2018 EFRA EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP 1/10

2018 EFRA EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP 1/10

VILA REAL PORTUGAL 6-11/08/2018

Just couple of weeks after 1/8 Euro’s in Cassino the other bigger appointment for European Federation was held at Vila Real in Portugal… Race location was very nice, laydown in the mountains, not so far from Porto, that was already theater of 1/8 championship few years ago. The track was huge, especially for 1/10 Nitro touring cars, with very fast layout and many different racing lines options. From first day of practice on monday the biggest problems to face was an overall lack of traction and some wind breeze that suddenly arrived without notice to disturb the drivers. Entries was around 60 with the best European drivers in attendance. Our Official team attended to shake down the new IF15 for first time; Teemu, Dario, Francesco, Jilles, Carmine and Andy spreads many effort in practice days to collect as many info possible to prepare the World’s Championship in late october.

After three full days of practice and opening ceremony Wednesday afternoon on Thursday morning the race officially started with 2 control practice and 2 qualifying rounds. After reseeding all our drivers was classified in the 2 best heats with surprising 15 years old Milan Holthius from NL that get a place in fastest one. In qualifying Pietsch looked as the most comfortable driver on the track TQing 4 rounds and jumping directly in the final. The closest driver to challenge his speed seemed Leino that in some occasions was really close (in 3rd round only couple of tenths with faster laptime) and was second overall. Balestri, after struggling a bit in first heats, improved a lot seating in 3rd once gained the last round moving straight to superpole… Groskamp also struggling searching best setting of his materials on the track but with good driving consistency finished 7th just in front of Tironi 8th and Moore 9th… 5 cars in top ten looked very good but was even better looking at Raiola that finish 11th after a bad start and Holthius that get a Semi’s spot 15th nine days after he finished to build the car. All IF15 are in semifinals!

Superpole was a very competitive show… Highlights start with Alessio that repeated his trick to cross the line full speed (as he makes in Gubbio 2 years ago) setting 20.8 in hot early afternoon conditions… but the best had to come: Dario was confident to have a chance to jump in front “cutting” as much possible the racing line of the big sweeper: in the two first attempts he suffer the loosing of the rear-end but at third lap he hold on FULL throttle sliding a bit for an astonishing 20.6! Teemu had safer approach and was forced to pass trough the semis.

For the final day temperature raised a bit giving to all drivers more concerns about fuel milage and tire strategies… 21 sec lap times didn’t allowed any risks in pit stops and due to fast layout (amazing sweeper before finish line airpin) the different wearing of tires inside/outside was unusually high. All solutions are possible: 1 full, 1full and 1 outside, 2 full. SemiB was the first with only Francesco for Infinity that start safe, drive smooth and consistent with a super 5minutes refueling strategy… 3rd place and Amain bump up for him! SemiA saw five of our cars at the start… Teemu put “cruise control mode ON” and drove safely first place tone to tone. Unfortunately for Andy first and Jilles later a stop caused them to finish here their race. Carmine suffer a problem in the beginning but he managed to arrive at his first refueling, tuned the engine and then started to chasing the field with nice pace having clearly in mind the overall time limit of SemiB… the 4th place with faster time gave him the Amain spot; even Milan was faster than other semi but he finish only 6th slightly missing the Final but bringing home the European Junior Title; congrats to you and your father!

AMAIN: Four drivers with IF15… after presentation and warmup, Final starts in the hottest hour of the day… As described before the strategies will have maximum importance in these conditions hoping to avoid any failure. At the start Dario passed Robert in two corner showing great confidence in his package; Teemu avoid any problem or contact early stage and drop down 2 position just behind Francesco and in front of Carmine. At 6th lap a little fault of Balestri allowed Pietsch to lead again the field; at first fuel stop Dario’s race was decided by a lack of fuel (or power) forcing him to get marshaled and loosing lot of time… Tironi with his  fuel strategy quickly recover positions taking the lead often when rivals go to the pits and Leino drives his way to the front with consistent pace.  Raiola suffered couple of stops in the pits that didn’t allowed him to express all his potential. Tire change was the turning point: Robert, Francesco and even Dario that chasing the group trying to recover positions planned 2 full set change. Teemu and Alessio  that were in front only 1 full… And was the winning choice; smooth driving of Leino with used tires compared to competitors on fresh set show the great consistency of the Finnish driver; a great pit work completed the job. Pietsch hold on fighting for a while then he had to pit long time to fix a problem; Mazzeo spread all his energies to fill the gap but when he catched Leino, 3 minutes to go, he had to “splash” to complete the 45 minutes. Francesco sure of podium spot cruised to finish line taking care to avoid any problem and Dario finalized his chasing with a final 4th place. Congratulation Teemu! And Thank You Very Much to you and Milan for this European Titles! See you at the Worlds in Homestead!

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1:8 IC EFRA EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP

1:8 IC EFRA EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP

L.COLLARI TRACK - CASSINO - 16/21-07-2018

After one year “jump” due to World Championship held in Europe in 2017 the most important continental race come back in one of well known “speed temples” located in Italy… RME Cassino is, without doubts, a beautiful track in middle of Italy and its club President Gianluca one of the “media innovators” of our hobby with all the organizers really passionate and dedicated. Almost 100 entries for an A & B Euro champs combined with a nice surprise of 9 under16 new drivers. Infinity attended the event with good part of European team looking to confirm the latest good results of our IF18…

Monday and Tuesday practice all drivers had to face the track little bit dusty that cannot give the necessary grip for 1/8 category; most of them mainly concentrate choosing engines and body shells. Even the weather doesn’t helped with some brief showers that stops practice heats often… As happened frequently in last races our fastest guy was Dario already engaged in an hard fight for the lead with Simon… All lap times are VERY close; a blink of an eye can decide five positions difference.

In hot weather conditions (average 35˚C whole week), after two Control Practice that see our drivers seeding in fastest heats, Thursday Qualifying starts again with that duel: first round go to Swiss driver with Italian 2nd (0.041 sec) due to a lack of fuel in the last corner followed by Teemu in great shape for the 3rd position. The second round of the day saw Balestri super fast getting 18 laps but in the last lap a misunderstanding between him, Pietsch and Haclër (already stopped) in the sweeper probably costs him the overall best performance in 4 minutes. Leino 4th, Picco 7th and Raiola 8th the other Infinity drivers classified in top10.

Friday morning the battle starts again with Simon faster six tenths on Dario… a good 10th place for Francesco that improve a bit his ranking. In the fourth round Balestri restore the tie situation postponing to last and “hottest round” the final verdict for the TQ; Leino, Picco and Raiola again in the top10 to secure their semis. As often happens when the expectations are high something happens… Pietsch takes the 5th round gifting to Kurzbuch the TQ and relegating Dario to SuperPole. Teemu for 1point was 6th, Alberto 8th and Carmine 9th. In semis also Nicola 11th and Francesco 14th. Lamberto had to start n˚1 in the quarter finals due to some setting problems.

The Euro “B” had some of our customers fighting for the top positions: Kammer drove really well his Infinity winning 2 rounds and get overall TQ for 1 point in front of Mazza a fast local driver. On third spot sits another Infinity car of Wehiert that improved every phase and won the last round of qualy. Bo Nielsen from Denmark sits in semis and young Di Marino (14 years old) in quarters so will be the first to start in late afternoon helped by Raiola’s family.

