The 2008/2009 Euro Touring Series is go here in Kastellaun, Germany, with official practice underway for the large entry who have travelled from across Europe to contest the opening round of ETS second edition. Enjoying continued support from Much More, Hot Bodies and Speed Passion, heading the field at the indoor carpet track are defending champions Jilles Groskamp from The Netherlands and Germany’s Alexander Stocker. Groskamp was a winner twice in the 07/08 Series on his way to the Modified title but was absent from this event last year. Out to get his title defence off to the perfect start, the full time racer will be looking to add a Kastellaun victory to his already impressive CV.
Stocker, who is again driving a Hot Bodies, won here last year and so the defending Pro Stock Champion is clearly the favourite this weekend but he faces some tough competition including ETS Vice Champion George Spitteler. Pro Stock competitors are running the hand out 9.5T motor from Speed Passion while Sweep is the controlled tire for both classes. Following today’s practice, competitors will have four of their five qualifiers tomorrow followed by the fifth heat & finals on Sunday, all of which will be directed by legendary race announcer/organiser Scotty Ernst who is just about over his jetlag! The organisers of the ETS also welcome four new sponsors to the series this year in Kyosho, LRP, Robitronic and TOP.
As the competitors settle in and the fresh carpet builds up some grip we will catch up with the drivers and bring you updates later today and extensive coverage throughout the rest of the weekend.
Following the success of our inaugural year, the Euro Touring Series is back for another bigger and better season, incorporating some emerging countries along the way. The season will kick off next month, 10th-12th of October, in Kastellaun, Germany, before moving on to Hungary in December, Poland in March, Netherlands in May and back to Andernach in Germany for the season finale in July. Round 1 will be run in place of the well known Speed Weekend and has already attracted the cream of European racing with Jilles Groskamp, Marc Rheinard, Viktor Wilck, Steen Graversen, Jonas Kaerup, Christer Andersson, Hupo Hönigl and more having already confirmed their entry.
Entry closes on the 9th of October, but as a bonus for those that pay their entry fees prior to the 19th of September they will receive a great goodie bag containing lots of freebies from the event sponsors. As always the legendary Scotty Ernst will be doing the commentary, BBK will be handling the timing and Red RC will be reporting live from the event.
For more information about the event and where it takes place go to the Series page on our site here.
Reedy Race of Champions winner Atsushi Hara continued his winning form with an impressive victory at the finale of the 2007/2008 Euro Touring Series. The Hot Bodies driver put in a great performance at the German Andernach track with European Champion Ronald Volker the only one of the world class field able to pose any serious threat to the Japanese ace.
Having dominated practice and qualifying Hara was the man to beat all weekend. Securing the TQ with four wins from the five heats, the former World Champion took an easy victory in Leg 1 but was denied victory in Leg 2 by German Volker who chased him the entire race. Hara flipped his car on a curb with a minute and a half to go allowing the German to nip through for the win and force the battle for victory to go to the final Leg. This would produce another ding dong battle between Hara and Volker with the No.1 car just holding off the pressure of the No.2 to take a well deserved overall victory. Paul Lemieux’s trip across the Altantic proved fruitful as the Trinity/Xray star took the final overall podium placing.
With Alexander Stocker having tied up Pro Stock honours and secured the Euro Touring Series title after 2 legs he sat out the third leaving Meik Niemann to claim a narrow victory over Tony Streit. The pair were separated by just .02 of a second as they both launched their cars across the finish line in attempt to take the win.
So the curtains have come down on the inaugural Much More backed European Touring Car Series and we have two very worthy champions in Dutch ace Jilles Groskamp (Modified) and Germany’s Alexander Stocker (Pro Stock). Also supported by Hot Bodies, Speed Passion and Team Checkpoint, the ETS produced some thrilling race action and attracted many of the world’s top drivers including three Touring Car World Champions. Organised by Scotty Ernst and Uwe Rheinard, plans are already underway for the 2008/2009 Championship and Red RC look forward to bringing further live coverage of this unique series.
Once again the A Mains produced thrilling action with Ronald Volker putting in a superb performance to take Leg 2 victory denying team-mate Atsushi Hara an early overall victory. In Pro Stock we again had a terrific battle between Alexander Stocker and Meik Niemann but in the end Stocker won to become the inaugural Euro Touring Series Champion.
