Bruno Coelho has taken the opening round of qualifying at the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Slovakia. The Xray driver lead a 1-2 for his team topping the times ahead of team-mate Alexander Hagberg and was the only driver to run 18 laps of the Hudy Arena track. While Coelho’s pace was expected, the start of qualifying produced a marked improvement from Hagberg who just scraped into the top heat with only the 10 fastest seeding time. With temperatures rising for the first qualifier, it much warmer than in the earlier controlled practice runs and drivers reporting track conditions changed a lot, it was to be Christopher Krapp who stepped up as best of the rest ahead of Yokomo team-mate Yannic Prumper. Running in the second fastest heat, Viktor Wilck enjoyed a P5 run with Marc Rheinard completing the Top 6 as the best Infinity driver.
Coelho said, ‘Everything was ok but like I told you before the wind might become a problem and that time it was. I think it will get worse for the next one’. With the day set to end at around 19:00 local with Q2, he continued, ‘I didn’t take any risk at the start because the car was a little loose and I saw Ronald and Akio each had a mistake. After some safe laps I then started to push a little more over the run. Having already secured the Season #11 ETS title at the previous round in the Netherlands, he said his set-up was probably not best suited to the warmer Q1 conditions. He added, ‘I drive with ARS which maybe was not the best in these conditions but it makes the car more difficult and I prefer it like this’.
Explaining his performance gain for qualifying , Haberg said, ‘We improved the car from practice by adapting the set-up to suit my driving better. Now it is a more personal set-up rather than a team set-up’. The Swede continued, ‘we will try to continue in that direction with the set-up but I am hopeful there is more to come from my car’.
‘It was a good Q1 despite my problem in CP2’, was Krapp’s reaction to the opening qualifier. He said, ‘the conditions are completely different. We didn’t practice in hot conditions like this so I am happy with the result but the car had too much steering now and the rear end was loose so now we need to try get more rear grip. Having been the fastest Yokomo in seeding with the 3rd fastest time, Ronald Volker’s opening qualifier netted a P7. The World Champion said, ‘I almost spun on the first lap. We changed the car for the hotter conditions but it was hard to judge how much it was going to change but I expected to be more competitive’.
Prumper said, ‘the track changed a lot, there was more heat and I started with the car feeling quite loose. It got better over the run but I had a mistake a that left me with an 18.1-second lap after I made a mistake but 4th is OK’. Asked about changing the car for Q2 he replied, ‘It will cool down for the qualifier later so I will keep the car the same but tomorrow it is hot so we need to work on set-up for that.’
‘Just a safe run’, was how Wilck summed up Q1. The Serpent driver continued, ‘I changed to a hard roll centre spring to get the car more stable. It was very stable but not that fast. Still I was able to get an ok run and was close to Chrissy’. The Swede also felt his heat was more effected by the weather saying, ‘the sun was out for half of our run and for the top heat they had clouds back’. Asked about Q2, he said, ‘I think I might just make a small change to the car but I want to get one more run to make sure I’m in the final’.
‘I lost some spots on the last lap because I had a bad lap’, was Rheinard’s reaction to Q1 as he walked back to his pits. The last non Xray driver to win at the Hudy Arena, he added, ‘the car is difficult to drive it doesn’t feel grippy enough and gets worse and worse over the run. I don’t know what to do’. Team-mate Akio Sobue, who was second fastest in seeding, said, ‘I went back to the same spring I used to set my time in CP1 but I had no steering and I don’t know why’.
In Pro Stock, former Champion Alexandre Duchet took the opening qualifier ahead of Olivier Bultynck by a decent 1.7-second margin while Duchet’s Xray team-mate Tom Krägefski was 3rd 1/10th of a second back on the Awesomatix. In Formula, Bultynck was able to put his Shepherd at the top ahead of this season’s champion Jan Ratheisky with the Tamiya of Simon Lauter completing the Top 3. The only ETS title yet to be decided, in the 40+ class the first TQ went to Thomas Oehler ahead of title rival Beni Stutz and Christian Stöckl.