Superpole Challenge: Dario starts as last and needed only few laps to set the best chrono jumping directly in the Amain. In the B championship Dennis suffer a technical problem in the warmup of his timed laps and loose his chance to bump up direct in the final. In lower mains Di Marino succeed to bump up for another Infinity in semifinals.

Saturday morning weather is still fine with sun and hot temperature; Lamberto was the first to hit the track winning his B quarter in style tone to tone. B Semifinal went really bad as all our drivers cannot bump up for different problems: Leino stripped a gear when was easy 2nd, Francesco lost his Amain spot crashing while trying overtaking a competitor in front and Lamberto suffered a lack of performance compare to his 1/4 pace. In B Semifinal was the opposite: all our Infinity drivers managed to bump up with Picco 2nd, Marrone 3rd and Raiola 4th even if they had to face some critical moment during the competition. In the EuroB Antonio had a terrible crash at the end of the straight while Dennis dominated  the field managing a number 4 for the Amain; in the other semi Bo wasn’t lucky enough to solve some problems happened.

EURO B AMAIN: the race was intense and not extremely lucky for our colors… Kammer loose the lead in the first lap but followed Mazza with good pace until lap 72 when he had to retire for some radio problems. Wehiert unfortunately was hit by other car around lap 40 and he had to pit to repair the body shell: also with lot of time lost he comes back to track pushing maximum hard to recover as much possible… His chasing saw an happy ending when, almost one minute to go, succeed to pass Wintzerith for the 3rd place. Congrats!

EURO A MAIN: the most awaited 45minutes of race was delayed first and cancelled later after few laps due to a storm that wet the track for a while… In that slippery conditions Dario showed good confidence overtaking the leader and controlling the pace but couple laps later race director stopped the race  setting a complete new start for the 17.00 in any weather conditions. At the new start Balestri was again in the tail of Kurzbuch sometimes giving the feeling to can overtake in some points of the track; Nicola wasn’t far in fourth when he has to retire after only five minutes. Unfortunately Dario’s race didn’t last longer and come to an end after only 9 minutes for an engine failure. Picco showed a good pace and lap by lap recovered many positions until to arrive at 2nd place; meanwhile Raiola had to fight  hard in the back to recover a decent position… at this level is really hard to overtake even if you’re the fastest on the track (13.927 for Carmine). With different pit strategies position can vary every minute: Alberto after his tire change was 4th with little gap from 3rd when also his engine stop. Carmine was again the first of our team (5) while Simon and Robert fight for the win till the last lap with less a second distance.
See you in 2 weeks for 1/10 EFRA EC in Portugal!

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2018 JMRCA ALL JAPAN CHAMPIONSHIP

2018 JMRCA ALL JAPAN CHAMPIONSHIP

JULY 20-22 , TAKAHARA, JAPAN

The Japanese National Championships are particularly special for Infinity. As a Japanese company, given that the JMCRA title is the top prize RC racing has to offer in our home country, we take extra special pride in this prestigious title. Having made our JMRCA EP debut in the event last year, the introduction year of our IF14, we achieved the perfect result. Akio became the champion with Naoto making it an Infinity 1-2. So no pressure then as the team travelled to the 2in1 Circuit in Takahara Resort as the defending champions. This year however we bolstered the team with the addition of Jin Sawada and that was to reap the rewards.

After the single round of seeding practice it was Naoto who led the way for the team with the second fastest time over 3-consecutive laps. Behind, Akio managed third fastest with Jin right behind so everyone was feeling confident ahead of the six rounds of qualifying that lay ahead. In the opening qualifier it was Akio that had the best pace posting the 2nd fastest time by less than 3/10th of a second ahead of Jin with Naoto fourth following a late error. A solid Q1 performance, the drivers could push harder for Q2 and that is exactly what they did to take control of the remaining 5 qualifiers. Naoto claimed the first Infinity TQ when he led a 1,2,3 for the IF14 ahead of Jin and Akio in the second round. Next it was the turn of Jin to go to the top while Akio added a TQ run in Q4. The penultimate round saw Jin again go fastest to become the first to double up as Akio had a P3 run.

With 3 from 6 rounds to count, the final qualifier would decide who was going to be Top Qualifier with four drivers in contention. Akio would come out on top taking Q6 in front of Jin to put the pair equal on points. Jin's time from the previous heat however was the quickest of the weekend and he was the one who would start the triple finals from pole ahead of Akio with Naoto lining up 4th.

The opening A-Main started with Jin and Akio pulling clear of the pack but on his third lap Jin lost the rear of his car spinning out and allowing Akio go to the front. While Naoto had got passed 3rd place qualifier Yugo Nagashima for 2nd, the gap to Akio was considerable. With a super fast car he closed him down to run on his rear bumper, even giving Akio a tap to doubly make sure he knew he was there. With four laps to go Akio clipped the curbing entering a corner causing him to run wide on the exit as Naoto slipped through for the win.

After ending A1 down in 5th, Jin made sure he didn't repeat his error in A2 and claimed a tone to tone win despite also getting a tap from behind from Naoto. Naoto again had another strong race from fourth on the grid to finish second having got by Akio on the third lap with a nice pass down his inside coming off the main straight. Closing right in on Jin, he couldn't find away through and soon found himself under attack from behind from Akio but the order stayed unchanged to the end. So like qualifying it was all going to come down to the last race to decide the winner.

Jin again made a good start but so did Naoto who was quickly battling with Akio for second - Akio having to work hard to keep him behind. Lap 4 brought the change as Akio ran over the curbing in the section before the main straight spinning across the bow of Naoto. While Naoto somehow avoided contact the following pack was less lucky. Hunting down Jin, Naoto would close the gap but not as quickly as he needed, eventually running out of time. Jin took the A3 win and with it the JMRCA title. A successful defence of the title as a manufacturer, the result was even more special than last year because we achieved a dream full Infinity podium with Naoto finishing second and Akio third. In the open class we also had a strong representation in the A-Main with Ion Shionoya and Shin Sawada, Jin's younger brother, finishing 7th and 10th respectively.

A brilliant performance from all the team, it is going to be hard to better the result in 2019 - but we sure will try!

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2018 ETS ROUND 6

2018 ETS ROUND 6

JULY 13-15 TRENCIN, SLOVAKIA

Round 6 of the Euro Touring Series took our EP team to the World famous Hudy Arena for the finale of the championship's 11th season. The sixth time the ETS has travelled to the Slovakian venue, racing at your rivals own test track always makes the prospect of an end of season victory all the more challenging. That said, the weekend got off to a promising start in free practice. After seven runs, both Marc and Akio produced Top 3 pace with Marc just a tenth of a second off the top of the time sheets.

In controlled practice, while Marc would struggle to get in three fast consecutive laps, Akio maintained his form at the front. Second fastest in CP1 he was just 0.038 off the top. Changing to a harder front spring for CP2, Akio didn't like the change but with only 2-drivers in the Top 10 managing to better their times he seeded 2nd for qualifying. Having opted to run ARS on his IF14 for the two seeding runs, Marc ended up P8 leading him to revert back to running, as he did in free practice, without ARS for qualifying.

With the weather hot and humid, this would influence qualifying. With plenty of fast moving clouds above, breaks in this coverage brought almost instant temperature changes effecting the traction levels. In Q1, after switching back to the spring with which he set his best seeding time, Akio struggled with a lack of steering. For Marc, the first of the four qualifiers showed improvement but a bad last lap cost him positions and he ended up P6. With Saturday's action concluding with Q2, before the drivers could enjoy a beer or two at the ETS' end of season presentation night, Akio would bounce back with a P3 run. A small set-up change and a cooler track making for a better car.

