May 12, 2018

Coelho Top Qualifier at ETS as Wilck takes final qualifier

Bruno Coelho has claimed his 3rd consecutive TQ of the ETS season, the Xray driver securing pole position thanks to his two TQ runs yesterday at the Motodrom Andernach track in Germany.  With Naoto Matsukura taking Q3 this morning, but the time no match for last night’s Q2 time, it was only the Japanese driver who had the possibility to deny Coelho the No.1 spot.  With the track at its hottest and with only used tyres for Q4, the odds were stacked against Matsukura but a mistake on the first lap confirmed things.  Now the attention was on how they would line up behind the reigning series champion.  Marc Rheinard took up the pace but with 4-laps to go had a mistake, briefly moving Alexander Hagberg to the top, but Wilck would finish strong to take the round from Freddy Sudhoff and Hagberg.  The result meant Matsukura held onto his P2 starting position while Wilck moved ahead of Rheinard to secure third with Sudhoff completing the top half of the grid.

Commenting on Q4, Coelho, who pulled off in the previous qualifier following a first lap mistake, said, ‘That was not so good a qualifying.  It started well but I touched the curb and got on 2-wheels.  Then I tried to force to make up the time and made another error.’  He continued, ‘the track is a little different today so we will try to work on the car for the final’.  Asked about the track for racing, this being his first time to Andernach, he said, ‘It’s very difficult. I need to start more careful but the others are going to start more aggressive.  Its a very difficult track, so for sure they are going to be interesting finals’.

Securing his best ETS start in Germany, Matsukura said, ‘We changed a little the set-up and it was a good feeling but I made a mistake on the first lap.’  Going on to post the 7th fastest time for the round, asked his thoughts about the finals the Infinity driver replied, ‘It’s super tight but my car is really good the first minute so I need to attack from the start.  For sure I will make a race with Bruno. I want to win so I will push’.

‘Finally a first’, was Wilck’s reaction to his TQ, his advantage 3-tenths over Sudhoff.  The Serpent driver continued, ‘I was trying to take care of Freddy and Akio so they don’t get first for the round and overtake me (on the grid) but then Marc had a mistake and I could take the round’.  On the finals, the Swede being a former podium finisher here, he said, ‘It will be interesting. It’s a tight track so anything can happen.  I will try to stay away from crashes’.

Winner on 3 of the 4 previous occasions the ETS took place in Andernach, Rheinard summed up his final qualifier with, ‘Just one word, shit. It was my own mistake’.  He continued, ‘the car didn’t feel super good but I was comfortable with a good gap.  The crash cost me 3rd place to Viktor but I’m happy for him because he’s hasn’t had a good result for a long time.  I think 3rd place is the best place to be today’.  On the finals, the Infinity driver said, ‘It is still not over so we will see.  I made many changes (for Q4) but will go back to my Q3 set-up when the car was good on used tyres’.

‘Fifth is always dangerous because its the middle of the pack’, was Sudhoff’s reaction to his qualifying position.  The Awesomatix driver continued, ‘my car is easy to drive so we will wait and see. It is a tight track so nearly anything can happen.  If one car gets the chicane wrong everyone can crash.  I will take it easy the first few laps and wait for space’.  Behind Sudhoff, P3 in the final qualifier will see Madrid winner Hagberg line up 6th.

In the Xray Pro Stock class, championship leader Jan Ratheisky added to his points tally by taking the overall TQ ahead of Xray team-mate Mustafa Alp. Olivier Bultynck will line up third while Awesomatix team-mate and ETS Madrid winner Max Mächler starts fifth behind reigning champion Alexandre Duchet.  In the Scorpion Power System Formula class, it is also Ratheisky who is on pole.  Behind him British Xray driver Luke Lee starts second with championship leader Bultynck completing the Top 3.  The Infinity 40+ Masters class will see Thomas Oehler lead away the grid from Christian Drießle, both drivers taking two TQ runs each. Beni Stutz will start 3rd.

View complete event results here.

View the event image gallery here.

May 12, 2018

Matsukura leads Infinity 1-2 in Q3 at ETS Andernach

Naoto Matsukura led an Infinity 1-2 in the third & penultimate round of qualifying at the Yokomo Euro Touring Series this morning in Andernach, Germany.  Having missed out on the TQ last night in Q2 by 5/100ths of a second after touching the curbing on the last lap, Matsukura would claim his first ever TQ run of the ETS ahead of team-mate Marc Rheinard.  Despite being 3.6-seconds faster than Rheinard, the time was slower than that of Coelho’s Q2 time.  While Coelho would make a mistake on the opening lap and opted to pull in after the next lap, it is looking increasingly likely the championship leader is on target for the overall TQ.  With temperatures rising the track is expected to be slower for the final round with the only challenger Matsukura having now used all 3 of his allocated sets of tyres.  Behind Matsukura and Rheinard, Viktor Wilck backed up his Q2 result by again completing the Top 3 while Lucas Urbain put in a strong drive from the second fastest heat to post the fourth fastest time.