Chassis – Hawx F1 18 Motor – Scorpion Power System (handout) ESC – Scorpion Power System (handout) Batteries – Sunpadow 6000mAh Tires – Volante (handout) Radio/Servo – Sanwa/SRT Bodyshell – Bittydesign Type R
Remarks – New in the pits this weekend at the ETS Season Finale is the Hawx F1 18 chassis being driven by Andreas Stiebler. The Austrian has been involved in the testing and engineering of the car which is being produced by Kroni RC. Putting the car in the Top heat of qualifying here at the Hudy Arena, the car has already racked up some good results with Andreas taking it to the Austrian National title and finishing on the podium at the recent European Championships. The main design feature of the car is the full length chassis plate with the rear pod mounted above this. Andreas said this design makes the car more stable on bumpier tracks as well as over curbing.
Bruno Coelho is the top seed for qualifying at the season finale of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Slovakia. The Xray driver took full ‘home advantage’ to set the fastest 3-consecutive laps in both rounds of practice, improving by almost 3/10ths in the second run. Behind him Infinity’s Akio Sobue was best of the rest with his first time very close to that of Coelho but he would be slower on his second attempt. Newly crowned European Champion Ronald Völker would post the 3rd fastest time, the Yokomo driver however also unable to better his opening pace in the final practice. Overall it was a strong practice for the Yokomo team with Christopher Krapp fourth quickest while Yannic Prumper completed the Top 6. In between them was Schumacher’s Michal Orlowski, the British manufacturer also showing well with Elliott Harper also in the top qualifying heat after putting in the 7th fastest time ahead of Marc Rheinard.
‘It’s going very good. As normal here our car wells very well and we just had to make only small changes’, was Coelho’s reaction after practice. Winner of the event for the last three years running, he continued, ‘Also the wind is no problem today and I hope it will be like this for the next two days also. Sometimes there can be a wind that is a problem because of the high speed straight and because we have to turn a little towards the end its can cause problems’. The Portuguese driver concluded, ‘the car looks fast on the first 3-laps and is very stable for the 5-minutes. The drop off is not so much and it is only really over the last two laps’.
Sobue was pleased with his early form but having changed the car for the final practice he will go back for Q1, the opening two rounds of the four scheduled qualifiers taking place this evening. The Japanese driver said, ‘I changed to a hard front spring for the final practice and it was not so good so I will go back for qualifying’. With the team struggling with drop off at the previous round in Apeldoorn, he is confident things will be better here saying, ‘I think for 5-minute we will be ok too’. Team-mate Rheinard opted to run his car without ARS in controlled practice and didn’t like how the rear of his car felt. Having shown good pace in the final free practice when he was second fastest behind Coelho, the 2014 Hudy Arena race winner said, ‘the car was really good in free practice 7 so I will go back to what I ran then’.
Summing up his practice, Volker said, ‘I struggled a bit in free practice because I couldn’t get the RTC (ARS) to work so I opted to go to standard suspension for controlled practice and I improved my pace and position’. The World Champion continued, ‘Overall I am still not happy with the balance and I think the diff was too hard in the last one so I will go back to a softer one for qualifying’. He concluded, ‘Bruno is quite quick but Yannic has a very good average lap time so it is looking promising for Q1’.
‘It was going pretty good but I had a huge crash in the second (controlled) practice. Something strange happened on the first lap and I flew off at the end of the straight’, explained Krapp at the end of the practice. The German continued, ‘I hit the fence and nothing big is broken but I still need to fix it which is not ideal before the first qualifier’. Setting his fourth fastest time for the round he did complete, he said, ‘the first 2-3-minutes is ok but then it drops of quite a bit. I couldn’t test the changes in the second controlled practice so I will just fix the car and see how it is in Q1’.
Better known for his exploits as Schumacher’s star of the Euro Offroad Series, Orlowski said, ‘It is going good since the first practice. We did some changes at the beginning but since then the car has been the same’. The Polish driver added, ‘I think there is small differences between the sets of tyres and I didn’t have the best set in the last one. The car felt different to the previous run’. He concluded, ‘both cars are in the Top 10 so I’m feeling pretty confident for the weekend’.
