Jilles Groskamp has won the penultimate round of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Luxembourg, the event marking the 50th running of a round of the world famous championship. An instrumental supporter of the championship in its founding years and becoming its inaugural champion, the win is only the 2012 World Champions’ 5th and his first since winning a second ETS title in 2009. Behind the Infinity driver, Marc Rheinard kept his title hopes alive by finishing second ahead of Bruno Coelho who completed the podium at Mini Circuit “Ville de Luxembourg”. Unfortunately while winning A3 would give reigning champion Ronald Volker 4th overall, it was one position below what the Top Qualifier needed to keep alive his hopes of retaining his crown.
‘I wanted to make a nice 3rd final and finish the race in a nice way. It’s nice to win at ETS again’, was how Groskamp summed up his first win in the championship in 7 years. His first ETS outing the season, the Dutch driver who won his 2009 European Championship title at the same track added, ‘I feel especially bad for Ronald and that I ruined his championship and I really apologise for that. I didn’t know it as I am not in the championship’. Recalling A3 he said, ‘I didn’t want to challenge Ronald and my main focus was on Marc but when he rolled I knew the pressure was off but then I flipped but it was OK, I knew I still had the overall win’. As his car lay upside down Coelho would collect it causing the body shell to invert which is how he would finish the race losing a place to Rheinard. Commenting on his performance over the event having chosen to run an Xray chassis, he said, ‘all weekend the car has been really good for me and it’s a good option for the World Championship’. Set to also race at the ETS season finale, with Infinity planning to have its own car for next season, he plans to also bring a Tamiya to the Hudy Arena event saying ‘I guess the Xray will be fast there as it’s their own track but Marc’s car looks good so I will try one’.
‘I knew I had to win to have a chance of overall victory today. It didn’t happen but 2nd overall is still OK, we had the pace and the car was good’, was how Rheinard summed up the day. Having clashed with Coelho in A2, the German complimented his rival saying, ‘Bruno made a nice pass on me’ but the Portuguese driver would hand it back with a mistake later in the race. In third he said he ‘tried to catch Groskamp saying ‘Jilles was not that fast’ but catching the curbing and rolling his Muchmore powered TRF419X he said his chance of the overall win was gone. While today’s result reduces his deficit in the championship from 5 to 4 points, Rheinard said his options for the the season finale very straight forward, ‘I have to TQ and win the last one’.
With today’s result moving him one step closer to the title, Coelho’s biggest concern after A3 was to work out the various scenarios based on either of his rivals winning at the Hudy Arena. Having already given Xray their first Euro Offroad Series title this year and now looking to give them their first ETS Modified title, second today would have done that but he said after getting caught in mistakes of both Rheinard and Groskamp in A3 ‘there was no chance to get him’, him being Volker. With his Hobbywing powered T4 ‘again really impressive’ he would first lose time when Rheinard spun in the Laguna Seca section and he collected him and then again later when Groskamp rolled and made heavy contact with his car, both surviving to finish the race. Having won in Slovakia last year and needing only a second place in the case that his only rival Rheinard TQs and wins there, even Rheinard admitted that given the points scenario and that the title is to be decided at the track where the T4 was developed Coelho already has one hand on the champion’s trophy.
‘I am both angry & really disappointed to have been robbed like this of a chance to fight for the championship’, said Volker. Having been taken out of the lead of A2 in a controversial incident with Groskamp he added, ‘winning A3 meant nothing to me because my goal was always the championship and after yesterday it was all going to plan but today it was all over because of what happened in A2’. A driver who since under taking his first full ETS campaign in 2010/11 has gone on to be crowned champion five times in succession, Volker concluded, ‘I am going to be frustrated by today for a few days but hope I can get some consolation at the Euros next week’.
With the Xray Pro Stock and Serpent Formula winners decided in A2, the third A-Main would determine the rest of the podium. Belgian Olivier Bultynck would win both encounters to finish runner-up to Lars Hoppe in Pro Stock and David Ehrbar in Formula, Jacques Libar adding local interest to the podium with third. In Pro Stock after a great A3 battle with the Schumacher of Nicolai Lindegaard, Tamiya driver Christian Donath would take the final step on the podium.
