Chassis – Xray T4 17 Motor – Muchmore (handout) ESC – Muchmore (handout) Batteries – Marka 6000mAh Tires – Volante (handout) Radio/Servo – Sanwa/Highest Bodyshell – Montech Nazda 2 Remarks – Top Italian Xray racer Mattia Collina topped Q2 in the Pro Stock class with his Xray T4 17. Having competed at the warmup race 2 weeks ago he is using the setup from that weekend with just the front arms lowered to increase the steering the slow corners. Fitted with the Montech Nazda 2 body shell, he has selected the Precut Asphalt version which is mounted more forward than the Indoor version. Using a lot of brass weights throughout the car, the motor mount spacer and battery supports are from 7075.it with a further 20 grams below the steering rack.
Chassis – Infinity IF14 Motor – Orion VST2 4.5T ESC – Orion Vortex R10.1 Batteries – Orion 6000mAh Tires – Volante (handout) Radio/Servo – Sanwa Bodyshell – Protoform LTC-R Remarks – 2012 World Champion Jilles Groskamp is running the production version of the IF14 from Infinity here in Italy, set to be released in late May. Using the same setup as in Spain he has made a few small changes, such as using the ARS system at the rear which gives the car more steering on power, using a slightly longer wheelbase and switching to softer shock oil for more overall traction. The Dutchman has also raised the front camber link to save the tires, removing the aggressive initial steering, while also having the advantage of more mid corner steering.
Bruno Coelho returned to form when it counted most with the Xray driver taking the opening round of qualifying at ETS Italy. Having set the pace in free practice, the ETS Champion ended up P6 after the two rounds of controlled practice as Ronald Volker topped the seeding. In the evening’s opening qualifier, which would bring the first official day of the fourth round to a close, Coelho was back in business taking the TQ ahead of Marc Rheinard and Volker. Behind the trio of title protagonists, Elliott Harper would put in a strong performance to set a competitive P4 time followed by Jilles Groskamp and Yannic Prumper.
‘We kept the car the same because it was strange that in free practice we were fastest and then in controlled we suddenly went off the pace so we decided to wait to see if something happens. We put on our race tyres and it did, we were fast again’, was how Coelho summed up his return to the top of the time sheets. The qualifying wasn’t without its dramas for the Portuguese driver as he had a ‘big mistake’ on the run onto the straight on his second lap. ‘Luckily able to get it straight again’, it would leave him with a 17-second lap but with his car working ‘amazing’ as it had been in free practice he would lay down the only 15-second lap of the qualifying two laps later as he set about working his way to the top of the timing screens. Pleased to end the day back on form the reigning champion admitted his comeback had resulted in his tyres getting too hot towards the final laps.
‘I can be happy with the result’ was Rheinard’s reaction to his P2. The Infinity driver would suffer a moment on the curbing at the end of the straight on the opening lap and backing it up with his fastest lap on the next lap would lay down the TQ pace. He said, ‘I was leading but could see Bruno was suddenly running a faster pace than me’. Making a mistake on his final lap, Rheinard said even without this he couldn’t have held off Coelho as his rival had the faster car towards the end of the 5-minutes. Looking to tomorrow’s qualifiers with a number of drivers pulling up or choosing to not start Q1, the German said, ‘it will come down to tyres now so lets see how the tactics play out but I think Bruno will run his second set of tyres in Q2 to try and get the overall TQ wrapped up early’.
Having topped both rounds of controlled practice, Volker said, ‘I’m definitely disappointed finishing P3’. A driver for whom the Riccione track has not be kind in terms of results though he rates it as one of his favourite circuits, the World Champion said, ‘the car was good at the beginning but got too much understeer over the run. I couldn’t challenge for the TQ, this was the max I could do for now in terms of my driving. The Yokomo driver hinted that the cold conditions also went against them saying, ‘we have a good feeling for the hotter conditions, we worked towards this because except for Q1, the rest of the qualifiers and the finals will be run during the day time so I am confident for tomorrow’.
