Round 3 of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series got underway officially today in Gran Canaria but recent work to the track has challenged drivers as they struggle for traction on the highly abrasive new surface. Originally drivers where to run open practice for the first half of the day before conducting two control practice rounds that would determine the seeding for the day’s opening round of qualifying. However when drivers started to run tyres from the freshly produced batch of handout tyres provided by Ride there was a noticeable difference between the tyres they had used for previous practice runs, some drivers having already conducted a number of days testing earlier in the week. Due to this Race Director Scotty Ernst adapted the time table allowing drivers to continue with open practice before closing the first official day with one round of controlled practice.
At the end of the extended open practice, last year’s event winner Viktor Wilck said he ‘wished they hadn’t changed the asphalt’ but added ‘there is nothing they can do about it now’. Describing the new surface as ‘really bad to drive’ he said even with a similar set-up to what he ran on his winning Tamiya 12-months ago he was ‘just drifting around’. Admitting the situation was the same for everyone he said his main focus was not chassis set-up but tyre prep adding that while he was never going to find a decent level of traction the most improvement would come from the tyres.
Winner of the event two years ago when the ETS made its first visit to the island, Kyosho’s Christopher Krapp said the ‘surface is very different’ and ‘really slippery’. Not sure whether this is due to the surface or the sugar water, the German said it is ‘a waste of time complaining about it now’ as its the same for everyone. Making his first ETS outing of Season #7, Krapp believes, despite conditions being really tricky, by the end of the open practice he had started to ‘find a good way’ in terms of set-up with his TF6. His favourite track layout of the season, he said this year he is going to have to be a little more ‘gentle on the gas’.
Taking a dominant victory at Round 2 of the championship last month in Germany, Team Xray’s Alexander Hagberg said while the ‘surface (is a) big problem’ he said it is the ‘same for everyone’. With ‘no traction’ the Swede who has enjoyed a podium finish previously on the island said these were ‘unusual conditions’. With the abrasive surface causing heavy tyre wear Hagberg said it was also proving very hard on the chassis plates of the car. Testing a number of set-up changes to try and improve how his ORCA powered T4 handles the lack of grip he said he is looking forward to the controlled practice so as to see where everyone is at in terms of pace.
Defending champion Ronald Volker said while the low traction means lap times are about 1.8-2 second off last years pace from the time he has recorded of his rivals in practice everyone is very close on pace. Having never won the Gran Canaria event he said this should make for an interesting qualifying as no has so far shown themselves to have a distinct advantage.
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Friday, February 28, 2014
Chassis Name – Xray T4’14
Motor – ORCA
ESC – ORCA
Batteries - ORCA
Tires – Ride (handout)
Radio/Servos – KO Propo
Remarks – Winner from round 2 of the Euro Touring Series, Alexander Hagberg is running a similar spec car to that used indoors in Germany, here in Gran Canaria. Raising the top deck by adding shims he is also running it without the 4 motor mount screws for increased flex. Up front instead of running the one piece front lower rear suspension block he is using the split versions to get more steering while other changes include using harder springs all round. Having tried the company’s new aluminium chassis during the week he has decided that the carbon version is better for the current track conditions.
Friday, February 28, 2014
Track Name – Circuito Automodelismo El Hornillo
Country – Gran Canaria
Location – Telde
Host – Club La Nave
Surface – Asphalt
Direction – Anti-clockwise
No. of ETS Races hosted – 2 (2012 & 13)
Previous Winner – Wilck (’13), Krapp (’12)
The Yokomo Euro Touring Series is making its third visit to Circuito Automodelismo El Hornillo on the island of Gran Canaria. Situated 10km south of the capital Las Palmas, the only permanent outdoor asphalt track on the island was built 7-years ago and is located in the sporting area of Telde right next to a football stadium. Owned by the local government (Telde, Cuidad Deportivo), the track is operated by the 35 member Club La Nave. Aside from the ETS the biggest annual race host at the track is a round of the Spanish Electric Touring Car Nationals with Round 3 of the four round 2014 championship set to take place here in September.