Q3 on Sunday morning would prove to be Marc's best. Opting to use his third set of allocated tyres he was third fastest. Having pulled up in Q2, this was an important run to lock him into the A-Main. With the final qualifier dominated by drivers who saved their last set of new tyres, the final ranking left Akio and Marc to line up 8th and 9th respectively - difficult positions from which to make any impact on the race.  Akio would manage a P6 in A1 and after a DNF in A2 he was again able to make up 2 places in A3 to finish 6th overall. For Marc they would be tough finals. Finishing 10th in A1, A2 & 3 ended with DNFs. A season that started so well with Marc winning the opening round of the championship it was not the end we had worked. Still we could celebrate the overall standings as Marc took second, one better than the season before, with Akio's efforts securing him 8th for the season.

In 40+ Masters we also claimed a season end podium thanks to Beni. Winner at the previous round in the Netherlands, he qualified 4th and was able to move up a position in the finals thanks to an A3 win that helped him cap off the season with another podium and 3rd in the overall standings.  In Formula, Jitse didn't have the best of finals having qualified his IF11 8th but he ended the car's debut season with a promising 6th overall. In Pro Stock, Dominic flew the Infinity flag in the A-Main ending his ETS season 8th overall in the championship's biggest class.

Our first full ETS season as a touring car manufacturer, we have to give a special thanks to all our drivers for their commitment and effort over this campaign. Our quest to become ETS champions continues so bring on ETS Season #12.

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2018 ENS ROUND 3

2018 ENS ROUND 3

JULY 06-08 AIGEN, AUSTRIA

The Austrian track of Aigen was the setting for Round 3 of the Euro Nitro Series. Situation 600 metres up in the picturesque hilly countryside, the track has been a happy hunting ground for the team with Teemu securing our first ever ENS win there in 2016 en route to becoming the overall 1:10 champion. Unfortunately Teemu's chances of a third win at the 290 metre long technical track weren't to be as he took sick and was unable to join Jilles and Francesco for the weekend's racing. With our drivers coming into Round 3 leading the points standings in all three classes, Dario and Carmine would lead the charge in 1:8 while our big Dutchman Arie made the trip already with one hand on the 40+ 1:8 championship trophy.

Thursday was an opportunity for everyone to get in some good mileage ahead of the main event. With Jilles the only one of our drivers to attend the race in 2017 when the track had just got a completely new surface, for the others the day was an important chance to get a feel for that new asphalt. Previously somewhat of a tyre eating track, the new asphalt has proven much more tyre friendly with it now creating low wear. On to Friday, and while the day started off dry, just after the drivers' briefing as everyone got ready for the two rounds of seeding practice Mother Nature paid yet another visit to a race this season to wash the track! Starting off gently, the rain soon reached maximum power. While it stopped and there was hope of getting a dry track, when it started again the decision was called that no more racing would take place for the rest of the day. The wait was somewhat less boring than usual as the super nice staff of the host club put the Uruguay - France World Cup football game on their large full colour timing display.

Thankfully Saturday was a dry start and that was how it would remain for the rest of the weekend. Having re-scheduled to begin the day with a round of free practice to get back up some traction after the rain and then run 2 seeding rounds, the track would turn out to be considerably slower. With this in mind, free practice was extended and the heats were made up from the dry free practice times of Thursday and Friday, most drivers posting their best 3-consecutive laps on Friday morning. Francesco had managed the 4th fastest time with Jilles not quite having found the perfect set-up and posting the 7th quickest time. Dario had produced the 2nd fastest time in 1:8 with Carmine 7th and Arie quickest in 40+. Following the rain delays from the previous day, the 5 planned rounds of qualifying was reduced to 4 all of which would be run after lunch with the best 2 to count.

The first of the those qualifier saw a solid start with Jilles 2nd fastest in front of Francesco while Dario was third quickest and Arie posted a TQ run. Jilles had improved his IF15 over practice but was now having to deal with the car getting loose in the middle of the run. With the track different to Thursday's free practice, when his car was very good, Dario tried something for Q1 declaring it 'OK' but he needed to change more for the lower grip that resulted from the rain. Q2 netted Jilles another P2 time while Francesco was 5th locking both of them into the A-Main. Unfortunately for Dario a plug issue left him with a DNF with 30-seconds left on the clock. Carmine would improve on Q1 with the fifth fastest time. The third qualifier was a much better one for Dario but a lean engine forced him to have to back off and he missed out on a TQ run by less than 2/10ths. In the last qualifier he had the opposite problem with the engine too rich but despite the 'troubled day' he would line his IF18 up third on the grid for the 45-minute main with Carmine starting 8th. In the third 1:10 qualifier, Francesco had a more consistent car after changing to a harder rear diff and ran another Top 3 time. With a rich engine, Jilles struggled to match the early pace and opted to stop after the first minute. While much happier with his car now over the second half of the qualifier in Q4 but failing to better his previous runs, despite his two P2 times the points system put Jilles 4th on the grid directly in front of Francesco but both driver were confident of making ground over the long final. In 40+, Arie bagged his 3rd TQ of the season to move another step closer to becoming Champion with a race to spare.

A driver who is known to worry his rivals because of the strategies he is willing and able to execute in finals, Jilles decided this time he was playing it super safe and it was to pay dividends as others ran into trouble. With a front wheel nut causing trouble during his tyre stop and looking to have scuppered his chances of the win as Jilles said afterwards, 'You first have to finish to finish first'. Otherwise having a faultless race, when others had engine issues he was adding laps and this was rewarded at the end by him taking his second win of the season. After some drama at the start, Francesco also had a well executed final and it was that consistency that netted him second, finishing on the same lap as Jilles to be part of our first ever ENS 1-2 finish. A very special moment for everyone involved in the IF15 project, the result now means Jilles is strongly positioned to take the overall crown at the season finale in Fiorano.

Next up was the 40+ final and Arie continued his domination winning the half hour encounter comfortably. Maintaining his 100% winning record, win No.3 means he has sealed up the title and becomes the inaugural champion of the newly introduced class. Unfortunately the victory hat trick wasn't to be in Aigen with the 1:8 A-Main proving a difficult race for our guys. Dario suffered an early flame out loosing a lot of time as a result of some very slow marshalling but he recovered well and was battling for a podium when contact caused a breakage on the car putting an end to his race with 10-minutes to go. Carmine managed to finish the race 2 places higher than he started with 6th. While not the result Dario had hoped for, he still goes into the final round with shot at the overall title. While there is a big gap before the ENS finale in September, with a European Championship to contest in the meantime, the preparations for the ENS title challenge have already started.

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ITALIAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

ITALIAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

30 June - 01 July MINICAR FIORANO

Last weekend the 2nd round of Italian Nationals was helded in the beautiful track of Fiorano close to Ferrari factory. For 1/8 expert category only, this is the first leg as Sicilian round was canceled. Almost 80 entries in different classes for both categories 1/10 and 1/8. Our Italian team attended the race with enthusiasm preparing the most awaited commitments of summer season. Weather was really hot with average 30˚ in the air; rules are little bit different to what we are used to as tires are “free” and tire treatment is allowed. Also “racing side” is bit different with “Rocket Round” to count for the TQ and 4 fastest directly in Amain. Dario, Lamberto, Carmine and Alberto were powered with IF18 while Francesco officially “shake-down” the new IF15.

