ENS ROUND 3
AUGUST 18-20 AIGEN, AUSTRIA
Round 3 of the Euro Nitro Series was held high up in the Austrian mountains at the technical MAV Aigen-Schlägl track. A circuit that was previously very hard on tyres, a brand new asphalt surface greeted racers on the championship's fourth visit and brought welcomed low tyre wear. With our nitro team getting fully into preparation mode for the upcoming 1:8 World Championship, just Jilles would make the trip, Aigen a track he enjoys. Choosing the event as part of his build up to France, together with pitman Armin, they would test and put race mileage on a number of new potential WC parts.
Beautiful conditions greeted the drivers both in open practice on Thursday and again on Friday but with that dreaded 'R' word forecast for Saturday the timetable was brought forward. This meant four rounds of qualifying on Friday making for a busy day as controlled practice was also on the new schedule. Very happy with his car and pace in free practice, running in the Top 5, he would be less happy with it for the two rounds of seeding practice. Using the runs not only to set a 3-consecutive lap seeding time but also to scrub in the handout tyres for qualifying unfortunately Jilles unexplainably lost some of him promising pace come CP1. Struggling to explain the drop off, unfortunately things wouldn’t improve for CP2 as he had to stop with a broken drive shaft.
Putting himself in the top qualifying heat, the opening round would net a P7 despite a chunked tyre. Improving on that with a P6 on his second attempt, he would conclude the pace drop off was down to a slight difference in tyre batches. While Q3 & Q4 didn’t go as planned, after a rain delayed start to Saturday morning a safe drive in Q5 booked his place in the A-Main allowing him to target Q6 as a chance to better his grid position. Unfortunately the rain returned and he never got the opportunity but he’d secured 10th on the grid and the focus was now on using Sunday’s 45-minute final to get in valuable competitive race mileage ahead of the Worlds.
While a passing shower would stop the 1:10 A-Main, it able to restart after a short delay to dry the track, conditions for 1:8 were perfect. Initially struggling with his car on big tyres, Jilles would choose to only change the outside tyres stopping at 15-minutes in. Finding the car difficult with larger tyres on one side, once they started to reduce in size the car got better and better and he was able to make his way up to fourth by the finish. ‘Maximum happy with 4th’, the result puts him in contention for an overall Top 3 finish in the championship with one round to go. Jilles was also very happy with the information collected over the four days, particularly with what they learned in terms of race strategy, and he will pass this on to his absent team-mates.