Ronald Volker has claimed a vital TQ at the penultimate round of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Luxembourg tonight. Coming into the event third in the standings, the reigning champion needed the bonus championship point for the TQ and achieved it with a P2 behind Jilles Groskamp in Q3 which due to rain would become the final qualifier. With racers having to sit out most of the day due to the wet conditions the sun finally broke through the clouds at 18:00 allowing just enough time for a third round of qualifying with a number of drivers needing to put in a faultless run as 3 qualifiers meant that 2 counted for the grid. One such driver was championship leader Bruno Coelho, who after taking the opening qualifier yesterday pulled off in Q2 after struggling with a bad set of tyres. Managing only a P6 he will start fourth on the grid behind both his title rivals, Marc Rheinard securing third despite a bad final qualifier.
‘This was really important for the championship’ was Volker’s reaction to notching up his 20th TQ at the ETS’ 5oth race. Commenting in the final qualifier, the original fourth scheduled qualifier scrapped due to a shortage of time following rain delays, the Yokomo driver said, ‘I shouldn’t have done a warm-up lap, the car was better on the warm-up lap than the opening laps and I lost it to Jilles as a result’. The German said, ‘Jilles is known as the Master of used tyres and he delivered what everyone expected’. He continued ‘For me it worked good because he’s starting second ahead of Marc and Bruno’. With many drivers unsure of what to expect in terms of track conditions Volker would make the switch from Protoform’s LTC-R to a Speed 6 which he said ‘was a good choice’. Describing his LRP powered BD7 as ‘feel(ing) very good to drive’ he is ‘confident for the mains’ and the only change he plans is a body change depending on track conditions in the morning.
A driver who appears to be relishing the relaxed atmosphere within his Infinity team, Groskamp said his TQ run was ‘perfect’. Leaving his car unchanged having been very happy with it in last night’s Q2, he said he knew his car was good on second run tyres and the only thing he did was to extend the timing of his additive and tyre warmers. Keeping on eye on Volker he said he knew he could ‘cruise around at the end’. The Dutch driver, who challenged for the win in Luxembourg last year eventually finishing third, said ‘it’s really nice to start 2nd. I matched the pace of the others so I can fight for the win, it’s a really nice feeling’.
‘It started off really good but then in Laguna Seca I drove too much on the curbs and spun, then it was over’, was how Rheinard summed up Q2 adding, ‘3rd overall is ok but it could have been a TQ as well, referring to narrowly losing out on a TQ run in Q2 to Volker last night. He added, starting from pole would have ‘made for a very different outlook to the the race’ but the winner of the season opener, and third each race since, said, ‘I need to go for the win, it’s all or nothing tomorrow’.
‘Fourth is a little bit bad when you’re expecting at worst to start 2nd or 3rd’ was Coelho’s reaction to ending up P4, his lowest starting position this season. Making a set-up change to his Hobbywing powered T4 expecting conditions to be ‘super loose due to low traction’ the track ‘was not too bad’ and as a result of the changes his car was ‘too easy to drive and too slow’. With only one decent result going into Q3 he said he knew he had to do the 5-minutes with no mistakes and this too prevented him from pushing as he needed a Top 10 for the round to book his spot in the A-Main. Describing his starting position as ‘too much in the rear’, the Portuguese driver still intends on trying to win the title here in Luxembourg saying ‘for sure I fight for the win’.
Also needing a good result from the final qualifier having done just a lap in Q1, Xray team-mate Alexander Hagberg also had to ‘drive safe to secure the A-Main’. One driver who did have a new set of tyres at his disposal, the Swede was also caught out by the better than expected track conditions. Expecting the track to be different to yesterday he said his ORCA powered T4 was ‘too aggressive to drive on new tyres’ and he had to drive with caution to ensure he got a good finish. Getting a P3 for the round this gives the European Champion 5th on the grid from where he said ‘there is a good chance of at least a podium’ adding ‘it’s going to be an exciting race with the Top 5 so close together (on pace)’.
Completing the Top 6 on the grid ahead of local hero Lucas Urban, Freddy Sudhoff is another expecting intense finals saying, ‘it’s going to be exciting tomorrow’. Having rebuilt his car during the lengthy rain delay, the Awesomatix driver said his A800 was ‘on point (for Q3) but (he) totally messed up’. In Laguna Seca he would do a 360 saying his car ‘for some reason had too much power’ and after the spin he ‘took it easy’. With his car ‘easy to drive and fast’ he is looking forward to registering his best finish since returning to the Russian manufacturer. Competing the grid for Round 5 of the ETS will be Marc Fischer, marking a positive start to his Capricorn deal, Marco Kaufmann and Viktor Wilck.
In the Xray Pro Stock class Lars Hoppe didn’t even need to run today to secure the overall TQ as he had the perfect score from yesterday’s two qualifiers. With the ARC driver making a mistake early on his Q3, this would leave the Tamiya of Christian Donath to TQ the round to secure the German 4th on the grid behind Awesomatix pairing of Max Mächler (P3) and Olivier Bultynck (P2). In the Serpent Formula class David Ehrbar is Top Qualifier ahead of Luxembourg’s own Jacques Libar who took the third qualifier, with Mike Gosvig completing the Top 3.