From the beginning Balestri and Raiola were the fastest on the track with Collari and Picco little bit slower but still close; in 1/10 Tironi hardly fought with usual contender as Mazzeo and Loppini. Qualifying was super close in both categories with Dario fastest in 3 rounds (on 4) followed close from Carmine that showed a good pace. Lamberto and Alberto was in semifinal; Francesco took 2nd place overall after leading for most part of the day in 1/10.

In semifinal Collari start first and leaded tone to tone; Picco suffered some troubles but get the bump up spot for Amain. In Junior class (F2) the young Antonio di Marino get an honorable 9 number plate for his Amain; during his final Antonio showed often good speed but also some mistakes that only allowed him to confirm his starting position. Tironi played his strategy very well using all his knowledge of tire consumption: his move is to not change tires while competitors did… He leaded for most part of the race but few minutes to the end he suffer engine cut-off twice during the refueling allowing Loppini to recover the gap and leaving him the win.

Best part of the show will probably be the 1/8 expert Final… Balestri show the “muscles” trying to pull away from the field at early stage… Raiola was in Dario’s roots with his rhythm without really taking care of competitors but really concentrate on his pace… Collari gained a position at the start but stuck too long behind Salemi to claim the victory. Different strategies make this race awesome with Dario, Carmine and Lamberto swapping the lead many times; Dario was the first to change only outside tires to try something different from “safe tactic” he used in last races that seemed to penalized him; Luck wasn’t on his side and he has to stop after only 20 minutes. Raiola “make it happen” driving carefully and controlling the recover of Collari that arrived 3 seconds behind for a 1-2 Infinity podium. Congrats Carmine! Summer season is on the way… Stay tuned!

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2018 EFRA EUROPEAN TC CHAMPIONSHIP

2018 EFRA EUROPEAN TC CHAMPIONSHIP

JUNE 28 - 30 WIENER NEUSTADT, AUSTRIA

Austria was the destination for the 2018 EFRA 1:10 Electric Championships and for the first time in recent years the event attracted a capacity entry over the 3-classes titles that were up for grabs. Hosted by the home club of Dominic Vogl, 1.MRC Wiener Neustadt, our Pro-Stock front runner decided to step up for his home race and join Marc in Modified class. As has become a regular element of outdoor racing in Europe this season, rain would play its part in restructuring the timetable with drivers arriving to a track that was literally underwater! Thankfully with the rain subsiding and the track drying things could get underway after lunch on Thursday with a single round of practice followed by two seeding rounds. For Marc, the weekend started out strong with him able to set the third fastest 3-consecutive laps with just 4/100ths of a second covering the Top 3 drivers. Dominic would seed in the second fastest heat after recording the 16th fastest time.

With the first round of Modified qualifying due to conclude the first day of action, the rain decided to return with only 3 heats needed to complete the round. Frustrating, but despite putting on a well organised event the weather is one thing outside the club's control! After a round of free practice Friday morning, qualifying would start with Q2, the opening round rescheduled to run at the end of the day. Marc got a P4 for his first effort but an error in Q3 resulted in a P8. Coming back strong with a P3 in Q4, this ended up being his best run of the weekend and combined with another P4 run the fifth round, it secured 5th overall on the grid for Saturday's finals. For Dominic, while he showed good speed in qualifying he had some bad luck when on target for top time and the result was he ended up 6th on the grid for the B-Main.

While Marc had good speed at the start of each run, he faced a big drop off in pace towards the end of the 5-minutes. In the finals this meant, after starting out strong, he soon found himself having to defend his position. Finishing A1 as he started, in A2 and A3 he would finish both races 4th but overall his 2018 European Championships would end with 5th overall while Dominic was classified 17th. For sure not the results Marc and Dominic had hoped for, we thank them both for their efforts in representing the Infinity Family at the Euros.

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ETS ROUND 5

ETS ROUND 5

JUNE 22-24 APELDOORN, THE NETHERLANDS

A favourite among drivers and rightly so widely regarded as one of the best tracks in Europe, Apeldoorn was the venue for the penultimate round of the 2017/18 Euro Touring Series. Last on the ETS calendar in 2013, our drivers travelled to the Netherlands with a strong previous track record. On the track's championship debut in 2009, it was Jilles who took the win with Marc winning all three following visits. For Marc, the weekend presented a slim chance for him to force the championship title to go to the final round at Hudy Arena next month. Jilles was aiming to repeat his ENS Netherlands success hoping to again take advantage of the very supportive Dutch crowd who are among the best when it comes to supporting one of their own. Fresh from claiming his first international nitro race win at the EFRA GP Series in Switzerland, Naoto was hoping to emulate his ETS Andernach performance on his first visit to the Apeldoorn track.

Unfortunately one of the biggest challenges of the weekend would be the weather. Thursday's free practice would end early due to rain and drivers woke to a wet track Friday morning but luckily the track had one impressive feature - its ability to dry super quick. Resurfaced since the last visit of the ETS, once the rain stopped the track's fine grade asphalt almost magically dried in front of drivers' eyes. With track action able to resume at lunch time on Friday, the delay meant just one round of free practice before two seeding rounds and hopefully the first round of qualifying. After the seeding, it was Jilles who was fastest taking his IF15 to the 3rd fastest 3-consecutive laps with Naoto and Akio joining him in the top heat. For Marc it was a tough seeding with him unable to get a set-up that was to his liking meaning he would run his four qualifiers in the second fastest heat group. All set to put Q1 in the books, the liquid from the sky returned and the decision was made to reschedule the run for Saturday morning.

Finally getting down to the serious business of qualifying at 08:00, Jilles was able to continue his practice form. Running a Top 3 time, a few rough laps at the end of the 5-minutes dropped him back to 5th but overall it was an encouraging first attempt. In Q2 it was Naoto who was fastest with a P5 run after opting away from running ARS on his car. With the rain delays leaving him to use the first two qualifiers to try different set-ups, in Q3 Marc found a direction he liked and that was reflected in him setting the second fastest time. With no new tyres for the final qualifier, a number of drivers having saved their third sets, Marc would manage an impressive 5th fastest time on used tyres allowing him to drop his P7 from Q2 to line-up 5th overall on the grid. Managing a P3 run, Naoto would also improve his ranking securing 7th on the grid while Jilles completed the A-Main line-up. The B-Main would contain a number of A-Main regulars given the level of competition and the closeness of the times around the large track.

In terms of the Infinity driver most deserving of a beer at the end of Saturday's qualifying that honour went to Beni. A veteran of the ETS, having raced across Europe as an early member of the 'ETS Family', he secured his first ever ETS TQ of the championship claiming pole for the 40+ Masters class which had attracted a massive 65 entries. He would be joined in the A-Main by Søren and our ENS 40+ championship leader Arie, who was enjoying his first ever electric race. In Formula, Jitse put further mileage on what is very close to being production version of our IF11, qualifying it 3rd. Making sure we were represent in all the A-Mains, Dominic lined up 7th posting a P3 time run in Q2.

While drivers enjoy driving the track, in terms of racing on it, the fast flowing layout doesn't create many opportunities for overtaking. In A1 however, Naoto made up four places to finish third but admitted he didn't actually overtake anyone rather they made mistakes. An early incident dropped Marc to the back while Jilles came through for 5th. A2 would prove an uneventful race with the Top 5 finishing as they started, Naoto the highest mover taking 6th behind Marc. Wrapping up the weekend, A3 would net Marc a fourth but despite an early incident ending his challenge it was Naoto who was our best overall finisher as he secured 5th with Marc 6th, his title hopes over, and Jilles 9th. While not the result we had aimed for going into the weekend, the guys will take the positives from the weekend and try to ensure they  cap off what is only our second season of the ETS as a manufacturer on a high note in Slovakia.

