July 28, 2017

Volker top seed at ETS Germany

Ronald Volker is the top seed for qualifying at ETS Germany. Having set the fastest 3-consecutive laps in the first of the two rounds of controlled practice, the Yokomo driver’s time would stand as Volker failed to improve on a slightly hotter track in CP2. Topping the final practice from Volker would be Bruno Coelho, the Xray driver breaking into the 42-seconds for his 3-laps following his tyre issues in CP1.  Making a massive improvement on his opening time, Infinity’s Jilles Groskamp would post the third fastest time by just 1/1000th of a second in front of Freddy Südhoff, the Awesomatix driver also taking a chunk out of his CP1 time. With Volker the only driver seeded in the top 7 not having run their faster time in CP2, that ranking would be completed by Marc Rheinard, Naoki Akiyama and Loic Jasmin.

Reacting to CP2, Volker said, ‘the sun came out so it was warmer and my car was a little difficult out of the start but it was still a decent run’.  He continued, ‘I will leave (the car) unchanged for Q1 because it will cool down again but I will have to make some adjustments for Q2 tomorrow’ – a much hotter day being forecast at Minidrom Ettlingen.  The World Champion added, ‘I noticed Bruno and Freddy are good on 5-minute pace, particularly Freddy.  I think he has the best car for all conditions’.

‘Much better now’, was how Coelho summed up the final practice after a tyre came unglued in the first controlled practice. Suffering a mistake in the middle of the run when he ran wide onto the dust causing him to go off onto the grass, he said, ‘the track was hotter and already after one lap the tyres were overheating so it was very important to drive smoother in these conditions not to overheat the tyres’. Looking to Q1 which will run on a cool track, the back to back ETS champion said, ‘we need to increase traction but have to be careful to not overdo it and overheat the tyres’.

A very pleased looking Groskamp said, ‘I change a lot my set-up.  I tried a lot of stuff in the earlier practices and put it all together for the final one’.  The two time champion added, ‘the first three laps in particular improved which I couldn’t put together before’.  Describing the set-up now on his IF14 as ‘pretty similar to Marc’s’ he said he will leave it unchanged for Q1.  Having sat third fastest after CP1,  Groskamp’s team-mate Akio Sobue would try to follow the direction of his team-mate’s set-up for CP2 and run no ARS but the Japanese driver said this left him with ‘super understeer’.  Dropping to P8 in the seeding, he will revert back to his ARS car for Q1.

Südhoff summed up his strong pace by saying, ‘From the very first run the car has been good, its good in all conditions, hot or windy, and especially for 5-minutes’.  The German continued, ‘The hot lap is missing a little but it is 5-minutes that is most important’.  A driver on the positive side of the fence in terms of the track, he said,’I really like the track, it is different to all other tracks but the traction is really good and consistent’. Asked about Q1 he plans to leave his A800X ‘as is’ and ‘try to make no mistakes’.

‘So so, not bad’ was Rheinard’s thoughts on his CP2 run, the Infinity driver adding, ‘3 laps doesn’t matter it’s more over the full run thats important’.  The German continued, ‘my problem right now is the right rear has more toe in the left one and that’s causing me to lose at lot at the end of the straight’.  With this problem traced to a difference in the rear hubs, he will fit a new pair for Q1.

Winner of the ETS Warm-up race run by the Ettlingen club in June, Akiyama put his improvement down to making no mistakes. Running in Heat 22 of 23 and running the same set up on his BD8 as team-mate Volker, he would make a mistake on his opening lap in CP1 preventing him from getting the best from the tyres.  Admitting his Warm-up Race attendance is an advantage on the ‘difficult track’, the 17-year-old got a clean opening 3-laps on his second attempt to put himself in the top heat for qualifying.  Currently 11th in the overall season standings he is targeting his third A-Main appearance of the season as he tries to round out his first full ETS campaign in the Top 10.

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July 28, 2017

Volker fastest in first controlled practice at ETS Finale

Ronald Volker is the early benchmark at the Yokomo Euro Touring Series Season Finale in Germany.  Having topped free practice at Minidrom Ettlingen, the Yokomo driver remained top of the timesheets in the first of the two rounds of controlled seeding practice as he continued to get the most from his car on the track’s unique asphalt and banked corners.  Closest to Volker, as he had been in Free Practice, would be Bruno Coelho albeit it by half a second – the Xray driver having a tyre issue and only completing half of CP1 before pulling off. Infinity’s Akio Sobue made it three different manufacturers in the Top 3 followed closely by team-mate Rheinard with Yannic Prumper and Meen Vejrak rounding out the Top 6.

