Venue – Sporthotel & Resort Grafenwald Race Hosts – ETS Country – Germany Location – Daun (180km West of Frankfurt) Direction – Clockwise Surface – Carpet No. of ETS Races hosted – 0
Racing RC cars in the hills of the German countryside in February initially sounded liked a bit of a daft idea but the discovery of the Sporthotel & Resort Grafenwalds is the perfect venue for a weekend racing retreat. Last weekend the small town of Daun was invaded by Offroad racers from around the world when it hosted the Euro Offroad Series and this weekend its the turn of the best touring car drivers in the world to go to battle at the holiday resort, the ETS drivers getting the bonus of waking up to a snowy day outside. With drivers living in holiday homes at the resort, the track is located in the venue’s 2,600 square metre sports hall which thanks to the configuration of its tennis courts has allowed for the creation of a track that doesn’t fit the usual rectangle layout. Covering an area of 830 square metres, the layout has also meant a very long lap is possible so much so that rather than 3-consecutive laps normally used for seeding now drivers will count only their best two laps. Featuring a 38 metre long straight, the centre section of the track stretches to 30 metres wide with the layout best described as ‘fast’.
Winner of the season opener in Austria, Marc Rheinard, describes the track as feeling ok to drive but feels it would be much better if it was run in the opposite direction. Run clockwise, he said, ‘I think it would be better the other way around. It would be easier for everyone and there would be less crashes but its the same for everyone so we have the make the most of it’. Asked why he doesn’t like the direction choice he replied, ‘At the end of the straight is a long sweeper. If you hit it your going to brake an arm and then there is the risk of cars coming across the track there from the hairpin if the hit the dot. I think the racing would be better the other way too because you could get a run on someone out of the sweeper and then you have a hairpin at the end of the straight into which to try and out brake and pass someone. In terms of the main challenges of a lap of the track he said, ‘The far away right side is not so easy to see. The right side is a technical point because you come full power in to a chicane.’
‘The track looks very good, it’s very fast and its completely different to what we normal race on’, was how reigning Champion Bruno Coelho summed up the track layout. He added, ‘For me the direction makes no difference. To run clockwise or anti-clockwise would make no difference for me’. Like Rheinard he agreed the right side chicane is one key element of the layout. He said, ‘the chicane is very fast and difficult. You are on full power and if you touch anything you will destroy the car. Its a place to get a lot of time but its very risky’.
Calling the layout ‘unusual’, World Champion Ronald Volker welcomed it adding. ‘which is not a bad thing because its new and challenging. It’s not only big but its a different shape’. Sharing the feeling of his fellow countryman that it would ‘probably better to run the other way around’ he added, ‘anyway its the same for all’. Picking his most challenging areas he highlighted the centre section and the two straights there. He said, ‘you run quite close to the boards and it very high speed’. The Yokomo driver also picked out the furthest away corners as being ‘tricky and hard to judge’. He said they provide a chance to gain time by running tight to the board but the risk was high as their is no corner dot. Both myself and Marc hit the same corner in practice’.
Having celebrated his first calendar year as an Infinity driver by claiming the electric touring car newcomers’ first ETS victory at the season opener in Austria, Marc Rheinard will be looking to extend his lead in the championship on home soil this weekend (2-4 Feb) in Daun, Germany. A brand new venue on the calendar, the holiday resort having successfully played host to the second round of Euro Offroad Series last weekend, Rheinard will be aiming to make it back to back victories at his home race. Winning Round 1 ahead of reigning ETS Champion Bruno Coelho and Ronald Volker, the championship’s most winning driver ended a two year drought of wins and also taking the TQ in Vienna came away with maximum points. That is how he wants to leave Daun on Sunday evening. Rheinard will be joined at the race by Infinity team-mate Akio Sobue, the Japanese diver aiming for a better performance than his 8th last time out.
