Due to an unusually long cold weather in Europe the Round 1 of the Efra GP Series 2018 could be considered the real first important race of the year… Well known Jody Scheckter track in Fiorano was chosen to host the event. Our team attended with their European based nitro drivers in both categories: Dario, Lamberto, Carmine, Alberto and Nicola shaking down the new IF18 while Teemu and Francesco showed the potential of our future IF15 platform.
Thursday a good series of free practice allowed drivers to “re-enter” in the competitive ambience after the long winter rest… Organizers looking to bad weather forecast for Sunday decided to modified the schedule rushing a bit to complete the race Saturday evening… now we could say that was a good call !
Due to this decision Friday 2 rounds of practice were skipped from the timetable to enter directly in the reseeding with CP1-CP2 before 4 qualifying rounds… A very long day that saw a solid performance of Simon in 1/8 and of Dominic in 1/10, both grabbing overall TQ honor in advance. In 1/8 good news was Carmine that close in 2nd place the first 2 heats overtaken by Dario only in the last round thanks to his TQ run. Alberto had to face some different issues as Nicola did, while Lamberto had to fight with some glowplug/engine problems. In 1/10 Francesco and Teemu seemed really quick switching position in chasing the leader learning the new car.
Saturday the last qualifying round confirmed the fastest guys with Lamberto that finally manage to close a decent run finishing 6th overall. Alberto and Nicola both in semis with Dario and Carmine qualified to Superpole. In 1/10 Francesco confirmed as second “force” of the race with Teemu 4th progressing (both in Superpole) in testing setup and parts for new platform.
First Superpole was exciting for the closest gap ever between contenders: only cents of seconds divided 1st to 4th. Was Dario that confirms his speed in front to Silvio and Carmine jumping directly in the Amain… In 1/10 Francesco make his personal “show” running an astonishing second lap where was able to destroy his opponents deserving 2nd spot on the grid with a gap of 3 tenths of second.
Lower mains starts immediately… Carmine and his brother helped two of their Infinity customers fighting for the bump up but only Adriano manage it (3rd) in front of Antonio 4th. In 1/8 of Final was Gianluca that had to leave the race due to a “grilled” engine when he was in second place. Former Spanish champ Victor suffered a contact in his main with the result of a broken servo saver and early back home.
SemiB was the first starting with Lamberto, Alberto and Nicola… The start leave Nicola in the grass for a big contact that involved him “badly”; took lot of time to repair his car. Lamberto seemed in “challenging mode” developing different strategy (5minute refueling) testing it for the main switching position with Leader Andrea depending on “pit time”. Alberto looked comfortable in 3/4th with good perspective when a loosen tap screw forced him to pits… A shame that few minutes later hit Lamberto that broke his engine before transponder line… Sure not their race! SemiA was surely better with a dominant Carmine on the track… fast, consistent and steady like a stopwatch. No risks at all for a deserved win with a 3rd place on the grid…
In 1/10 Amain Teemu called a tech delay starting from 11th spot; with 5 minutes refuel strategy Francesco decided for an aggressive driving style looking to overtake Dominic in the firsts corners… unfortunately the move hadn’t the success expected leaving him in the back of the pack. 10 minutes later Franci gets results of his speed recovering 2nd position trying to challenge again for the final win with another aggressive move: he change only external tires during second refuel but something goes wrong and after 3 minutes he run out of fuel on back chicane… Game over. Teemu tried to battle at his best for the podium but some issues and contacts penalized him. A 5th place for Finnish driver and 7th for Italian wasn’t what really expected from this race. Dominic deserved the final win.
In 1/8 Carmine was the nicest surprise with a very competitive pace… he makes an amazing job trying to stay as much close possible to Simon that lead and win the race. Dario looked little bit less performant compared to qualifies but, in a sort of “strategies war” with his team mate, succeeded to overtake Carmine in the last pit stop… A great race in one of the best locations of the worlds to practice our hobby. Look forward to ENS rd.1 in Netherlands in three weeks for another challenge… meet you all there!!