After being somewhat off the pace, defending champion Dario Balestri (15.950) has got it together topping the last controlled practice here in Gubbio. The Italian had struggled in the opening four sessions but reverting back to his set-up from yesterday he was able to take his Novarossi powered Team Magic around the track in a sub lap record time. Running 37 shore tyres all round, Balestri said the car was now very good and he can look forward to tomorrow’s qualifiers. Second fastest was Niki Duina (15.957). The Italian Xray driver said his NT1 has been working perfectly all week and other than changing to a harder rear spring he hasn’t touched the car’s set-up. Asked where he found the extra speed he said a simple switch to his good Max engine did the trick.
Electric touring car star Alexander Hagberg (16.000) was again quick with his Xray setting the third fastest time. The Swede said he was very happy now with his package and his main aim for tomorrow’s timed practice is to try and get reseeded in a better group. Jilles Groskamp (16.049) was happy with his day posting the fourth fastest time in the final session. The World Championship Top Qualifier said he only made some small droop changes to his Serpent 733 and believes the car is pretty much perfect for qualifying. Groskamp feels the fuel stops will play a big part in outcome of qualifying with a lot of time to be gained or lost both on the entry and exit of the raised pitlane.
Two time Belgian National Champion Jerome Renaux (16.065) was fifth fastest with his Novarossi powered Xray. The European B finalist said a switch to heavier front diff oil had improved his car a lot but it is still a little loose. Renaux will change to a heavier rear shock oil to try and further improve the set-up. Having set the pace for much of the day 15-year-old Biagio Spataro (16.086) completed the Top 6 followed closely by Michael Salven (16.091) but the German is still having problems with his Mega ZX cutting out. The Serpent 733 designer said when the engine he is running is really strong but is at loss as to why it intermittently cuts out.
Current lap record holder, setting the 16.015 lap time at the Warm Up race back in May, Robert Pietsch (16.129) was a little happier with his pace this evening. The factory Mugen driver said his car is working better now but he is struggling to get it to be more aigle in direction change with bringing on traction roll.
Elsewhere World’s Finalist Martin Christensen didn’t feature much in terms of outright lap times but the Dane said he has had a very production day with the new Capricorn chassis. Trying a lot of different set-ups he feels the speed is there for the seven minutes.
Our coverage, which is supported by Team Orion, Serpent and Mugen, continues in the morning when drivers will get one timed practices after a reseeded will be made ahead of the two qualifiers that make up Friday’s timetable.
The temperatures are souring here in Gubbio with it now 37 degrees in the shade but still hottest thing on the track remains the Xray of Biagio Spataro (15.956). The youngster said his car has started to develop oversteer on the fast corners and that the chassis was also rubbing on the ground. For the final controlled practice he now plans to run larger diametee tyres as well as reducing front camber from 2 to 1.5. Second fastest was Manuel Huber (15.998). The Austrian is running a modifed Xray chassis which he said is running very consistently now after a number of small set-up changes. Happy with the set-up he may sit out the last practice prefering instead to go to the pool to cool down a little.
Third fastest, after a clean run, was Alexander Hagberg (16.010). The Swede tried a spoked set of Matrix wheels which he found gave him more steering and was also happier now with the setting on his Max engine. Just 6/100th behind him was another Max powered Xray driven by Italian Gorgio De Felici (16.016) who described his Matrix shod car as ‘perfect’.
Heading the times for the Serpent team was he 733’s designer Michael Salven (16.133). The German suffered an engine cut on his Mega ZX engine after changing the head shims and will revert back to the original clearance he was using. A switch to a custom painted version of the Blitz Altis bodyshell Salven found the car was now understeering despite the body being identically mounted as his all orange practice shell. Team Magic driver Mario Spiniello (16.133) completed the Top 6. The Italian said that after three days of suffering from traction roll he has finally got a good set-up on his G4RS 09 and other than a slight change to the shock preload he will leave the car the same for the last practice of the day and focus on his driving.
Mark Green (16.143) was seventh fastest after changing the shock angles on his 733 which made the car easier to drive. The Englishman thinks with his engine set right the car is capable of consistent 16 second flat lap times. Running Novarossi’s 353 engine it has been running rich despite the temp gun reading 120 but it looks like they prefer to run at 150 and now for the final run he will tune it based on feeling rather than going by the temp gun.
