A new season of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series got underway in Vienna, Austria, today with practice ending with a familiar theme to last season as Bruno Coelho topped the times. Having topped free practice, the Xray driver would lay down the fastest 3-consecutive laps in the first of the controlled practice runs with no one able to better the pace in the second and final practice. It would be Ronald Volker who would top CP2, but like Coelho he couldn’t beat his earlier time. Behind, Alexander Hagberg would complete the Top 3, the Xray driver improving his time in CP2 by more than 4/10ths of a second. Also improving in CP2, Naoki Akiyama is seeded P4 for qualifying ahead of Infinity pairing Akio Sobue and Marc Rheinard.
Summing up his practice at Messe Wien, the ETS running as part of Austria’s biggest hobby show, Coelho said, ‘the last one I had a lot of mistakes and traffic but the car is working good. I just need to drive more consistent and with less mistakes’. The reigning champion added, ‘I haven’t changed the car during the practice, I have just worked on adapting to the track’.
‘It is surprising the track didn’t improve more’, was Volker’s reaction as he came in from marshalling with him adding, ‘Normally you expect it to change a lot more’. The Yokomo driver continued that for the final practice ‘I focused a bit more on my driving for a clean run and it worked out well’ – his overall time the fastest of all four practices. He added, ‘The Top 10 is very close to each other so you have to be faultless’. On his car, the World Champion said, ‘the balance is good we just need slightly more steering’.
Reacting to his P3 seeding, Hagberg said, ‘it is getting better and its is pretty good now’. The Swede added, ‘the track changed and the grip came up which is better for our set-up and hopefully it will be even better in qualifying’. Commenting on the track layout the multiple ETS race winner said, ‘it is nice to drive. There are some small bumps in the carpet but this is the only negative point’. Asked about changing his car for Q1 he replied, ‘I will talk to my mechanic about making a small change’ – his mechanic being the T4’s designer Martin Hudy.
Akiyama was pleased with the performance of his Yokomo but less happy with his own driving. Describing the track as ‘a little difficult’, the 18-year-old added, ‘there are many long corners’. Planning to leave his BD8 unchanged for Q1, the World Finalist said, ‘I need to focus more on my driving for qualifying’.
Fellow countryman Sobue was having similar issues to Akiyama. The Japanese National Champion said, ‘the car is good but the driver is making too many mistakes’. Also finding the track ‘a little bit difficult’, he was complimentary of the track saying it was better than any of the carpet tracks he raced on in the ETS last season. While hoping to make his IF14 a little more balanced for his first qualifying attempt he concluded, ‘the big thing is to improve the driver’.
Completing the Top 6, Rheinard summed up his practice as having gone ‘pretty OK’. The German continued, ‘my 3-laps are not super fast but on a full run I’m consistent’. He added, ‘Things looked bad in the first one because Bruno was 1.7 in front but it’s got better’. Using the four practice runs to break in two sets of race tyres, the Infinity driver is confident these will each bring him a further improvement in qualifying when they will be on their optimum 3rd run. In terms of liking the track layout, he said, ‘it is kind of fast so many people have the same speed but it is a good layout’.
Setting the seventh quickest time, Awesomatix’ Freddy Sudhoff said the final practice was the first time he was confident with the car and therefore able to push. The German said, ‘we struggled a little with the layout and set-up but at least we could improve run after run’. Having been able to improve his lap times in CP2, he said now they need to look at finding a little more overall traction for qualifying. Behind Sudhoff the Top 10 was completed by Olly Jefferies, Marco Kaufmann and Awesomatix team-mate Viljami Kutvonen.
Track Name – Messe Wien Club – HSH Traiskirchen Country – Austria Location – Vienna Direction – Anti-clockwise Surface – Carpet No. of ETS Races hosted – 0
Season #11 of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series gets underway at an exciting new location as drivers descend on Austria’s largest model show which is expecting almost 50,000 visitors. Invited to be part of ‘Modellbau 2017’ by the show organisers, while this is the championship’s 7th visit to Austria, it is the first time the country has hosted the season opener. Surrounded by trains, slot cars, rc drifting, military RC battle fields, RC construction sites and everything modelling related, the ETS has taken over around half of one of the Messe Wien’s exhibitions hall with the show already bringing in large crowds, helped today (Friday) by the fact it is a national holiday in Austria. Led by Daniel Raimann and Robert Bachofner with a team from local club HSH Traiskirchen, the track build for the show was a bigger undertaking than normal for an ETS indoor race. As with most exhibition halls there are covered over cable tunnels running throughout the hall to feed electrical supplies to exhibitors stand and so to have the flattest possible surface on which to lay the track carpet a wooden subfloor had to be built prior to the start of the ‘normal’ track build’.
Covering an area 34 metres long by 20 metres wide, the additional bonus of the subfloor is that the boards can be screwed into position making for a better presented track layout. Coming into the weekend chasing a third consecutive ETS title, Bruno Coelho described the layout as ‘fast & technical at the same time but fun’. Adding the track is ‘a little bumpy’ he said while ‘there is not really one place you can make or lose time’ he added that the chicane in front of the drivers stand was very challenging. Coming into it fast, the sweeper before it having already been tweaked during practice from its original layout, he said, ‘the entry is very fast and then you are turning left and right on the brakes’.