‘The event is going pretty good’, was Volker’s reaction to topping the times.  The World Champion added, ‘this track is very special and needs a different set-up and it definitely was a help testing here a few times before the race.  That testing has made it easier for me because unfortunately I don’t have Umino at my side this weekend’. With Yokomo designer Yukijiro Umino and Volker one of the best known partnership in touring car racing, unfortunately Umino was unable to travel to the Season #10 finale due to his children taking ill but Volker had good news from Umino that they have now been released from hospital.  Looking to CP2 and the opening qualifier which takes place this evening, Volker said, ‘Q1 will be nice and cold but tomorrow and Sunday’s weather will change to warmer so this will change things and I just hope I am prepared for that’.

While having a tyre come unglued in CP1 causing his car to struggle in left turns, overall Coelho is happy with where he is at in terms of car set-up.  Having already successfully defended his ETS title, he said, ‘I had a problem with the tyre after the second lap. I tried to do some more laps but it was undriveable so I stopped, but from the free practice I know the car is working really well’.  Having raced at Minidrom Ettlingen earlier in the month when he TQ’d 1:10 at the Euro Nitro Series and finished 2nd in 1:8, he said the track is equally a completely different challenge for electric as it is for nitro compared to any other track in the world.  He said the traction levels are ‘more than normal and the banked corners make it challenging to find the perfect set-up’.

Fresh from being crowned Japanese National Champion last weekend before flying out to Europe, Sobue said, ‘At the beginning my car is not so bad but after 3-minutes the time drops’.  With the car becoming ‘loose’, he said he struggles with ‘no traction on power’.  With this race weekend his first time to run on the track, he said ‘I don’t like the track, you need a special set-up because of the traction’.  Having run a hard diff in CP1 he said he might change this for CP2.

‘We made a little bit of step forward by taking out the ARS but I still have no steering and have to lift early to make a turn’, was how Rheinard summed up the first seeding run. He continued, ‘I messed up my first lap which cost me a few tenths on my 3-laps but overall I don’t think I’m that far off.  Ronald is a little faster than everyone because he did a couple of tests before but I’m still not familiar with the track yet, not the layout but the surface’.

Summing up his P5 pace, Prumper said, ‘the day started out not so good as yesterday but the last one (CP1) was good after we went back to the set-up I came to the race with. It wasn’t good yesterday but somehow it works now’.  Another driver not a fan of the track the VBC Racing team driver said, ‘the layout is OK but I think the surface is already damaged from the nitro cars’.  With his car developing understeer over the run he plans to try a harder geardiff in CP2 to try and make the car ‘more solid over the 5-minutes’.

Reacting to setting the 6th fastest time over 3-consecutive laps, Vejrak said, ‘It’s getting better & better every run’.  The Yokomo driver continued, ‘the track is special, we have nothing like this Bangkok.  It doesn’t look difficult but when you drive it while it’s fun it’s pretty difficult.  You need to learn a lot especially how to manage the tyres so they don’t overheat’.  Behind Vejrak, team-mate Nicholas Lee was 7th fastest with Christopher Krapp 9th, sandwiched between the two Awesomatix of Freddy Südhoff and Viljami Kutvonen.

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July 28, 2017

Chassis Focus – Robert Pietsch

Chassis – Mugen MTC-1
Motor – LRP X20 4.5T
ESC – LRP Flow X
Batteries – LRP 6400mAh LCG Stock Spec
Tires – Volante (handout)
Radio/Servo – Sanwa
Bodyshell – Montech Racer
Remarks – Former 1/8th scale World Champion Robert Pietsch is giving his own touring car creation, the MTC-1 its international race debut this weekend in Ettlingen ahead of the car’s August release. With only 3 cars currently in existence, the other two in the hands of Eric Dankel and Atsushi Hara, the car has some nice features such as the easily adjustable front caster that uses a top A-arm in place of traditional linkages and which uses a C-hub style front steering block that has an interesting lower pivot pin mount to allow the hub to angle to the new caster setting. Other features include the easily adjustable steering system through the use of inserts and the aluminium diff casing that removes any friction in the outdrives by eliminating all flex around the bearings. In terms of setup, since coming to the track Robert has moved weight more to the centre of the car, from the front, in an attempt to gain more steering and chosen for the stiffer top deck, where the flexible top deck is better on most other tracks. Having tried both the Protoform LTCR and the Montech Racer, he has picked the latter saying it is faster and easier to drive especially on the corner at the end of the straight.

