Bruno Coelho has effectively claimed the first outdoor TQ of the Euro Touring Series by posting a second TQ run in the penultimate round of qualifying at the Spanish round. With two from the four qualifiers to count, the Xray driver has the perfect score and the added advantage of having the fastest time which he set yesterday in Q1. With his only rival Ronald Volker unlikely to manage a TQ in a quicker time given the Yokomo driver has already used both of his sets of tyres. There is also the fact that a number of drivers still have new tyres for the final qualifier namely Marc Rheinard, Akio Sobue, Yannic Prumper and Alexander Hagberg. Coelho topped the Q3 times from Christopher Krapp and Viktor Wilck, all three on new tyres, while Volker was best of those on used tyres setting the fourth quickest time ahead of new tyre equipped Jilles Groskamp while Freddy Südhoff completed the Top 6 on old tyres.
Reacting to Q3, Coelho said, ‘We made some set-up changes and ran new tyres so everything was very good and that more or less should give me the TQ. The time from yesterday was very good and will be hard to beat’. Asked if he planned to use the final qualifier to test anything for tomorrow’s finals, he replied, ‘we have a good car for the finals so will leave the car the same’. Saying ‘everyone is super close’, last year’s race winner continued, ‘I think here it is very easy to run behind someone as the braking points are easier, its a large and open track layout’.
‘That was really good and I’m happy with the car but still I’m losing time in the beginning on new tyres’, was Krapp’s thoughts on Q3. The Yokomo driver continued, ‘I am losing it all on the first 3 to 5 laps but after that I am on the same pace as Bruno and Ronald so we still need to find the reason for this problem’. Conceding he is ‘not going to get higher in the points’ and adding he ‘hope(s) to stay 3rd’, one thing the German plans for the final qualifier is to copy team-mate Volker and switch from the plastic kit rear C-Hubs to the soon to be released aluminium versions. Volker has been running them from the start of the weekend and has found them to make the car feel more precise.
Wilck described his P3 as ‘a good result’ adding ‘it was the maximum we could get out of it’. The Serpent driver said, ‘I had a lot more understeer this time cause the weather changed a lot but I still need to figure out the problem with power’. Having reported a drop off in power in Q2, the Swede changed the motor end bell and ESC setting for more power but said the ‘power drop was still there. After 3-minutes it feels like there is not enough battery left’.
‘I’m actually happy with my pace on used tyres’, was how Volker summed up his third qualifier. The Yokomo driver continued, ‘knowing I couldn’t compete with Bruno because the track temperature increased I expected the TQ run from him. With the guys behind me now having used up their sets of tyres I will most likely start 2nd so its not too bad’. Suffering one spin in Q3 that cost him 1-second, he explained, ‘the car is more difficult to drive on used tyres. It has great steering and I just lost it the once in the infield section’.
Once more the best of the Infinity team drivers, Groskamp said, ‘again I’m happy with P5 because there is still not the same traction as in practice’. He went on, ‘the feeling is different. There is just less traction and so you have to be more careful but I drove better that time. The gap to Bruno is still big but I think that is because we lack a bit of steering on this track and the track changes a lot each run so it is hard to find it (steering)’. Set to use a rear/rear tyre combination for Q4, he said, ‘its going to be hard again to compare how the car has reacted to set-up changes’. With both his team-mates having new tyres for the final qualifier he said while his chances of improving on his grid position are over he hopes Rheinard or Sobue can boost the team’s start positions.
In Pro Stock the class produced three different TQs in as many rounds as Infinity driver Dominic Vogl was quickest in Q3 ahead of Dane Frederik Mikkelsen with Jan Ratheisky stopping the clocks with the third quickest time. In Formula there was also a third different driver to top the times with Shepherd’s Olivier Bultynck running a TQ ahead of Spanish duo Ivan de La Calle and Gonzalo Garcia. In the Masters class, Beni Stutz managed to go one better than the previous attempt to TQ the round ahead of Christian Drießle while Q1 & 2 pace setter Thomas Oehler was 3rd.
