Track Name – Mini Circuit “Ville de Luxembourg” Country – Luxembourg Location – Luxembourg City Host – Luxembourg Model Car Club (LMCC) Surface – Asphalt Direction – Anti-clockwise No. of ETS Races hosted – 2 (2014 & 2015)
The Euro Touring Series returns to what for many racers is Europe’s best track, Mini Circuit “Ville de Luxembourg”. The third year the ETS has brought the best electric touring car drivers from around the world to this small country of just 1/2 a million people. Built in 1999 and 310 metres long, it is the track’s Laguna Seca corkscrew style corner which has an elevation of approximately 2-metres that makes it a circuit revered by racers across the World. Another feature of the track, which many top racers describe as a ‘drivers track’, is a 10 degree banked corner at the end of the main straight.
A driver who claimed his first ever ETS race win at the track last year, Bruno Coelho described the track as ‘quite difficult’. Commenting on the tracks signature cork screw section he added, ‘I really like it but it’s super difficult to be fast through it’. With ‘many points (around the track) to gain time’, he said its a track where ‘the driver is a bigger factor’ in terms of a getting a quick lap time. Another challenge of the track are bumps which the Xray driver said ‘you need to learn where they are so you can adjust your lines to avoid them’.
The penultimate round of the Euro Touring Series travels to Luxembourg this weekend (23-25 June) and to one of the most unique circuits in the world. With its famous Laguna Seca corkscrew section, Mini Circuit ‘Ville de Luxembourg’, plays host to the ETS for a third time as the race marks the 50th race in the world famous championship’s history. While marking a significant milestone for series founders Uwe Rehinard and Scotty Ernst, on track all the attention will be on the three way driver/manufacturer on track battle for the Season #9 Volante Modified title. Securing victory at the previous round which marked the start of the outdoor half of the season, it is Bruno Coelho who leads the way coming into the weekend. Last year the large track proved a very happy hunting ground for the Xray star as it was where he would claim his first ever win of the high profile championship and a win this Sunday evening would see him crowned only the fourth different champion of the ETS.
Behind Coelho, the only double winner so far this season, Marc Rheinard is the closest title challenger, 5-points off his Portuguese rival. Losing out on the win in Luxembourg last year on the tie break, Rheinard will be hopeful that full factory support from Japan for the weekend will give him a fighting chance of taking the title battle to the season finale in Slovakia next month. In Italy the championship runner-up for the last 5 seasons, was without the full TRF squad managing to get a third having not really been a match for Coelho and second placed Viljami Kutvonen. While he missed the A-Main at Round 4, Rheinard’s German team-mate Christopher Krapp appears to have found his way with the TRF419X taking a podium at the recent Reedy Race of Champions alongside Rheinard and winner Ronald Volker.
Having to work much harder this year than in any of his previous 5-consecutive title winning seasons, reigning champion Volker comes into the 5th round with a new air of confidence. With the first asphalt race proving a disappointment after a first win of the season on carpet a race earlier, the Yokomo driver feels his team have made progress with getting the BD7 2016 to his liking with his Reedy Race victory validation of that. A track where the Volker/Umino partnership have celebrated titles in the past with a 7-point deficit to Coelho, they will be hoping come Sunday that they can celebrate that they have a shot at retaining their ETS crown going to Coelho’s home track, the Hudy Arena.
Without the worries of being in title contention and on the back of a very promising result at Round 4, Kutvonen will be looking to go one better and join the elite list of ETS race winners. The Finn and his Awesomatix A800 have shown great promise on asphalt and together with Freddy Sudhoff, who put his example in the A-Main in Italy, they should be a formidable force in Luxembourg.
An exciting addition to the ETS entry list this weekend is the first appearance of the new Infinity team. A major force in the Euro Nitro Series with their driver Teemu Leino claiming the 1:10 win in Germany last weekend at Round 2, this weekend the team brings back two ETS stalwarts to the championship in Jilles Groskamp and Andy Moore. Groskamp was very strong in Luxembourg last year, then as a HB driver finishing on the podium, and with Infinity still to develop an electric touring car he has picked what he feels is the best car for the weekend with both himself & Moore running Xray chassis.
While Jan Ratheisky has already put to bed the Serpent Formula title with four straight wins the Xray driver is not in Luxembourg due to illness meaning the popular class will have a new name at the top of the result sheets. In Pro Stock, Ratheisky is on target for that title too, there will also be a new winner this weekend as all three winners from this season are absent.
