The first round of qualifying for the second round of the Euro Touring Series has been completed here in Budapest and it was defending champion Jilles Groskamp who set the pace from former team-mate Martin Hudy. Groskamp produced 24 laps in 5:00.80 with Hudy just 2/10ths adrift.
All the leading drivers are reporting that track conditions are very inconsistent and afterwards are having to deal with large deposits of carpet fluff building up in their cars. Groskamp says its vital to be very smooth because going even slightly off line the tyres pick up the fluff from the brand new carpet making the car very loose for the next few corners. The Dutch drivers says he can go faster and will play around with the application of tyre additive for the next round.
Hudy described his first qualifier as difficult. At the beginning of the race his Xray was pushing but in the latter part it developed oversteer as the rear tyres started to loose traction. The Slovak driver will change to a harder front roll bar for the second heat in attempt to make the car more consistent over the run.
Despite describing his run as ‘Pretty Horrible’, Bart Wubben took his Xray to the third fastest time. The Dutch Champion is hoping the track will get more consitent but will play around with tyre additive to try and get a better balance in the car. Michal Blok, Zdenko Kunak and Zdenek Hamak completed the Top 6. Former German National Champion Toni Rheinard had his first heat come to nothing after a front wheel nut came loose in the later stages of the 5 minute run.
In Pro Stock Czech National Champion Jakub Plechac driving a Hot Bodies topped the round ahead of local driver Balint Rajki who is also running a Cyclone TC in the class. Plechac was very pleased with his car so much so he plans no changes for his second outing. Despite his Mazda body rubbing the ground throughout the run Rajki was happy with his opening time but the Hungarian plans a body change for the next outing. With the top 3 covered by just one second, Dutchman George Spitteler was third fastest at the controls of his TOP.
One interesting incident in the National Class here in Budapest involved Uwe Rheinard, the man behind the ETS. Having missed out on practice due to his race admin duties, Uwe’s debut in the series started off in the wrong direction when his car ran in reverse as he tried to do his warm-up lap for the first heat. It turns out that Toni Rheinard had wired the motor the wrong way but to give the Speed Passion team driver some credit he was able to rewire the motor in time so that his father got to take up his starting slot for the heat.
The Euro Touring Series is in new terrority this weekend as Hungary hosts the second round of the 2008/2009 Much More backed series, and the host club have made a strong first impression choosing a excellent facility in which to hold the indoor carpet event.
Heading the entry here in Budapest is reigning ETS Champion Jilles Groskamp. Fresh from a vist to the Tamiya factory in Tokyo, the Worlds Finalist will as normal face opposition from a Rheinard but not the new World Champion. Marc is taking a well earned break following his amazing Touring Car World title victory in Thailand three weeks ago. Instead Groskamp will be up against Toni Rheinard who is a late entry to the event. Toni has borrowed one of his brother’s Tamiya’s for the weekend and is looking forward to battling with the Dutch racer who he is pitting next to.
Others who will be looking to take the challenge to Groskamp’s Tamiya TRF416 World Edition is former team-mate and factory Xray driver Martin Hudy. Martin, along with his father Juraj who is the creative mind behind all Xray’s cars, is making his first appearance in the Euro Touring Series. Another quick Xray will be that of Dutch National Champion Bart Wubben who is one of a large contingent of Dutch racers who have made the trip East to Hungary this weekend. Wubben made an impressive debut with the T2 at the series opener in Kastellaun and having had more time with the car since then should be a stronger podium challenger here.
Gabor Forrai and Balint Rajki are local drivers who will be looking to impress here on home soil and aiming to make sure the visiting Pros don’t have it all their own way.
Current Vice-Champion George Spitteler heads the Pro Stock entry. With defending Champion & Kastellaun winner Alexander Stocker absent this weekend, the Dutch Toyko Optional Products team driver will be looking to capitalise. All cars competing in Pro Stock are running handout 9.5T motors from series sponsor Speed Passion.