Chassis –Awesomatix A800X Motor –Hobbywing V10 G3 4,5T ESC – Hobbywing Xerun XR10 Pro Batteries –Silverback 6400 Siren-HV Tires – Volante (handout) Radio/Servo – Sanwa/MKS Bodyshell – Protoform Type S Pro-Lite
Remarks – Enjoying a very strong showing here in Spain, Freddy is running the latest version of the Awesomatix A800X. His car is equipped with the unique new inner drive shaft system from the Russian manufacturer called IFJ and IRJ. His car is also fitted with the new bigger foam bumper and newly designed carbon bumper plate which offers direct ‘bulkhead support’. Steering wise he opted for the optional Bell Crank Steering System which they refer to as BSSX.
Ronald Volker has taken the second qualifier at Round 3 of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Spain this morning, the Yokomo driver topping the times from fellow German Freddy Sudhoff with both drivers on new tyres. Having taken the opening qualifier yesterday evening, Bruno Coelho would complete the Top 3 as the fastest driver on used tyres. One of three drivers gambling on sitting out Q1 to save tyres, Viktor Wilck would post the 4th fastest time. The other two to skip the first qualifier, Jilles Groskamp and Marco Kaufmann set the 6th & 7th fastest time respectively behind Christopher Krapp who ran his first set for a second time.
Summing up this qualifier, it again a cold start to Day 2 of the event albeit more sunny today, Volker said, ‘I ran new tyres as I needed to TQ to at least make sure I’m not starting worse than second’. He continued, ‘as expected Q1 was faster so Bruno now has the edge and he can decide when to use his other set of new tyres’. While ‘saving the tyres’ towards the end of the qualifier once he had established an advantage over the field, the World Champion Coelho’s time advantage from Q1 means he just needs to decide which of the remaining two qualifiers to TQ adding ‘I won’t be able to fight with him as I’ve used both my sets (of tyres)’. In terms of his car, Volker changed to a softer diff for the lower grip of the morning track calling it the ‘right decision’ and now having to run used tyres for the remainder of the day said he will decide whether changes to his BD8 are required.
‘Its a good morning’ was a happy looking Sudhoff’s reaction to his P2 run, the Awesomatic driver 1.1-seconds off Volker. He continued, ‘obviously I was on new tyres again. I struggled a little at the beginning with traction maybe because I took the tyre warmers off too early but it improved and I could consistently do laps. The car was really good like yesterday’. Asked about track conditions he replied, ‘there was less traction but now the sun has come up it will get better’.
Commenting on his P3 time, Coelho said, ‘It was an ok round but the track was very slippery’. The reigning champion added, ‘we changed something on the car from yesterday and it was not the correct way so we go back for the next one’. Expecting, ‘the track is going to change a lot’ for Q3, the Portuguese driver appeared pleased with his decision to not run his new tyres in the second qualifier.
‘I drove a little shit the first lap. I spun on the curb coming onto the straight’, was Wilck’s view on Q2. The Serpent driver continued, ‘after that the car came in pretty good but at the end I had a little drop off in power’. Asked if he knew what had caused this the Swede replied, ‘I’m not sure if it was the battery or ESC but I think I just ned to turn up the settings’. On whether he felt his gamble to skip Q1 paid off, he said, ‘I got fourth and maybe that could have been third with a perfect run so it I’m pretty happy with it’.
Krapp summed up his P5 by saying, ‘I was on used tyres so I’m happy with the result. I knew the track was worse today and the advantage of new tyres was not so much. I was surprisingly good against drivers on new tyres’. The Yokomo driver said with his car working well he has no plans to change it with the German’s focus on making sure to get a good run when he opts to use his second set of new tyres.
‘I’m pretty happy with P6. It could have been P5 but David (Pérez) was on his roof and I had to go round him’, was Groskamp’s thoughts on what was his first qualifying attempt after he sat out Q1. The former Champion added his first lap ‘was not good’ and overall his there was room for improvement in his own driving. He said, ‘I didn’t feel comfortable with the weather. The car is not bad. If I drive it better I will be more competitive. We are up again in 2-hours when the track and our bodies will be warmer so it should be better’.
In Pro Stock, Xray’s Jan Ratheisky opened the day with a TQ run ahead of Max Mächler and yesterday’s Q1 winner Olivier Bultynck while in Formula Infinity’s Jitse Miedema denied Ratheisky a second TQ with Bultynck completing the Top 3. In the Masters class Thomas Oehler made it 2 out 2, topping the times ahead of Beni Stutz and Christian Drießle.