‘It’s my first time to make a TQ in the ETS.  The car was pretty good, a set-up change made it better but the traction was a little lower compared to yesterday so I can’t make faster time’, was Matsukura’s reaction to his TQ run.  The former World Champion continued, ‘I used my last set of tyres so I can’t make faster in the last one unless there is a big change in the track’.  Set to run on used tyres for the fourth & final qualifier he concluded, ‘we will test something for more steering’.

Having struggled with his set-up in Q2, Rheinard said, ‘It felt good again on old tyres and now I should be pretty safe for 3rd (on the grid).  The German continued, ‘I copied a little Naoto’s set-up and he made shocks for me.  I will make one more change in the set-up for the next one and see.  I still have a new set of tyres’.  Team-mate Akio Sobue took his example to the 5th fastest time, the Japanese driver still struggling with the drop off in the car’s steering over the 5-minutes.

‘I drove a little shit in the last laps’, was Wilck’s thoughts on his Q3 performance.  Having a DNF in the opening qualifier, the Serpent driver added, ‘I didn’t want to risk too much because I needed the result’. Another driver with new tyres still to run, the Swede said, ‘I will try to push more in the last one and on the car I think I will just rebuild the shocks’.

Summing up his marked improvement, Urbain said, ‘I didn’t suck that time which is nice’.  A new signing with Awesomatix, his first race being the previous ETS in Madrid, the French driver continued,  ‘I make almost no changes, just minor camber link adjustments and a slightly thicker diff so maybe the track suited the car better but the big thing was I put in a good drive.  Maybe this will secure me the A-Main at the back of the grid’.  He continued, ‘I was fast in controlled practice but when it started to count it was not so good.  Maybe I made set-up mistakes because of my lack of experience with the car’.

‘I have no idea why it is bad compared to all the practices’, was Volker’s reaction to getting a P6 in Q3, his best run so far.  The Yokomo driver said, ‘now we are totally off the pace and its going to be tough to make the Main.  I got a bit upset with the referee in that one because on my last lap I had to give way to Naoto but he was already finished. It cost me 1 or 2 places.’  Asked what was causing the lack of pace, the World Champion replied, ‘No grip and everything is out of balance.  It’s difficult to make the right decision (on set-up) for Q4’.

View complete event results here.

View the event image gallery here.

May 11, 2018

Matsukura loses TQ to Coelho on final lap

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.

View complete event results here.

View the event image gallery here.

May 11, 2018

Chassis Focus – Olivier Bultynck

Chassis – Shepherd Velox Formula
Motor –Scorpion Power System (handout)
ESC – Scorpion Power System (handout)
Batteries – LRP 5800 G2
Tires – Volante (handout)
Radio/Servo – Futaba/PowerHD
Bodyshell – Protoform F26

Remarks – Winner of the last two ETS encounters in Formula, Olivier is running a longer wheelbase than usual version of Shepherd’s Velox Formula car. Using a base plate he produced himself, the extra length has made the car more stable and easier to drive. Another change to the standard car is the use of a carbon servo mount which gives greater stiffness. With this made by Shepherd, Olivier said he expects this to be released to the market shortly.

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May 11, 2018

Coelho from Rheinard in Q1

Bruno Coelho has taken the opening round of qualifying at the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Germany.  Only 6th quickest in practice, the Xray driver topped the first of weather condensed timetable’s four qualifiers from top seed Marc Rheinard.  Coelho came back from an early moment, when he lost the rear of his car, to TQ by 3/10ths from Rheinard.  Less than 2/10ths further back, Naoto Matsukura completed the Top 3 while Infinity team-mate Akio Sobue improved on his practice form to post the fourth fastest time. Having seeded 3rd quickest, Viktor Wilck would crash and break on his third lap while Ronald Volker opted to pull off after a losing almost 4-seconds due to ‘a bobble’ on his opening lap.

‘A good start for sure’, was Coelho’s reaction to his TQ run.  The reigning champion continued, ‘we changed the car a lot and it worked.  The problem for us is we don’t have so much experience of the track.  It’s not so flat and we don’t have enough feedback for what to do for this.  I’m not sure we found the right set-up yet but we are on the right way’.  On the car’s performance he said they need to improve how it starts out the run, ‘the first 3-laps were not good. The rear was loose and in the beginning I lost a lot of time. I lost the rear and it took on the dust on my tyres.  The first two laps were horrible for me, normally these are the fastest laps’.