Featuring a 50-metre straight as part of its 200 metre total lap length, for 2014 the track has received a fresh surface with a 0.4mm asphalt coating having been applied. While initially pre-event testing showed the track to be faster than last year, the experience for racers over the past few days has been a different experience with drivers struggling for a lack of traction with defending champion Ronald Volker reporting that his lap times are 2-seconds off his times from last year.
Friday, February 28, 2014
While most drivers have enjoyed track time over the past few today’s since arriving on the island, today (Friday) is the first official day of the third round of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series taking place in Gran Canaria. A sunny but windy day, it will start out with open practice by class with the first 10-minutes of the hour open to Formula with 25-minute sessions each for Xray Pro Stock and Ride Modified competitors. Set to follow this format until lunch time racers will then be grouped for two rounds of timed practice from which each drivers fastest 3-consecutive with determining the seeding for the heats. This weekend drivers will get six rounds of qualifying, the first of which will bring today’s action to close.
Friday, February 28, 2014
This weekend (28 Feb-2 March) the Yokomo Euro Touring Series heads to Gran Canaria where a freshly resurfaced track awaits competitors travelling to the Spanish holiday island for the third round of the championship. The third year for the ETS to visit the Circuito Automodelismo El Hornillo track, the event marks the welcomed switch from a winter of indoor carpet racing to outdoor asphalt and previous encounters have turned up unexpected race winners. Last year the event saw Tamiya’s Viktor Wilck take his first ETS win in 19-races while on the first visit to the island Kyosho’s Christopher Krapp took his maiden victory, both drivers ending the dominant start by Yokomo’s Ronald Volker to the past two seasons.
Although he travels to Cran Canaria as the 2013/14 championship points leader, just as he did the last two occasions, Volker has just one victory on his Season #7 score sheet after Team Xray’s Alexander Hagberg’s impressive performance at Round 2 saw him bag his second ever ETS victory in style. Traditionally Volker has been untouchable on carpet with asphalt racing proving to be the only weak link in his all conquering partnership with Yokomo engineer Yukijiro Umino. With the majority of ETS front runners contesting last weekend’s TITC race in Thailand, it would appear that Volker and his BD7 2014 chassis has found its edge on asphalt as the 3 -time back to back ETS champion took the win ahead of team-mate Naoto Matsukura. Having skipped Round 2, reigning 1:12 World Champion Matsukura returns to the series this weekend. Despite having been scheduled to travel to Gran Canaria, unfortunately new Yokomo touring car signing Atsushi Hara will not race this weekend due to new 1:8 Buggy commitments. The former World Champion will however return for Round 4 in Austria.
Although he finished only 7th at TITC, Hagberg will be hoping he can continue where he left off in Muelheim-Kaerlich a month ago. The Swede has always been fast and a strong contender in Gran Canaria finishing runner-up in 2012 and just missing out on the podium last year to Volker on a tie break. The Xray line-up in the Ride Modified class will be bolstered this weekend by Steven Weiss, the former European Champion Top Qualifier & runner-up having just been announced as returning to the Slovakian manufacturer after a stint with TOP Racing.
Having openly aired his dislike of racing on carpet and having struggled to be competitive at the first two races of the season, Tamiya Racing Factory’s Marc Rheinard will be hoping that he can get his ETS title aspirations back on track with the move to outdoor action. Based on his first asphalt encounter of 2014 at the TITC, where he was 4th behind the all Yokomo podium, the series’ most winning driver looks like he is going to have his work cut out if he is to notch up his first win on the island.
One driver making his return to the championship is 2012 event winner. While Krapp has experienced the joy of standing on the top step of the podium, it is now a distant memory for the German and making his first ETS of the season he will be looking to make a strong impression on his return in this World Championship year. Having missed Round 2 due to racing commitments in the USA, Marc Fischer will be hoping he can master the new asphalt in Gran Canaria as he & his Serpent team search for that first win.
Having secured his maiden ETS victory on the first visit to Gran Canaria, reigning Xray Pro Stock Champion Marek Cerny is chasing a hat trick of wins on the island. The biggest challenger to the factory Xray driver for the win will be own team-mate Jan Ratheisky, winner of Round 1, and Yokomo’s former Champion Zdenko Kunak. In the Formula class Ratheisky is the clear favourite as the defending champion goes for a fourth win in a row.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Saturday, February 8, 2014