Marc Rheinard has wrapped up the first ETS race in mainland Spain with a win in A3 that would see the Infinity driver leave Madrid with a 2nd place. With Xray’s Bruno Coelho wrapping up his second win of the season in A2, the third A-Main was a showdown between Rheinard and ETS Round 2 winner Ronald Volker for the runners-up spot. With Rheinard leading away the field as Coelho watched on, the German was untouchable winning with ease from Volker who had to work hard to fend off Akio Sobue for the early part of the race. Also third in A2, Sobue would end up 4th overall ahead of Infinity team-mate Jilles Groskamp.
‘I lost the chance to win in A2 when I spun out but now for sure I would have been able to match Bruno’s pace’, was Rheinard’s reaction after the race. The only driver to challenge Coelho in qualifying by taking two rounds to end up tied on points with the reigning champion, he continued, ‘for sure I want to win but 2nd is a good result for our first race on asphalt’. Having made the podium on his ETS debut for Infinity at Round 2 but having never been in the mix for the win on that occasion, Rheinard said, ‘we are now in the right direction with the car and that is reflected in the team result here, we had four cars in the final and 3 of them ni the Top 5. We know now we are pretty close’. Looking to the fourth round of the championship next month in Italy, he concluded, ‘our result here makes us very positive for Riccione’.
Commenting on his A3 performance, Volker said, ‘right away I felt I didn’t have enough forward traction for some reason so I couldn’t do anything to stay with Marc’. Maintaining his second in the points standings with today’s result, he continued, ‘3rd is not the position I wanted before we came here but it is not too bad for the championship. We are still in the game but definitely have to beat Bruno the next one’. With Riccione ‘one of (his) favourite tracks’, the World Champion said he is confident ‘this time round we are closer to Bruno than in the passed’.
Again missing the podium, Sobue said, ‘it was too difficult to overtake. Ronald’s car was very loose but offline it was low traction so I could not pass. I tried to overtake him at the end of the straight around the outside but it was too dusty’. The Japanese driver said the weekend showed the potential is there with the ProtoTC and ‘next time I will be on the podium’.
In the Scorpion Power Formula Class there was a lot more at stake as the previous encounters produced different winners. Leading away the field, Top Qualifier Olivier Bultynck again let his lead slip away, getting out of shape and letting champion Ratheisky to the front. While the Belgian would mount a comeback, another mistake put amends to his chances of the win allowing Ratheisky to take his first overall win of the season. Infinity driver Jitse Miedema would complete the podium. In Pro Stock, Ratheisky was also in contention for the win and he certainly deserves any awards there are for effort. Having snatched the win from Xray team-mate Alexandre Duchet in A1 right at the line, the German went for it again but was too tight with his line and his T4 came to a sudden stop against the kart tyre marking the corner. Winning by 0.09, Duchet wrapped up his second win of the season with Ratheisky runner-up and Tamiya driver Christian Donath completing the podium.
Bruno Coelho has drawn first blood at the first asphalt race of the Euro Touring Series season, the Xray driver winning with relative ease with another win in A2 on the championship’s first visit to Spain. Top Qualifier for the Madrid based third round, having dominating the opening final, the reigning champion looked like he might have to work a bit harder second time round. With Marc Rheinard make a much stronger start and keeping with the reigning champion with Ronald Volker in toe, initially a more interesting race looked on the cards but it was short lived. With his Infinity stepping out in the first right hander of the lap, Rheinard would spin out, his race effectively done. While Volker would take up the challenge for a time, even with Coelho having a big moment at the end of the straight, the Portuguese ace would complete the perfect weekend to extend his lead in the championship with his parents on hand to watch his master class.
‘What can I say, it was the perfect weekend’, was how Coelho summed up what is his second win of the season. He continued, ‘From the beginning we were fastest and we didn’t have to change the car much. We ran ARS and it worked pretty amazing’. Explaining his moment at the end of the straight, highlighting himself that he had a few moments during A2, he said, ‘there was less grip this time and also I think maybe there was dust on the track because Rheinard also spin out’. His first race running Savox servos, he said there is always a feeling of anxiety when you are running something new but the feeling all weekend was perfect so its a great start. With the first outdoor race completing the first half of the 10th season of the ETS, Coelho, who was delighted to win in front of his parents, said, ‘to win the first outdoor race is a good confidence boost for the rest of the season’. With Round 4 taking place at Riccione in Italy where he took the win last year he said, ‘My results have been good at Riccione so far and I like the track and the atmosphere there. I also really like the Italian people also so I am looking forward to it’.
Giving his thoughts on A2, finishing a much closer 3/10th behind Coelho, Volker said, ‘things changed after Marc spun and immediately I felt I could hang on to Bruno this time’. He continued, ‘We both checked out from the field and I tried as hard as I could but couldn’t get close enough to attack’. Putting his improved performance down to having ‘changed quite a lot for the heat’, he said ‘it seemed to work a lot better and we’ll adjust one more small thing for the last one’. With it set to be a battle between himself and Coelho, he concluded, ‘We will try to save the podium if not try to take P2’.
Finishing A2 ninth, Infinity team-mate Akio Sobue completing the Top 3, Rheinard said, ‘I had a good start this time and was close (to Coelho) at the end of the straight but the car start to slide in the right corner and I spun out. The felt tweaked then after the contact’. The German continued, ‘I’m a bit disappointed because I could have made a good race. You can see Ronald was now closer to Bruno so I think his car was not as good so think I could have pushed him for the win’. Effectively starting from pole for A3 as Coelho sits out the closing race of the weekend at the ASOGER track, he said, ‘I will go for the podium in the next one’.
While the Volante Modified class winner was decide in A3, the Pro Stock and Formula overall winners are still to be decided. In the Xray Pro Stock class, Top Qualifier Alexandre Duchet made sure he didn’t get caught out second time round. After another great battle with his Xray team-mate Jan Ratheisky, Tamiya driver Christian Donath joined the fight for the lead which saw him and Ratheisky touch at the start of the last lap. This lifted the pressure on Frenchman Duchet who took the win with Donath getting second and Ratheisky third. In Formula, A1 winner Olivier Bultynck looked to have the overall win in the bag before making the first of series of mistakes that dropped the Team Shepherd to eventually finish 7th. Up front Ratheisky came out the better of a battle with Infinity driver Jitse Miedema with Spain’s Ivan de La Calle third.