Describing his first qualifying attempt, Rheinard said, ‘for sure I drove bad at the beginning. I tried to go too safe’.  Also having to trim his car on the straight during the start of the qualifier, something he said is normal for him to do, he said this time ‘it was way off’. He continued, ‘overall it is still a good result but championship wise the wrong person took the TQ’.  On his car set-up, the German said, ‘I was missing some steering now so maybe I will change the shocks or droop for the next one’.

Calling Q1 ‘super close’, Matsukura said, ‘my car was pretty good in the beginning but after 2-minutes it started to understeer. The drop was too much’.  Admitting to a few ‘small mistakes’ over the 5-minutes, the Japanese driver plans to try reduce the steering drop off by changing to a hard diff as well as make some changes to the rear end set-up.

8th after seeding, Sobue said, ‘In practice it was no good so we made a big change for qualifying and it was a little better, but it still pushes. I need more steering’.  Asked what changes he planned for Q2, which brings Day 1 of the event to a close, he said, ‘I need to think what we can do’.  Asked if he planned to try Rheinard’s set-up he replied, ‘no, we have different driving styles’.

Posting the fifth fastest time, Alexander Hagberg said, ‘the first 3-laps were good but then I lost traction.  I don’t know why and need to find the cause of it’.  Asked how bad the traction loss was, the ETS Spain winner said, ‘Much more than practice’ adding, ‘maybe it is tyre related’.

‘My car had no steering at all’, was how Yannic Prumper summed up his run to the 6th fastest time.  The Yokomo driver added, ‘I don’t know what to make with the set-up.  The rear is too stuck but Martin (Hofer) is working on my car and hopefully we can find something’.  On the podium on the ETS’ last visit to Andernach, he said, ‘All the Yokomo guys are losing too much time in the first 3-laps after that it is actually OK’.  Being Prumper, new Mugen signing Viljami Kutvonen would post the 7th fastest time ahead of Christopher Krapp, Lucas Urbain and Thimo Weissbauer.

View complete event results here.

View the event image gallery here.

May 11, 2018

Rheinard top seed on ETS’ Andernach return

With a winning rate of 75% over the four years Motodrom Andernach previously hosted the Yokomo Euro Touring Series, Marc Rheinard has picked up where he left off in 2011 to top seeding on the track return to the championship. The German, for whom the town of Andernach is home, would lead an Infinity 1-2 from team-mate Naoto Matsukura with a very closely matched Top 12 covered by less than a second.  A tight & technical track layout, something that is quite different to the outdoor tracks on the championship’s calendar of the past few seasons, the track’s challenge was made even greater due to yesterday’s practice being hit with rain.  With further rain forecast for Sunday, organisers are now running to a condensed timetable to get the race done by tomorrow night.  The change means today’s action started with 1 round of untimed practice followed by two timed seeding runs and that lack of running appears to have championship leader Bruno Coelho playing catch-up with him 6th in seeding albeit one place ahead of Ronald Volker who has been here before.

Summing up his seeding topping pace, his fastest 3-consecutive laps set in CP1, Rheinard said, ‘the second run the traction was a little low because of the heat but overall it could have felt a lot worse. Our car works on this kind of track’. The 4-time World Champion doesn’t like the track being referred to as ‘his home track’ because, despite it’s proximity to his house, it is a track on which he has completed little or no in between event testing on.  While happy his team has two cars on the top of the times, Rheinard said, ‘a lot of guys are on this pace and on this track its very easy to lose time.  In the chicane you could quickly lose 2 or 3/10th but I’m pretty confident about my 5-minute pace.  It is going to be important to keep the car on a good line and not overshoot’.  Asked about set-up on his IF14, he replied, ‘I will go back on a slight shock change I made for CP2, the day seems more consistent now’ – a reference to the temperature having risen from the morning and levelled out.

‘The car is good, I just need to make it a little more stable for all the direction changes over a lap’, was Matsukura’s feelings after the completion of practice.  His first time to Motodrom Andernach, asked what he thought of the track he replied, ‘Its a little difficult but its ok’. The 2014 Touring Car World Champion concluded, ‘it is maximum close between everyone but I think my 5-minutes is also ok if I can do a clean run’.

