Bruno Coelho has wrapped up his second Euro Touring Series title after the Xray driver claimed the overall TQ this morning in Slovakia. The reigning champion secured his fourth TQ of the season when he again topped the times in the second of the qualifiers at the rain effected 5th round with the bonus championship for the TQ putting amends to his only remaining title rival coming into the weekend, Ronald Volker. Behind Coelho, Alexander Hagberg made it an Xray 1-2 line up for the triple A-Mains as he managed to better the Q1 time of Naoto Matsukura to move ahead of the Infinity driver. Behind Matsukura, team-mate Marc Rheinard will line up 4th with Volker completing the top half of the grid.
Reacting to his TQ run, Coelho said, ‘It was a very good qualifier. The car was a little loose the first few corners but by the straight it was working perfect and I could push to get a gap’. Chasing a hat trick of wins at the Hudy Arena, he continued, ‘I knew Naoto’s car drops of a lot at the end so if I could get a gap at the beginning I would be ok. In the end Alex was also able to pass Naoto so it was a ver positive qualifying for the team’. With the championship now decided, asked about his approach to the finals he replied, ‘I will race to win but we might try new T4 parts to make use of the track conditions because we don’t normally get to test in race conditions’. Commenting on winning his second ETS title, this only his third season contesting the highly coveted championship, he said, ‘I think we were more prepared than last year. Last year was my first year with Hobbywing and MonTech so this year we had our notes from last year to work off which allowed us to create a much better overall package. I knew on asphalt I would be good but the carpet races would be a bigger challenge but the season started off very good with a TQ & win at the first round and a second at the next one. This was a very positive start and my preferred surface was still to come. Everything was perfect this season’.
Hagberg described Q2 as ‘very good’, the Swede happy with set-up changes he made to his T4 for the qualifier. With less than 8/100ths of a second separating him, Rheinard and Volker, he said, ‘luck was running on his side’ to keep ahead of the two World Champions. Describing the track as ‘slightly better than yesterday’ the 1:12 European Champion said with the sun starting to come out the track was already starting to slow down and he expects less grip for the finals. Planning to leave his car unchanged, he said the goal for the finals is to ‘try my best to keep up with Bruno and see what happens’, the annual ETS visit to the Hudy Arena having netted Xray and Coelho/Hagberg 1-2 the last two years.
Securing his best ever ETS qualifying position thanks to his time from Q1, Matsukura was very happy with the result but less happy with the set-up of his IF14 in Q2. The 2014 World Champion said, ‘I changed the set-up but it was no good so I go back for the finals’. With the car suffering ‘too much push’ he said this caused him overdrive to try and keep pace with Coelho but this led to a number of mistakes. Looking to the final, the reigning 1:12 World Champion said, ‘I want to take Alex and try to chase Bruno but he is super consistent for 5-minutes. I can race Alex but Bruno is more of a challenge, apart from him the rest are very close, we are all on the same pace’.
Having set the pace in Thursday’s free practice, Rheinard said, ‘it still doesn’t feel like in practice but it was not bad’. He continued, ‘luck is on Xray’s side but to get 3 of our cars in the final at Xray’s track shows we are doing a good job’. Asked about what he hopes to get out of the finals, the 2014 Hudy Arena winner replied, ‘Now the sun comes out and normally the Xray’s are a little slower, we seen this in Madrid and on Thursday so I hope we will be close enough that we can fight with them’.
Volker said, ‘I’m kind of disappointed to lose 2nd on the grid by 0.1 something but on the other hand having had some scary moments in the run trying to keep the car on the track there is not much more I could have done’. The reigning World Champion, who is clearly struggling with his car of late, said one positive of the event was that team-mate Nicholas Lee has made his first ETS A-Main and former race winner Christopher Krapp as put his BD8 in the A-Main for the first time since joining the team. Offering his congratulations to Coelho on winning the championship, the German said, ‘he was the most consistent driver so for sure he deserves it but I promise to come back stronger even for the last race of the ETS season’. The the 10th season of the ETS concluding next month in Germany when it makes its first visit to the Ettlingen track.