Having started out the day somewhat out of position with the 5th fastest time in CP1, Bruno Coelho has risen to the top to end the day with a TQ in the opening qualifier at the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Spain. Carrying the No.2 for qualifying, the Xray driver would deny top seed Ronald Volker the TQ by 9/10th of the second, the current and former champions having a distinct advantage over the rest of the field. It would be Christopher Krapp who would complete the Top 3 just ahead of Freddy Sudhoff while Alexander Hagberg and Marc Rheinard rounded out the Top 6. With many predicting tyre strategy will be an important element this weekend as drivers have been reduced to two sets of race tyres, Infinity’s Jilles Groskamp and Serpent’s Viktor Wilck opted to gamble and not start Q1 hoping to steal an advantage during the remaining three qualifiers on tomorrow’s schedule.
Summing up Q1, Coelho, who took the win on the ETS’ first visit to Spain last year, said, ‘It was very good. Like I said before we found a problem after CP2 that was causing the car to drop off and now it was much better’ although he would add, ‘it is still not perfect’. With the early finish to Day 1’s official action at the Asoger RC track allowing for free practice, the Portuguese driver said he would ‘do some more testing now to further improve the car but overall I’m very happy as the car is pretty consistent’.
‘Sure I am a bit disappointed but overall I’m happy to have pace’, was Volker reaction to his P2 time. Setting the fastest lap time, he added, ‘finishing 2nd when everyone was on the same tyres shows where we are now with our car and Christopher’s P3 shows our improvement on asphalt’. Having set the early pace in the heat, the Yokomo driver said, ‘I lacked a little steering so had to back off against Bruno but I have a tiny set-up change I will try tomorrow to try improve this’.
‘I’m happy with 3rd. Right away I had a good feeling with the car’, was how Krapp summed up Q1. Only 8th fastest in seeding, the Yokomo driver said, ‘Over 3-laps I am not fastest and that is where I am losing 1-second to Ronald and Bruno’. He continued, ‘after 1-minute I am really happy with the car’. Asked what he might change to improve the car over the opening laps he said, ‘I don’t really have an ideas but I will look at Ronald’s car and maybe copy his rear end set-up’.
The only leading driver to fail to improve his time between CP1 and CP2, Sudhoff was pleased with his first qualifying attempt. The Awesomatix driver said, ‘It was pretty good. I’m more than happy even if I missed 3rd place by just 1/10th’. Asked if he had lost that time anywhere in particular, he replied, ‘I think Christopher just went full punch over the finish and I just drove my normal line’. Putting his car back to its CP1 set-up for qualifying he said was ‘easy to drive and has good corner speed’ and looking to Q2 in the morning said, ‘I will just check the temperature and maybe make minor tweaks to suit’.
Having to change to his spare car, Hagberg said, ‘I had a bit of an issue in CP1 when I hit something on straight which destroyed the car so I had to revert to my back up car and we’ve had to work fine tuning the set-up on this’. On its performance in the qualifier he said, ‘I’m lacking a little pace at the start but if we can find something to improve this I should be alright’. Asked if he hoped to use his race car again, the record 5-time consecutive 1:12 European Champion replied, ‘I am rebuilding it now so possibly we might go back to this car’.
Having shown well in controlled practice, the first qualifier was challenging for Infinity with CP1 pace setter Akio Sobue ending up 7th behind his team-mate Rheinard. None too pleased about his pace all day, Rheinard said, ‘It is still like in practice. It pushes like a truck’. Winner of the season opener and coming into the weekend jointed leader of the championship with Coelho, he continued, ‘this is not what we wanted coming here. We are tied on points with Bruno but instead of fight with him for the win its now looking like its going to be a fight to make the final’.
In the other classes it was Awesomatix’s Olivier Bultynck who TQ’d the opening Xray Pro Stock qualifier over championship leader Jan Ratheisky and Max Mächler with the Top 5 all running 14-laps in a 5:02 time. In the Scorpion Power System Formula class the order was a reverse of Pro Stock with Ratheisky’s Xray quickest from Bultynck’s Shepherd with the new Infinity IF11 of Jitse Miedema completing the Top 3. In the Infinity Masters Class championship leader Thomas Oehler TQ’d the first one ahead of Roger Krähemann while a certain Scotty Ernst debuted in the class with a P6 on his first attempt.
