Ronald Volker is the Top Qualifier at ETS Germany, the Yokomo driver claiming pole position for his home event for the first time since 2012 with a third TQ run in the penultimate qualifier. His 21st ETS career TQ, Volker was once again the class of the field in Q3 and on a slower track would be the only driver to manage 26-laps. Best of the rest, Volker’s rivals struggling to match his pace, would be Bruno Coelho, the Xray driver outpacing Infinity’s Marc Rheinard by 6/10ths of a second. Akio Sobue would make it a strong round for electric touring car newcomers Infinity as he enjoyed his best round getting a P4 ahead of former event winner Alexander Hagberg.
‘We started with great form yesterday and were able to carry it into today. Qualifying has worked out perfect and I can’t be more satisfied at wrapping up the TQ a round early’, was how Volker summed up becoming Top Qualifier. A driver who is being widely praised for his efforts of late in trying to turn around his form having struggled at the ETS season opener, he was quick to acknowledge the work of his long time mechanic Yukijiro Umino for his part in the competitive return of the Volker/Umino partnership. Opting to leave his car unchanged from Q2, he said ‘the traction is getting away a bit and everyone went slower so we may try something for Q4’.
Reacting to Q3 a confused Coelho said, ‘we completely change three times, a different chassis and different set-up but there was no difference. When you change three times but the car is still the same something is wrong’. With a number of drivers hinting at the fact they feel the carpet is the issue, Coelho’s take was, ‘for sure the carpet is the not the same. I couldn’t get my car from Czech to run straight on the track. Also the tyres are not the same and the additive is not the same but maybe the problem is the driver is broken’. With this race a breakthrough first carpet win for the reigning champion last year he conceded, ‘We will try to keep second’.
Having made ‘many changes’ to his SMJ Prototype, Rheinard, like Coelho, said ‘it made no difference’ adding, ‘maybe I need to change my tyre prep’. Looking on target to start his first ever ETS race that he is not a Tamiya driver from at least third on the grid, he continued, ‘the track feels strange and maybe this carpet is not good anymore’. While from the same supplier of the now widely used black ETS carpet, the batch in use in this year in Muelheim Kaerlich is a noticeably lighter shade of black.
Sobue declared ‘4th for the round was ok’ but the Japanese driver added, ‘today is difficult conditions because each time the track is different’. Having transformed his car from being super difficult to super easy between last nights opening qualifier and this morning’s Q2, the Infinity driver said he now had ‘zero traction again’. Not sure how the track will be for the final qualifier, the 22-year-old said he will set the car up for it having even less traction.
Having opened qualifying with a P4 last night with his spare car after heavy damage in the final practice, it was Alexander Hagberg’s spare car that would again put him in the Top 5. With no time to rebuild his ‘race car’ for Q1 due to the condensed schedule, he did get it rebuilt for Q2 this morning but it ‘wasn’t as good as expected’ and ended up with a P7. Opting to switch back to the car he ran in Q1, the Swede was on a very strong Top 3 run until a mistake with the resulting one second lost dropping the Swede back to P5.
Completing the Top 6, Yannic Prumper said, ‘I don’t know whats happening but my car is pushing like hell now’. The VBC Racing driver continued, ‘I don’t know what to change. Maybe I need to try a different set of tyres but I’m not sure that is the problem. Maybe it is just the carpet’. Behind Prumper, Awesomatix had its best run with both ETS Czech runner-up Viljami Kutvonen and Freddy Sudhoff making the Top 8.
In Pro Stock, Alexandre Duchet finally came good as the top seed posted his first TQ run. The winner of the season opener, the Xray driver was quickest from Olivier Bultynck and Q1 & 2 pace setter Markus Kreder. In the Scorpion Formula class, Andreas Stiebler backed up his Q2 TQ with another, this time ahead of reigning champion and Xray team-mate Jan Ratheisky as Bultynck again completed the Top 3.