‘After the first few laps I had, I’m surprised with the result’, said Harper of his P4. The Schumacher driver continued, ‘I had no grip for the first two laps because we took the warmers off too early but the car was consistent and at the end still quite fast’. He added ‘it is nice to have good result because we’ve put a lot of effort in’. Describing his car as having ‘good corner speed’, the British driver said he ‘just need(s) to focus on driving a little bit better’ admitting to having tried to ‘over compensate’ for the inevitable drop off over the run.
Second fastest in seeding, Groskamp said, ‘the start was quite OK and I tried to follow Ronald but the car broke away and I spun out’. Able to continue after his 360 degree spin, the Infinity driver said his tyres never came back after their run over the dust and he ‘lost a lot of pace’ over the second half of the run. Having to open to let team-mate Rheinard through, he said even without his ‘donut’ he still feels his IF14 is lacking pace over the second part of the run and he will look at a possible shock set-up for tomorrow.
Completing the Top 6 despite running in the second fastest heat, Prumper summed up his day by saying, ‘it started pretty bad but ended pretty good. I was 25th yesterday and 15 in seeding I was off the pace but we got it figured out now’. The winner here in 2015, the factory VBC Racing driver said, ‘I got a little nervous in the middle of the run as the car started to slide but I held it and to get a P6 is a good boost for tomorrow’. Behind the German and also running in the same heat, Spain’s David Pérez would set the 7th fastest time ahead of Naoki Akiyama, Alexander Hagberg and Freddy Südhoff.
Ronald Volker is the top seed for the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Italy. Having set the fastest time in the opening controlled practice, the Yokomo driver bettered his time in the second round when wind caused many drivers, including Volker, issues. Behind the World Champion, Jilles Groskamp would find a big improvement over his opening practice to set the second fastest time to demote his Infinity team-mate Marc Rheinard to third. With Rheinard and Viktor Wilck failing to go quicker in the final practice, Akio Sobue would be the next driver to improve going from P8 in CP1 to P5. The Japanese driver’s improvement would drop last year’s winner Bruno Coelho to sixth, the Xray driver believing additive is the reason for him being off the pace.
‘They were difficult track conditions, a huge wind picked up in the run. I could see cars spinning off and had two spins myself. I actually thought it was raining’, said Volker after the final practice. With a noticeable drop in temperature as the clouds set in, the German continued, ‘My car is still not easy to drive but it looked like I was not the only one with that problem. Of course it is good to be at the top of the times for now but it is the 5-minutes that’s going to count’. Having changed his car after feeling it was ‘bouncing too much’ in CP1, he said while its still not perfect he will stick with his latest set-up for Q1 tonight to get a feel for how it works in the expected colder conditions.
Improving his 3-lap pace by over 6/10ths of a second, Groskamp said the improvement came from a shock spring change. The Infinity driver said, ‘The car feels good now. I didn’t know it was so fast and was kind of surprised when I saw the times’. Having been happy with the 5-minute pace of his IF14 in practice, he said now he had also found 3-lap pace which was ‘nice’ going to into the first qualifier. He added ‘it’s going to be tricky to complete the 5-minutes because that time suddenly everyone was spinning out in the second half of the run. I think it was because of the wind, but it got super loose’. Happy with his car, the former World Champion plans to run it unchanged for Q1.
‘I struggled a bit in the last the controlled practice but it was a good for the team as we ended up with 4 cars in the Top 10’, was Rheinard’s reaction after CP2. The ETS Spain runner-up continued, ‘my car felt loose, there was a little more wind so it was not easy’. Having refreshed the shocks on his Muchmore powered IF14 before the final practice, he plans to run the car as is for the first qualifier. Having also failed to improve his time, when asked about his run Wilck replied, ‘my idea didn’t work, it felt almost the same. It was still just pushing. I will just try to get a 5-minute run in and see where it puts me’.
