July 26, 2008

Ielasi fastest in Q3, Max still TQ

Daniele Ielasi

As predicted the second of today’s two qualifier was slower for most of the leading runners but none the less Daniele Ielasi managed to produce a great time to top the round from Shepherd team-mate Robert Pietsch.

Ielasi’s 05:02.155 run was just 1.5 seconds shy of the time he set this morning that put him 2nd overall in the provisional qualifying order. Commenting on the run the Italian said, ‘The car was great, for sure the track was slower but my car worked good and the tank has lots of fuel left. I think later the track will be even slower but I will try to go faster’.

Pietsch was very upbeat with second fastest time for the run. Running the engine slightly richer than this morning he was very happy with the performance of his Novarossi. Currently just over 2 tenths of a second off direct qualification to the Main final, the Warm Up race winner says he will go all out to improve his time but thinks the higher temperature will be against him.

Third fastest after a really impressive drive was top Spanish Championship contender Josue Artiles. The Mugen/Max driver was collected by other cars in Rounds 1 & 2 of qualifying but had a trouble free run on this occassion. Recording the third fastest time he was best improver for the Round and now moves into 8th position. ‘I think my first heat was my fastest but I hit a slower car. I am really pleased to get a clean run finally and to be in a Semi Final position is very good for me. I will try to improve on this in the last heat.’

Oscar Cabezas action

Another Spanish driver who found pace despite the extra heat was National Champion Oscar Cabezas. The Serpent Driver Development program recruit was setting a good pace but had an off at the end of the main straight which he believes was the result of debris getting under the front of his 960. Once back on track and obviously pumped up following the off, he went on to set a new track record of 17.379 bettering the previous time set by Italy’s Andrea Pirani in Round 2 of Qualifying.

Bad news for Michael Salven and Lamberto Collari is that they have both lost their appeals against failure to be at the marshalling points when the track open for the heat following their own runs. In the final instructions issued by EFRA to all the team managers this ruling is clearly stated so both drivers will now loose their fastest heat times.

Top 10 after Round 3 of 4
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. Michael Salven (DE) 17 Laps in 05:02.580*
8. Josué Artiles Santana (ES) 17 Laps in 05:02.866
9. Robin D´hondt (BE) 17 Laps in 05:03.388
10. Marco Muller (CH) 17 Laps in 05:03.926
* Subject to penalty

Full results can be found on the official timing site here.

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July 26, 2008

Fantini TQs most important heat

Massimo Fantini TQ after Round 2

Massimo Fantini has TQ’d what is expected to be the most important qualifier at the 2008 EFRA European Championships, posting 17 laps in 05:00.214 to put himself in povisional pole for tomorrow’s Main Final ahead of fellow countryman Daniele Ielasi.

Serpent driver Fantini was happy with his run but said if he had known how close he was to producing an 18 lap run he would have pushed harder over the final lap. The 2005 Champion dropped 4/10th on his final to conserve fuel but afterwards his tank appeared to have had enough for the extra pace required to make the first 18 lapper of the weekend.

Ielasi, who was very happy with the performance of his Shepherd Volex and his clutch settings, appeared to be in the same situation saying the car and engine were perfect and it was just him being over cautious that cost him an 18 lap run. Throughout the heat the timing system predicted both drivers would record 18 laps.

Lap record holder Andrea Pirani

Making it three Italians at the top of the time sheets, representing three different manufacturers, was the very fast Andrea Pirani. The Mugen driver posted the fastest lap, a new track record, during the run but said the carburation on his Novarossi was not perfect and over the last lap it ran very lean.

After his incident with Ielasi in yesterday’s opening qualifier, local ace Oscar Cabezas got a clean run to provisionally secure the final direct qualifying position for the Main Final. The Serpent driver’s 960 08 was working good but like the majority of the field the Spanish Champion had to nurse the engine over the last lap.

Robert Pietsch and leading Motonica challenger Dario Balestri complete the current Top 6. Pietsch was another who was shown as being on for an 18 lap run but he reported that over the final 2 laps his Novarossi went very lean and this cost him a top 4 time.

Overnight TQ holder Michael Salven had a dissappointing run failing to finish after his Mega engine blew a plug as a result of running too lean . The German was not as happy with his car compared with yesterday despite running the same settings and believes a bad set of new tyres were the cause. To add to his woes, he along with Lamberto Collari have been given a penalty for arriving late to their marshalling positions, a decision which will see them both loose their fastest time, both drivers will formally protested the decision.

Belgian Champion Robin D’hondt enjoyed a very impressive run to top his heat and post the 8th fastest time. The Serpent team driver said the car was really good but fuel was close and he just had enough to make it back to the pits. Swiss driver Marco Muller was ninth fastest with Adrien Bertin the top Kyosho rounding out the top 10.

News of other drivers including Alberto Picco who’s engine cut out half through the run for an unknown reason. This is being investigated by brother and engine tuning guru Eduardo. Current champion Lamberto Collari has resolved his brake problem but the 8 times World Champion is still not happy with the balance on his car and lies a lowly 19th overall in a field that sees the Top 32 drivers covered by just 10 seconds.

Following the Heat 2 the exhausts, a big talking point here in Spain, of both Fantini and Ielasi have been engraved and photographed and will be subject to a future technical inspection (i.e cut open).

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July 25, 2008

Salven claims overnight TQ

Salven claims overnight TQ

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.

Dario Balestri Qualifying action

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.

Adrien Bertin runs out of fuel

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.

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July 25, 2008

Artiles sets pace in final practice

Josue Artiles

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.

High Track Temp

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.

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July 25, 2008

Fantini tops Day 5 opener

Massimo Fantini action

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.

Josue Artiles

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.

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July 24, 2008

Fantini just misses out on 18 lapper

Fantini just misses out on 18 lapper

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.

Dario Balestri

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.

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