Having closed Day 1 of the Euro Touring Series in Madrid with a TQ run, Bruno Coelho opened the second day of action at the ASOGER track by again setting the pace with his Xray. The reigning champion topped Q2 from Ronald Volker, the Yokomo driver very pleased with his P2 given he was on used tyres. Behind the winners of the opening two rounds of the season, Akio Sobue completed the Top 3, a last lap error costing the Infinity driver second spot. Despite putting his car on its side coming onto the front straight, Jilles Groskamp would claim fourth ahead of team-mate Naoto Matsukura with Elliot Harper completing the Top 6 ahead of Marc Rheinard.
Commenting on the second qualifier, Coelho said, ‘this morning in the practice we tried something different on the car to see if we could further improve what we had. It was a positive test so we decided to drive it in the qualifier and it was very good’. Posting a new fastest lap of 18.734 for the large 318 metre long track, he concluded, ‘everything is looking good so we see how it goes for the rest of the day’ – drivers having two more qualifiers to run.
‘Very very happy with Q2 because I didn’t expect P2 on old tyres’ was Volker’s reaction, the German adding, ‘so at least we are back in the game to take second on the grid’. Having struggled yesterday with his car in the early part of each run, he said, ‘all of a sudden the car is better than yesterday but I knew this after we ran the practice this morning’. Looking to Q3 he said, ‘we wont touch too much (on the car) but we need to figure out our tyre strategy’.
Sobue summed up his P3 by saying, ‘the car was good but the driver was shit’. He continued, ‘I had small mistakes during the run and then on last lap hit curb and went wide which cost me second place’. Asked his plans for Q3, he replied the only thing he needs to do is ‘fix the driver’.
‘Now it was good’ said a please looking Groskamp. Leading away the second fastest heat, the Infinity driver continued, ‘It felt loose but then I heard my lap time which was finally in the 18s so I knew it was not bad’. On his incident, which cost him around 2.5-seconds, he said, ‘I had to pass a backmarker and got out of my rhythm and hit the curbing coming onto the straight and the car went on its side. I was fortune it came down on its wheels. Instead of a second for the round I got fourth but I’m for sure now in the middle of the A-Main already so I can try something in the next one’. On his ProtoTC’s performance he said, ‘I didn’t have the same power in the second half so I think need to open my motor and check it or change the battery’. The Dutchman also believes his tyre preparation could have been better, him feeling he removed his tyre warmers too early given the colder morning conditions at the track.
Matsukura said, ‘I was on old tyres. Of course new are better but it was a good run’. Having crashed coming on to the straight on his second lap in Q1 yesterday, the former World Champion said, ‘This time no crash. I make a safe start and once I was in a good rhythm I pushed more’. In terms of his ProtoTC, he said ‘I need to work a little more on the set-up’, the Japanese driver not 100% confident in the rear end of the car. Team-mate Marc Rheinard would also run on used tyres saying as expected they were ‘slower except for Ronald’. Ending up with a P7 for the round, the German said his car continues to ‘push too much’ and by the end the 5-minutes the set of tyres were ‘pretty much done’.
Completing the Top 6, Harper said it was ‘a good result’ but he is still struggling with ‘huge understeer’. With new tyres contributing to his result, the Schumacher driver said ‘I need to get more steering and corner speed but every run is like a new experience as the track conditions change so much’. He concluded, ‘this makes it hard to find something that works’.
In Pro Stock it was also a repeat TQ for Alexandre Duchet, the Xray driver topping the times from team-mates Jan Ratheisky and Nicolai Lindegaard. In Formula, having opened with a P2 in Q1, Olivier Bultynck went one better with his ShepherdVelox F1 to TQ the second round ahead of reigning champion Ratheisky and Dutch driver Jitse Miedema as championship leader David Ehrbar hit problems and pulled up early.