Volker masters dramatic condition change to win A-1
Starting from 3rd on the grid in the first A-Main of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Austria, Ronald Volker best mastered a dramatic change in track conditions to move to the front of the field after a thrilling opening two laps. A change in weather that saw the arrival of light rain caused a sharp rise in humidity at the roof covered Traiskirchen track making the asphalt surface more like the ice skating ring which the building normally houses. Such was the change that laps times where almost 2 seconds off the pace seen in qualifying. Once in front Volker cruised to an easy 3-second win over team-mate Yannic Prümper who held off a challenge from Top Qualifier Marc Rheinard.
Volker, whose passes on Prumper and Rheinard got a huge roar of appreciation from onlookers, was clearly delighted with his performance and was quick to attribute the success to his race engineer Yukijiro Umino. In anticipation of the low traction due to the humidity change Umino changed the set-up on Volker’s LRP powered BD7 along with changing the tyre prep. Volker said that a key factor was also the fact that Umino kept the tyre warmers on the car right until the actual race start. Describing the conditions as very tricky the defending champion, who if he wins here today will retain that title, said while he had the best car for the conditions he had to drive with extreme caution and keep his lines tight and tidy as offline had ‘zero traction’.
Team-mate Yannic Prumper described his second place finish as OK saying he ‘finished where started’. Having dropped to third on the opening lap before getting passed Rheinard on lap 2 to move back into second, last years winner said conditions were ‘really tricky’ and just keeping the car on track was difficult.
Rheinard was clearly frustrated by the race. Needing to take the win this weekend to force the championship to go to the season finale next month in Slovakia, the Tamiya driver said his car would have been ‘faster in the rain’. With a ‘total lack of traction’, the German said he biggest mistake was doing a warm-up lap. Originally not planning to do one, he said due to the delay he thought it would help his tyres but added as Volker showed it was ‘a bad choice’. Commenting on the remaining two legs of the final the Apeldoorn winner said he ‘hopes the sun comes out as in these conditions there is no point in racing’.
In the Xray Pro Stock Class, Schumacher’s Martin Hofer put in a spectacular drive to haul in Top Qualifier Marek Cerny who in the first half of the race looked as though he had the leg easily wrapped up. Starting fourth on the grid, former champion Hofer started a charge to the front in the second half of the 5-minute final to come back from being 4-seconds behind to eat into the Xray’s lead eventually passing the Czech driver on the penultimate lap to a huge cheer from spectators. Hofer said having struggled with traction roll in qualifying his Mi5, which has good mechanical grip, worked perfectly in the low traction conditions. Having glued his front tyre walls in an attempt to reduced his grip, the German was worried at the start of the race that this would hamper him in the lower traction but he said he couldn’t have asked for a better car for the race. Cerny who is chasing his third win of the season this weekend, said there was little he could about Hofer due to the conditions changing but is confident everything should be OK again for the next two Mains. With his Awesomatix struggling in the conditions, the No.2 car of Viljami Kutvonen completed the Top 3.
The Speed Passion Formula class was won by TOP Racing’s Roman Pichler who got passed a slow starting Jan Asmer at the first corner from where he lead til the end. For Top Qualifier Asmer it was a tough race with the Serpent driver dropping back as low as fourth after himself and Toni Stangl tangled while battling over second spot. Defending Champion Hebert Weber benefited from this to take second with Amser recovering to cross the finish line in 3rd.
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