Having risen to become one of the toughest, most competitive & prestigious championship’s in the World over the last decade, the Yokomo Euro Touring Series entered into its 11th season last weekend in Austria. A brand new destination on the ETS calendar, Round 1 would take place in Messe Wien located in the historic Prater district of Vienna right next to the oldest amusement park in the world. Invited to be part of Austria’s biggest modelling show by the organisers of Modellbau Messe, the racing would prove a huge hit with the record 63,000 showgoers with the track surrounded by large crowds throughout the 3 days of competition. A great showcase for the sport, the season opener attracted just shy of 250 race entries from 27 nations and collecting data from each of the drivers at technical inspection here is a breakdown of driver’s preferences in chassis manufacturers.
As the reigning champions in both Modified and Pro Stock, it was Xray who proved the most popular brand of choice. Overall the Slovakian manufacturer’s cars were raced by 1 out 3 of the total entry with its biggest share being in Formula with 36 percent of racers. Sharing the honour of being the second most popular car in the Scorpion Power Systems backed class, with 13 percentage each, was VBC Racing and reigning Formula champions Serpent. Introduced to the ETS program in Season #5, 10 different brands made up the Season #11 opening grid.
The biggest class of the ETS with a grid of 115 cars in Vienna, compared to 72 in Modified and 60 in Formula, the Xray sponsored Pro Stock class saw Awesomatix as the second biggest manufacturer with 19 cars compared to Xray’s 33. Overall it is Awesomatix who is also the second biggest brand when all touring car class numbers are combined. Interestingly despite having announced the end of their famous TRF race team after the season opener last year, Tamiya is the 3rd most popular chassis in Pro Stock just ahead of Schumacher.
Filling the void left by Tamiya in the premiere Modified class, Infinity have made solid gains as they undertake their first ETS campaign as a manufacturer with them the second most popular brand in Modified behind Xray. Taking their first win in Vienna, overall the Japanese newcomer shares 3rd position as the touring car of choice with Yokomo and Serpent – each having 17 users. Xray having a substantial market share of 84 drivers overall with Awesomatix having 26. The Modified class is the biggest in terms of the number of manufacturers represented in the ETS with new additions Mugen, Destiny and WRC bringing the number to 14 different brands.
After a great start to ETS #11, drivers now have an extended break before another new venue awaits them when Sporthotel & Resort Daun in Germany plays host to Round 2 on February 02-04.
With Marc Rheinard putting in a dominant performance to wrap up his first ETS win in 2-years in the second A-Main, the closing race in Vienna, Austria, was a battle for other two podium places. In the end while the order was a welcomed change, it still had a familiar look as Bruno Coelho and Ronald Volker completed the line-up. With Rheinard sitting out the race, it was Viljami Kutvonen who started out front, and despite losing the speed that yesterday allowed him to qualify second, he was hopeful of a repeat of the podium finish he opened last season with. With Coelho getting by Marco Kaufmann quickly, Viljami put in a valiant effort to hold the reigning champion behind him but little over half way in Coelho put an impressive move on the Finn. While the Awesomatix driver tried to come back at him he would touch the boards allowing Alexander Hagberg and Volker through. With Coelho clear up front, Hagberg had to fend off the fastest man on the track Volker but after contact in A1 the German showed great patience with third enough to give secure the final podium placing. Hagberg’s P2 for the round would see him take 4th from Viljami on the tie breaker, the result a big disappointment for the latter following his pace in qualifying.
A driver whose pace went the opposite direction to that of Viljami with him only qualifying sixth but ending up on the podium with the fastest lap of the finals, Volker said his set-up changes were tyre related. The World Champion said, ‘we ran front front tyres from both my sets and that was crucial to my improved pace from A1. I don’t want to blame the tyres but it is something we need to understand better and have a strategy for for Round 2, because of this P3 was the best I was able to do today’.
Multiple former Pro Stock & Formula Champion Jan Ratheisky bounced back with a bang at the Euro Touring Series season opener in Austria today wrapping up a double victory in the second round of A-Main encounters. Securing his first pole position in over a season at the Vienna hosted race, the Xray driver ended a 9 race victory drought in Pro Stock thanks to a repeat of his dominant A1 performance. In Formula, the 4-time back to back champion’s last race win was more recent, the German had to work harder for the win in A2. The man who took the title off him last season, David Ehrbar pushed him hard with the duo swapping positions before Ratheiskyfound his way back passed the Serpent driver to win by half a second. With Ratheisky sitting out A3, Ehrbar would take the win to secure 2nd overall despite a strong challenge from Luke Lee, the British driver completing the Scorpion Power System Formula podium with his Xray.
In the Xray Pro Stock class, A3 was also about deciding who would stand each side of Ratheisky on the podium.Having been one of the surprises of qualifying Simon Lauter could deliver on his impressive P2 qualifying position to take his Tamiya to victory ahead of Tim Benson and Max Mächler.This result would secure Lauter second overall with Max Mächler completing the Top 3.For reigning champion Alexandre Duchet, having qualified last on the grid the Frenchman would salvage 5th overall, a result he will be hoping becomes one of his two throw-outs.
While Mod, Pro Stock and Formula where all decided in the second A-Main, the newly introduced Infinity Masters Touring class went down to the wire.With Christian Drießle winning A1 after a last minute mistake from Top Qualifier Thomas Oehler, it was Hungarian Miko Peter who took A2 ahead of Oehler and Drießle.This left it a three way battle for the win in the closing leg but 3rd place starter Peter found his way to the front to become the first Masters class winner.Joining him on the podium, the class open to drivers 40 years old or more, Drießle took second over Oehler thanks to his A1 win giving him the tie breaker.