Ronald Volker has kept the championship race for this year’s ETS title going by winning the third A-Main in Italy to finish 2nd overall. With reigning champion Bruno Coelho wrapping up his third win of the season in A2, the Portuguese driver was a more than usual interested spectator of A3 as the failure of Volker to finish second overall would mean he would be crowned Champion for a second year. Leading away the field Volker will get the result he needs with pursuer Elliott Harper not able to get by the Yokomo driver. Harper would in fact come under attack from Marc Rheinard until the Infinity driver ran onto the grass. An important result for Volker, if not the one he came to Riccione seeking, it was probably Harper however who was the happiest driver on the podium, his first podium finish in 6-years marking the first for Schumacher in the premiere Modified class.
Commenting on his second overall and clearly choosing his words carefully, Volker said, ‘A3 wasn’t easy because I was fighting with the balance (of the car) but I can’t be too unhappy to get P2. It was the max I could do for now’. The only other winner this year apart from Coelho, the World Champion said, ‘we are trying hard to catch up in car performance but it wasn’t on point so we couldn’t win’. Needing perfect results in the final two races of the season, he concluded, ‘we have to improve the car and that’s got to be our main focus from now to the next ETS’.
‘It nice to be back, we worked hard for this’, was how Harper summed up his impressive performance over the weekend. Having TQ’d a round of qualifying for the first time on Saturday, the multiple World’s Finalist continued, ‘we did a lot of learning and we had pretty good pace today and for the size of the team I think thats pretty impressive’. With former ETS Champion Jilles Groskamp one of the first to compliment the British driver on his performance, Harper said, ‘hopefully its the first of more to come’. On his A3 performance he said, ‘I tried to pressure Ronald. I would get closer some laps and then other laps he would pull away. When Marc went on the grass I could push a little over the limit but myself and Ronald were on exactly the same pace so I couldn’t challenge, but I tried’.
Finishing fourth, his first time to not make the podium since joining Infinity, Rheinard summed up the weekend as ‘disappointing’. With his title hopes over, he said, ‘the pace of the car was there for sure for a podium and I think also the potential was in the car to challenge Bruno but I messed it up in qualifying with my own driving mistakes’. Asked about A3, he replied, ‘I was stuck behind Elliott and then I ended up on the grass but somehow I kept going but I had no podium chance so it didn’t change the overall result’.
Unlike Modified and Formula, the overall Pro Stock winner would be decided in A3. Having lead both opening A-Mains, Top Qualifier Mattia Collina would finally go the full distance to win ahead of Max Mächler but winner of A2 that was enough for Mächler to take the overall win. Winner of A1, following the clash between Collina and Mächler, Lars Hoppe would get P5 in A3 but it would be enough to secure him 2nd overall with Olivier Bultynck completing the podium. With Jan Ratheisky wrapping up his second asphalt win of the season in A2, A3 would see Top Qualifier David Ehrbar win from Jitse Miedema which is how they would complete the podium presentation.