February 25, 2017

Coelho best of rest as Volker completes qualifying clean sweep

Xray’s Bruno Coelho lines-up best of the rest on the grid for Round 2 of the Euro Touring Series in Germany tomorrow as Ronald Volker completed a clean sweep in the fourth & final qualifier.  While having already wrapped up the overall TQ in the previous round, Volker didn’t let up in Q4 and switching to his second set of tyres topped the times by a 2.1 second margin, signing off with the fastest lap of the round on his final lap.  Behind, it was Coelho who for a third time was second fastest, the defending champion recovering from an early mistake to secure second overall on the grid ahead of Marc Rheinard.  Second fastest in Q2, Rheinard was in contention to line-up closest to Volker but the final qualifier would be the Infinity driver’s worst as he ended up with a P5, his slow pace leaving Alexander Hagberg frustrated as he couldn’t get by the German.  Completing the Top 3 for the final qualifier by 0.043 from Hagberg, this would give Akio Sobue fourth on the grid ahead of the Swede.

Appearing to have given up hope of being able to find a way to reduce Volker’s advantage, going over his latest performance Coelho said, ‘At the beginning I made a mistake when I hit a dot and lost time.  As we have been changing the car every run it takes a few laps to get an understanding of how its working and once I did then I could drive good again.  While it was better (this round) I can’t say it was good’.  Asked about tomorrow’s finals, drivers pretty unanimous that the layout offers little passing opportunities, Coelho conceded his aim was to ‘try to keep my second’.

While quietly relieved to put the car in the A-Main after failing to do so on his Infinity debut last weekend in Bangkok, Rheinard was clearly frustrated that changes to his car are having no effect and that it is something outside his control that is influencing the race.  Running a completely different shock on his SMJ Prototype, he said the car still felt the same adding, ‘its zero fun to drive’.  Regarding the finals, the 14-time ETS race winner said, ‘I think I will need to look out behind me more than looking forward’.

Bettering his best qualifying of last season’s ETS, Sobue was happy with fourth on the grid, the former podium finisher saying his car was ‘not so bad’ for the final qualifier.  Adding more camber and rear toe in, the 22-year-old said this gave him more traction but looking to the finals his view was that it was going to be ‘very difficult to overtake’.

‘Not good’ was how a clearly annoyed Hagberg reacted after Q4.  Top Qualifier & victor of the event in 2015, the Xray driver said, ‘I was catching Marc (Rheinard) at the end. He was very slow but didn’t open and this cost me fourth on me grid for sure’.  Like those starting ahead of him and speaking from his final qualifying experience he concluded ‘it’s impossible to pass on this track’.

In the Xray Pro Stock and Scorpion Formula classes the Top Qualifiers would be decided in the final round.  Having TQ’d the opening two rounds of Pro Stock Markus Kreder who go up against Alexandre Duchet for the overall TQ who took Q3 but by the second lap the Frenchman’s challenge was done giving Kreder pole ahead of fellow Awesomatix driver Olivier Bultynck and the ARC of Helge Johannessen. Winner of the season opener, Duchet will have his work cut out to retain his championship lead from ninth on the grid.  In Formula David Ehrbar TQ’d the final round with the only 22-lap run of the weekend to take pole on the tie-breaker from Andreas Stiebler, the TQ extending the Serpent designer’s championship lead.

View the complete event results here.

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