Bruno Coelho has drawn first blood at the first asphalt race of the Euro Touring Series season, the Xray driver winning with relative ease with another win in A2 on the championship’s first visit to Spain. Top Qualifier for the Madrid based third round, having dominating the opening final, the reigning champion looked like he might have to work a bit harder second time round. With Marc Rheinard make a much stronger start and keeping with the reigning champion with Ronald Volker in toe, initially a more interesting race looked on the cards but it was short lived. With his Infinity stepping out in the first right hander of the lap, Rheinard would spin out, his race effectively done. While Volker would take up the challenge for a time, even with Coelho having a big moment at the end of the straight, the Portuguese ace would complete the perfect weekend to extend his lead in the championship with his parents on hand to watch his master class.
‘What can I say, it was the perfect weekend’, was how Coelho summed up what is his second win of the season. He continued, ‘From the beginning we were fastest and we didn’t have to change the car much. We ran ARS and it worked pretty amazing’. Explaining his moment at the end of the straight, highlighting himself that he had a few moments during A2, he said, ‘there was less grip this time and also I think maybe there was dust on the track because Rheinard also spin out’. His first race running Savox servos, he said there is always a feeling of anxiety when you are running something new but the feeling all weekend was perfect so its a great start. With the first outdoor race completing the first half of the 10th season of the ETS, Coelho, who was delighted to win in front of his parents, said, ‘to win the first outdoor race is a good confidence boost for the rest of the season’. With Round 4 taking place at Riccione in Italy where he took the win last year he said, ‘My results have been good at Riccione so far and I like the track and the atmosphere there. I also really like the Italian people also so I am looking forward to it’.
Giving his thoughts on A2, finishing a much closer 3/10th behind Coelho, Volker said, ‘things changed after Marc spun and immediately I felt I could hang on to Bruno this time’. He continued, ‘We both checked out from the field and I tried as hard as I could but couldn’t get close enough to attack’. Putting his improved performance down to having ‘changed quite a lot for the heat’, he said ‘it seemed to work a lot better and we’ll adjust one more small thing for the last one’. With it set to be a battle between himself and Coelho, he concluded, ‘We will try to save the podium if not try to take P2’.
Finishing A2 ninth, Infinity team-mate Akio Sobue completing the Top 3, Rheinard said, ‘I had a good start this time and was close (to Coelho) at the end of the straight but the car start to slide in the right corner and I spun out. The felt tweaked then after the contact’. The German continued, ‘I’m a bit disappointed because I could have made a good race. You can see Ronald was now closer to Bruno so I think his car was not as good so think I could have pushed him for the win’. Effectively starting from pole for A3 as Coelho sits out the closing race of the weekend at the ASOGER track, he said, ‘I will go for the podium in the next one’.
While the Volante Modified class winner was decide in A3, the Pro Stock and Formula overall winners are still to be decided. In the Xray Pro Stock class, Top Qualifier Alexandre Duchet made sure he didn’t get caught out second time round. After another great battle with his Xray team-mate Jan Ratheisky, Tamiya driver Christian Donath joined the fight for the lead which saw him and Ratheisky touch at the start of the last lap. This lifted the pressure on Frenchman Duchet who took the win with Donath getting second and Ratheisky third. In Formula, A1 winner Olivier Bultynck looked to have the overall win in the bag before making the first of series of mistakes that dropped the Team Shepherd to eventually finish 7th. Up front Ratheisky came out the better of a battle with Infinity driver Jitse Miedema with Spain’s Ivan de La Calle third.
Bruno Coelho took an easy win in the opening A-Main at the Yokomo Euro Touring Series this morning in Madrid. Top Qualifier on the championship’s first visit to Spain, the Xray driver had no problems pulling clear of the field winning from Marc Rheinard by 1.8-seconds. With the Top 5 finishing as they started, it was Ronald Volker who completed the Top 3, the Yokomo driver having a lonely race running in between the Infinity’s of Rheinard and Akio Sobue.
‘It was a perfect run I think’, was how Coelho summed up his text book drive. The reigning champion continued, ‘It was super cold but my car was very good at the beginning and also the rest of the race’. Setting the fastest lap of the race on his third lap, he said, ‘the first 5-laps I could pull away which shows our car works very good in cold conditions and I will try to do the same in the next round’.
‘Pretty OK start I would say, although to watch it was probably a bit boring’, was Rheinard’s reaction. Having enjoyed his best ETS qualifying result for some time, the German continued, ‘I lost a lot on the first lap, like 7/10th, and I need to make a perfect lap to match his (Coelho) speed or catch him’. Coming into the weekend with a new level of determination, the 4-time World Champion said, ‘overall I’m happy but A2 will be different story because it will be hotter conditions which suits our car better. I hope I can be closer and can put him under pressure more’.
Reacting to his race, Volker summed it up with ‘an absolutely boring final’. Starting third, the World Champion said, ‘I felt I couldn’t attack at the beginning and lost time to Marc in that period. At the same time Akio was dropping back behind me so after 1-minute I was just driving around’. He continued, ‘the car was fine after the first few laps but it was too late to do anything. My fastest laps at the start are too slow to the other guys’. Asked about A2, he replied, ‘I hope to be able to attack more. We expected the weather to be warmer so considering this we will make some small changes for it’.
In terms of close finishes it was the Xray Pro Stock class that took the honour in A1. A good battle between Xray team-mates Alexandre Duchet and Jan Ratheisky. With Top Qualifier Duchet leading for the entire 5-minutes in the final dash to the line Champion Ratheisky got a better run to the loop to steal the win by 0.028 of a second. Ratheisky would also play his part in the best race of the morning which came in the Scorpion Power Formula class. Starting third on the grid he would have a fantastic battle with Top Qualifier Olivier Bultynck as the swapped position but the Team Shepherd driver would come eventually out the winner as Ratheisky got out of shape on the final lap ending his challenge. Behind them Helge Johannessen would have a great race from 9th on the grid to finish 3rd.