11.502 (Q3)
5. Michael Salven – Serpent/Mega – 26 laps in 07:11.594 (Q3)
6. Dirk Wischnewski – Xray/Novarossi – 26 laps in 07:12.733 (Q3)
7. Giuseppe D’angelo – Mugen/Reds – 26 laps in 07:12.978 (Q2)
8. Giorgio De Felici – Xray/Max – 26 laps in 07:13.326 (Q3)
9. Teemu Leino – Xray/Team Orion – 26 laps in 07:13.728 (Q3)
10.Kyle Branson – Serpent/Sirio – 26 laps in 07:14.866 (Q3)

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