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RedRC reports the first full season schedule of the Euro Nitro Series kicked off this week at the Mini Ayrton Senna circuit in Melzo, IT. PROTOform Team Drivers Lamberto Collari and Eric Dankel took the overall wins in 1:8 On-Road and 1:10 Nitro Touring respectively. Awesome job and congrats to you both!

RedRC’s race reports:

Lamberto Collari has won the opening round of the all new Euro Nitro Series.  The Italian legend won from fellow former World Champion Robert Pietsch by just 1.5 seconds after 45-minutes of super close racing,  a late and hard pass by the 9-time World Champion on the Top Qualifier deciding the intense race.  The podium for the Italian event, held at the spectacular Melzo track, was completed by two time World Championship finalist Simon Kurzbuch, it being a good event for Swiss drivers with another Worlds finalist Silvio Hachler finishing fourth having started 10th on the world class grid.

‘Start to finish a super close race’, that was how Collari summed up the encounter that saw the Top 2 run the entire race no more than 5-6 seconds apart on a track that reaped huge praise from the drivers over the weekend.  Driving a privately entered Mugen MRX5, for which Pietsch was responsible for its design, he said he had to push hard the entire race and he really enjoyed this.  Posting the fastest lap of the race,  the master of  strategy said his plan was always to pit for tyres one stop after the German did so he would have bigger tyres.  He said this worked perfectly as at the end of the race it allowed him to close right in on the lead.  Commenting on the pass which resulted in Pietsch’s Mugen ending up on its roof and needing to be marshalled, Collari said there was a gap and he went for it and the contact was just racing.  Complimenting the organisers of the Euro Nitro Series on the format of the weekend and its tyre control measures, he said he plans to contest the rest of the inaugural season adding that for now he will continue with the Mugen/OS package after such a successful debut with the combination this weekend.

‘For sure he needs to buy me one beer after that’ was Pietsch’s response to Collari’s pass.  Describing the move as ‘a bit over the limit’, the father to be said ‘anyway it happened’ and overall he enjoyed the race long ‘super close’ battle.   Making his race debut this weekend for new engine sponsor Picco, he said he was very happy with how they ran all weekend although for the final he said his clutch was set a bit early.  Noticing this in the 3-minute warm-up before the start of the final he said he opted not to try adjust this and overall it didn’t cause him too much issues.  Fuelling every 5-minute, the 16% nitro fuel ruling giving engines much better economy, he said all his stops including his tyre change were perfect.

Kurzbuch was very happy with his podium finish saying he got a very good start from his fifth position on the grid.  The factory Team Shepherd driver said knowing he couldn’t match the pace of Collari and Pietsch he drove his own ‘safe’ race.  Running Novarossi engines he ran a strategy of stopping every 4:30 with a tyre change half way in to the race.  Describing his two mechanic’s work as ‘perfect’, he said 3rd was a great start to the championship.

Euro Nitro Series: Italy 1:8 Nitro On-Road A-Main Result

  1. Lamberto Collari / ITA / PROTOform PFR18
  2. Robert Pietsch / ITA / PROTOform PFR18
  3. Simon Kurzbuch / CH / PROTOform PFR18
  4. Silvio Hachler / CH / PROTOform PFR18
  5. Oliver Mack / GER / PROTOform PFR18
  6. Daniele Ielasi / ITA
  7. Teemu Leino / FIN
  8. Alberto Picco / ITA / PROTOform P909
  9. Andrea Pirani / ITA / PROTOform PFR18
  10. Francesco Tironi / ITA / PROTOform P909
  11. Michael Salven / GER / PROTOform PFR18
  12. Kyle Branson / GB / PROTOform P909

Eric Dankel has won the opening round of the all new Euro Nitro Series which kicked off at Melzo in Italy at the weekend, the Capricorn coming out top of the ultra competitive field to win which saw the Top 4 all finishing on the same lap at the end of the 45-minute encounter.  An emotional win for Dankel, starting from 4th on the grid the German 200mm ace would recover from a bad start to win from local hero Francesco Tironi by 12-seconds with Dirk Wischnewski just holding off Top Qualifier Teemu Leino to complete the podium at the Mini Racing Ayrton Senna track.

Clearly pleased with his win, the start couldn’t have been worse as his Capricorn ended up in a crash losing him almost 5-seconds.  Driving back onto the track he said his biggest concern was rejoining the asphalt would damage his tyres but he said luckily that would not be the case.  Rejoining in 12th he said he had no choice but to push hard to recover the lost time but with his car very easy to drive he said he was able to run very consistent laps moving to the front on lap 75, thanks to a faster tyre stop than fellow country Wischnewski who had led for the previous 12-laps. Praising the speed of his pit crew he said the tyre stop was great.  Having suffered at the second of last year’s ENS Pilot Races in Austria when he tried to run one extra stop on his tyres, he said the plan for the race today was to stop on 20-minutes for a fresh set of the Matrix tyres.  However with the Maxima powered car still working really good at the 20-minute mark he made the call to go 5-more minutes.   Following the fast stop, his crew taking 2-seconds out of Wischnewski, he said the car was better on the second set of tyres and he was very comfortable for the remainder of the race.  A ‘perfect start’ to the new championship, Dankel said even though he has never been to the track before he is already looking forward to Round 2 at Aigen in Austria next month.

Euro Nitro Series: Italy 1:10 Nitro Touring Car A-Main Result

  1. Eric Dankel / GER / PROTOform SRS-N
  2. Francesco Tironi / ITA / PROTOform SRS-N
  3. Dirk Wischnewski / GER
  4. Teemu Leino / FIN / PROTOform SRS-N
  5. Dario Balestri / ITA / PROTOform SRS-N
  6. Luca Redaelli / ITA / PROTOform SRS-N
  7. Dominic Greiner / GER / PROTOform P37-N
  8. Alexander Thilo / GER / PROTOform SRS-N
  9. Patrick Schafer / GER
  10. Rico Krober / GER
  11. Basile Concialdi / FRA
  12. Mark Green / GB
  13. Martin Lissau / DEN
  14. Adrien Bertin / FRA / PROTOform SRS-N

Photos and Race Report: RedRC Read the full report here.