In addition to the normal Modified and Pro Stock categories that form the Euro Touring Series, which also enjoys support from Hot Bodies, the Hungarian leg will feature three other classes to reflect the national racing scene in the country. These are the 13.5 turn Touring class, the 10.5 Lipo Touring and the superb looking Formula 1 class.
Drivers will have five rounds of qualifiying, four of which are scheduled for today, which will determined the grids for Sunday afternoon’s triple Mains.
Marc Rheinard and Alexander Stocker are the first winners of the 2008/2009 Much More backed Euro Touring Series, winning the opening round in Kastellaun, Germany after the fight for top honours went down to the third A Main in both categories. With a win each the Modified class was between Tamiya team-mate Rheinard and Jilles Groskamp. Having TQ’d the event and the only driver to record 29 laps, the former World Champion looked like he had victory in the bag after Leg 1 but defending ETS champion Groskamp set a blistering pace in Leg 2 recording the fastest lap of the weekend on his way to a thrilling victory over Rheinard. This set up a head to head battle for Leg 3.
Having broken clear of the rest of the field from the very first lap and running noise to tail ‘the show was on’ for the large crowd of spectators. Groskamp got a great opportunity to pass the No.1 car when it caught a corner dot but opted not to risk diving down the inside of Rheinard at the next corner. Applying intense pressure on the leader, lap 21 of 28 saw Groskamp hand the current European Champion the break he needed when he flipped his TRF416 in front of the rostrum. This also allowed Freddy Sudhoff, who put in a great performance all weekend, to catch up and eventually find a way passed to cross the finish line in second and claim third overall behind the two professional Tamiya Racing Factory drivers.
In Pro Stock Daniel Wohlgemuth looked like he was going to convert his TQ into overall victory after an early challenge from Leg 2 winner and defending Champion Alexander Stocker appeared to faded in the third. With Wohlgemuth’s Xray seemlying unstoppable Stocker’s Hot Bodies suddenly found a new lease of life eating rapidly into the leader’s cushion. Closing him right down a beautiful move before the double chicane put Stocker in front where he would stay to claim victory for the Leg and overall. The German National Champion was clearly delighted at repeating his 2007 win which gets his ETS title defence off to a perfect start.
So the curtain has come down on a great opening race to the second edition of the Euro Touring Series. 163 competitors travelled from around Europe to Kastellaun this weekend and from the J Final all the way up to the A Main we experienced super racing helped greatly by the legendary commentary of Scotty Ernst, one of the men responsible for creating the ETS. Round 2 takes top level touring car racing to new territories when on December 6/7 the series travels to Budapest in Hungary. Red RC will be there to bring you full race coverage.
The winners of the opening round of the Much More Euro Touring Series will be decided in the third A Main here in Germany after Jilles Groskamp and Daniel Wohlgemuth denied Leg 1 winners there second win and early overall victory. Groskamp and Leg 1 winner Marc Rheinard again showed they were the class of the Modified field but this time the Dutch driver managed the keep four wheels on the ground and make a brilliant move on his team-mate. Getting a better run onto the main straight Groskamp put his Tamiya down the inside as they enter the first corner on lap 17. Rheinard immediately fought back and later in the lap the two touched but great sportsmanship saw Rheinard wait and let his great rival back into the lead. The former World Champion tried again to pass but the ETS Champion, who set the fastest lap of the weekend in the race, had it covered taking the win to force a head to head in the final leg. Once again Freddy Sudhoff completed the Top 3 while Joel Myrberg got the better of Yannic Pruemper to take fourth.
In Pro Stock, Leg 1 saw Alexander Stocker get the better of Top Qualifier Wohlgemuth but on this occassion the Xray driver was determined to keep the defending Champion behind him and thats exactly what he did taking the win by 2 seconds. Christoph Thiele made it another an all German Top 3.
Elsewhere there was a slight interuption to the start of the Pro Stock F Main 2 as Scott Ernst and Uwe Rheinard made a presentation of a birthday cake to the only female competitor here this weekend Melanie Koepe. A landmark birthday, the presentation did not put Melanie off the job in hand as she went on to go one better than Leg 1 taking her Xray to fifth.
