February 24, 2017

Chassis Focus – David Ehrbar

Chassis – Serpent F110 SF3
Motor – Scorpion (handout)
ESC – Scorpion (handout)
Batteries – Gens Ace 4600mAh
Tires – Ride (handout)
Radio/Servo – Sanwa
Bodyshell – Gonzo
Remarks – Once again Serpent’s David Ehrbar is the pace setter in the Formula class with the soon to be released F110 SF3. Set to be released next month, the car is using the German’s standard carpet setup which will become the kit setup. The new design which sees the car retain a narrow chassis but through the use of a carbon plate allows the the electrics to be mounted out either side of the chassis while also allowing weight to be placed further back in the car. Using a new body by Gonzo Racing, David also believes that the Serpent wing set gives him an advantage over his competitors.

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February 24, 2017

Volker sets pace in first timed practice

Having had all day to either relax or travel to the nearby Arena 33, once the Modified action got underway this evening at Round 2 of the Euro Touring Series in Muelheim Kaerlich it was Ronald Volker who was quickest off the mark.  Topping the single free practice session, the Yokomo driver backed that up by topping the first of the two controlled rounds from Bruno Coelho, his 3-lap pace a 35.181 compared to the Xray driver’s 35.419. Making his ETS debut with Infinity, Marc Rheinard completed the Top 3 a further 3/10ths off while VBC Racing’s Yannic Prumper made it an interesting Top 4 by putting his car in the early mix.

One of a number of drivers who spent the week testing at Arena 33 in preparation for ETS Germany, Volker was very happy with his opening pace.  Having destroyed one of his race cars at Arena 33 on what was to be his final run yesterday evening when he collected a car stopped in his path giving a 4-hour rebuild to do, Volker ran two cars in the free practice and while similar on pace he opted for what he referred to as the Umino car.  Describing his CP1 performance as ‘a very good start to the evening’ he said the BD8 had slightly too much steering and they would ‘make a little change for CP2’.  Asked about the track layout, the World Champion described it as ‘fast and flowing’ adding the ‘front chicane will be interesting come the final because there is an opportunity to pass there but otherwise there is not much room to pass’.

‘Pretty OK but it is not at 100% yet’  was Coelho’s reaction after CP1.  Winner of last weekend’s TITC, the ETS Champion added, ‘we still need to work on the car and make it faster for sure’.  Asked were he was looking to improve his T4 he said ‘we need more overall traction and steering’.  Team-mate Alexander Hagberg would take his example to the 7th fastest time, the Swede over half a second off on his fastest 3-consecutive laps.

His first ever ETS race not driving a Tamiya, Rheinard, who is nursing a cold since return from the TITC in Thailand, said his SMJ prototype felt like a different car compared to how it was in testing at Arena 33.  The German said, ‘the traction is pretty low even though Pro Stock and Formula had run their first practice and opening qualifier on it and so all the testing we did at Arena 33 is not much use’.  He continued, ‘my car feels like it has no grip but as the tyres get older they get a little more grip which should hep but its still going to be a struggle for traction’.  Infinity team-mate Akio Sobue, the Japanese team having just two drivers at this round, would post the 6th fastest.  The Japanese driver said his car had very responsive initial steering but it quickly turned to understeer and for CP2 he will made a shock change to try cure this.

Prumper declared his P4 as a ‘much stronger start to the weekend (than previous outing)’, the German adding, ‘I think the car is very good for 5-minutes’.   With VBC Racing designed Carven Chow in Germany for the last week for testing, Prumper said this had helped them improve the car a lot although he added there was no comparison between the ETS track, really low traction, and Arena 33, where the traction was really high.  In terms of improving his car for CP2 he said they need to improve it through the right hander after the centre straight where it is a little loose in the rear.  He will change to a softer diff to try improve it.

Posting the 5th fastest time Lucas Urbain said his strong pace, ‘wasn’t expected’.  The French driver who put his VBC into the A-Main during last season’s ETS, said, ‘the last few races have not been good as a team on carpet but we did a lot of work and now all our cars are competitive which is very pleasing’.  The Hong Kong manufacturer’s third team driver Marc Fischer was also in the Top 10 with P8.  Very happy with his car in the high speed corners, saying ‘I really like it’, Urbain feels he can improve the car in the slower corners and will make a front shock spring change for the final practice.

View the complete event results here.

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February 24, 2017

Ehrbar TQs first round of Formula qualifying

David Ehrbar has got Round 2 of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series off to a perfect start, the top seed backing up his practice topping pace by TQ’ing the first round of qualifying in Germany.  Winner of the season opener in the Czech Republic, the Serpent driver had a 2-second advantage over the Xray of Matej Dobnikar over the 21-laps completed, posting the fastest lap along the way.  Fourth fastest in practice, reigning champion Jan Ratheisky would set the third quickest time ahead of Xray team-mate Noah Asendorf, the Swiss driver less than 1/10th off the German.  Completing the Top 5 would be Pro Stock top seed Alexander Stocker at the controls of his Roche.  Runner-up at ETS Czech, then driving for Roche, Season #9 championship front runner Olivier Bultynck would put his new Shepherd chassis in the top heat but the first qualifier would see the Belgian have some bad laps resulting in a 12th for the round.  For the season opener’s other podium finisher René Kölbel, who finds himself in the second fastest heat, Q1 would net the Austrian a P10.

View the complete event results here.

