Bruno Coelho will start the defence of his Euro Touring Series title from pole position, the Xray driver becoming Top Qualifier at the season opener in Czech after he made it three out of three in the penultimate qualifier. His 5th ETS career TQ, Coelho would again set the pace ahead of Ronald Volker in Q3 even surviving flipping his car. With Top 3 pace setter from Q1 & 2 Viljami Kutvonen crashing out in third qualifier when he ran a wide line on the main straight and then understeered into the boards at the sweeper breaking his Awesomatix, this would allow last year’s Top Qualifier Marc Rheinard to post his best round with a P3 ahead of Alexander Hagberg and Elliott Harper.
‘Having one point already is a very good start to the season’, was Coelho’s reaction to claiming the overall TQ which carries a bonus championship point. Describing his Hobbywing powered T4 as ‘awesome at the start’, he said when he heard he had just posted a fastest lap time of the weekend he pushed even more but suffering a flip this was ‘a signal to stop (pushing) and manage getting the car to the end’. While his ‘car was amazing for the first 3-minute he said he had ‘the same problem as before in the last 3-laps’, the car getting loose in the rear. Asked about dealing with his continuing issue in the finals, the World Championship Top Qualifier said, ‘for sure if I am fighting for the win it will be a problem but all (drivers) are having the same issue so it’s a problem for both sides’.
A ‘similar story to the other qualifiers’ was how Volker summed up his run. The World Champion continued, ‘we changed two things on the set-up and it changed a little the handling of the car but it is still not good enough to catch up’. While the car was now ‘more predictable in the end than before’, he will make ‘another small change for Q4’. A 14-time ETS race winner & 20-time Top Qualifier he said, ‘we need to maintain P2 on the grid which is still open’, two of the four qualifiers counting.
Rheinard said Q3 was ‘for sure a little better’ adding ‘but it’s still a flight (to drive the car)’. Changing to harder shock oil, lowering the diff and switching to a different front spring, the 4-time World Champion said while this improved the car he may also have benefited from the track not being any better (feeling) but a little faster’. Currently sitting P4 on the grid, the Tamiya driver believes ‘the finals are going to be interesting with everyone struggling in the last minute and a half of the 5-minutes’.
‘A bit better, we were closer to the front’, was Hagberg’s view of his P4. He continued, ‘we are still struggling the last minute for rear traction’. Losing time as Kutvonen crashed in front of him and finishing 2/10ths of Rheinard he said ‘maybe without this I could have got third’. For the final qualifier, the 2015 European Champion plans to make further changes to his ORCA powered T4 by going more in the direction they took ahead of Q3.
After spinning while on ‘a really fast run’ in Q2 this morning leaving him 24th fastest, with an improved set-up on his Schumacher Mi6 Harper would enjoy make up for the earlier error to get a P5. The British driver said, ‘we fixed the spinning around thing and that time I could drive harder for all the 5-minutes’. Not wanting to divulge what set-up changes they had made to improve the car he said they included the car’s rear end. A side effect of the change was the car lost steering and so they will now fine tune the set-up to get the car ‘more consistent for the last one’ with a change to their additive routine also planned.
Making his ETS debut in Hrotovice, Yokomo driver Yugo Nagashima would round out the Top 6 for Q3. The reigning 1:12 Japanese National Champion put his improved performance down to a clean run. With ‘too many mistakes’ in the first two heats, the 21-year-old said his car is also getting better each outing but the focus for the final qualifier is on trying harder with his driving. Behind Nagashima fellow countryman Akio Sobue took seventh ahead of the impressive German teenager Thimo Weissbauer with Naoki Akiyama in 9th followed by TRF’s Christopher Krapp.
The Xray Pro Stock class saw Olivier Bultynck put in a second TQ run meaning the Top Qualifier will be decided in Q4. Behind the Belgian Awesomatix driver, reigning champion Jan Ratheisky would enjoy his best heat so far with a P2 ahead of fellow Xray driver Noah Asendorf. The third qualifier of the Scorpion Power Formula class also produced a repeat TQ, this time for Serpent’s David Ehrbar who will fight it out with Bultynck for the first overall TQ of ETS Season #10.