On interesting spectator here today is leading LRP team driver Ronald Volker who so brilliantly took the fight for victory to Atsushi Hara at the final of last season’s Euro Touring Series. Volker was unable to compete here this weekend as he has just returned from Thailand where he enjoyed a successful test for the World Championships which take place next month. Jilles Groskamp heads back to Holland tonight to get his bags ready for Thailand as he goes out to the RCS track for testing with Tamiya.
The first A Mains have been run and both encounters had the crowds on their feet. In Modified, Top Qualifier Marc Rheinard looked like he was set to cruise to an easy victory but in the later half of the race Tamiya team-mate Jilles Groskamp mounted a serious challenge getting himself right on the bumper of the No.1 car. A passing manoeuvre looked on the cards but the Dutch driver got up on two wheels giving Rheinard a temporary break. Groskamp pulled back up to the German but with the car wanting to traction roll a move was not possible and the two finished as they started. Completing the podium for the Leg was Freddy Sudhoff who had a strong but uneventful race. Youngster Yannic Pruemper who started seventh on the grid took a fine fourth. Unfortunately for Steven Wiess he had a very early exit from the race following contact at the second corner! Setting the fastest lap of the final Viktor Wilck opted to pull up early after a roll ended any chance of a strong result.
In Pro Stock pole sitter Daniel Wohlgemuth had a paint swapping battle with Series Champion Alexander Stocker. The German pair, who are good friends off the track, pulled clear of the field with Wohlgemuth the early leader. Pushing their cars right to the limit both drivers got loose a number of times allowing the other along side resulting in some unavoidable contact but keeping it clean it was Stocker, who yesterday was struggling for pace, who took the win by just over a second from Wohlgemuth. Matthias Lang made it an all German podium.
If Leg 1 of the A Main is anything to go by we are in for a thrilling evening of racing.
Marc Rheinard has claimed the first TQ honours of the 2008/2009 Euro Touring Series after a blistering run in this morning’s final qualifier here in Kastellaun, Germany. Showing just why he is the current European Champion in both 1:10 and 1:12 onroad electric racing, the Tamiya Factory Racing driver produced a stunning run to become the only driver to record 29 laps. Rheinard made some changes to his car for the final run which did improve the TRF416 but he is now a little concerned about run time.
Lining up second on grid for the three A-Mains will be defending champion Jilles Groskamp. The Dutch driver made a few mistakes in Heat 5 but feels he has similar pace to team-mate Rheinard. Having switched to the same prototype chassis as Rheinard, which positions the batteries more to the front of the car, Groskamp says his TRF416 is working well and having scrubbed in new tyres on the run he is in good shape for the finals.
While its a Tamiya lock out up front it is an all Xray second row with Freddy Sudhoff, who has done an impressive job here so far, and Steven Weiss lining up third and fourth on the grid. Next up is Joel Myrberg who has his Associated TC5 working well this weekend starting just in front of his fellow countryman Viktor Wilck.
A very popular A Main qualifier is young up & coming German talent Yannic Pruemper who will line up seventh on the grid. Pruemper who is racing a Tamiya has former international factory driver Toni Rheinard looking after his car this weekend and obviously the 15-year-old is benefiting hugely from the input. Another driver delighted to line up for the A Main is Dutch driver Bart Wubben who is having a great debut with his privately entered Xray. Kyosho factory driver Steen Graversen starts ninth with Magnus Waaamar completing the Top 10. Unfortuately for Swede Niclas Nilsson he once again misses out on his first big international A Main start and lines up on pole for the B Main.
In Pro Stock defending Champion Alexander Stocker TQ’d the final qualifier to puts himself second on the A Main grid which is headed by Daniel Wohlgemuth. Stocker has his car right on the pace now and said the Finals here today have all the ingredients of a German Nationals rematch which he went on to win.