Bruno Coelho has put it up to his title rivals by taking a convincing win today at the first asphalt round of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Italy. Handed an easy win in A1, the Top Qualifier would wrap up an extra early win in Riccione with another unchallenged win in A2. With the finals run early due to the impending threat of rain at the first outdoor race of ETS Season #9, completing the perfect weekend gives the Xray driver an extended lead in the championship standings as he becomes the season’s first double winner. With Marc Rheinard ending up with a 3rd for Round 4 behind A3 winner Viljami Kutvonen, the Tamiya driver is now 5 points behind Coelho with two races remaining in which to reverse that deficit. With reigning champion Ronald Volker only fifth in Italy, his quest for a 6th consecutive title is looking increasingly difficult as he leaves 7-points behind Coelho.
‘For sure to TQ and win today is super important for the championship’, was Coelho’s reaction to his fourth ETS win in just 10 races. Commenting on the importance of winning the first asphalt race, the Portuguese ace said, ‘normally on asphalt I am stronger than carpet. I am more confident on it as I started my racing on asphalt but Luxembourg is next and it is a difficult track and the traction is very low so we will see what happens’. Last year the 22-year-old claimed his first ETS win in Luxembourg before going onto win the season finale at the Hudy Arena. Having to work a little harder for the win in A2, Coelho said ‘I made a push at the beginning to get space between myself and Viljami. This allowed me to drive smooth at the end to avoid any mistakes which worked out as he made a mistake so it was all perfect’. Describing his Hobbywing powered T4 as ‘very good’ he pointed out that a contributing factor was his new Montech IS200 body with this the first time he has raced it, a previous attempt blocked by the ETS due to the body having not being commercially available.
Claiming his first Modified podium finish of the ETS, former Pro Stock race winner Kutvonen said, ‘I’m happy with the result. Not many thought I would make the podium on asphalt’. The Finn continued, ‘I’m super happy for the team. Our new car was so good this weekend on asphalt and it looks really good for the future’. Commenting on A2 when he closed on Coelho at the end before crashing his A800 on the straight he said, ‘I was pushing like crazy. I knew I needed to be super close to Bruno if I was to have a chance. I knew the others had finished so I had a Top 3 for the round but I went over the limit and got on the curbs. The tyres were bad after that’ his car flipping on full throttle.
‘Lets say it looks like I am fighting for second in the championship once again’, was Rheinard’s summary of the weekend. Runner-up to Volker for the passed five seasons, the former ETS Champion continued, ‘last year I finished 8th so to end up with my fourth podium in a row is an improvement on a track which is not my favourite to drive on’. His first asphalt race with Tamiya’s latest release, the TRF419X, the winner of the season opener said 3rd today ‘was a good start for the first rollout of the new car’. In contention for second overall going into A3, the 4-time World Champion said, ‘At the beginning I was a little faster (than Kutvonen) but I didn’t want to take any risks because of my P9 in A1, then as the race went on we both had the same speed’.
Missing out on the podium for a third time this season, Alexander Hagberg said, ‘I finished in my usual position. Fourth for a third time this season isn’t too bad but I would prefer to finish on the podium’. Summing up the weekend, the Swede said ‘the problem was to find consistency between runs. Sometimes it was fast, sometimes it was slow, and we need to work on that for the remainder of the season’.
Reflecting on a disappointing transition to asphalt after the high of his first win of his title defence at the last carpet round, Volker said, ‘Of course we came here with high expectations. I wanted to win’. He continued, ‘basically we have to work harder. Everything is in Bruno’s hands now but it’s not decided yet so we will come back better and our hard work will pay off’.
While the premiere title is still far from decided, the Serpent Formula class would be the first title of the 2015/16 ETS season to be decided as Jan Ratheisky completed the perfect championship score with his fourth TQ and win of the season. The Xray driver would have to wait until A3 to seal the deal after finishing 3rd in A2, the popular German leaving Italy with a fourth consecutive Formula title.
In the Xray Pro Stock A-Main, the racing would produce a first time winner in Italian driver Mattia Collina after P2 qualifier won the opening two encounters. Top Qualifier Max Mächler would finally get a win in A3 to secure second overall with the Schumacher of Nicolai Lindegaard completing the podium.