Chassis – Xray T6 2016 Motor – Hobbywing V10 Xerun 4.5T ESC – Hobbywing XR10 Pro Batteries – EZ Power 6200mAh Tires – Volante (handout) Radio/Servo – Sanwa Bodyshell – Montech IS200 Remarks – Current Championship leader Bruno Coelho is running the T4 2016 from Xray with the same setup as he used to win in Riccione with the exception of a softer rear diff for more rear traction. Running a number of optionals including low friction belts, drive shaft blades, aluminium battery brackets and adjustable body posts, he is also using the PSS inserts in his shocks which creates more traction.
Ronald Volker claimed what could turn out to be crucial TQ run in a super close second qualifier at the ETS in Luxembourg. The Yokomo driver snatched the fastest time on the final lap from arch rival Marc Rheinard, the German power houses separated by just 0.039 of a second. Having taken the opening qualifier Bruno Coelho would struggle in Q2 eventually deciding to pull with a suspected bad set of tyres. With the championship leader having problems it would be Team Infinity driver Jilles Groskamp who would be the top Xray taking his example to third ahead of the factory car of Alexander Hagberg.
‘That was a super exciting qualifier’ was a very pleased Volker’s reaction after taking the second round. Disappointed to miss out on Q1 by 1/10th of the second, he said, ‘the car felt great at the start but half way through it started to lose some steering and Marc was catching me. Then on the second to last lap I messed up and made a mistake at the chicane, it was then basically a heads up last lap’. Admitting beating Rheinard made the result that bit more satisfying, the 5-time reigning ETS champion said, ‘Its great to be back in the game after our difficulties in controlled practice’. The fastest time of the two qualifier and with rain forecast for tomorrow he added, ‘Nothing is won yet but this run was an important one if it comes down to fastest time. The pressure is now on Bruno to TQ the next one’. ‘Happy the day improved a lot’ he said ‘its down now to the weather and everyone is telling me it will be raining in the morning’.
Rheinard was clearly frustrated to miss out on an important TQ round. Asked about his run he replied it was ‘just shit, no TQ’. Commenting on his car performance, the Tamiya driver who sits second in the points standings said it was ‘not bad’ but it did ‘a crazy thing and went full power into the corner’ causing him to overshot and lose over 1-second. Packing up his gear he felt the glitch may have been caused by his receiver.
‘I can be really happy to to finish just .6 off of Ronald and Marc, they were really killing it’. The Dutch driver who was on the podium in Luxembourg last year said his Orion powered T4 had a little understeer compared to before but he was still ‘super close’ adding ‘the pace is there’. Hoping it stays dry tomorrow so he can get one more round in, he believe with most drivers having used up their 2-sets of allocated Volante tyres he will be in good shape as his car has good pace on used rubber. ‘Super happy with how the day went’, this being his first electric event as an Infinity team driver, he concluded ‘there is a good vibe in the team and I feel very relaxed’.
Having pulled off on the opening lap of Q1 after a mistake so as to save his tyres, Hagberg said his ORCA powered T4 was ‘pretty good after a small set-up change’. With no time for the first round he said he had to do a safe run and with a P4 now he will ‘push for a higher result tomorrow’. With still a brand new set of tyres at his disposal, the Swede could be well positioned should a dry round be possible. For team-mate Coelho Q2 would be frustrating. Having made no changes to his car, the Portuguese star said he had ‘zero traction’. Describing it as ‘like driving on ice’, he said even under braking the car was locking wheels and he can only put it down to bad tyres.
Backing up his P6 in Q1 with a P5 in the days closing qualifier, Freddy Sudhoff said the run was ‘better’. Making a set-up change, the factory Awesomatix driver said this ‘improved the car a lot’ but the German said the cooler conditions also suited the A800 more. Overall a cleaner run than Q1, he said he ‘had one moment at the end of the straight when (he) hit the curb but nothing bad happened’. With most drivers now on used tyres for the scheduled 2 remaining qualifiers, Sudhoff said he is ‘looking forward to see how everyone runs on used tyres’ adding ‘I just hope it stays dry now to find out’.
Completing the Top 6 and therefore securing a place in the A-Main for what is his home race, French VBC driver Lucas Urbain said ‘At least I got the job done. It was so crazy tight, 5th to 13th was covered by just two seconds’. After a strong start to the qualifier he said ‘there was too much of a drop in the car’. Having to work in the morning until midday he is one driver who wouldn’t mind waking to rain tomorrow. Behind Urbain, Singapore’s Nicholas Lee got a P8 for the round followed by Capricorn’s Kyle Branson, Awesomatix’ Olivier Bultynck and the VBC of Yannic Prumper.
In Pro Stock Lars Hoppe continued his reign of the class as the qualifying top seed made it 2 out of 2 taking Q2 ahead of Bultynck and Xray’s Tom Krägefski. In Formula David Ehrbar recovered from a mistake to also make it two from two, the Serpent driver’s closest challenger being Luxembourg’s own Jacques Libar driving a Roche.
