Jernej Vuga is the new 2008 EFRA 1:8 Onroad European Champion after a thrilling final lap of the championships here in Valencia, Spain. The former Euro B Champion took the victory in dying moments of the very last lap as a very unfortunate Daniele Ielasi, who lead for most of the race, went off on the third last corner due to a flat receiver battery.
Italian ace Ielasi took up the lead of the race after early leader Andrea Pirani rolled out of the lead and then new leader Oscar Cabezas was collect in the pits by Robert Pietsch, after the Spaniard’s pitman placed his car out in front of the German’s Shepherd Velox. The incident ending both drivers chances of victory along with that of Top Qualifier Massimo Fantini who also got caught up in the incident.
Once out in front Ielasi’s IDM powered Shepherd took control of the race with the former Champion stretching his lead to a full lap over the chasing group of Vuga, Cristiani and a hard charging Dario Balestri. The sole Motonica representative in the final and the current 1:10 200mm European Champion, making a great recovery having missed the start of race after his back pressure pipe came off.
With Ielasi clear in front, getting himself a lap up on the entire field, the big battle looked to be on for the final two placings on the podium with Vuga, Cristiani, Balestri and Salemi all in the hunt at one point but how it was to unfold could only have been written by Hollywood.
Two laps from home Ielasi was in trouble, his car struggling to get around the Autet track. Balestri was the first man to pass the limping Shepherd but he too was to hit trouble, his Novarossi engine stopped caused by a broken fuel line. Back in the lead with just half a lap to go Ielasi was desperately trying to nurse his car home as Vuga, Salemi and Cristiani charged down on him. Unfortunately his receiver batteries had no more and at the end of the straight the Italian went off the track allowing Vuga through to take a dramatic victory by less than 2 seconds from Salemi with Cristiani only a further 4/10th behind.
Failing to make the finish a devastated Ielasi was classified 4th ahead of Balestri who too failed to make the full 45 minutes with Serpent’s Michael Salven completing the Top 6 after a difficult race.
After the race a delighted Vuga said, ‘This is a very special moment for me. I had a steady pace but I was not the fastest but all the time I was in a podium position. I saw Daniele go off at the end of the straight but thought he had already finished as he had been a lap up on me. I crossed the finish line delighted to be on the podium but I had no idea I won until my mechanic saw it the result come up on the timing screen and started shouting to me. I am so happy.’
Second placed Salemi was also delighted with his result which saw the Mugen MRX4 secure the top two placings. ‘I am very happy to have this result. My car was fantastic and really easy to drive. My only incident was running out of fuel one time but I am really happy to be on the podium.’
Cristiani took the final podium placing for Serpent but the Italian said he feels he could have won the race if he didn’t suffer a number of pit incidents, ‘I lost a tyre during my pitstop for new tyres which cost me a lot of time and my engine cut during one of my fuel stops. Without these problems I think for sure I could have won.’
So, seven days of action have come to an end in the most dramatic way possible with a new name entering the EFRA history books for being European Champion. A very well organised and run event, Red RC would like to thank all the race officials and the entire Autet club for making us feel so welcome and for their kind hospitality. We would also like to thank our sponsors Kyosho and Merlin Fuel for supporting our live race coverage.
1. Jernej Vuga (SI) – 145 Laps in 00:45:16.628
2. Walter Salemi (IT) – 145 Laps in 00:45:18.210
3. Andrea Cristiani (IT) – 145 Laps in 00:45:18.612
4. Daniele Ielasi (IT) – 144 Laps in 00:44:53.799
5. Dario Balestri (IT) – 144 Laps in 00:44:54.794
6. Michael Salven (DE) – 142 Laps in 00:45:15.307
7. Robert Pietsch (DE) – 135 Laps in 00:45:18.116
8. Andrea Pirani (IT) – 134 Laps in 00:45:03.198
9. Massimo Fantini (IT) – 118 Laps in 00:39:37.360
10. Oscar Cabezas (ES) – 115 Laps in 00:45:09.736
Full results can be found on the official timing site here.
Race is GO!!!! Lap 1 – Pirani leads from Cabezas. Balestri misses start as back pressure pipe comes off
Lap 7 – Pirani rolls out of lead. Cabezas leads from Pietsch 5 Minutes – First pitstops. Cabezas, Pietsch and Fantini clash in pits. Cabezas car damaged. Ielasi leads from Salemi, Vuga and Salven.