Ronald Volker is the top seed for qualifying at Round 3 of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Spain. Having enjoyed a promising day of free practice yesterday when he put his Yokomo top of the times sheets, Volker went from 3rd quickest to the top in the second of the day’s two controlled practice setting the fastest 3-laps with an improvement of almost 1-second over his CP1 time. 4/10ths of a second off, joint championship leader Bruno Coelho would end practice second fastest ahead of CP1 pace setter Akio Sobue. Jilles Groskamp and Infinity team-mate Marc Rheinard completed the Top 5 ahead of Freddy Sudhoff who was the only one in the Top 28 not to improve their time on the second 4-minute controlled practice run.
‘That worked out well, I didn’t change the car as I expected to have more grip from the track and that’s what happened’, was Volker’s reaction after CP2. The multiple ETS Champion, who has been enduring a lean patch of late in terms of results, added, ‘The 3-lap pace was good but it was also good over the 4-minutes which is good for qualifying’. Admitting the car ‘pushes a little’, the German is happy he can manage it saying ‘I try not to stress the tyres too much. Normally we get three sets (of tyres) but now they have changed it to just two sets so it is going to be a little more about tyre strategy’. With Day 1 of the event set to end with the first of four scheduled qualifiers, Volker will ‘leave everything as is for Q1’.
Only P5 after CP1, Coelho summed up his second practice as ‘a good round’. The Xray driver said finding a problem after the run he even more looking forward to qualifying. Only slightly elaborating on what the problem was, he said, ‘the performance dropped a lot after 1-minute but afterwards we found something that would cause this so we can improve more’. Changing ‘small details but nothing much’ between the two practice runs he said the biggest difference came from the track adding ‘for sure the track is getting better now and it is going to get better in the future’. He concluded, ‘everyone is very close so lets see how it (Q1) goes’.
‘I changed set-up and it was not good’, was how Sobue summed up CP2. The Infinity driver added, ‘I think the track was better but now I had more understeer and the car was loose so I will go back to the set-up from before’. With most drivers able to register an improvement on their CP1 time in tenths of a second, the TITC Champion’s improvement was just 0.036.
Groskamp declared himself ‘happy so far’ after improving to fourth quickest. With Spain the former Champion’s first ETS outing of the current season, the Dutch driver said, ‘my 3-laps were just consistent and I think the car for 5-minutes should be fine but I don’t know what other guys are doing. So far we have all been running 4-minutes not 5 so qualifying could have some surprises’. He also highlighted the reduction of permitted race tyres to two sets saying ‘strategy will be important’. Feeling ‘nobody is really faster’, he plans only to ‘slightly change the diff’ for Q1 saying, ‘I already made a lot of changes moving closer towards the set-up of Akio. The traction is not high so you can’t expect a lot of bite from the car’.
‘Still not happy, I’m changing many things but it still the same’, was Rheinard’s thoughts at the conclusion of practice. The joint championship leader went on, ‘I will try to get a clean run in Q1 but for sure I’m not fast enough over 5-minutes’.
Dropping from 2nd quickest to 6th, Sudhoff said, ‘the car is too easy to drive now. It is still consistent but lacking a bit of steering’. Deciding to change the down stop on his Awesomatix he felt this in combination with the track being a little hotter was ‘too much’ and caused the car to push and he will revert back for Q1. The German, who qualified and finished 9th here last year, said, ‘My aim for the first qualifier is to do a good 5-minutes because being consistent is most important’.
