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!!