7 minutes – Fantini hits problems – pits for repairs.
9 minutes – Second pit stops – Lesali still leads by 4 seconds from Vuga. Crristiani 3rd.
11 minutes – Ielasi extending lead over Vuga.
12 minutes – Fantini makes unplanned pit stop. Crew not ready. Cabezas rejoins race.
15 minutes – Ielasi still leads. Only four cars on lead lap (50) – Vuga, Cristiani and Salemi
18 minutes – No change up front. Balestri up to 6th.
21 minutes – Still Ielasi out front. Cristiani fastest man on track. Salemi stops for tyres.
23 minutes – Balestri changes tyres. Ielasi leads from Vuga by 6 seconds. Plug gone in Salve’s car as he pits for tyres.
25 minutes – Vuga and Cristiani make tyres stops. Only Top 3 on lead lap.
26 minutes – Pietsch rolls still running. Ielasi leads from Vuga, Cristiani, Balestri, Salemi and Salven. 29 minutes – Ielasi just about to lap second placed Vuga. Salemi up to third.
32 minutes – Balestri all over Cristiani for third. Fantini makes tyre stop.
34 minutes – Ielasi a lap clear up front from Vuga, Cristiani, Balestri, Salemi, Salven and Fantini.
36 minutes – Cristiani second, Balestri up to third after Vuga made mistake.
37 minutes – Ielasi hits Pirani in pits. Rejoins but gets hit by Fantini.
38 minutes – Ielasi in trouble. Engine running very rich.
39 minute – Fantini has to change tyres after chunking a rear.
40 minutes – Fantini retires
41 minutes – Pirani stops on straight
42 minutes – Ielasi still leads from Vuga. Balestri third. 43 minutes – Balestri and Vuga clash.
44 minutes – Ielasi 8 seconds clear of Balestri. 45 minutes – Vuga is Champion. Ielasi loose radio and crashes on last lap. Balestri runs out of fuel.
Big news from Spain is that defending champion Lamberto Collari is out after suffering a middle layshaft failure during the Semi Final A, which means that by 16:30 this evening we are guaranteed to have a new European Champion. The Italian star lasted just 4 minutes into the final having progressed from the 1/4 finals.
The first Semi Final saw Dario Balestri win to secure his place in the Main final. The Motonica driver was pretty much in control throughout, but behind there was a great battle for second between Adrien Bertin and Walter Salemi. Bertin’s race got off to a terrible start as he was given a Stop & Go penalty but the Kyosho driver put in a great recovery drive catching up Salemi and passing him on the penultimate lap as the pair touched, sending Salemi’s car airbourne, however the Italian still crossed the line in third. That position was later to become 2nd as the fuel tank in Bertin’s car failed to pass race scrutiny, proving to be too large despite a re test.
The Semi A went the way of EC Warm Up Race winner Robert Pietsch while behind him Michael Salven got the better of a very impressive Jernej Vuga, the former Euro B Champion crossing the line right on the rear of Salven’s Serpent. Posting the fastest time of the non top 2 finshers Vuga will progress to the final along Andrea Cristiani who was fourth in the Semi Final A, the quickest of the 2 finals.
UPDATE: Adrien Bertin is submitting a protest to the decision on his fuel tank based on the procedure used. We will inform you of the final decision.
The Main final line-up (provisional)
1. Massimo Fantini – Serpent
2. Daniele Ielasi – Shepherd
3. Andrea Pirani – Mugen
4. Oscar Cabezas – Serpent
5. Robert Pietsch – Shepherd
6. Michael Salven – Serpent
7. Jernej Vuga – Mugen
8. Dario Balestri – Motonica
9. Andrea Cristiani – Serpent
10.Walter Salemi – Mugen
Italy’s Marco Vanni and German Eric Dankel have won the 1/4 Finals at the 2008 EFRA Euros with both drivers taking relatively easy wins to progress to the Semis.
Vanni took a comfortable victory in the first of the 1/4 Finals. Starting the 1/4 Final B from pole the Mugen driver lead from start to finish followed home by Belgian Steven Cuypers who was using Michael Salven’s spare Serpent chassis. The big battle of the race was the fight for third between Rick V and Serpent’s Michele Romagnoli with the Mugen driver finally crossing the line to claim the final bump position to the Semi Finals.