Qualifying only 4th in Vienna, low by his winning standards, Coelho made the most of the situation to salvage a second after never getting on terms with Rheinard’s pace. Having won 5 of the 6 races last season however, the Xray driver will be determined to get himself back at the top after the 3-month break. Taking a podium in 4WD at the EOS, the Portuguese driver has remained in Germany for the week travelling to the nearby Arena 33 in preparation for the switch back to touring car. Team-mate Alexander Hagberg also joined him in testing and just missing the podium at the first round the Swede has his own point to prove this weekend. Interestingly Xray could have a third challenger for the win this weekend in the form of Viljami Kutvonen. The Awesomatix driver qualified 2nd in Austria but struggled in the finals and just recently announced that for 2018 he has departed the Russian manufacturer. The Finn for now is running under the EuroRC banner opting to run an Xray chassis this weekend.
With the most ETS title’s to its credit, Yokomo has gone through significant changes since Round 1 with the most significant being the departure of engineer Yukijiro Umino. Volker’s personal mechanic, the duo had enjoyed huge success including five ETS titles and the ultimate prize – becoming World Champions. Volker successfully ran himself at the DHI Cup and took the win, albeit with a number of key team drivers absent from the Danish event. The German also faces new opposition from within the team from a returning Yannic Prumper. The multiple race winner ran as a privateer at Round 1 using an Infinity but has since signed for Yokomo. Showing good speed on his debut at the DHI Cup finishing on the podium, a rejuvenated Prumper would go on to the win GP3F in France ahead of Volker and Rheinard and will want to prove he is back this weekend in Daun.
In Pro Stock and Formula the season opener saw Jan Rathiesky back in business with the former multiple champion taking the win and TQ in both classes. Team-mate and reigning Champion of the Xray Pro Stock class, Alexander Duchet didn’t have the best of starts to his title defence just making it into the A-Main by qualifying 10th from where he worked his way through to fifth. The Frenchman will be aiming for a lot better this time round. In Formula, reigning champion David Ehrbar had to settle for second behind Rathiesky so he will want to reverse his 3-points deficit this weekend.
Introduced at the season opener, the Infinity 40+ Masters class was brilliantly received and that is highlighted by the fact over 60 drivers have signed up for the Pro-Stock based class in Daun. Miko Peter took the first win ahead of Top Qualifier Christian Drießle and both are in action again this weekend. The new class for drivers aged 40 or more has even attracted ETS organiser Uwe Rheinard to get back behind the controls for the weekend.
Having risen to become one of the toughest, most competitive & prestigious championship’s in the World over the last decade, the Yokomo Euro Touring Series entered into its 11th season last weekend in Austria. A brand new destination on the ETS calendar, Round 1 would take place in Messe Wien located in the historic Prater district of Vienna right next to the oldest amusement park in the world. Invited to be part of Austria’s biggest modelling show by the organisers of Modellbau Messe, the racing would prove a huge hit with the record 63,000 showgoers with the track surrounded by large crowds throughout the 3 days of competition. A great showcase for the sport, the season opener attracted just shy of 250 race entries from 27 nations and collecting data from each of the drivers at technical inspection here is a breakdown of driver’s preferences in chassis manufacturers.
As the reigning champions in both Modified and Pro Stock, it was Xray who proved the most popular brand of choice. Overall the Slovakian manufacturer’s cars were raced by 1 out 3 of the total entry with its biggest share being in Formula with 36 percent of racers. Sharing the honour of being the second most popular car in the Scorpion Power Systems backed class, with 13 percentage each, was VBC Racing and reigning Formula champions Serpent. Introduced to the ETS program in Season #5, 10 different brands made up the Season #11 opening grid.
The biggest class of the ETS with a grid of 115 cars in Vienna, compared to 72 in Modified and 60 in Formula, the Xray sponsored Pro Stock class saw Awesomatix as the second biggest manufacturer with 19 cars compared to Xray’s 33. Overall it is Awesomatix who is also the second biggest brand when all touring car class numbers are combined. Interestingly despite having announced the end of their famous TRF race team after the season opener last year, Tamiya is the 3rd most popular chassis in Pro Stock just ahead of Schumacher.
