Last weekend saw the 5th of 6 rounds for the Austrian championship Nitro Onroad take place under perfect weather conditions at the Aigen/Schlaegl track which will be a candidate for 2013 1:8 EFRA B-Euro. Already in 1/8th practice there was a battle between Mugen/Novarossi driver Mikie Klausner and Motonica/Picco driver Herfried Pucher, both running around 2/10 sec per lap faster than the rest. In the first qualifier Pucher had a clean run and took the overnight TQ. In the second qualifier on Sunday morning Klausner struck back with a faster run than Puchers TQ time. For the third and final qualifying round Klausner had a more stable car on the rear after some smaller setup changes and was able to produce a new track and qualifying record.
For the finals the biggest problem was the tire wear of the controlled tires from ATS, in qualifying we had up to 5-6 mm tire wear on the outside in 7 Minutes with some prerun time. Semi-final B was won by Pucher with a tire change only on the outside at 10 minutes of the 20 minutes final. Klausner won Semi-final A and had to go slower the last 4 minutes of his final, because he was running out of tires and so he was only 0.5 sec faster than Pucher! So it was clear that everybody in the 30 minutes final who was going fast have to make a tire change! Before the start of the final Pucher called a start delay, his Picco engine had a failure and had to be replaced. At the start Klausner moved away from the field and catching Pucher after 2 laps who had a crash on his first lap going from the 11th start place. Both where doing identical lap times but at 5 minutes mark Pucher had a flame out and got again problems with his engine, a damaged exhaust pipe was the reason. Klausner was doing a perfect final without any mistake, although his pit crew was doing a slow tire change with more than 17 seconds, so it was a nearly perfect final. On second place Manuel Gremlica who was running without a tire change which was a surprise, Manuel mentioned that he was driving very smooth. Christian Bartacek also Mugen/Novarossi took 3rd with a clean run and perfect pit crew work and 11 sec tire change shortly before half time to finish only 0,8 seconds ahead of Nec Mihelic.
So Mikie Klausner is already Austrian National champion 2011 (3rd time in a row) 2 weeks before final 6th round at LAMAC track.
In 1:10 we got very solid runs by Manuel Singer who took overall TQ. Surprising was Michael Meisinger who took second, 3rd was Richard Furtner, with Gerhard Kandelhart who was fast all weekend but couldn’t manage a clean run to end up only 6th after qualifying. The top 10 cars were are all Xray, with the best non Xray driver after qualifying the young talented driver Markus Berer with his old style Mugen MTX-4.
In the Semi finals Kandelhart made a clean run and put his car on the Pole position for the final, with Singer 0.4 sec slower on position 2. After the start 3rd placed driver Richard Furtner had bad luck and his body was pushed from behind and had come to the pits in the first lap. Up front Kandelhart and Singer were pulling away, but Singer had the better fuel mileage and it was clear that Kandelhart had to push a little bit harder and so the last laps were absolute amazing, Kandelhart in the lead but his tires were no longer as good as those from Singer, so Singer made the move 5 laps to go. Kandelhart was pushing harder and managed to attack Singer in the last lap but alongside with Singer on the inside of the turn before the chicane Kandi ran out of fuel, so the battle for the last 4 corners was easy for Singer and no additional action for the cheering crowd.
1. Manuel Singer (Xray/RB) – 100 30:16.134
2. Gerhard Kandelhart (Xray/Orcan) – 99 29:57.536
3. Kurt Hubeny (Xray/Orcan) – 97 30:06.219
4. Richard Furtner (Xray/RB) – 96 30:00.526
Manuel Singer is now leading the championship going into the final leg.