Modified was a great display of world class driving by Hara and Volker as the Hot Bodies pairing raced side by side for the entire race. Starting from pole Hara lead away but Volker was right with him showing his challenge in Leg 1 was a sign of things to come. With Hara on old tyres and Volker on a fresh set of Sweeps the latters car looked better allowing him to pressure the former World Champion. A touch on the main straight at the mid point of the race failed to seperate the two but then with a minute and a half to go Hara caught a kerb at the end of the straight flipping his car which landed rubber side up and in the right direction but Volker was through. The LRP team driver held the position to force the result of Round 4 of the ETS to go to the 3rd and final Leg.
‘New tyres gave me the edge for sure and my car was better than Atsushi’s’, a very pleased Volker said after the race. ‘I’m going to try for another win but I wont be too unhappy finishing second to Hara. He’s going to have an edge over me because he has new tyres for the Leg.’ Hara was quick to point out his poor decision but appears confident for Leg 3, ‘I made a mistake running old tyres but I have new ones for the next run so no problem.’
Completing the Top 3 in the Leg was Tamiya’s Jilles Groskamp who came out top of a close battle with Paul Lemieux and Viktor Wilck. The Dutch driver, the first ever Euro Touring Series Champion, is determined to repeat that result in Leg 3 and be on the podium here in Germany but admitted it would be tough starting from 8th on the grid.
In Pro Stock we also witnessed great driving and sportsmanship as Stocker and Niemann renewed their Leg 1 battle. Stocker initially set the pace up front but at 3 minutes Niemann was on his case. Pushing hard the Top Qualifier lost the rear end coming out of the tricky chicane allowing the No.2 car to nip through but the pair made contact at the next corner. In a great sporting gesture Stocker waited on the Xray driver letting him back through and they resumed the hot battle. With a minute to Niemann clipped a curb allowing Stocker to make the pass for the win. With two wins the Hot Bodies driver secured the overall Andernach win to become the 2007/2008 Pro Stock Champion of the Much More backed ETS.
A Main Leg 2 Modified
1. Ronald Völker – HB/LRP/LRP/LRP – 17L 5m 13.73
2. Atsushi Hara – HB/Nosram/Orion/Orion – + 0.35
3. Jilles Groskamp – Tamiya/Nosram/SMC/Speed Passion – + 4.12
A Main Leg 2 Pro Stock
1. Alexander Stocker – HB/LRP/LRP/Speed Passion – 16L 5m 13.84
2. Meik Niemann – Xray/LRP/Speed Passion – + 0.75
3. Dominik Reschke – Corally/GM/GM/Speed Passion – + 1.36
Videos of all A-mains to be online later in the day.Check out our image gallery here.
Both Top Qualifiers for the Much More ETS Finale have delivered Leg 1 victories in the A Mains, but Atsushi Hara and Alexander Stocker didn’t get it easy being pushed hard over the 5 minutes.
First A Main to run was the Pro Stock class in which there was a great battle between Stocker and the No. 2 car of Meik Niemann. At the start Niemann’s Xray took the early lead being chased by Stocker. A move by Stocker saw the pair touch and this lost the pole sitter some ground but the ETS title hopeful got back into the groove catching the leader, again the pair touched with Niemann coming off the worse. This allowed Stocker to cruise to victory followed by Niemann with the No.8 car of Kai Maurus completing the Top 3.
In Modified, Hara lead from start to finish but came under pressure from Ronald Volker in the mid part of the race. The Japanese ace looked very comfortable from the start with the Top 3 running in a steady rythm but all of a sudden European Champion Volker found great pace and started to close on the leader. Looking like he would challenge his Hot Bodies team mate for the win the German rode a curb giving Hara the comfort zone needed to take A Main Leg 1. Andy Moore had an uneventful race starting and finishing 3rd.
‘It was a good race. I was very comfortable although my car was a little pushy at the front’, said Hara after the race and is confident that he has a little in reserve over his competitors. Volker echoed those sentiments, ‘I’m really happy with the result. My car is working good but I don’t think I can catch Hara unless he makes a mistake’. Both drivers said the rising track temperature were slowing the track hence the rather slow race time, and that the heat could play a factor in Leg 2.
A Main Leg 1 Modified
1. Atsushi Hara – HB/Nosram/Orion/Orion – 17L in 5m 11.80
2. Ronald Völker – HB/LRP/LRP/LRP – + 1.74
3. Andy Moore – HB/Nosram/Orion/Orion – + 2.80
A Main Leg 1 Pro Stock
1. Alexander Stocker – HB/LRP/LRP/Speed Passion – 16L in 5m 18.64
2. Meik Niemann – Xray/LRP/Orcan/Speed Passion – + 3.71
3. Kai Maurus – HB/LRP/LRP/Speed Passion – + 4.60