There was still plenty to celebrate in the Netherlands because after his TQ Beni would complete the perfect weekend and after years of trying he is finally able to call himself an ETS race winner. After contact in A1 sent him on to the grass, the second A-Main produced a good battle for the lead with Christian Drießle managing to squeeze through for the win setting up a three way fight for the overall win in A3. Beni delivered when it counted most with the perfect race to get the job done. A great job from Beni. In Formula, Jitse started out well with a P2 in A1 and P3 in the second but a rough A3 meant he just missed out on the podium. Dominic held his own in Pro Stock starting & finishing the opening two finals 7th and getting a 6th in A3 but in the final order he was classified P8. With the organisers doing yet again a great job managing the challenge presented by the weather, it was another fantastic ETS event and Apeldoorn's return lived up to expectations with the AMCA club great hosts.

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EFRA GP SERIES FINAL ROUND

EFRA GP SERIES FINAL ROUND

LOSTALLO MRTM - 17-20/06/2018

For second year in a row after its creation EFRA choose Lostallo as theatre of the final round of their GP SERIES… The iconic Swiss track lay-downed in the middle of the mountains; a quite unique scenario was the perfect location for the closing event. With Carmine Raiola leader of the standings in 1/8 the fight for the title was open also to Kurzbuch, Gruber (both previous winner) Balestri and Picco. Thanks to the short distance from previous race our nitro team moved compact from Ettlingen to attend the event looking for another exciting weekend. Weather was good with fresh breeze in the morning and sunny afternoons that allowed all participants to deeply enjoy their time in a friendly atmosphere.

In 1/8 from Thursday practice Dario showed his great shape after ENS Rd.2 victory dominating almost every practice session. On Friday there were control practice and the fastest was still Dario with Simon “on pace” along with Jesse, Naoto, Francesco, Alberto and Carmine following close. In 1/10 Infinity lineup showed Jilles, Teemu and Andy fighting with Kyle and Dominic by tenths in all heats; Kenji was the only one that had run both categories to get used quickly this particular track layout. Saturday qualifying went really well for Dario that monopolize the TQ from 1st to 4th round; superbe driving style, optimal car setup and rocket engine were the secrets of his success. Close but not enough to challenge him was Simon that won the last round… Jesse drove “aggressivesmooth” style and was third, Naoto immediately showed good confidence closing fourth and Francesco had steadiest pace for an overall 5th place. Only in the last round Lamberto recovered the 6th final position taking 2nd place. In 1/10 we saw a very close fight between some drivers: Kyle took the first round, Jilles the second and third round, Teemu the fourth one and all of them had at least a second place to count. Deciding round was the 5th with Kyle that took the win to tie Jilles' points bringing home overall TQ for the faster round… Andy 5th and Kenji 11th. In the superpole Kurzbuch was the fastest in 1/8 and, in 1/10 Teemu grab last direct spot for the Amain.

Lower mains start with good news for our drivers in 1/8 as both Trin and Kenji bumped up in Semifinals respectively with a 1st and a 3rd spot… In semiB Collari drove safe winning in front of Matsukura and Romagnoli with Raiola 4th for few tenths waiting other semi result. In SemiA Davis set a fastest pace reaching 58 laps in the 20 minutes length. Tironi was second preceding Hacler, D’hont and Saligupta that, with his total time, gained access for the Amain. In 1/10 Moore was really unlucky stripping twice his first gear after holding a comfortable lead for more than 12 minutes… That’s racing… In semiA everything went really good not only with Groskamp winning the phase but also with our founder Kenji that gain the spot for his first European Amain with a flawless 4th place.

First Amain that starts was 1/10 and just from the beginning the crowd can see that will be an “heads up” between Branson and Groskamp as Leino was took out from the fight due to an electronic failure that forced him in the pits for more than one minute when only 7 laps were completed. The leaders swapped the first position many times as they run two completely different pit stop strategies that makes result uncertain until the end…  It was Kyle to pass first the line with a margin of 4 seconds to Jilles. Meanwhile Teemu left the pits getting back to race showing his high potential recovering lap by lap a final third podium spot. Kenji put his signature on last lap passing European Champion Gruber for overall 5th place thanks to an almost faultless race…

1/8 Amain started few minutes later and immediately we knew that could be a great race to watch: Balestri pulled away quickly with Kurzbuch in his roots and Davis in third… need to wait first pitstops to better understand: Dario, Simon, Jesse are on same fuel strategy and only Lamberto tried the 5minutes card that fits his driving style jumping in front for a while. At second pitstop position are freezed when surprisingly Collari change outside tires at 10 minutes… Only Matsukura choose the same tire strategy 1 stop later giving him the best performance “balance” when competitors decided to make a complete set change. This allowed the Japanese to drive fast and consistent to become the one that swap the lead with Dario as he gained also a couple of laps due to fuel milage. Jesse drop down for a problem in the pit lane while Balestri continues with his tremendous pace trying to weaken the rivals but at least the first 4/5 positions had few chances to win. Second tire change was the turning point: wasn’t so good for Collari as went not perfect for some other drivers. Matsukura choose the perfect moment and his pit crew mamanged the quickest tire change possible giving him the chance for a victory. Balestri tried to spread all what is in his potential bringing him to set his fastest lap after 30 minute mark! Kurzbuch cruised in 3rd having really never reach Italian’s driver pace. Last laps are full of promises for a young guy that already won many World’s titles; we wish him that this will be the first important win in 1/8 category. Congratulations Naoto San!!

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2018 ENS ROUND 2

2018 ENS ROUND 2

JUNE 08-10 ETTLINGEN, GERMANY

The second round of the Euro Nitro Series brought the team to Germany and following the success at the season opener, on a track that was new to everyone, our drivers were looking forward to racing again on a familiar track. However, while it is a track that had hosted rounds of the ENS previously along with the 1:8 European Championships, Minidrom Ettlingen has one very special feature - it's super fine asphalt. Resurfaced in 2014, this asphalt gives the track a unique set of characteristics that presents a challenge to drivers in finding a set-up for the high amount of steering it induces in the car. With this the fourth ENS visit for drivers, it must be said the track gets a little easier each year but it still presents a different way of thinking when it comes to dialling in the cars. Attracting a healthy 115 entries, the weather, like Rucphen in the Netherlands for Round 1, was to be very accommodating with hot conditions during the day and any rain nicely timed to happen overnight so that the timetable could run without interruption.

With seven rounds of free practice on Thursday's schedule, it was a productive first day with Jilles and his IF15 topping the times. 1:10 would prove ultra competitive throughout the entire weekend with the leading drivers covered by some of the smallest margins possible. With overnight rain bringing the level of traction from 'super high' back to a more 'normal' level for Friday, the final three rounds of free practice brought no change at the top with Jesse, Lamberto (yes, he was back for more 1:10 racing), Teemu and Andy all setting Top 10 times. With two rounds of controlled practice to decide the heats for qualifying, Jilles again set the marker albeit he only ended up fastest by 0.028 of a second! Francesco, Lamberto and Teemu would join him in the top heat.

In 1:8, free practice didn't look particularly good for Dario who was the fastest IF18 in 6th but come Friday's controlled practice he improved to P2. Jesse, who was absent from ENS Netherlands due to his honeymoon, Carmine and weekend birthday boy Oliver booked their spots in the top heat for the 4 rounds of qualifying.