Marc Rheinard has won a controversial second A-Main at the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Luxembourg, the race determined by two key incidents the first of which means we will see the crowning of a new ETS champion for Season #9. A better first lap than A1, it was the second lap when the race would be turned on its head. With Top Qualifier Ronald Volker leading from Jilles Groskamp, as the pack exited the Laguna Seca section for a second time the reigning champion would get hit by Groskamp sending the Yokomo driver back to last as the Dutch continued as the new leader. Moments later the second incident would see Bruno Coelho attempt a pass on Rheinard, but there would be contact with the championship leader’s Xray flying off the track. No penalties called for either incident, Groskamp would lead from Rheinard before a spin from the Infinity driver allowed the Tamiya driver into a lead he would hold to the finish. With Coelho and Volker finishing 6th and 10th respectively it would be Xray’s Alexander Hagberg who would benefit most to finish 3rd behind Groskamp.
‘It was side by side in my opinion’, was Rheinard’s reaction to his incident with Coelho. Having got caught up in Volker’s first lap spin in A1, he continued, ‘It was a pretty ok start for all of us until Jilles & Ronald touched which gave me second coming onto the straight. Then Bruno tried to pass me on the inside at the end of the straight. I kept my line and we touched and for me it wasn’t my fault’. Taking the lead on the next lap after Groskamp spun his Xray he said once his former team-mate spun again having caught him back up ‘it was easy to the end’.
‘I feel bad about the second final, I’m not sure what exactly happened’, said Groskamp afterwards. Trying to explain the incident with Volker he said, ‘He took a different line, I didn’t even take the opportunity to pass. It was a racing incident but I am angry with myself for what happened and I’m really sorry to Ronald’. Commenting the rest of the race, the former World Champion said, ‘I didn’t want to win the race after what happened, I drove pretty bad afterwards’. He continued, ‘I want the race to be decided fair & square in the third final’.
Visibly upset by the incident, Volker said, ‘This decided the championship, I’m out’. Having been chasing a sixth consecutive ETS Modified title, he continued, ‘after the trouble in A1 with tyres of course I didn’t drive 110% on the first lap but I felt my car was good to win but Jilles didn’t let me’. He added, ‘The line I drove is always the one I drive and he took me out badly from behind. Jilles is know for good sportsmanship so I feel very disappointed by this and the fact he yelled at me that it was my fault. It also frustrates me no stop & go was given. When it’s side by side I understand it’s difficult but this wasn’t even close to having any doubts over it’. Volker concluded, ‘it was definitely a tyre issue in A1 as my car felt great and my fastest lap proves this incident cost me the chance for the championship’.
Asked for his view of the race Coelho replied, ‘It easy to explain. I was taken out by Rheinard’. He continued, ‘We were fighting for 3rd and I was overtaking him in the inside. He had the curb on the right side but decided to turn left, maybe he had radio problems’. The Portuguese driver added, ‘the crash was so big I ended up in the middle of the straight and my race was done’.
Having had a massive off at the end of the straight in A1 that ‘completely destroyed’ his car when a rear tyre came unglued, Hagberg was happy to finish third. Having to rebuild his car, the factory Xray driver said, ‘it felt weird’ in A2 adding he was ‘not 100% sure it’s fixed but I was still able to defend my position’. The European Champion added ‘I benefited from the drama up front and maybe I can do the same in the next one and finish up front’. Behind the Swede, Freddy Südhoff would again finish 4th. Having missed A1 due to work, local star Lucas Urbain would complete the Top 5 with his VBC from 7th on the grid.
In Pro Stock and Formula, there would be no dramas for the A1 winners as they repeated their earlier successes to sew up early the overall wins in Luxembourg. In the Xray supported touring car class Lars Hoppe claimed his first ETS win of the season with a perfect race from the TQ. David Ehrbar would do the same thing in the Serpent Formula class to also claim his first win of the season becoming only the second winner of Season #9, newly crowned & absent champion Jan Ratheisky having won the previous four encounters.