Both of this year’s Euro Nitro Series Champions will be decided this weekend (23-25 October) at the world famous Minicar Fiorano circuit in Italy with four drivers in contention for each of the titles. The fourth & final round of the high profile nitro onroad championship, the conclusion to Season #2 has attracted a record entry of 170 drivers but the focus is on who will lay claim to the prestigious titles come Sunday evening. A season that has seen three different winners from the opening three rounds it is very much all to play for among the title protagonists.
In 1:8, which has attracted a massive 100+ entries, it is Dario Balestri who comes into his home event at the top of the standings two points clear of reigning champion Simon Kurzbuch. Last season the Capricorn driver ended his campaign with his first ENS success taking the 1:10 win in Fiorano. Top Qualifier at this year’s season opener, Balestri had to wait until Round 3 in Germany to post his first 1:8 win. Describing that win as ‘maybe one of my best races ever’, he will be chasing a repeat performance this weekend in his quest to become ENS champion.
Having come into this event last year with an outside chance of the title but getting the job done, Kurzbuch is another of this year’s winners. Taking his first ENS win at Round 2 in Austria, the Swiss driver would be Top Qualifier at Round 3 but in the final hit problems that left him to finish only 7th. Hoping that will be his throw out result, 3 from 4 rounds counting for the final standings, the Shepherd driver has good memories of this track from last season and the determined Worlds finalist will give 110% to try & retain his title.
The driver that lost out in that 2014 title fight, Robert Pietsch comes into the event third in the standings only 4-points off despite no win to his credit, the season’s other winner being Lamberto Collari. After a poor opening round in Italy, the Mugen driver has been on the podium since and having lost out on a title here 12-months ago the former World Champion will be looking to set things right. The fourth driver in the title hunt is Andrea Pirani but the WRC driver, who claimed a podium at Round 1, must win to have a shot at the title for the championship’s smallest team.
In 1:10 it is Mr. Consistent Jilles Groskamp who heads at HB 1-2 at the top of the standings. The former electric touring car World Champion has not registered a win but has finished 2nd in all three rounds giving him an 8-point advantage at the top of the standings ahead of team-mate Teemu Leino. However when dropped scores are taken into account, Leino crashing out of the lead at the season opener the deficit is just a single point. Neither driver contested last year’s season finale at Fiorano but this shouldn’t prove much of a disadvantage for these two world class drivers once proceedings get underway.
Winner of the season opener at L.Collari RC Raceway in Bologna, Bruno Coelho sits third in the standings 1-point off Leino. Struggling at Round 3 where he would only finish 11th, the Portuguese driver has since enjoyed great success becoming 200mm European Champion and the 4WD Electric Offroad World Champion and the Xray driver would like nothing more than to cap off his 2015 season with the Euro Nitro Series title.
The other title contender is Serpent’s Dominic Greiner who like Groskamp has yet to register a win in 2015. The German was Top Qualifier for his home round but had issues in the pits during the final, finishing the rain shortened race 4th. With his Round 1 result taken out of the equation, Greiner is just 1-point off Groskamp and a driver who felt he was robbed of a title already this year he is out for one thing only and that is the win and the ENS title. Claiming his first ENS win at Ettlingen, becoming the third different winner of the season, Dirk Wischnewski is fifth in the standings but a poor start to the season means the Shepherd driver can’t win the title but the former European Champion could influence the outcome.
With Hot Race tyres again the official tyre supplier for the season finale, ENS Round 4 officially gets underway on the Friday morning with 2 rounds of free practice followed by 2 timed practices which will seed the heats for the first of 4 rounds of qualifying. The champions are to be decided over 45-minute Mains on Sunday afternoon with all the action being streamed live on Redrc.net.