EFRA 1/8th IC Track European Championships – Finals Report

415

  • Euro A:

After several rain delays the main final got underway, with Simon Kurzbuch initially pulling a gap of around a second from Dario Balestri, before Balestri began closing in as they neared the first round of pit stops. Robert Pietsch was running in a comfortable third place at this point, and the battle between the lead pair allowed him to begin closing in. The battle between the top three continued with no position changes until the second set of stops, when Balestri coasted to a halt on the exit of the banked sweeper immediately after leaving the pits. His car was quickly recovered to the pits where an engine issue was discovered that forced him into an unfortunate retirement.

With Kurzbuch now leading from Pietsch by several seconds the race settled down until the fourth round of stops, when Kurzbuch elected to take on four new tyres as well as being refuelled in the pits. This lengthy stop gave Pietsch a healthy lead at that point of the final, as he pressed on without changing tyres at that point, simply taking on more fuel at his stop. It was also noticeable that Pietsch was running several laps longer in every stint than Kurzbuch, which would help to set up a thrilling finale.

Kurzbuch was lapping faster than Pietsch on his fresh tyres, but the gap wasn’t coming down fast enough to make up the time lost in changing to those fresh tyres, so the two different strategies had the cars a fair distance apart at this point. Pietsch finally took on new tyres at the mid point of the race, with Kurzbuch also taking on a fresh pair of tyres on the outside of the car, this closing the pair right back together again, with Simon now leading from Robert.

Pietsch and Kurzbuch each took turns in the lead as the other pitted, and it soon became clear the reason that Pietsch was running a few laps longer in every stint was that he was attempting to go to the end with one less stop – although Kurzbuch had a little extra pace at that point, it wasn’t going to be enough to make up the extra stop. Pietsch pitted at 39:30, meaning he would need to eke 5:30 out of a tank of fuel in order to get to the end. For a lap or two Kurzbuch and Pietsch were right together, before Kurzbuch pitted for his final stop, leaving Pietsch to see if he could make it to the end.

Pietsch got to the 43 minute mark before realising he wasn’t going to make it, so headed to the pits once more for a short fill to get him to the end, exiting the pits side by side with Kurzbuch, whose extra momentum just got him into the lead around the banked sweeper. Try as he might Pietsch couldn’t find a way past Kurzbuch, who crossed the line after 45 minutes to take the 2018 European title by just under a second. After a fairly lonely race, Toni Gruber took a well deserved final podium position, a lap down on the lead pair and two laps up on fourth place

  • Euro B:

Michael Kammer led away from his pole position but before the end of the first lap Generoso Mazza had fought his way past and spent the first few minutes edging away from Kammer, the pair of them pulling away from third placed Francesco Maddaloni. A technical problem then struck Kammer, resulting in multiple visits to the pits and eventual retirement from the race, though he did have the small consolation of setting the fastest lap of the final.

With the pressure off Mazza continued to display consistent pace as he pulled clear of the chasing pack, eventually crossing the line after 45 minutes to take a deserved win from Maddaloni and third placed man Dennis Weihert, who took the position from David Wintzerith on the penultimate lap.

See: EFRA