Chassis – ARC R11 Motor – Muchmore (handout) ESC – Muchmore (handout) Batteries – LRP 7500mAh StockSpec Tires – Volante (handout) Radio/Servo – Sanwa/Savox Bodyshell – Blitz LSF Remarks – German driver Lars Hoppe dominated today’s qualifying in the Xray ProStock class running the new R11 from ARC. Fitted with a low friction transmission and hard suspension arms, his car is also equipped with rear double jointed drive shafts.
Bruno Coelho has TQ’d the opening round of qualifying at the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Luxembourg. The championship leader topped the times by just 0.135 of a second from reigning champion Ronald Volker with this year’s other title contender Marc Rheinard completing the Top 3. For Rheinard it initially looked like his opening qualifier would amount to nothing as his transponder failed to register once the qualifier started but in a sporting gesture from his rivals in the top heat they agreed to allow a manual correction of the result to reflect his P3 position on the track when he crossed the finish line.
‘A perfect run’ was how Coelho summed up Q1. Able to wrap up his first ETS title this weekend if he can win on Sunday, he said ‘I pushed first few laps and then just managed my lead. In the end it was a bit short to Volker but we got the TQ so its good’. Commenting on his Hobbywing powered T4, he said ‘we made a change to the car which made it more stable and it was still fast. It was more comfortable to drive than in practice’. With a second qualifier scheduled for tonight due to rain forecast for the morning, Coelho plans to run everything as is despite the expected cooler conditions.
Reacting to the qualifier Volker said, ‘I shouldn’t be disappointed, but I am because it was .1 of a second and my need to TQ this weekend’. Needing a TQ to keep his title hopes alive, the Yokomo driver used his second car from yesterday for Q1 saying ‘it was more stable’. Making small changes in the direction of team-mate Hayato Matsuzaki’s set-up this made the ‘balance much better’. Unfortunately having ended up P4 in seeding Matsuzaki would roll his BD7 on the first lap as he came on to the straight leaving him with P21 for the round. ‘A clean run’ Volker feels there was ‘not much missing from getting the TQ’ and for Q2 they will make small changes to try get more steering from his LRP powered DB7.
‘Was pretty ok but the traction felt less’ was how Rheinard described Q1. Feeling he had ‘the same pace as Bruno at the beginning’ he said his transponder issue put him off a little. Not hearing his name being called in the running order, while he continued he would make a mistake that cost him around 1-second adding ‘otherwise it was pretty close’. Asked about the transponder issue he said, ‘A big thanks to the other drivers for showing great sportsmanship and allowing me to be given a result. The transponder registered in the warm-up and was blinking after the race but I will change it for Q2’.
Setting the fourth fastest time Jilles Groskamp felt he got caught out by two tyre related issues. Having taken his car directly from his pits to the track in practice he said having to go through scrutiny first for qualifying he got caught out by having no battery in his tyre warmers. The Team Infinity driver said he also discovered that his tyre cutter was damaged and this affected the tyre resulting in two slow opening laps with the tyre coming in very late. Once he got into his rhythm he said the consistency in the end was good adding ‘I’m happy with P4 as fourth in this field is a good start and to be 1.5 behind Bruno is not bad.’ Looking to Q2, the 2012 World Champion said ‘I’ll make sure I have a battery in my tyre warmer’.
‘I don’t know whether to be sad or happy’, was Lucas Urbain’s reaction after he posted the fifth fastest time. The VBC team driver continued, ‘I made a really good start, I was leading but then I had the classic chicane spin’. ‘There is a bump there but that is normally fine so I don’t know if I got nervous or just used too much throttle. Anyway for my own standard P5 is good’. One driver happy with the addition of Q2 to today’s schedule, the popular French racer has to work until lunchtime tomorrow having been unable to get the time off and with rain scheduled for the morning it could all work in his favour.
Completing the Top 6 Freddy Sudhoff said it was ‘a good start to the event’. With his team-mate Viljami Kutvonen suffering a shutdown before the end of his Q1 run, the Awesomatix the driver said in the end he messed up himself. Running wide twice the German said ‘they cost me two spots but overall P6 is good’. Describing his A800 as ‘a little too easy to drive’ he will make a roll centre change for Q2.
Piping his old team-mate Viktor Wilck to P7, new Capricorn signing Marc Fischer said the run ‘was ok but just not in the beginning’. Starting ahead of Sudhoff he said ‘over the first 4 to 5 laps Freddy was catching’ and while the car was ok after that he will make changes for Q2. Considering a softer swaybar he will also ‘try a softer rear spring for more bite at the start’.
In the Xray Pro Stock class it would also be the top seed who would take the opening qualifier as Lars Hoppe topped the times. The German ARC driver who finished on the podium here two years ago was fastest from Awesomatix’ Max Mächler with Olivier Bultynck completing the Top 3. In Formula Bultynck would get a P2 with David Ehrbar’s Serpent proving to be quickest.