The first of the qualifiers brought Friday's action to a close. In 1:10, Jilles' engine was a touch too rich on the opening lap costing him a few tenths, which given how tight everything was, was enough to leave him with a P2 behind World Champion Dominic Greiner. 6/10ths was all that separated them after 4-minutes with the Top 5 all finishing on the same second. Dario would continue his improvement over the day to open qualifying with a TQ run with Carmine 5th and Shimo, who was running in the second fastest heat, getting 7th.

Further rain Friday night meant once again the track would be slightly different for the final three qualifiers but Jilles nailed it in Q2. With Q3 producing the third different driver to go fastest this meant it all came down to a 'showdown' in the final round with a winner takes all situation. Ready for that challenge, Jilles delivered to claim his first ever overall ENS TQ. Repeating his Q3 performance with another P3, Teemu claimed 4th on the grid with Francesco and Andy also booking their places on the A-Main grid. 1:8 also went down to the fourth & final qualifier with Dario going into it having the fastest TQ time. With a minimum of second on the grid already secured, he opted to try something different with his set-up. Unfortunately it didn't work allowing Simon Kurzbuch to claim the overall TQ. Again we would have the most cars on the grid for the final with Carmine and Oliver qualifying directly with that number increasing as Shimo and Naoto bumped up after taking a 1-2 in the B-Main. In the 40+ class, Arie kept his perfect campaign going with his second TQ start of the season thanks to TQ runs in Q3 & 4.

While tyre wear is relatively low at Ettlingen, the 45-minute final still presented opportunities to gamble and try to get an advantage over rivals with a different strategy. With the 1:10 field so evenly matched every second to be gained counted. With the stakes high, Jilles opted to gamble on going long between fuel stops to save a trip down pitlane. Stopping on 5-minutes, the first refuelling went exactly as planned but things came undone at the next one as he just came short on the fuel. Rejoining in 5th, the high level mean't without others hitting problems the lost time would be too much to make up but with every championship point valuable the goal was now to finish as high as possible. Opting to change only outside tyres, the car a handful for a number of laps after the stop, he made it back to fourth finishing just half a lap off the final podium placing. Not the result the weekend had promised, it would keep him in the lead of the championship as the next round moves to Aigen, Austria - a track which Jilles enjoys. For the rest of the team, the final would bring a P7 for Francesco in front of Teemu with Andy getting 10th.

Next up was the 1:8 40+ Final and from the TQ Arie took control of the race. At the end of the half hour final he had a very healthy 5-lap advantage over 2nd. With Bo Nielsen also putting his IF18 on the podium, Arie takes the bragging rights of being the first double winner of the 2018 ENS. With Arie setting a tough task for our 5-drivers to follow, in the 1:8 final Dario kept Kurzbuch in his sights with them both pitting together for the first two stops. Unfortunately with his clutch engaging a little too early, Dario would have to change his refuelling and start to come in earlier from the third stop on but still the battle for the win was on. Opting for one tyre stop, changing all four tyres, Dario held the lead coming into the final stages of the race but the extra refuelling he would need to make was still to be played out. However, as Kurzbuch came in for his final stop he flamed out. Now with breathing space, Dario could take his extra stop at his leisure before taking the finish two laps clear of 2nd place Alessio Mazzeo to crown off a thrilling day of racing. From the back of the grid Naoto would finish 7th despite running out of fuel on his last lap with Carmine and Shimo ending the race 9th and 10th. While 'Birthday Power' had helped him in qualifying, the final didn't go to plan for Oliver and he retired from the final.

Winning 2 of the 3 finals and with our drivers now sitting at the top of all three championship tables we can safely sum up ENS Round 2 as a successful weekend. Thanks to everyone who made the weekend possible and roll on Round 3 in Austria.

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REEDY RACE OF CHAMPIONS

REEDY RACE OF CHAMPIONS

MAY 24-27 CALIFORNIA, USA

One of the world’s most unique events with its heads up racing format and starting grids that are decided by a lottery, the Reedy Race of Champion is a legendary race which drivers relish. They are racers after all and no other event offers as much 'racing' but the 21st running of the event was not just a celebration of Mike Reedy’s great creation. It was also a final celebration of one of the greatest tracks in the World - Tamiya Raceway in California. A track which is usually summed up by ‘is that it, its small’ when drivers first visit but once they have driven it and in particular raced on it they quickly grow to love it. Having been lucky enough to get a few years reprieve as the land on which it remained unsold, unfortunately a deal went through this year meaning 2018 was a final farewell to the track many attribute to what makes the Reedy Race so special. With this in mind, the Infinity EP team travelled to the US both excited and disappointed at the same time. In particular for Marc, the track has been the venue of great success and it was also here 12-months previously that he gave the IF14 it's first major international title with his 6th Reedy Race victory.

While drivers enjoyed four rounds of practice on the Thursday, the format means it has little bearing on the event ahead. Still, cold conditions this year meant the track was more challenging than normal with Marc not feeling overly confident going into the first of three days of racing. With four rounds of racing per day for the 24 Invitational class drivers, Day 1 was a great one for the entire team. Marc opened the event winning his Round 1 race as did Andy who after a two year break from the event took that win ahead of Akio. In Round 2, Akio added his first win which was particularly impressive because he had to recover from getting airborne after hitting the track’s famous kink. In the third round Marc became the first double winner with Jilles also adding a win to his points tally. The final round of the day would  prove to be the most entertaining with Marc, Jilles and Akio lining up together with Ronald Volker also in the same race. Starting on pole, Volker would get the win with Marc coming through for 2nd, meaning Day 1 ended with Marc just 1-point off the lead.

Onto Day 2 and again Marc & Akio went up against Volker who had drawn another front row start. Coming from 5th on the grid, Marc closed on Volker after a mistake but when his rival had another mistake Marc’s move did work out and he rolled. He was able to keep second despite coming under attack from Akio, all the drivers knowing every point is so important with points from 10 of the 12 races each driver contests counting in the final ranking. With the second race of the day marking the completion of the first half of the 12 races, a win would put Marc equal with Volker at the top of the points table. Another win in Round 7, this time ahead of Christopher Krapp, moved Marc in the lead. It was also a good round from Jilles who got 2nd from 4th on the grid after challenging Viktor Wilck for the win. The last round of the day presented a particularly stacked race in which Akio started on pole, Volker 5th and Marc from the back. Both Marc and Volker were involved in separate crashes at the start and Akio was looking good for his second win but it wasn’t to be with his camber link coming out and ending his race - an unfortunate end to the day for him. With Volker inheriting the win ahead Marc it meant it was all square again in the points and the stage was set for an exciting final day at Tamiya Raceway.

Day 3 and another perfect start from Marc as he clocked up win No. 5. After the disappointment of Saturday evening, Akio bounced back to take victory in his opening encounter which he would back up with another in Round 10 to move into contention for the overall podium. Chasing Rick Hohwart for the win in his race, Marc just ran out of time to find his way to the front but with Volker suffering a mechanical, 2nd was good in terms of points.  

With just two races dividing him and his 5th overall Reedy Race victory at Tamiya Raceway, it was to be the penultimate round that would decide the 2018 title. Up in the first of the round's 3 races, Marc added race win no.6 putting even more pressure on Volker to win his encounter but he could only manage 3rd place securing Marc the title and legacy of being the last Reedy Race Champion to be crowned at the iconic track. While Marc could celebrate early, Akio was still fighting to join his team-mate on the podium. Battling with Wilck and Krapp for the final step on the podium, the trio would go head to head in their last race.  Coming under pressure from Wilck, Akio kept his IF14 out front for his 3rd win of the day to snatch the podium finish, his first time to do so at the track which after August will no longer be. Marc and Akio’s combined result also meant that for the second year running the team pick up the Manufacturers Trophy with Jilles finishing 6th to make a 50% Infinity IF14 Top 6.

