World’s best touring car drivers descend on Apeldoorn for ETS Round 5
This weekend (June 1-3) the Netherlands plays host to the penultimate round of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series with Apeldoorn the stage for what is set to be the most competitive race of the 2011/12 season. In addition to the regular line-up of world class drivers who are contesting the full 6 race ETS calendar, the beautiful Dutch venue will be bolstered by an increased presence of international factory drivers who are using the fifth round of the World famous electric touring car series to gauge their competitiveness ahead of the upcoming bi-annual World Championships.
The 26th running of an ETS event, the race has attracted a massive 240 entries including all nine members of the elusive modified class winners club. One of those victors making his first appearance of season no.5 is former World Champion Atsushi Hara. A two time ETS race winner, one of which he claimed in the Netherlands when the race was held at the MACH in 2010, Hara heads a much expanded Team HB entry this weekend. 2006 World Champion Andy Moore, who currently sits sixth in the ETS standings, will be joined by Hara and new for 2012 team-mates Shin Adachi and former European Champion Teemu Leino who both make welcomed returns to the series.
Tamiya, who are the most successful manufacturer in series with 3 titles and 14 race wins to their credit, also have an expanded squad for the penultimate round with former 2-time champion Jilles Groskamp returning to compete in his home event. Now based in Thailand, Groskamp’s presence at Apeldoorn should be a big boost for the TRF squad who are already riding high following Viktor Wilck’s victory at the prestigious Reedy Race of Champions last weekend in the USA. Tamiya have not yet scored a win this season in which Kyosho and Xray both took maiden victories, but 12 months ago at the Dutch venue the then defending champion Marc Rheinard claimed the team’s first win of the season on a weekend that saw the first double win for TRF as Dutchman John Bruins won the Pro Stock class.
Having taken the top step on the podium in both the Ride Modified and Xray Pro Stock classes at the preceding round in Poland in April, Xray will be hoping to continue their form this weekend and are another team with an increased presence. Star driver Alexander Hagberg who is joint third in the standings will be joined in the team by US Champion Paul Lemieux for whom this marks the American’s fourth ETS appearance.
After a tough weekend at Round 4 following his hugely popular win at the previous round in Gran Canaria, factory Kyosho driver Christopher Krapp is looking forward to competing again on asphalt. The German, who is in contention for the Euro Touring Series title, predicted his TF6 SP would be quick on asphalt and backed that up with a win at the first asphalt round and is relishing this weekends return to asphalt.
Defending champion and points standings leader Ronald Volker has never won an outdoor ETS event and would love to set that record straight on Sunday. The Team Yokomo driver TQ’d and won the opening two rounds of the season, both carpet events, and if he can pull off victory in Apeldoorn it would put the title beyond the reach of his rivals.
Elsewhere factory Awesomatix driver Freddy Sudhoff is a serious contender to become the 10th name on the role of honour of ETS race winners. The German was very fast in Poland where he finished fourth and is being tipped by many as having the potential to spring a surprise at the World Championships at the end of July.
Round 5 of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series gets underway with practice on Friday and culminates with triple mains for all drivers on Sunday. All the action from Apeldoorn can be followed live throughout the weekend on RedRC.