Asked his thoughts on the track, Ronald Volker said, ‘the layout is good but it could be a little more tight. Now the lap times are very close however its a nice and flowing layout’. The Yokomo driver shared rival Coelho’s view on the standout section of the track saying, ‘the long fast corner in front of the driver stand into the chicane is the hardest corner’. On the track surface, he said, ‘It is a bit bumpy but for me it is ok’.
One new addition to the ETS this weekend is the introduction of the Infinity Masters Touring Car Class. Open to drivers 40-years old or over, the class runs to the championship’s regular Pro Stock rules with 29 drivers signing up for the class here in Austria.
After celebrating the completion of 10 seasons of world class racing back in July, the Yokomo Euro Touring Series is set to enter into a second decade of high profile competition as Vienna hosts the opening round of Season #11 this weekend (27-29 October). Taking place as part of the ‘Modellbau 2017’ model show in the Austrian Capital, the 58th race of the ETS also marks the 8th consecutive season of Yokomo being the title sponsor of the Uwe Rheinard and Scotty Ernst created championship with the Japanese manufacturer one of a number of teams looking to take on the domination of a certain Bruno Coelho. As back to back champion, Coelho enters into only his fourth season of the ETS as the pre-season favourite. Also champion of the Euro Offroad Series and the Euro Nitro Series, last season the Xray driver claimed a record 5 wins from 6 races and getting fed up of being in the shadow of the Portuguese driver his rivals are more determined than ever to change this over the coming season.
Having had his 5-year reign as the ETS master brought to an end by Coelho, Yokomo’s Ronald Volker wants his title back as the 2017/18 championship will lead the drivers into the World Championships in South Africa.As the reigning World Champion, Volker was the only driver last year to beat Coelho when he won Round 2 in Germany – a carpet race. Overall Season #10 was a difficult one for Volker, the German having struggled to get to terms with Yokomo’s latest offering but armed with a new car there are high hopes he will be able to take the title fight to Coelho. Backing up Volker, Yokomo’s protege Naoki Akiyama is back for another ETS campaign.
Last season’s opening race marked the end of one of the longest standing driver deals of our sport as Marc Rheinard drove his final race for Tamiya in the Czech Republic. Going on to join newcomers Infinity from Round 2, marking the occasion with a podium finish, the 4-time World Champion went on to settle in well with his new team. Sharing the honour of the most career wins in the ETS with Volker, the German will be looking to take that honour back exclusively for himself by claiming a 15th ETS victory and his first not driving a Tamiya. Having become 1:8 Onroad World Champions in the ETS off season, the Japanese manufacturer also have strength in Akio Sobue. The Japanese National Champion has shown great form over the Summer and will be looking to carry that into his ETS campaign. While not an official team driver, multiple race winner Yannic Prumper will also drive an Infinity this weekend and having the German back in the mix for a race win would be an exciting prospect for the championship.
Elsewhere in the Volante Modified class, Awesomatix and Schumacher will strive to take on the big three. Russian outfit Awesomatix will again be led by Viljami Kutvonen and Freddy Sudhoff. Kicking off his campaign with a podium finish, Kutvonen went on to enjoy his best championship finish last season ending up fourth overall behind Coelho, Volker and Rheinard and ahead of Alexander Hagberg and Sobue.Schumacher also enjoyed a podium finish last season with 3rd place in Italy thanks to Elliott Harper and once again the British company will count on home grow talent to lead the team.One to watch this season should be Tim Wahl.The Xray driver was the star of the season finale at Ettlingen with his efforts over the years rewarded with his first podium finish. Huge motivation for the German, he will be looking to open the new season just as strongly.
In Pro Stock, a driver who was little known last season enters into his second ETS campaign as the defending champion. Making his ETS debut at the season opener in the Czech Republic, Alexandre Duchet went on to win that event adding a further win enroute to becoming champion.The Frenchman didn’t have it easy with former champion Jan Ratheisky, Tamiya driver Christian Donath and Awesomatix’ Olivier Bultynck taking the title fight to the final round. In Formula, Serpent’s David Ehrbar lifted his first ETS title with the Serpent driver also denying Ratheisky and Bultynck.
The final round of A-Mains at the ETS Season #10 finale has been rained off. A weekend of hot conditions with around half an hour left to go to bring the season to a close, heavy rain arrived at Minidrom Ettlingen drenching the track and ending any chances of running the A3. With the overall wins in Modified and Formula already decided in A2, Bruno Coelho and Tim Benson the winners, it was the Pro Stock class that lost out. With Olivier Bultynck winning A1 and Alexandre Duchet A2, with only two Mains run it was the best result of two to decide the final result with a fastest winning time giving it to Bultynck over the new champion Duchet. Tobias Vogel, third in A1 completed the podium in Germany. In terms of the podium for Modified, a faster P2 in the opening A-Main would give Infinity’s Naoto Matsukura his second consecutive podium while Xray’s Tim Wahl, second in A2, celebrates his first ever ETS podium, the German putting in a great home event. Behind first time ETS winner Benson, in Formula Matej Dobnikar would end the season with his best ever result finishing second while Jitse Miedema, second in A2, completed the podium. Newly crowned champion David Ehrbar rounded out his season with 7th place.