Defending Champion Dario Balestri (16.330) continues to be somewhat off the pace but the Team Magic driver endured a similiar run in Madrid before getting it all together on the Sunday to claim his second European title. The main problem for the Italian appears to now be with tyres.
He was tipped as one to watch when we arrived in Gubbio and so far Biagio Spataro is living up to the hype by setting some super fast times topping the third round of controlled practice with a 15.956. The 15-year-old was helped by running very soft 35 shore tyres which he said made his Xray very fast but he admitted tyre wear was high. Very happy with the consistency of the JP powered NT1 he plans to run the same set-up again in the fourth of today’s five controlled practice sessions.
Second fastest was factory Xray driver Martin Hudy (16.036). The World Championship podium finisher switched to running 100K diff oil front and rear in his NT1 which he said after some adjustment to the rear toe made the car feel much better, especially the steering. The Slovak driver also said that switching to the Blitz body today having run the Stratus the last three days had made the car faster through the chicance. Hudy plans to again try different diff oil for the next run with 150K in the front and the rear toe reduced to its earlier setting.
With a transponder now fitted to his car Francesco Tironi (16.046) was third fastest. The Italian said his Mugen was fast but difficult to drive and he will try a softer tyre to make it more consistent. Jilles Groskamp (16.081) was fastest of the Serpent 733 drivers just ahead of teammate Michael Salven (16.114). Running 37/42 shore Xceed tyres Dutch ace Groskamp said the car was better today having run 37/40 yesterday. With his Max engine now working well he will switch to a new unit for the next run but doesn’t plan any other changes. Salven, a two time European Champion, said he is ‘almost there’ with his Mega ZX working much better today. The German said his 733 has been perfect since Monday and now the speed is good he is much happier. For defending Champion Dario Balestri (16.121) things went much better in the third practice as he posted his best lap of the day to be fifth fastest. Multiple Austrian National Champion Manuel Huber (16.123) complete the Top 6 for the round.
This morning’s pace setter Alexander Hagberg had a very short third run. The 1:10 nitro newcomer is currently running in one of the slower heats and got collected by a slower car on his seventh lap which tore a front shock of his Xray. Daniele Ielasi was in a much happier mood after the third round having got the gearbox to his liking on the new Shepherd.
After three days of untimed free practice, controlled practice is now underway here in Gubbio with 1:10 200mm Euros debutant Alexander Hagberg setting the early pace. Hagberg is an established electric touring car racer but has quickly adapted to nitro racing having only started in the class this year. The Swede set a fastest lap time of 15.939 to top the times sheets from young Italian Biagio Spataro who posted a 15.999. Hagberg said his Max powered Xray was perfect this morning and feels a Top 5 placing in qualifying is very possible now. Running Matrix tyres on dish wheels he will now try a softer wheel for his next run. 15-year-old Spataro made a number of changes to his car for this morning including lowering the rear diff oil and switching to a lighweight Blitz body. The Xray/JP driver said the car felt really fast and the bodyshell made it easier to drive. Making it three Xray’s at the top was Spanish National Championship front runner Inaki Pahissa Lopez (16.016). One of the late arrivals at the track, only getting here on Tuesday, he said his car felt really easy to drive and other than trying different shores tyres he will leave the set-up the same for his next run.
Fourth fastest was former double European Junior Champion Kyle Branson (16.028). Driving his Sirio powered Serpent 733 the British National Champion said the car felt pretty good but he might play around with tyres next time out. Fifth fastest was another of the Sirio team drivers Dino Giacalone (16.060) at the controls of an Xray.
Warm Up race winner and one of the pre event favourites Giuseppe D’Angelo (16.085) completed the Top 6. The Italian ran a brand new Mugen MTX-4R which he has built up as his race car with final settings on it. Happy with the set-up he will now revert to his test car for the remainder of the day.
Elsewhere defending Champion Dario Balestri had a difficult run after changing the set-up on his Novarossi powered Team Magic. The Italian didn’t run a transponder but said the big changes made the car terrible to drive and he will revert back to yesterday’s set up. Other big names not running transponders were Francesco Tironi, Teemu Leino and Adrien Bertin. Tironi used the run to test a brand new Mugen chassis which wasn’t perfect. Leino wasn’t giving anything away but we get the feeling the flying Finn is there or there abouts in terms of pace. Former World Champion Bertin said he changed the set-up on his Kyosho but the result was a car that was traction rolling. World Champion Daniele Ielasi (16.481), who is debuting the new Shepherd Velox V10, had a troubled run. Running an Xray gearbox on the car he couldn’t get it to work and is now busy fitting a Kyosho gearbox to the car.
