2016 EUROS, SWEDEN
16 July 2016 – Sweden
As usual for European Federation July is the month of their most important race… For this year they choose an amazing location in Sweden with a track that could be defined as the HUGE we ever seen!!! A 26 sec layout with a backstraight 100mt long, 3 banking corners (“parabolica” were simply amazing with engines screaming at 110 km/h) and a very technical in-field section, were the teather of the Euro’s… The whole INF1NITY European Team attended the race in good shape to compete for the title. Unfortunately, as often happened in this 2016, the main character for the event were, once again, the weather conditions: the rain appears again and again on the track since the first practice heats… Our “hat-off” to the volunteers of the organization that made an incredible job using all their tools to dry the track all the times. Chapeau! Practice rounds were little bit tough not only for the weather conditions but also for the few amount of sets tires available for each driver at the track (only 7 sets for 16 practice… for sure not enough); our team (and few other drivers) encounter also some gluing problems due to a wrong little batch of tires sell on last day that were remain from warm-up race but, after qualifying starts, things become more fair for everyone with only some difference between sets as could happen in an “hand-out” rule. Around 60 drivers attended to the race that really starts from the control practice on thursday morning; there’s a big fight between drivers to grab a place in the fastest heat with little gap in the 3 best consecutive laps… Lamberto and Jilles manage to get the Top10 and Carmine, Francesco and Teemu the Top20.
Qualifying heats on thursday were really fast for Jilles and Lamberto with both closing the day in the Top5. Lamberto will on TQ run on the second qualifier but were slowered in the last lap by a driver that runs out of fuel loosing the first place for 2/10 of second and the second place for 0.009… Confident with the performance of the car on friday the plan of the team were to have good runs again but the rain cancelled the third round on the 4th heat where Andy had a provisional TQ and Kenji a Top10 spot; after 3 team managers meeting and an hard job by the organization qualification starts again in the afternoon with Round 4. The rain washed hardly the track and lot of drivers struggling with sliding on the high speed corners. Jilles close the qualifying 6th, Lamberto 8th, Francesco 10th, Carmine 12th all direct in semifinal while Teemu and Andy get 1/4 of final and Kenji grab a 4th spot for his 1/8.
Friday the meteo seems good enough to race but a dark sky were an “heavy” presence on our head; Kenji is the first on the track with reigning Champ Oliver Mack starting from first position. He droves really well challenging for the bump-up spot until 15 minutes where his pace get slower a bit for high tire wearing closing 4th… Andy manage a safe race in his quarter of final driving smooth to bump-up getting 2nd place same of Teemu that win his 1/4. The B semifinal were the first that start with 4 of our drivers together; Jilles suffers a rich engine in the early stage allow the group to pass him… Once he set his engine his lap times become very competitive but it’s too late to recover. Lamberto manage a race of experience using his skills to control the race maintaining a spot for the Amain for the whole race very close to Gruber and Haecler; Carmine and Francesco were just a little bit behind the three leaders searching to made the best overall time to pass. At the end Haecler suffers a mechanical failure allowing Carmine to bump-up directly. In the A semifinal only Teemu was lined up for the Infinity team: he droves really good managing a bad start and a strategy with one more refueling… He stays close to the field for the whole race and in the last refueling his team (Miura & Miyashita) made an astonishing job in the pit allowing him to pass Ielasi and Vrielinck grabbing the penultimate spot for the Main. This semi were faster and Francesco close his Sweden experience with overall 12 position.
A-MAIN: 3 Infinity cars in the Amain; once again our platform is the most represented car in the final! For sure a good achievement in our “debut” year… At the start all the drivers were really close… at 4 minutes mark when the “pit-stop dance” begins the first six drivers still be together with Kurzbuch in front with a 3sec lead. At minute 5 Lamberto were on a lead for few corners before his pit-stop that, as often happens, was the last of the field together with Carmine. Unfortunately exiting the pits Lamberto suffers a contact by Carmine that put him upside down in the hairpin in front of the pit loosing almost a minute… Sure a misunderstanding but the Stop&Go penalty assigned to Carmine means a tough race for both just at the beginning also if they have 40 minutes to recover. Teemu lead the mid-pack in 5th position for a while and later he struggling with a broken pulley that forces him to the pits with 15min to go. Once he fix the problem he comes back on the track signing the fastest time of the race in 26.121 better also of the fastest lap of Simon during qualifying that was 26.153. Carmine, after his tire change stop fight a group of drivers for the 3rd podium spot with Lamberto few seconds back but a flame out in the same lap cost them their position with 4 minutes to go. Carmine close 5th, Lamberto 7th and Teemu 9th. Robin D’Hont deserves his first big title after acquiring the lead by Simon that flame out in last minutes. Look forward new challenges we see you in Gubbio for 1/10 World’s!