July 27, 2008

1/4 Final wins for Vanni & Dankel

1/4 Final wins for Vanni & Dankel

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.

Erik Dankel

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.

View our image gallery here.

July 26, 2008

Fantini TQ’s 2008 European Champs

Fantini TQ’s 2008 European Champs

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.

Robert Pietsch

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.

Collari qualifying action

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.

View our image gallery here.

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.

View our image gallery here.

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).

View our image gallery here.

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.

View our image gallery here.