In Pro Stock, Christian Donath claimed his second overall TQ of the season as the Tamiya driver took both qualifiers. Behind him reigning champion Jan Ratheisky will start second with Martin Hofer third for Yokomo. The season’s only double winner Alexandre Duchet starts fourth with Tom Krägefski completing the top half of the grid. In Formula Shepherd’s Olivier Bultynck TQ’d both qualifiers to secure pole ahead of the Serpent of David Ehrbar with Ratheisky third ahead of Tonisport’s Toni Rheinard who has come out of retirement to race the VBC chassis.
Chassis – Tamiya TRF419X Motor – Muchmore (handout) ESC – Muchmore (handout) Batteries – Carson 6000mAh Tires – Volante (handout) Radio/Servo – Sanwa Bodyshell – Blitz GSF 0.5 Remarks – Top Qualifier in the ultra competitive Pro Stock Class, Christian Donath is running the TRF419X from Tamiya with an ultra lightweight GSF bodyshell from Blitz. Using his standard outdoor setup which includes SMJ progressive springs front and rear, the stock Tamiya springs not hard enough, he has also cut the top deck for more traction and rotation in the corner. Choosing to use lightweight spool outdrives, Christian has also machined his own front lower rear suspension block which give the front arms more toe out helping to give the car more corner speed.
Despite efforts to get the track dry to allow for a second round of qualifying today at ETS Slovakia, the decision has been made to defer Q2 to the tomorrow’s final day at the penultimate round of the championship. Having just managed to get the first round of qualifying completed after a wet start to the day and Friday having been a washout, the rain returned to the Hudy Arena as Q2 got underway stopping the action once again. Starting as a light drizzle it worsened and while many drivers took to sweeping and drying the track once the rain stopped, the evening drop in temperature and lack of sunshine mean’t it never completely dried. Opened for free practice, cars struggling to get around, the decision was then made to call it a day. With Sunday’s forecast showing a nice dry day in Trencin, the organisers have set a 07:00 start time so as to get a second round of qualifying in ahead of running the finals. With just two rounds of qualifying, drivers will count their best round with the fastest time the tie breaker leaving overnight Top Qualifier Bruno Coelho in a strong position to take the overall TQ. Such an outcome would secure the Xray driver back to back ETS titles.
Making its debut here at the ETS in Slovakia, Team Magic are showing off their new E4 RS4 touring car. Featuring an all new 2.4mm chassis, the main bulkheads front and rear have been positioned closer to the centre of the car and feature wider spaced mounting points to eliminate flex in this area. A complex single piece central motor & spur gear mount replace what was previously 5 pieces and now give the option of different flex points for further adjusting the car’s balance. A central flex plate between the motor mount and all new servo mount is combined with a damper tube which helps control the forward flex in the car. Finally the car sports all new big bore shocks, with claims that they are shorter than those currently in use by the other cars on the market yet can accommodate up to 25mm springs. Still using non anodised parts for this event, the car only arriving in Europe on Monday, it is expected to be released in mid July.
With rain effectively wiping out yesterday’s action at the Hudy Arena, qualifying at Euro Touring Series finally got underway this afternoon with Bruno Coelho taking an important TQ run in the first of the 3 rescheduled qualifiers from a surprise Naoto Matsukura. With drivers getting only 3-minutes of running yesterday, they would again have to play the waiting game this morning as further rain delayed proceedings at the 5th round of the championship. Getting another 3-minute practice run once the track had dried after the morning downpour the expectation of further rain meant the stakes for Q1 were high. Having topped Thursday’s sun drenched free practice, it would be Marc Rheinard who led away the top heat but a minute in the Infinity driver would make a mistake. This left team-mate Matsukura to go to the top but a strong finish from Coelho, who had issues with his Xray being blown around the track by the wind, allowed the champion elect to TQ by 7/10ths from Matsukura with Alexander Hagberg getting third ahead of Rheinard. For Coelho’s only remaining title contender, Ronald Volker, the event is proving hugely challenging with the Yokomo driver describing his P6 as a ‘miracle’.