Prumper said, ‘My car is pretty good and I have a really good 5-minute pace. The first 3-laps are not the best but my pace is fast and consistent for the rest of the run so I’m pretty confident for qualifying’. Having tested Yokomo’s ARS system, the German said ‘it was the same’ in terms of laps times but without it his car ‘felt easier to drive’.
Name – Hudy Racing Arena Country – Slovakia Location – Trencin (120km NE from capital city of Bratislava) Host – Hudy/Xray Surface – Asphalt Direction – Anti-clockwise No. of ETS Races hosted – 5 Previous Winners –Bruno Coelho (2015, 16, 17), Marc Rheinard (2014), Ronald Volker (2013)
Hosting the Euro Touring Series for a sixth consecutive season, the World famous Hudy Arena in Slovakia still brings about a sense of ‘amazing’ as you approach the entrance. First opening its doors to international racing when it hosted its first ETS event in 2013, the facility is the home of the Xray/Hudy brands. The factory that produces all their products is on the left side while indoor race track together with huge pit area and restaurant are on the right. A 25,000 square feet facility, in between the joined buildings is the outdoor asphalt track, on which all the ETS action takes place, with the Arena’s most recent addition of an indoor dirt offroad track next to it. A 320 metre long asphalt circuit, which got new and much welcomed lower curbing ahead of last year, the only difference for racers this year is the positioning of the timing loop Previously the loop was in the hairpin before the section in front of the drivers stand but now the counting loop is position in the short straight section before the corner which should prevent drivers launching their cars at the finish line.
The season finale of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series takes place this weekend (13-15 July) at the Hudy Arena in Slovakia.Having hosted the penultimate round of the championship last year, the World famous facility has returned to its traditional date of being not just the sixth and final round but also doubling up as the perfect venue for all the ETS’ end of season awards presentations. With 3 of the four titles already settled when the previous round saw the return of Apeldoorn in the Netherlands to the schedule, the final round will very much be an important form guide ahead of the upcoming World Championships in South Africa. Having successfully defended his ETS Modified title, Bruno Coelho will be looking to remain undefeated at his Xray team’s home track.
Winning every year since bursting onto the international scene at the end of 2014 at the World Championships in Florida, Coelho will go for his fourth consecutive ‘home’ win and fourth win of the season.With home advantage, Xray has enjoyed a 1-2 for the last three years thanks to Alexander Hagberg and the Swede is very much finding his form ahead of the World Championships and would love nothing more than to add win No.2 of the season at Hudy Arena.
The last non Xray driver to win at Hudy Arena was Marc Rheinard, when he led a Tamiya 1-2 from Viktor Wilck back in 2014 with Ronald Volker completing the podium.Rheinard comes into the weekend holding second in the points standings but the Infinity driver needs to protect his position from both Volker and Hagberg. Winner of the season opener, Rheinard has struggled to match that form of late, however he was to be the last remaining challenger to Coelho in the title race but 5th in Apeldoorn ended his chances of taking the fight to Slovakia.
Volker has recently found great form being the only one to challenge Coelho in Apeldoorn and has subsequently been crowned European Champion ahead of Hagberg with Coelho third.The Yokomo driver will also be highly motivated to ensure he doesn’t end the season without a victory.The 5-time champion has won a race every season since joining the championship and would like to continue that statistic by getting his first Hudy Arena win. Such a result would also do no harm at all to boost his confidence as he sets out to defend his World title.
With Jan Ratheisky wrapping up the Pro Stock and Formula titles at Apeldoorn, and the overall season podium decided, the title attention will be on the 40+ Masters class which was an new addition to ETS this season.Each race has produced a different winner so far but it is Thomas Oehler would comes in the final round leading the standings albeit by a single point.Winner in Spain, Christian Drießle is second ahead of the most recent winner Beni Stutz who took the TQ and his first ever ETS win in the Netherlands.All three drivers will battle it out to become the inaugural champion.