Making its competition debut at this race is the Velox V10 chassis from Shepherd. Only one car at the event, it is being driven by non other than current World Champion Daniele Ielasi. The car which is in its production form looks very similar to that seen at the toy fair with the exception of a few plastic parts that replace aluminium prototype parts. The car is going well and despite it being the first time Daniele drove the production car, he is confident of a good finish come Sunday.
Also new and proving to be very popular in the pits is the new small INS box from Xceed RC. The low profile, lightweight (only 19 grams) filter was only released earlier this month while available in both clear and black it is only here in its semi transparent form as seen on the car of Michael Salven above.
View more images of the new products in our event gallery here.
Drivers are continuing to clock up the laps here in Gubbio and walking through the pits this evening one can see a lot more happy faces. One guy with a big smile on his face is World Champion Daniele Ielasi who is carrying all the hopes of 1:10 newcomer Shepherd on his shoulders. Running the sole Velox V10, the Italian said coming to the event he had set himself the goal of making the main final which would be like a victory for the car but the performance of the chassis in free practice is giving him the feeling they can aim higher. Running the same pace as the race favourites, Ielasi said the base set-up of the car is very good and this has allowed them to concentrate on trying lots of different things to see how the car reacts including large tyres. Commenting on the most distinctive features of the V10, its Direct-V-Brake System, Ielasi is very happy with the cars stopping power which can be set very strong without causing the car to lock up.
Also debuting a new car here is the not so well known Capricon RC. The Italian company has been offering engines and tuning parts for other cars for some time but will shortly become a fully fledged car manufacturer with the release of its 1:10 200mm kit. Heading the two car entry is Martin Christensen. The Danish ace has had a busy day trying to gather as much set-up data as possible about the new creation but said already it is proving very consistent and easy to drive. Cristensen believes he is running about a 1/10th off the fastest pace but feels a fresh engine should make that up.
For Serpent, the company that invented 1:10 nitro racing, this week is an important one for their latest creation the 733. A preproduction car ran at the Bumod Grand Prix in Turkey but now the full team are equipped with production versions. Heading that team is the cars designer Michael Salven. The two time European Champion said his and the rest of the team’s cars are working really well but his main problem was his lack of engine power. On the second of his two race deal with Serpent, Jilles Groskamp is the leading 733 at the moment in terms of pace with his Max powered version. The Dutch ace only arrived here in Gubbio yesterday due to other racing commitments that saw him claim back to back Euro Touring Series titles in Germany over the weekend. Working with former Serpent designer Rene Cornella who has been drafted back into the team for the week to look after the electric touring car ace, Groskamp said he is surprised at how close he is to the established nitro racers who arrived here on Monday.
Britian’s Mark Green is very happy now with his Novarossi powered 733 after getting it to his liking today but said the biggest problem is with his driving. Missing his apexes in the chicane, the two time Euros runner up feels if he can get that sorted he we be well on the pace. Asked who he feels is looking strong so far he responded by saying ‘Apart from the entire Italian team’, Jilles looks really good driving perfect lines every lap and with 29 laps predicted for the 7 minutes heats that consistency is going to add up. Alessio Mazzeo and Kyle Branson are the young guns of the Serpent team but its been a tough start to the event for the teenagers. Madrid podium finisher and former European B Champion Mazzeo said his car is working well but he is having many silly problems during his runs like a dead reciever battery and a tyre coming off the rim. For British Champion Branson tyres was the issue, a lack of them. The former two time Junior Champion had arranged a tyre sponsorship deal ahead of the event but the tyres never arrived leaving him in trouble, but Xceed have stepped in and he will continue the event running their tyres.
After a difficult start to the event Kyosho’s Adrien Bertin said things are much better now after taking a short sleep. The former World Champion flew directly to Italy from the US, where he was supporting Team Orion drivers at the American 1:8 Off Road Nationals, and his travels caught up with him. Feeling a lot fresher today and able to drive in a straight line he has found a good base set-up on his V-One RRR and can now start to work on getting his lap times down.