‘Super difficult’ was Coelho’s reaction afterwards. Looking to put to bed a back to back ETS titles with the overall TQ, he continued, ‘it was not the car but the conditions. The wind caused me to lose the car 3 times. When the car is not right you know where you can have problems but with the wind it surprises you. It even pushed me up onto the grass’. Going for his third win in a row at what is his Xray team’s home track, the said, ‘Fortunately while Matsukura got close to me I knew I was faster and he only caught me because of the wind. I tried to force to the end and I was able to get first’.The significance of Q1 was highlighted by the fact as the second round of qualifying got underway it started raining again, although one positive is that tomorrow is showing as good meaning the finals should run without interruption.
A very pleased Matsukura summed up his first competitive ETS showing for a long time with, ‘This feels good for me to have no mistakes and to be able to drive a controlled race. Before I was not able to battle at the front. I’m super happy’. Working the IF14’s designer Kotonori Fujiwara as his mechanic this weekend, the 2014 World Champion said this was also a big factor in his performance.Warming up for the event with a win at the most recent round of the CETC in China, in terms of his car he said, ‘my car was pretty good but after 3-minutes it started to get a little push and then Bruno could pull a gap.I will change the set-up for the next one to make it more consistent for the full run’.
Helping Xray to take a 1-2 here the last two years, Hagberg summed up the first qualifier as ‘pretty good’ but like his team-mate said the windy conditions made it unpredictable.Describing it as ‘a safe run’, the Swede said he took ‘no risks considering how unpredictable the weather is’ adding ‘3rd is a good result to have’.Pleased with the performance of his T4 he said, ‘I will leave it the same and just push more in the next one’.
Fastest in free practice, Rheinard said, ‘it didn’t feel as before, it felt loose so I didn’t have the right feeling to push the car’.Coming into the event on the back of his 6th Reedy Race of Champions win, he continued, ‘I made a mistake, without it I could have got third but that’s still not what it should have been.At least I got 4th I suppose’.
Posting the fifth fastest time, Freddy Sudhoff said, ‘that was pretty good, everything went fine’.He added, ‘actually since the firstpractice I have been confident with the set-up and the track’.The Awesomatix driver said, ‘I took it a little easy due to the weather so I did not have any hot laps but it was a good start’.Asked about the wind effecting his car the German replied, ‘a few laps in the car pushed a little more but it wasn’t a big problem for me’.For Q2, which looks now like being the only other qualifier they will fit in due to the latest rain, he will leave his kit standard A800 unchanged.
Finishing almost 5-seconds off Coelho’s pace, Volker didn’t hold back on his issues.The World Champion described his car as ‘horrible in the opening laps’ highlighting that the problem has been there since Thursday’s free practice.He continued, ‘there is absolutely no rear grip, its a miracle finishing P6’.Running last in the heat, the German said he had to use the time to know when it was the last lap so he could launch his car across the finish line, the 2/10th gained the only reason he got 6th as apposed to a P10.He concluded, ‘We are totally off the pace in the beginning and need to do big changes in order to get up there but thats going to be very tough’.Behind Volker, team-mate Christopher Krapp was the next fastest Yokomo with newly crowned Reedy Race Open Champion Jin Sawada taking his Destiny to 8th for the round.
In the Xray Pro Stock class it was the Tamiya of Christian Donath that took the first TQ. During the first attempt at qualifying yesterday, the rain arrived before all the Pro Stock heats were completed but getting the remaining three heats done today it was Donath who was fastest from the Yokomo of former Champion Martin Hofer with Xray’s Tom Krägefski completing the Top 3.Best of the winners so far this season would be ETS Italy winner Max Mächler who was fifth fastest.In the Scorpion Power Formula class Shepherd’s Olivier Bultynck took Q1 ahead of Jan Ratheisky and Tim Benson with Tonisport owner Toni Rheinard coming out of retirement to set an impressive P4 time ahead of double winner David Ehrbar.