Also making a shock set-up change to his Infinity, Sobue said while it was an improvement on CP1 the car is ‘still loose’ and ‘still needs more steering’ admitting the wind affected the car. Still not a fan of the Riccione track, describing it as ‘too bumpy’, the first time visitor plans to make ‘small set-up changes’ to try get a more consistent car for Q1. He said, ‘If you make one mistake you end up with dust on the tyres so its better to go with a safe set-up and get a clean 5-minutes’.
Having set the pace in Free Practice, Coelho said, ‘I was first and now 6th. Before I was running shop bought additive and now we have switched to the race additive but I have zero traction’. The Xray driver continued, ‘for the first few laps the car is lost on the track and my laps times are the same as the times I set at the end of the run. They should be opposite, fast at the start and slower at the end. The car is good, it is just the additive and we need to find out what is the problem’.
Ronald Volker has set the fastest time in the opening round of controlled practice at ETS Italy. The Yokomo driver set the fastest 3-consecutive laps of the Riccione track ahead of Marc Rheinard with the big surprise being Viktor Wilck, the Serpent driver going third quickest. Having set the pace over the 7 rounds of free practice from Rheinard & Volker, Bruno Coelho would post the fourth fastest time on the first of the two attempts drivers will have to determine the seeding for qualifying. Returning to racing after a short illness, Viljami Kutvonen would post the 5th fastest time with Nicolas Lee completing the Top 6.
‘It was a decent controlled practice’, was Volker’s reaction after the run with the German adding, ‘3 laps on asphalt doesn’t count for a lot’. Describing that his BD8 ‘felt good over the 4-minutes’, the World Champion continued, ‘we just need to make it more comfortable over the bumps and we are good to go’. Elaborating further he said, ‘the car was bouncing a little too much which cause me to lose the car once so we’ll change the shock set-up for the next one’.
Commenting on his pace, Rheinard said, ‘2nd is not a bad start. I know I messed up my third lap’. The Infinity driver continued, ‘My car felt better in the free practice before but it’s the 5-minutes that is important and overall we have a good base to start with’. Not a huge fan of the track, when asked about its famous bump he replied, ‘its scary, many people are flying off there. You have to go to the outside but the kerb now has no grip because they painted it so it scary every time you go through’.
A while since he featured at the sharp end of the time sheets at an ETS race, Wilck said, ‘for 3-laps its OK but there is still too much drop off’. The Serpent driver said the problem is the car ‘starts to push pretty bad’, adding, ‘for 3-laps I was almost the same pace as Marc but then he could just pull away’. Having exhausted potential cures for the problem yesterday and this morning in free practice, the Swede concluded, ‘we need to do some more thinking’.
Having tried a different set-up on his Xray for the first controlled practice, Coelho said, ‘we didn’t have the right set-up that time but everything will be good for the next one’. Winner here last year, the reigning ETS Champion added, ‘from looking at the lap times I think my car works better than the others but we’ll only see when we start qualifying’. Commenting on the bump, he said, ‘for sure it is worse this year or we are passing faster. On the outside you risk getting on the grass and the inside is the not the right line for the corner. This is going to be what sorts out the big boys, you can get an advantage there or lose everything’.
‘It nice to be back and the sun is shining so everything is good’ was Viljami outlook after CP1. Runner-up behind Coelho here last year, the Awesomatix driver said, ‘I think the car is good but I’m making small driver mistakes all the time’. Describing his A800 as ‘edgy’ for the final free practice, the Finn made changes to cure that for CP1 but this resulted in the car dropping off too much towards the end. For the final controlled practice he said he will go with a set-up in between the two points as well as try to get the driver ‘more dialled in’.
Lee summed up his P6 as ‘OK’ but added it is ‘not so fast just consistent’. Planning to try more set-up changes in final practice, the Yokomo driver said then he would decide what is the best set-up for this evening’s opening qualifier. Suffering with ‘no grip before’ in the morning’s free practice, the Singaporean said changes to get grip were now resulting in his tyres overheating. Behind Lee, Jilles Groskamp would post the 7th fastest time ahead of Infinity team-mate Akio Sobue, this being the Japanese driver’s first time to the track.