Filling the void left by Tamiya in the premiere Modified class, Infinity have made solid gains as they undertake their first ETS campaign as a manufacturer with them the second most popular brand in Modified behind Xray. Taking their first win in Vienna, overall the Japanese newcomer shares 3rd position as the touring car of choice with Yokomo and Serpent – each having 17 users. Xray having a substantial market share of 84 drivers overall with Awesomatix having 26. The Modified class is the biggest in terms of the number of manufacturers represented in the ETS with new additions Mugen, Destiny and WRC bringing the number to 14 different brands.
After a great start to ETS #11, drivers now have an extended break before another new venue awaits them when Sporthotel & Resort Daun in Germany plays host to Round 2 on February 02-04.
With Marc Rheinard putting in a dominant performance to wrap up his first ETS win in 2-years in the second A-Main, the closing race in Vienna, Austria, was a battle for other two podium places. In the end while the order was a welcomed change, it still had a familiar look as Bruno Coelho and Ronald Volker completed the line-up. With Rheinard sitting out the race, it was Viljami Kutvonen who started out front, and despite losing the speed that yesterday allowed him to qualify second, he was hopeful of a repeat of the podium finish he opened last season with. With Coelho getting by Marco Kaufmann quickly, Viljami put in a valiant effort to hold the reigning champion behind him but little over half way in Coelho put an impressive move on the Finn. While the Awesomatix driver tried to come back at him he would touch the boards allowing Alexander Hagberg and Volker through. With Coelho clear up front, Hagberg had to fend off the fastest man on the track Volker but after contact in A1 the German showed great patience with third enough to give secure the final podium placing. Hagberg’s P2 for the round would see him take 4th from Viljami on the tie breaker, the result a big disappointment for the latter following his pace in qualifying.
A driver whose pace went the opposite direction to that of Viljami with him only qualifying sixth but ending up on the podium with the fastest lap of the finals, Volker said his set-up changes were tyre related. The World Champion said, ‘we ran front front tyres from both my sets and that was crucial to my improved pace from A1. I don’t want to blame the tyres but it is something we need to understand better and have a strategy for for Round 2, because of this P3 was the best I was able to do today’.
Multiple former Pro Stock & Formula Champion Jan Ratheisky bounced back with a bang at the Euro Touring Series season opener in Austria today wrapping up a double victory in the second round of A-Main encounters. Securing his first pole position in over a season at the Vienna hosted race, the Xray driver ended a 9 race victory drought in Pro Stock thanks to a repeat of his dominant A1 performance. In Formula, the 4-time back to back champion’s last race win was more recent, the German had to work harder for the win in A2. The man who took the title off him last season, David Ehrbar pushed him hard with the duo swapping positions before Ratheiskyfound his way back passed the Serpent driver to win by half a second. With Ratheisky sitting out A3, Ehrbar would take the win to secure 2nd overall despite a strong challenge from Luke Lee, the British driver completing the Scorpion Power System Formula podium with his Xray.
In the Xray Pro Stock class, A3 was also about deciding who would stand each side of Ratheisky on the podium.Having been one of the surprises of qualifying Simon Lauter could deliver on his impressive P2 qualifying position to take his Tamiya to victory ahead of Tim Benson and Max Mächler.This result would secure Lauter second overall with Max Mächler completing the Top 3.For reigning champion Alexandre Duchet, having qualified last on the grid the Frenchman would salvage 5th overall, a result he will be hoping becomes one of his two throw-outs.
While Mod, Pro Stock and Formula where all decided in the second A-Main, the newly introduced Infinity Masters Touring class went down to the wire.With Christian Drießle winning A1 after a last minute mistake from Top Qualifier Thomas Oehler, it was Hungarian Miko Peter who took A2 ahead of Oehler and Drießle.This left it a three way battle for the win in the closing leg but 3rd place starter Peter found his way to the front to become the first Masters class winner.Joining him on the podium, the class open to drivers 40 years old or more, Drießle took second over Oehler thanks to his A1 win giving him the tie breaker.