Chassis – Yokomo BD8 2018 Motor – LRP X22 4.5T ESC – LRP Flow X Batteries – LRP LCG 6400mAh Graphene 2 Tires – Volante (handout) Radio/Servo – Sanwa/Highest Bodyshell – Protoform Type S LW
Remarks – Setting the pace in Thursday’s free practice before evening rain stopped play, Ronald is using a standard kit version of Yokomo’s BD8 2018 with him pointing out his set-up is even the one that is recommended in the kit instructions. The main optional part on the car is the use of the Japanese company’s RTC (Rear Toe Control) system in the rear, more commonly known as ARS. Apart from this usual switch to titanium screws and turnbuckles, one interesting part on the car is the use of aluminium rear C-hubs. Soon to be release as an optional to replace the plastic kit versions, Ronald says the extra stiffness of the aluminium makes for a more precise feeling. Another feature of the World Champion’s car is the self made battery holder of which Ronald is quite proud of his handy work.
The outdoor part of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series is now official underway with Akio Sobue topping the first seeding round at the large Osoger RC track in Madrid, Spain. With huge anticipation ahead of the first asphalt round, drivers always looking forward to racing outside, it has it risks and overnight rain delayed the official start to the weekend by 4-hours. Luckily the majority of drivers managed 6 rounds of free practice yesterday (Thursday) on the large track allowing the event to start directly with the first of the 2 seeding rounds. Setting a fastest 3-consecutive laps time of 56.652, Sobue’s advantage was substantial with the Infinity driver’s closest rival Freddy Südhoff some 4/10th off. An impressive start to the weekend from Südhoff, it was Ronald Volker, quickest yesterday, who completed the Top 3, 5/100ths of a second back. For Championship leaders Marc Rheinard and Bruno Coelho, they set the 4th and 5th fastest times respectively with Viktor Wilck completing the Top 6.
Reacting to his pace, Sobue said, ‘the car is good in terms of outright speed but over 4-minutes the others are closer’. The newly crowned TITC Champion added, ‘we need to work on consistency so the drop off is not so much’. A fan of the large track and in particular it’s ‘super flat’ surface, the Japanese ace said he expects the grip to come up for CP2 and they will also change his IF14 set-up to account for that’.
Commenting on his marked improvement over the last ETS race, Südhoff said, ‘Finally my health is better. I had bigger issues than racing at the last round and had to leave early but doctors found something and now I can focus on RC again’. The Awesomatix lead driver said, ‘the past two weeks I could practice in Germany as the weather is good and the set-up we found from that has worked from the very first battery we ran here’. Planning no changes to his car, the German feels based on yesterday the track will stay the same for the second controlled practice. Asked his thoughts on the track he replied, ‘I think its one of the Top 3 tracks in the world describing it has ‘open, fast but still with tight corners. Its a good mix’.
Volker said, ‘Like expected the grip was worse than yesterday’. The Yokomo driver continued, ‘I purposely didn’t change the set-up to get a feel for the balance. I couldn’t go super fast in the opening laps but I’m happy with the 4-minute pace’. Expecting ‘the grip will be better in CP2’, the World Champion again plans to leave his BD8 set-up unchanged after it showed good pace yesterday.
Summing up his run to the 4th fastest time as ‘average’, Rheinard said, ‘I’m not really happy’. Runner-up in Madrid last year behind Coelho, the Infinity driver said, ‘It looks better than it is on the time sheets’. He continued, ‘For 5-minutes it feels no chance as it just gets slower and slower’. For his next run, the winner of the season opener will try a different rear swaybar and narrower hexes but said the issue is he is ‘lacking steering’.
A driver who everyone expects to see at the top of the timing sheets, Coelho’s P5 in CP1 is a surprise. The Xray driver summed up his performance with ‘it was ok’ adding ‘the car is ok but not super fast’ putting it down to the ‘track conditions are quite tough’. The reigning ETS Champion reported a mistake on his second lap saying ‘at the same time four cars spun out, it might have been the wind but it was strange’. Asked about track conditions compared to last year he was quick to highlight that all cars are ‘now 1-second fastest than last year because of improvements in the cars, bodies, tyres and electronics’ but he feels the track is going to improve over the the day ‘and then we can enjoy more the race’.
Despite setting the 6th fastest time, Wilck felt he had a better car in free practice yesterday. The Serpent driver, who is happy to be back racing on asphalt having struggled at the two carpet rounds, said, ‘we changed from yesterday and it was not better so I will go back and try one more thing with the shocks’. While looking good over 3-consecutive laps, the Swede said the pace is ‘not so good over 4-minutes’ and ‘that is why we will change back. Yesterday was more consistent’.