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July 28, 2017

Track Focus – Minidrom Ettlingen

Track Name – Minidrom Ettlingen
Club – Mini Car Club Ettlingen
Country – Germany
Location – Ettlingen (SW of the country)
Direction – Anti-clockwise
Surface – Asphalt
No. of ETS Races hosted – 0
Other major races hosted – ENS (2015, 2016, 2017),  2015 1:8 Onroad European C/ship, 2011 Onroad European C/ship, 1:10 2001 1:5 World Championships

The ETS wraps up it’s tenth season with a new venue as drivers descend on the Minidrom Ettlingen track situated in the south west of Germany. A track familiar to nitro racers, it a fixture on the Euro Nitro Series calendar for the past three years, the track is a lot less known to electric racers. Incidentally Ettlingen is the 10th different outdoor track the championship has visited since its creation – this being the 57th ETS race to be put on by Uwe Rheinard and Scotty Ernst. The track is run by the predominantly nitro Mini Car Club Ettlingen who built the track 27-years ago on land owned by the local city which has a population of almost 40,000. The first major change to the track layout over that time was done in 2014 when during a resurfacing of the track it was extended to 265-metres with the addition of a new 25-metre section.  It is the asphalt used during that work that has become one of the track’s main features. A very fine/smooth surface, it creates a one of kind unique feeling between the car and track.  The other key feature of the track is the banked corners, the end of straight sweeper one of the key points to a good lap time./i

With mixed views from drivers on the track layout/feel, Ronald Volker is a fan saying, ‘I like it but I know others don’t’ – Marc Rheinard one of those who doesn’t. The Yokomo driver described the track as ‘quite special for electric’ adding, ‘I don’t know if that is because of the asphalt or the banked corners but it’s definitely different to what we normally race on’.  A driver who has been to the track four times in preparation for this weekend, the World Champion said, ‘if the weather gets hot it’s going to get very challenging’, something drivers experienced on the finals day at the ETS Warm-up race hosted by the local club in June.  While Day 1 is proving a cool day, the weather forecast is showing much warmer conditions tomorrow. Asked about the biggest challenge of a lap, 13.9 seconds the fastest Modified lap times so far, he said, ‘the beginning of the straight through to the loop (positioned in the centre of the track directly out of a tight corner).  You have to get the banking right and then from the sweeper to the chicane its easy to get it wrong and catch air or go off’.

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July 27, 2017

ETS waves chequered flag on 10th season with first visit to Ettlingen

The chequered flag will be waved on the 10th season of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series this weekend (28-30 July) as the championship travels for the first time to the Ettlingen track in Germany. A regular host venue of the Euro Nitro Series, Ettlingen will become the 10th different outdoor circuit to feature on the ETS calendar over its hugely successful 10 seasons of existence. The 57th race to be put on by Uwe Rheinard and Scotty Ernst since creating the championship in 2007, the Ettlingen entry includes all four of the drivers who have lifted the prestigious ETS title in that period. While Bruno Coelho already wrapped up his second consecutive Volante Modified title last month at the Hudy Arena, the racing will be no less competitive with teams looking to end their campaigns on a high note.

Coelho comes into the event with a mileage advantage over his rivals as does inaugural champion Jilles Groskamp with both drivers having raced at the ENS encounter at the start of the month. Taking the TQ in 1:10 and finishing 2nd in 1:8, Coelho would appear to be very at home on its unique ultra fine asphalt surface. Having won 4 of the 5 races so far, the Xray driver will be looking to extend his record for the most number of wins in a single season.

The only other driver to make it on to the top step of the podium, Ronald Volker comes into the season finale fresh from retaining his European Championship title. As a 5-time consecutive ETS Champion, the Yokomo driver will want to close off what has been a challenging ETS season and put himself clear as the championship’s most winning driver.

Sharing the title of most ETS career wins, 14-time winner Marc Rheinard made the biggest change of his R/C career when after 22-years with Tamiya he joined class newcomers Infinity. The former champion has had some strong showings, most notably Round 3 in Madrid, and he will be determined to go one better at Ettlingen and having given the Japanese brand its first major title with victory at the Reedy Race of Champions he is determined to try and deliver their first ETS win as a manufacturer. Infinity team-mate Jilles Groskamp completes the line-up of champions competing in the season finale as he makes only his second outing of the season.

While the champions look to add to their tallies, a number of drivers will be out to prove their own points. Alexander Hagberg made it an Xray 1-2 last time out and would love nothing more than to finally beat his team-mate. Naoto Matsukura claimed his first ever ETS podium at the Hudy Arena, a result he will be looking to repeat if not better. Infinity team-mate Akio Sobue travels to Germany fresh from being crowned Japanese National Champion ahead of Matsukura and World Champion Volker and has regularly shown the speed to challenge for his first ETS win this season. ETS Italy podium finisher Elliott Harper will be aiming to capitalise on the track’s unique surface and add to Schumacher’s maiden podium finish.