Wilck said his event was going, ‘not too bad’, the Serpent driver adding ‘the car pretty good from the start of practice’.  The Swede continued, ‘it is a tighter track and has lower grip and that suits our car better’.  One of the drivers in the A-Main the last time the ETS raced here, taking his Tamiya to 4th, he said, ‘I think it is nice to have such a technical track back in the calendar.  It mixes things up from the big open tracks we have been racing on recently.  Nobody really likes the track but it is different and makes a new challenge so its interesting and the top group are very close on times’.

‘Everything is good and the sun is in the sky’, was Freddy Südhoff reaction to setting the fourth fastest time.  The Awesomatix driver continued, ‘my car has been pretty good from the first practice runs’.  On the championship return to the track, the German said, ‘It is nice nobody tested before or know the layout because it is normally run clockwise.  I would prefer it the other way round but the track is super clean, there is no dust. They (Tonisport) did really good preparations for the race’.  Having ‘tried a small tweak’ for the final practice he plans to go back to his CP1 set-up saying ‘I will focus on driving, no mistakes are going to be the key here’.

Posting the 5th fastest time, Alexander Hagberg said, ‘the first controlled practice was not too bad but I crashed the car before the start of CP2 and it was a bit tweaked’.  Winner of the first asphalt round last month in Madrid, the Xray driver said, ‘I will use my set-up from CP1 and go with that for qualifying, it was fairly competitive’.  Asked if he has had to do much work on the set-up since arriving he said, ‘we are getting a bit better and closer to the pace and we will keep working on it’.  Team-mate Coelho described his performance as ‘so so’.  Seeding P6, the reigning champion continued, ‘we are missing steering and so are struggling for corner speed. We have traction but haven’t figured out traction yet. It is a slow process’.

‘Practice went good although that doesn’t show in the 3-lap position but I am happy with the progress we have made’, was how Volker summed up his P7 time.  Best of the Yokomo drivers, Yannic Prumper and Christopher Krapp 10th and 11th fastest respectively, he said, ‘I feel I have a very good car for 5-minutes but I will make a minor change for Q1’.  Asked what change he planned he replied, ‘its the shock set-up. I’m looking for more on power stability on the exit of the corners’.  A track where he claimed the first of his 5 ETS titles, the World Champion said, ‘I’m happy to be here again because we haven’t raced on a track such as this for many years.  It’s a technical track, no high speed stuff.  All the tracks now are more nitro style so this should make for close racing’.

View complete event results here.

View the event image gallery here.

May 11, 2018

Track Focus – Motodrom Andernach

Name – Motodrom Andernach
Club – DJK Andernach
Country – Germany
Location – Andernach (130Km Northwest of Frankfurt)
Host – Tonisport
Surface – Asphalt
Direction – Anti-clockwise
No. of ETS Races hosted – 4 (2008-11)

Minidrom Andernach played an important part in the establishment of the Euro Touring Series and after a 7-year absence from the calendar it is back following the news that the original Round 4 venue of Mulhouse, France, was to be closed.  The reason for its vital role was that as the home city of the Rheinard family, when he hosted the season finale for the first four years of the championship the best drivers came from around the world.  While the racing was always competitive it was the party atmosphere that really made the event. Atsushi Hara would be the winner on the first visit with Marc Rheinard winning the next three despite him not liking the reference ‘his home track’ as he actually tested/raced here very little.  In terms of size the track, which has multiple layout options, covers an area 60 by 27 metres and has a massive 22 by 5 metres drivers stand.  Normally run by the club of DJK Andernach, for the ETS’ return Tonisport has taken over the track for the week carrying out track preparation to have it looking its best.

‘I haven’t been here I think in 7-years since the last ETS.  It is not my home track, its just in my home city’, was Rheinard’s response when asked about the track.  He continued, ‘the layout is pretty tight especially for modified’.  Asked if he likes the layout he said, ‘It’s OK but racing wise in finals it’s not so nice, There are not so many passing spots but it’s different and you definitely do a lot more work on the radio’.

On his first visit to the track, reigning champion Bruno Coelho described the track as, ‘very difficult and very tight, there is not much room for mistakes.  The curbs are very high so you can’t touch them’.  He added, ‘we are working a lot on the set-up which is completely different to what we use in other tracks in Europe’.  Xray team-mate Alexander Hagberg, who took the first asphalt win of the season in Madrid, has been here before, racing in 2011 when he was ‘not as competitive (as he is now)’.  In his opinion, ‘it is a good track for electric cars, a long straight and a technical infield. It is very challenging and we will make the best of it.  Reiterating Coelho’s thoughts, he said, ‘there is a very narrow line, its not my favourite track but I don’t mind it’.

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