Following the podium presentations such is the high regard held for the track drivers were invited to sign the curbing of it’s famous kink. With every driver having their own story about the kink, it is hoped the kink can be removed before the track is demolished and each driver can have a piece of RC racing history. A huge thank you to everyone at Tamiya Raceway, and all involved in putting on the Reedy Race of Champions, for the great memories over the past two years. It is a real shame we didn’t get to enjoy more times at the track but we look forward to being part of it next year where ever its new or temporary home will be.

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ETS ROUND 4

ETS ROUND 4

MAY 11-12 ANDERNACH, GERMANY

Following a disappointing trip to Round 3 of the Euro Touring Series in Spain, our EP team travelled to the fourth round with high hopes. Having previously hosted the season finale of the opening four years of the ETS, Andernach in Germany was back on the calendar after 7 years.  A late addition, following the news of the closure of the Mulhouse track in France, our distributor Tonisport put in sterling work to have the track ready and looking pristine for race weekend. For Marc the return to Andernach meant one of the shortest trips of the year for him with Motodrom Andernach located right in his home town of Andernach. While only a few 100 metres from his family home, the track is however not one which he makes use of but the winner of 3 of the 4 previous ETS races there this doesn’t appear to affect his performance. Marc and Akio would be joined for the event by Naoto and Andy. Both travelled directly from the ENS season opener the weekend before in the Netherlands, stopping off for a day of nitro testing at Ettlingen on the Monday in preparation for the second round next month.

With the ETS calendar featuring more ‘nitro’ style outdoor tracks in recent seasons, the return to tight technical Andernach track made for a different challenge. While no driver would claim to really like the track, the majority did like that it was something different albeit it difficult. Unfortunately Thursday's practice day would be hit by rain and there was more rain forecast for Sunday. The good news was though that Friday and Saturday were to be nice, shorts wearing type days. Based off the many weather predictions, the decision was made to condense the event into 2 days - Friday & Saturday.

At the end of practice, our guys looked good with Marc fastest in seeding ahead Naoto with Akio also making the top heat of qualifying. Following the three rounds of practice that started off Friday’s action, it was then straight into 2 rounds of qualifying. In Q1 Marc posted the 2nd fastest time feeling he didn’t drive very well. Behind, Naoto put in the third fastest time reporting that after a strong first 2-minutes his car began to develop understeer. Managing to improve his car from practice, Akio recorded the 4th fastest time. With Q2 taking place in cooler evening conditions this was going to be the ‘rocket round’. With small changes reducing his car's drop off after 2-minutes, Naoto was on target for this critical TQ but touching the curbing on the last lap he got ever so slightly out of shape. Given how close everyone was it was enough to cost him the TQ by just 5/100ths of a second!! Further improving his car set-up, Akio was again 4th but for Marc changes he made didn’t work and he could only manage 6th.

Saturday would be a full day for the team with 2 more qualifiers to run followed by the triple A-Mains. An even sunnier day than Friday, the hot conditions meant a slower track but Naoto got the day off to the best start possible posting a TQ run ahead of Marc. His first ever TQ run of the ETS, it also meant he had a chance at the overall TQ but the high temperatures were working against him. In the end it wasn’t to be, drivers with new tyres for the fourth & final qualifier coming to the fore and Naoto having already used his 3rd allocated set of tyres. With 2 from 4 rounds to count, the final outcome was Naoto would start 2nd behind Bruno Coelho, with Marc fourth and Akio 8th.

With all the drivers predicting overtaking being a challenge given how tight the track is and how high its curbs are, Naoto knew he needed to put pressure on Coelho for a mistake from the start. Running on his rear bumper and clearly with a quicker car but showing great patiences, the mistake he was waiting for eventually came and he was able to get down the inside to take the lead. Again trying the same approach for A2, they both had small errors that cancelled out any opportunity. Trying to set up an inside pass through the chicane on the final lap, Naoto was just a little too far in and the curbing sent his car into a roll. He could still manage to retain his P2 given how much they had pulled clear of the field. Marc would finish each of the opening A-Mains in 3rd.

With both Naoto and Coelho having a win & a second a piece it all came down to A3.  Again great patience drive from Naoto saw him shadow Coelho as he waited for an opportunity. It presented itself after 3-minutes as Coelho jumped the curbing in the centre chicane, but as Naoto went for the pass the cars touched as Coelho’s car landed letting the pack come through. The result left both drivers tied on points but Coelho's faster A2 race time meant Naoto’s quest for his first ETS win continues. Still it was an impressive performance from Naoto who drove three brilliant finals. Marc made it a podium double for the IF14 but unfortunately it was a tough day for Akio and he finished 9th. In the other ETS classes, we also made the +40 Masters podium thanks to Beni Stutz while Dominic Vogl took a strong 5th in the A-Main of Pro Stock. The 11th qualifier for the Formula A Main!, the 11 car grid the result of a solution to a miscommunication regarding the extra tyres for the final, Jitse managed to make up 2 spots to finish 9th. An exciting weekend given how close Naoto came to the win lets bring on the next round.

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EFRA GP SERIES 2018 RD.2

EFRA GP SERIES 2018 RD.2

19-20/05/2018 Club R.A.C.G. Montbonnot -FR-

One month after Fiorano is RACG club, close to Grenoble, the host of the second round of GP series presented by EFRA. This location will be probably chosen to held next 1/8 European Championship in 2019. The Club was well organized with a good number of person as staff very helpful and friendly. The complex is quite amazing with an impressive on road track as “main focus” completed by EP/GP buggy track on the opposite side. Pit stands are really huge and comfortable as the rostrum that was really deep and big.

For Infinity official team was Carmine, Francesco and Alberto that attends the race with Bilal of Infinity France in support from Reunion Island. Practice was very good with Raiola “on fire” that immediately built a good feeling with this track that we could define as “tricky” with not a really difficult layout but very tough to complete a “perfect” lap. The back chicane is really a “pif-paf” where entering line is the most complicate thing to do; correct line and good speed means couple of tenths gained! Also Tironi after few heats gets his confidence with the layout seeding 2nd with a good pace; Alberto mostly developed his new engine loosing some time but gained comfortably the fastest heat.

Saturday morning the appearance of Simon added more excitement to the race expecting him fast as usual even without the necessary practice. Carmine won the first round in front of Francesco confirming their “good shape”. Unfortunately, due to a problem with the counting system race was “freezed” more than one hour and we have to wait until lunch break to get the official results with the impression that round could be cancelled. This waiting damage the “concentration” of Raiola in second round that makes an error in the big sweeper while Francesco, steady in the pace, gets third behind Pirani and Gruber getting also the overall lead. Picco finish 5th with good improvements. The 3rd round signed the “end of practice” for Simon… he got the TQ with Carmine in his roots very close and in the 4th round was Carmine to set again a TQ run for a definitive #1 in the main thanks to fastest run obtained in the morning. The final round sees Toni as winner with Francesco second and qualified for superpole with Pirani, Gruber and Kurzbuch. After 5 minutes warmup for all a rain shower forced organizers to postpone the challenge at Sunday morning.

