The Euro Nitro Series enters into the second half of the season this weekend as Aigen in Austria hosts Round 3 of the championship with the main focus of the weekend set to be on the 1:8 title battle between reigning champion Simon Kurzbuch and a surprise 1:8 contender Bruno Coelho. Located high in the Austrian mountains near the German border, this is Aigen’s fourth year on the ENS calendar and since last year’s visit when a new pit area greeted competitors, MAV Aigen have not let up on their commitment to providing racers with a top class facility. This year’s improvement is set to have a far greater direct effect on the racing than previous work with the track having just recently been completely resurfaced with new asphalt. This should make for a more level playing eld with the previous surface presenting drivers with the challenge of high tyre wear. For Kurzbuch the track has been a happy hunting ground with the Shepherd driver the winner on the last two visits and second on the inaugural visit behind John Ermen. For Coelho, this will be only his second outing at the track, the Xray driver’s previous 2015 visit netting him fourth in the 1:10 A-Main.
Coelho leads the 1:8 standings, his double win at the season opener in France catching the entire 1:8 establishment by surprise. Showing that it wasn’t just his liking of the technical Mulhouse track layout, Coelho and the RX8 were right there again at Round 2 in Germany and it was only a mis-communication with his pit crew that resulted in a ame out that denied him from being right with Kurzbuch at the end. Still the Portuguese driver got second to stay put at the top in the standings and he will be looking to extend that by preventing Kurzbuch from making it three wins in a row in Aigen come Sunday. Having claimed the latest Euro Touring Series and Euro Offroad Series titles, Coelho is after a very unique hat trick and unlike Kurzbuch also has the 1:10 championship to focus on. Claiming his second TQ of the season in Ettlingen unfortunately the A-Main would end in retirement with new championship leader Erik Dankel taking the win but with Dankel not making the trip to Austria Coelho will try to regain ground and set-up a shoot-out for the season nale at Fiorano in Italy in October.
Since notching up his rst ENS career win, Kurzbuch has been the benchmark at Aigen. The Swiss driver wrapped up his second ENS title there last year when he claimed his third win of the season but this year having faltered on his fuel strategy at the season opener, his focus is on making Round 1 his throw out round. As the last ENS encounter before the World Championship next month, the weekend will also be an important build up to France for the reigning World Champion.
A former Top Quali er in Aigen but having to settle for second on that occasion, Robert Pietsch comes into the weekend sitting third in the standings. The Mugen driver has yet to make the podium this season but has been on the podium at the Austrian round the past two years. Behind Pietsch in the standings in Dominic Greiner. Better known for his 1:10 exploits, the Serpent driver taking the win in Aigen in the inaugural ENS season he has switched to 1:8 this year due to it being a World Championship year. Making the A-Main at the opening two rounds, the German will be hoping to target his rst podium nish at a track he has always been quick at having also TQ’d there in 2015.
Having a brilliant 1:8 A-Main on the technical Mulhouse track to nish 2nd behind Coelho, Jilles Groskamp is also a fan of the Aigen track and he will single handedly represent the In nity team at the third round. The former Touring Car World Champion was runner-up to team-mate Teemu Leino, last year’s winner, in 2015 enroute to becoming the 1:10 Champion. Fellow Dutchman, John Ermen took a wet win in 2014 in Aigen and just missed the podium the following year and following his best result in some time at Round 2 the ARC driver will be looking to be in the mix. Always one to go well in Aigen, Lars Hoppe will be another to watch. Making the switch to Shepherd for the 2017 season, the German is enjoying the atmosphere within his new team and kicked off the relationship with a strong Round 1 performance.
In 1:10, Coelho’s main opposition is set to come from within his own Xray team namely in the form of quick Frenchman Leo Arnold. Marco Kaufmann, having secured his rst ENS podium last time out in Ettlingen, should also be the mix. Hoping to split up the Xray’s will be Shepherd’s Thilo Tödtmann who was on the podium last year with Leino and Dankel. Former Euro B Champion Patrick Nähr should also put Shepherd in the hunt.