The Dutch ace had to endured intense pressure throughout the race from Romagnoli but the Italian’s challenge came to an end during his final pit stop. Clipping the pitlane as he exited he knocked off a front shock which caused his 960 to go straight on at the end of the main straight. Needing marshal’s assistance to get back to the pit lane, where the shock was clipped back on, he returned to the race but his challenge was over.
In the 1/4 Final A Dankel, who progressed from the 1/16 final, took an easy win once again. Passing pole sitter Lamberto Collari five and a half minutes into the race the Shepherd driver pulled away leaving the current European Champion to battle over second with 2006 title holder Fabio Domanin. Eventually Collari opened the door to allow the quicker Domanin through knowing third was enough for him to secure a place in the Semi.
The 1/4 Finals brought an end to the event for a number of top drivers. Top French Championship contender Stephane Bouche and Worlds Finalist Olivier Mack finished in the unfortunate 4th positions while non finishes for European B Champion Richard Volta, Motonica development driver Stefano Solaroli and Shepherd owner Patrick Schaefer ended their hopes of moving into the Semis.
Full results can be found on the official timing site here.
He TQ’d the World Championships in Argentina last October and so came to Valencia with a World class reputation to protect and that’s exactly what Massimo Fantini achieved with a great qualifying run when it counted most. The Italian took advantage of the opening heat on Day 6 of the European Championships to post the TQ time when conditions at the Autet track where at their coolest.
Driving a Serpent 960 powered by an engine bearing his own name, ‘Max’ Fantini set his time in the second round of qualifying to head a trio of Italians who are guaranteed a place on the starting grid for tomorrow’s all important 45 minute final. Daniele Ielasi was the nearest challenger to his fellow countryman just over 4/10th away, with Andrea Pirani a further 5/10th behind making it three different makes of car in the Top 3 placings. Oscar Cabezas claimed the final direct qualifier spot to ensure big local interest in the final.
The final round of the four qualifying heats was not expected to produce much change at the front and while Oscar Cabezas came close, nothing changed from this morning. The Spaniard TQ’d the round despite coasting his Serpent across the line as he ran out of fuel but afterwards he admitted that it was close but even if he had had enough fuel he didn’t feel he would have been able to better his Q2 time. Daniele Ielasi, Josue Artiles and Andrea Pirani completed the Top 4 times for the round.
Ending up in the unfortunate 5th position Robert Pietsch will start the Semi Final A on pole for Shepherd, while Motonica’s Dario Balestri takes up the 1st place in the Semi B. Joining Pietsch at the front of the grid in the Semi A will be seventh fastest man Josue Artiles who is making quite a name for himself at the controls of him Max powered Mugen MRX4. Also impressing here is Robin D’Hondt who will have the honours of being up front on the Semi B grid with Balestri.
He may be the best driver in the World but Lamberto Collari finds himself in the Quarter Finals. Not because of his lack of pace, although the 8 times World Champion has struggled here, but because of a costly error in getting to his marshalling post which lost him his FTD. Michael Salven also got the same penalty but holds on to a Semi Final starting position.
Our live coverage of the 2008 EFRA European Championships, which is kindly supported by Kyosho and Merlin Fuel, continues tomorrow when we will bring you full reports from the Quarter, Semi and Main Finals.
Official qualifying positions after 4 rounds
1. Massimo Fantini (IT) 17 Laps in 05:00.214
2. Daniele Ielasi (IT) 17 Laps in 05:00.679
3. Andrea Pirani (IT) 17 Laps in 05:01.195
4. Oscar Cabezas (ES) 17 Laps in 05:01.287
5. Robert Pietsch (DE) 17 Laps in 05:01.505
6. Dario Balestri (IT) 17 Laps in 05:01.735
7. Josué Artiles Santana (ES) 17 Laps in 05:02.866
8. Robin D´hondt (BE) 17 Laps in 05:03.388
9. Marco Muller (CH) 17 Laps in 05:03.926
10. Adrien Bertin (LUX) 17 Laps in 05:04.180
11. Andrea Cristiani (IT) 17 Laps in 05:04.378
12. Alberto Picco (IT) 17 Laps in 05:04.693
13. Michael Salven (DE) 17 Laps in 05:04.752
14. Mark Green (GB) 17 Laps in 05:05.097
15. Jernej Vuga (SI) 17 Laps in 05:05.283
16. Nicola Marrone (IT) 17 Laps in 05:05.682
17. Philip Sting (DE) 17 Laps in 05:06.258
18. Walter Salemi (IT) 17 Laps in 05:06.384
Full results can be found on the official timing site here.