Sunday starts first with the lower mains and after couple of phases was again Superpole; Francesco drove really well but his choice to use the best set of tires available didn’t paid off as diameter was too low providing him not enough acceleration and high speed. He must pass trough B semi where he won staying in control in front of John to secure a main spot. In the other A semi Alberto was really careful driving faultless taking the 5 place plate for the Amain.

After drivers presentation and a technical delay Amain finally starts with Carmine that open a little gap on Simon with Alberto that immediately jump in “podium area” with a couple of overtakes… Francesco hardly fought in the back of the pack showing a good pace. After first refueling an error costs to Raiola the race as 2 speed get “loose” making shifting unstable… Simon acquire the lead but few minutes later he finish his race in the grass; Francesco tried a different tire strategy but this drop him out of the fight for the podium. Alberto, Toni and Carmine sweeps the lead for long time for the different fuel strategy but is a “stop&go” for Alberto that stops him in the chasing for first position. Carmine push till the end signing also the fastest lap of the final but Toni cruised “mistakes free” for more than 30 minutes securing a deserved win. Carmine and Alberto fill the podium with Francesco 5th overall. Nice  team job!
See you all in Ettlingen!

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ENS ROUND 1

ENS ROUND 1

MAY 3-6 RUCPHEN, THE NETHERLANDS

The start of the new season of the Euro Nitro Series would present a new track with De Baanbrekers in the south of the Netherlands the venue for the first of the championship's four races. 257 metres in length, the track on initial inspection would look rather easy but after a few practice runs drivers agreed it was a very different challenge to go fast around. The key to the track was the entry onto the main straight where the curbing would catch out many drivers over the weekend. With a great air of excitement coming into the start of what is now the fifth season of the ENS, four days of sunshine created a great atmosphere together with the good humour of the Dutch hosts.

With 2018 a World Championship year for 1:10, this would be reflected in how competitive and close the top drivers would be. For our team it would also be the first time racing our upcoming IF15 kit release and from the very first practice our drivers had a good overall feeling from the new car. After free practice, the Top 10 would contain 4 of our cars with Jilles leading the way with the 2nd fastest 3-consecutive laps just ahead of Teemu. Looking like some sort of timing error to see his name on the 1:10 time sheets, Lamberto would post the sixth fastest time ahead of Andy in P7. One of the greatest drivers in 1:8, this was actually Lamberto first ever 1:10 race and with just 7/10ths separating the Top 10 he was right there. In 1:8, there was now two classes to follow with the introduction of the +40 class. In the main class, Dario produced the second fastest time followed by Lamberto with Naoto completing the Top 6. In 40+, Arie would give the first indication of the weekend he was to have by topping the times.

With a break in proceedings during which time the drivers briefing was held on track, the switch to timed seeding practice would bring a change in track conditions. With 1:10 drivers having been looking for more steering, now they needed more rear traction. After the 2 runs, it would again be Jilles who led the way for us with the second fastest time behind World Champion Dominic Greiner. Unable to improve on his time from the first run, Teemu ended up fifth fastest feeling he still needed to tweak his set-up for the different conditions. Lamberto would also make the top qualifying heat with the 6th fastest time in a car that someone else in the team had built, which was fitted with a borrowed body shell and was using one of the team’s spare engines. In 1:8, Dario seeded P2 behind Simon Kurzbuch as he still looked to perfect his set-up. One of the challenges of the track for Dario was how sensitive it was to even the smallest of set-up changes - a small strong change feeling like he had done something a lot more drastic. Bringing Fridays’s action to a close, Naoto and Lamberto managed the 4th and 5th fastest seeding times. Arie would remain in control of the +40 class.

With Saturday’s schedule made up of all four rounds of qualifying plus some lower finals, Jilles and Teemu got things off to a strong start with a P2 and P3 for Q1. The second round would prove even better with Jilles running a TQ time with Teemu again third fastest over the 4-minutes despite a mistake entering the straight in the final laps. On the third attempt, the track getting slower due to rising temperatures, Jilles delivered the 3rd quickest time with some bad laps meaning P6 for Teemu and P7 for Lamberto. In the final qualifier, the track at it's slowest, the team would deliver a 1-2 with Teemu at the top of the times ahead of Jilles. All this meant Jilles would line up second on the grid for the 45-minute A-Main behind Alessio Mazzeo with Teemu starting third and Lamberto 8th. In 1:8, after a good start that resulted in a P2 in Q1, Dario had a tough 2nd and 3rd qualifier, traffic an issue in Q3. Finishing out qualifying with a P3, this would mean lining up 3rd on the grid behind Simon Kurzbuch and Silvio Hackler. With Carmine qualifying 6th,a superb effort from Chavit rewarding him with 7th and Lamberto 8th, the total number of IF18’s was then to be boosted to 5. After a rough qualifying, that tricky corner on to the straight being his nemesis, Naoto would start out his Sunday down in the C-Main. Winning that 20-minute encounter, he went on to come through to also win the B-Main to line up 11th in the main race. In +40, after dropping off the top in Q1 & 2, Arie came back to TQ the third & fourth round to secure the overall TQ ahead of fellow Infinity driver Bo Nielsen.

With tyre wear on the high side, the big discussion ahead of the final was strategy.  With such a closely matched grid and tyre changes a greater challenge in 1:10, quick work in the pits was going to be vital. Making a great start and running side by side with Mazzeo off the line before playing safe and backing out knowing 45-minutes of hard racing lay ahead, Jilles would put in a flawless race. While his car didn't miss a beat he would have a human body mechanical while leading the race. Suffering from his throttle finger going numb he had to stretch his arms to get the feeling back - not ideal in a race. All the time in the pits however Felix produced flawless fuel stops and two full tyre changes while also keeping his driver well informed even instructing him to open up to allow cars battling for lower positions to overtake such was Jilles lead advantage. For a time it looked like it was set to be an all Infinity podium with Teemu racing Jilles for the lead, but with his air filter came dislodged during his second last refuelling causing the engine to run lean and stop on track ending a great effort and resulting a 9th place finish. Lamberto was 3rd in the closing stages but then got hit forcing him to pit to fix the body dropping him to a P5 finish. Jilles' win was to be his first ENS victory and it was all the sweeter because it was on home soil delighting all the locals with his dad Frank on hand to enjoy the celebrations. Given the year that is in it, it is also a great ENS debut result for the IF15.

With +40 next up with a 30-minute A-Main, Arie completed the perfect weekend with a tone to tone victory with Bo joining him on the podium in 3rd. The big question was could we do the clean sweep. For a time it looked very likely, Dario was leading the race but it was to go wrong at the first of the two tyre stops. Leaving the pitlane, he would hit a stray tyre which he mistakingly thought had come of his car. Stopping at the pitlane exit and returned to his crew, complete with the stray tyre, it was discovered he still had all four of his own wheels intact. Unfortunately the incident was enough, given the World class quality of the field, to cost him a chance of victory. Dario would battle back however enjoying a great fight with Kurzbuch to come out on top to finish second behind Robin D’hondt. While not the result he hoped for, second place points is a solid start to his ENS campaign. After suffering a broken body following contact at the start, Lamberto finished 4th while Chavit backed up his qualifying with a super P5 finish. Naoto would complete the Top 10 but unfortunately Carmine would retire 4-minutes from the finish.

Delighted to take the win with our new IF15, the opening round of the ENS highlighted the competitiveness of both our cars and already we are looking forward to Round 2 in Ettlingen in Germany. It might be five weeks away but the work to be even better never stops.

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