While the Modified title is decided it is still all to play for in Pro Stock and Formula. Lifelong Tamiya driver Christian Donath leads the Xray Pro Stock standings having claimed his first ever win last time out. The German however has three challengers in the form of ETS rookie Alexandre Duchet, reigning champion & Xray team-mate Jan Ratheisky and Awesomatix’ Olivier Bultynck. In the Scorpion Power Formula class, it is a three way title battle. Serpent’s David Ehrbar leads from defending champion Ratheisky, both with two wins each, with Shepherd’s Bultynck joining the hunt with victory at the Hudy Arena.

June 18, 2017

Coelho caps off ETS title winning weekend with record equalling 4th win

Bruno Coelho has capped off his Euro Touring Series title weekend in Slovakia with a record equaling fourth win of the season.  The Xray driver joined Marc Rheinard as the only driver to win four races in a single season when he again cruised to A2 victory at the Hudy Arena to wrap up Round 5, the organisers to be complimented for completing the event after effectively losing two days of running due to rain.  Able to sit out A3, Coelho’s win means he maintains his unbeaten run of victories at his team’s home track since making his ETS debut three seasons ago. Behind, team-mate Alexander Hagberg continued the 1-2 enjoyed by Xray as he won A3 after seeing off a rejuvenated Naoto Matsukura, the former World Champion claiming his first ever ETS podium finish.

Reflecting on his 9th ETS career win, the season finale next month in Germany an opportunity for him to make it five wins in a season, Coelho said, ‘I don’t think about these things, I’m here to win every race and when I finish 2nd I lose. My job is to develop the car to help our customers. This year has been really good in terms of the car working pretty well, we didn’t change too much on it over the year’. He continued, ‘It is also rewarding to work with brands that were nothing 2-years ago like Hobbywing and MonTech but are now at the top’.  With Francesco Martini a key contributor to harnessing his natural abundance of driving talent, Coelho continued, ‘We reached our goal with the ETS title and next we will go to the European Championships.  Everything is looking good but these are not conditions & tyres we have practiced for so we will see how it goes’.

Clearly meaning a lot to him to win A3, Hagberg said, ‘An Xray 1-2 is what people expect here but the competition have caught up so it was tougher to get the 1-2 this year’.  Having struggled in A1 with Matsukura eventually passing him for second, he continued, ‘I got my car a lot better after we changed a few things on the set-up so I was not having to drive as defensively as before’.  Setting the fastest lap of the race weekend in A3 with a 17.345, he continued, ‘setting the fastest lap showed we got a good set-up at the end’.  Having endured a tough season, Round 4 in Italy a particular low point, he concluded, ‘for sure it is good to be back at the front and I’m really looking forward to the final round’.

‘First time on the podium, I’m so happy’, was the reaction of a very pleased looking Matsukura.  He added, ‘I had good places in A1, A2 and A3 so I think I can say I am back’.  Joining Infinity at the start of the year, the said, ‘everything is coming good again and part of this is that the team is good. My car worked good here because I had Fujiwara san for my mechanic this weekend.  Now I will go testing in Japan for next ETS because I want to win that one’.

Finish 4th having set the pace in Thursday practice before rain hampered the next two days of action, Marc Rheinard said, ‘I think we lost the race in qualifying’. The Infinity driver was referring to the 5/100ths by which Hagberg out qualified both himself and Matsukura, saying ‘Hagberg was really slow in A1 and if Naoto had of been second and Alex fourth it would have been a different story. The next time’.  The German concluded, ‘This is Xray’s home town so I think we were closer than it looked in the final so I think we can give them a run for their money in Ettlingen’.

In both the Pro Stock and Formula A Mains, the winners wouldn’t be decided until A3.  In Formula, having won A1, in A2 Top Qualifier Olivier Bultynck put his Shepherd on the grass while leading which let David Ehrbar through for the win ahead of Jan Ratheisky. In A3 however Bultynck would have no such problems and after an early mistake by Ratheisky and then Ehrbar he could cruise to the A3 win ahead of Toni Rheinard to claim his second Formula win of the season. Ratheisky and Ehrbar completed the Round 5 podium with the title set to be decided at the season final in Germany next month.

The Xray Pro Stock final was similar to Formula with a mistake on the opening lap of A2 by A1 winner Christian Donath giving Jan Ratheisky the win from Alexandre Duchet forcing the race to go to A3.  This time the pole sitter made sure to put in the perfect race taking his Tamiya to a 3.6 second winning margin over Duchet and Martin Hofer.  The German’s first ETS win he was joined on the podium by Ratheisky in second and Duchet in third with the champion going to be decided in Ettlingen.

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