Chassis – Yokomo BD8 Motor – LRP X20 4.5T ESC – LRP FlowX Batteries – LRP 5600mAh LCG Tires – Volante (handout) Radio/Servo – Sanwa/Highest Bodyshell – Protoform LTC-R Remarks – Reigning World Champion Ronald Volker is debuting with the new BD8 at the opening round of ETS #10 in Hrotovice. The German’s car is fitted with an aluminium chassis and extra-hard suspension arms. It also features prototype shock springs, the front ones being progressive. Ronald is also running a final pre-production version of LRP’s all new speedo, the LRP FlowX and interestingly is not using a motor fan, the temperatures of his X20 staying pretty low with no need for extra cooling.
Having opened Season #10 of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series with a TQ run in the Czech Republic last night, Bruno Coelho got Day 2’s proceedings underway with another in Q2. The Xray driver was again the class of the field, his rivals failing to get on terms with the reigning Champion who again topped the times comfortably by ETS standards. Over 2-seconds off Coelho, Ronald Volker was again his closest rival however the German only just managed to finish ahead of Viljami Kutvonen, the Q2 Top 3 a repeat of the opening qualifier. After a number of mistakes left Akio Sobue P10 in the first round, the number 2 seeded driver kept it clean in Q2 to post the fourth fastest time ahead of last year’s event winner Marc Rheinard with top seed Alexander Hagberg completing the Top 6.
‘Very good for sure’ was how Coelho summed up the second of the four qualifiers. He continued, ‘I could pull away at the beginning as the car was amazing and with less stress I could then just manage it to the end’. Claiming his first podium finish on carpet in Hrotovice last year when he finished third behind Rheinard and Volker, he said the qualifying was not without its challenges with him admitting ‘for the last few laps I was struggling with the rear being very loose’. With rear traction a big issue for drivers this weekend but his package appearing to be dealing with it better than his rivals, when asked what he felt is the cause of it, the Portuguese driver said, ‘The tyre, additive or carpet batch could be slightly different but I think the idea of the carpet is out because when we tested at the (Hudy) Arena we had the same problem there. The tyres bring a lot of fluff’.
‘Right away Bruno was pulling away’, was Volker’s reaction to Q2. The Yokomo driver continued, ‘the car felt OK in the beginning and I pulled away from Viljami but half way through it got loose and I was fighting to the end with the car trying to snap away in the rear’. With his best lap time over 2/10th off that of Coelho, he said his struggles at the end resulted in ‘a heads up with Viljami and Akio for second’ while out front ‘Bruno was gone’. Looking to Q3, the World Champion said, ‘We will discuss set-up and tyre prep but we need to find something to get closer to P1’.
Kutvonen was not overly happy with his P3 saying ‘it was ok’. The Awesomatix driver continued, ‘I lost a lot of time at the beginning because in Q1 I started out with wet tyres but the officials changed it now that you must start with dry tyres and I struggling with this so we need to find a way to make it better at the start now’. With this dropping the Finn to ‘2nd to last at the beginning’, after 1 and a half minutes his LRP powered A800 got better but by the end it was ‘so difficult to drive’ – something he admits is the same problem for everyone so his focus is to get the car to work better at the start and just deal with the traction fall off at the end.
‘The car is ok but the carpet is not good, there is still no traction’, was Sobue’s summary of Q2. The Tamiya driver added, ‘the first 3-minutes were OK but after it was loose and too difficult to drive. We need to change something’. The closest driver to match Coelho in terms of outright lap pace, the Japanese driver wants to get his TRF419 ‘easier to drive’ by improving rear traction and will change rear shock and diff oils.
TRF team-mate Rheinard said he had ‘no grip’ and he was ‘just trying to hold the car on the track’. The winner of 14 ETS races, the German said he wasn’t sure why everyone is experiencing the strange drop off in traction adding, ‘we have no idea about these conditions so we don’t know what we need to do’. For Q3 he plans to ‘play with the diff position’ in his Muchmore powered TRF419.
Asked how the changes he made after Q1 worked out, Hagberg replied, ‘not very good’. The Xray driver and former ETS carpet round winner said, ‘the car is super hard to drive. We have to try something new for the next one’. Looking to ‘find more grip at the end of the run’, he continued, ‘I seem to struggle more than the others at the end’.
In the Xray Pro-Stock class Christian Donath, fresh from returning from the Tamiya World Cup in Japan, took his TRF419 to a TQ run in the second qualifier ahead of Alexandre Duchet with former Hrotovice winner Lars Hoppe third. Olivier Bultynck would TQ in the Scorpion Power Formula class ahead of David Ehbrar, who took Q1, while reigning champion Jan Ratheisky recovered from a tough first day to post the 3rd fastest time.