Naoto Matsukura lost out on a TQ run in the second round of qualifying at the ETS in Germany this evening, a moment on the curbing on the last lap enough to allow Bruno Coelho secure his second TQ of the day by 5/100ths of a second. With the benefit of the cooler evening conditions, the Q2 TQ could prove crucial to Coelho’s title hopes with tomorrow’s remaining two qualifiers set to take place in warmer, therefore slower, track conditions. After crashing out of Q1, Viktor Wilck would complete the Top 3 albeit 2.5-seconds off the TQ pace while top seed Marc Rheinard struggled to match his Q1 form posting a P6 for the round.
‘It been a very good day’ was Coelho’s reaction, the Portuguese driver managing to turn around having been off pace in seeding. He continued, ‘the last 2 days we have been working a lot on the car because of our lack of knowledge of the track. We were 1/2 a second off the pace or nearly 1-lap over 50minutes. We tried IRS, non IRS, made shock changes, ran different springs, different diff set-up but they were not really making big changes but finally I think we are on the point. The track is so technical it is not easy to make a difference with the set-up’. His first time to the Andernach track he said, ‘1/10th of a second after 5-minutes because he touched the curbing. He didn’t crash. It shows you need to drive really careful’. The championship leader continued, ‘I expected him (Matsukura) to drop more over the 5-minutes because he was very fast at the beginning but he didn’t like I expected’. Holding the fastest time which gives him the advantage going into the final two qualifiers, he said, ‘for tomorrow we try something to try be faster at the beginning, its just small details now’.
Still getting his head around losing out on a TQ by such a close margin, Matsukura said, ‘me & the car were good but I just touched the curb and that was enough’. The Infinity driver continued, ‘we changed a little the set-up and now after 2-minutes it still had good lap times. It was almost perfect just for the last lap’. His first ETS outing this season having ended Season #10 with second in Ettlingen, the reigning 1:12 World Champion said, ‘tomorrow I will try to make more points to get the best position for the final’.
Explaining his Q1 crash, Wilck said, ‘the tyre came unglued and half the car was finished but so I am happy it worked again’. On Q2, the Swede said, ‘it was a bit loose at the beginning so I didn’t want to push and just took it easy. The car was actually good it was just the first 3/4 laps’. Asked if he planned to change the car for tomorrow, he replied, ‘I will try to get one more good result then maybe I can try something (with set-up)’.
Setting the fourth fastest time, Akio Sobue felt they managed to improve his car. The Infinity driver said a shock change in combination with small set-up adjustments gave him at better car at the beginning of the run which he undone through a series of small errors in the latter part of the qualifier. The Japanese driver also feels the evening conditions didn’t play to the car’s strengths and with temperatures expected to he higher overall tomorrow he concluded it ‘should be ok’ with its current set-up.
Having had radio issues in Q1, Freddy Sudhoff would manage a P5 in the second round. The Awesomatix driver said, ‘the first one was maximum shit. I had radio glitches every lap especially coming onto the main straight. I changed everything including the radio and no had now problems. I have to thank Toni (Rheinard) for loaning me his radio’. The German added, ‘the problem was still a little in my head during the run but at least now I know the car is still working’. Looking for more ‘mid corner steering’ he plans to wait til the morning to decide what changes he might make, highlighting that the track was being re sugar watered in preparation for tomorrow’s racing.
Rheinard said he changed to a set-up he ran yesterday but the car ‘drove like a boat, it was really bad’. A three time winner at Andernach, he said, ‘I have no choice but to go back to the set-up from Q1, at least before it was drivable’. Behind the Infinity driver, Madrid winner Alexander Hagberg would get a P7 followed by Yannic Prumper who was best of the Yokomo runners in front of team-mate Ronald Volker.
In Pro Stock and Formula, Jan Ratheisky made it the perfect day for Xray as he took both qualifiers in each class. In the Xray Pro Stock class it was the Serpent of Tim Benson who was the closest challenger in Q1 while Mustafa Alp got a P2 in the second run. In the Scorpion Power System Formula class, championship leader Olivier Bultynck was second quickest in Q1 from reigning champion David Erhbar who went one better in Q2. The Infinity 40+ Masters class produced some variety with Christian Drießle taking the first qualifier and Thomas Oehler the second run.