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February 24, 2017

Kreder takes opening Pro-Stock qualifier

Awesomatix driver Markus Kreder has TQ’d the opening round of Pro Stock qualifying at ETS Germany, the German recording 24-laps to top the times ahead of Team Magic driver Patrick Gassauer.  Running together in the second fastest heat, just over 1/10th of a second separated them with Noah Asendorf, also running the same heat, completing the Top 3 just missing out on achieving a 24 lap-run.  While former ETS Champion Alexander Stocker set the pace in controlled practice to be the top seed for qualifying, when it came to qualifying none of the Top 11 that made up the top heat would post a Top 10 time. With ETS Czech winner & early championship leader Alexandre Duchet fastest in a top heat fraught with incidents ahead of Xray team-mate Jan Ratheisky, the times where not there with Duchet’s pace only good enough for P12 while reigning champion Ratheisky found himself down in 15th.   For Stocker, Q1 fared even worse with an incident on lap 3 costing the Awesomatix driver, who posted the fastest lap of the top heat, over 3-seconds resulting in the German being 31st fastest.

View the complete event results here.

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February 24, 2017

Track Focus – Muelheim-Kaerlich

Host – ETS
Country – Germany
Location – Muelheim-Kaerlich
Venue – Philipp-Heift Halle
Track type – Temporary
Surface – Carpet
Direction – Anti-Clockwise
Previous ETS races hosted – 5

The German round of the Euro Touring Series makes its sixth visit to Muelheim-Kaerlich, the race remaining the biggest on the six round ETS calendar with this year attracting over 350 entries.  Held in the Philipp-Heift Halle, the biggest change to previous years is not visual but organisational with the schedule split to accommodate the large entry.  Traditionally each round of practice, qualifying and Mains includes all three classes of the ETS but to make days shorter for racers, these classes have been separated.  This means the first half of the opening day is now dedicated to the biggest class, the Xray Pro Stock class, who will run their practice rounds and opening qualifier before the action switches over to the Scorpion Formula class and ending with the Volante Modified action.

On closer inspection of the fast flowing track, the shade of the black ETS carpet, which while the manufacturer says its the same material, is a lighter colour.   With the carpet coming in the same batch as that used for the nearby Arena 33, where the new indoor facility has been a hive of activity all week with drivers testing ahead of the ETS weekend, the colour difference appears to have little effect the characteristics of the carpet.   In terms of the track size, it again covers the same 20m X 34m area but gone are the plastic lane dividers which have been replaced with wood.

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February 23, 2017

Coelho out to extend ETS advantage in Germany

The Yokomo Euro Touring Series moves to Muelheim-Kaerlich in Germany this weekend (24-26 Feb) with Bruno Coelho looking to extend the championship lead he established after taking the TQ & win at the Season #10 opener in the Czech Republic in December.  Riding on a high from his TITC win in Thailand last weekend where he fought off intense pressure from former ETS Champion Jilles Groskamp in A3 to secure overall victory, Coelho’s mindset for the resumption of the ETS will also be boosted by the fact that the Round 2 venue is where the Xray driver took a breakthrough first win on carpet last year.  That weekend would prove a strong one for Xray with team-mate Alexander Hagberg, a previous winner of the event, making it a 1-2 for the Slovakian manufacturer but their rivals will be determined to prevent such celebrations this time round.   

The first time, since commiting to a full ETS campaign 7-seasons ago, that he is not the reigning champion, Ronald Volker will be hoping extra testing since Round 1 will pay dividends this weekend.  The World Champion was once the dominant force on carpet and while he made the final step of the podium in Hrotovice he was never a match for Coelho.  Taking full advantage of the recently opened Arena 33 permanent indoor track to try and get more comfortable with his Yokomo on carpet, the German will want to ensure he doesn’t go a fifth race in a row without victory, a statistic that has never befell the 5-time ETS Champion before.  An exciting addition to the Yokomo team for Round 2 is former Kyosho/Tamiya driver Christopher Krapp, with the former ETS race winner having previously podiumed in Muelheim.

Equalling his best ETS finish with second at Round 1, Viljami Kutvonen would love nothing more than to go one better in Germany.  The Finn, who has become an established front runner of the championship, got his 2017 season off to a brilliant start in January when he took a convincing TQ & win ahead of Volker at the DHI Cup in Denmark.  Unfortunately illness prevented the ‘Iceman’ from travelling to the TITC but now fighting fit again, he will push harder than ever to give Awesomatix their first win in touring car’s premiere class.

While Xray, Yokomo and Awesomatix are expected to challenge for victory one big unknown for the first race of 2017 is new arrival Infinity.  Having officially announced its EP program last week on the eve of the TITC, the Japanese company has bolstered its EP driver line-up with some big names notably Marc Rheinard. In Czech Republic, the 4-time World Champion marked the end of an era by running a special colour scheme in A3 as he made his final outing with lifelong sponsor Tamiya who dissolved their iconic TRF race team.  With tyre quality issues making for a difficult debut with Infinity at the TITC, Rheinard will be aiming for a much improved showing at what is his home race. Winner of the German round two years ago, Rheinard will be joined in flying the Infinity flag this weekend by ex-Tamiya team-mate Akio Sobue with both drivers running the SMJ prototype chassis.

Elsewhere, after opening the season by putting his Schumacher into the A-Main, Elliott Harper will have his sights set on representing the British brand again in the main event come Sunday.  Last year, the mutiple Worlds finalist claimed a season equalling best for the small factory team with 8th place in Muelheim.  Leading the Serpent challenge, Viktor Wilck had a tough Round 1 finishing 18th, but at the same venue he made a strong debut for his current team in 2015, the World Championship podium finisher will be targeting a significantly better result this weekend.   For VBC Racing pairing Yannic Prumper and Marc Fischer Round 2 is a home race and both will be out to secure the Hong Kong manufacturer a place in the A-Main.  For Fischer it is his first ETS outing with the team, the arrival of his first child stopping him on his travels to the season opener.