Following the thrilling battle in last night’s opening A-Main at the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in the Czech Republic a highlightly expectant crowd would unfortunately not get a repeat of the Marc Rheinard/Ronald Volker duel. This time round Rheinard would roll his Tamiya in the same part of the track as Volker in A1 only this time the race deciding moment came on the second lap. With Rheinard dropping down to seventh as a result, this left a clear track for Volker to take a controlled win over Alexander Hagberg who in turn had a buffer over Yannic Prumper.
Commenting on the race, Volker said ‘to my surprise Marc rolled it and after that it was pretty easy’. The Yokomo driver said once in the position he wanted to be he was able to run his BD7 at his own pace. Setting the fastest lap of the race the defending champion and winner of the previous three ETS visits to Hrotovice said while the car ‘feels not so easy to drive’ he feels he can push it harder if needed. Expecting an ‘exciting’ A3, the German said he is very confident for the deciding Main but added with both himself and Marc having a bad score to go with their wins they both could easily lose the overall win to Hagberg or Prumper. The driver with the most TQs in the championship’s 40 race history, Volker said both himself and Rheinard are having problems with their marshal positions. For A1 Volker went to position 1 only to be moved on by Rheinard, who took his first carpet TQ this weekend since 2010, but this morning when he went to position 2 Rheinard was already there leading to banter between the two great rivals.
Rheinard said he simply made a driver error cutting the curb before the corner leading onto the straight sending his TRF419 into a roll. Being already almost impossible to catch up the leaders, his chances were not helped when having got passed Juho Levanen, the Team Associated driver made contact putting the 4-time World Champion on his roof. Making a change from Protoform’s Speed 6 bodyshell to an LTC-R having seen how much it benefited Prumper in A1, he said for him it didn’t improve his understeer issues. Describing his set of tyres on which he has done all his qualifiers and first two finals as ‘done’ he plans to take the risk of running his second set, which he was not happy with in practice, in the showdown.
‘A clean run , no problems’ was how Hagberg summed up his A2 performance. The newly crowned nitro touring car World Champion, who is showing a new level of confidence this weekend, said benefiting from Rheinard’s mistake he tried to follow Volker but said despite pushing hard he couldn’t keep up with him. Aware that he is in a ‘good position to win’ going into the third A-Main, the Xray driver said it’s going to ‘be really exciting’.
Having ran all over the back of Hagberg’s T4 in A1 but unable to find the extra few millimetres he need to get passed, Prumper said he lost time at the start as his BD7 had a lot of understeer. Between towards the end he said it was still not enough to do anything about Hagberg. Believing the problem was diff related for A3 he said they will break the geardiff in more before the start.
Starting from fifth on the grid Viljami Kutvonen would again finish fourth. The Awesomatix driver said while overnight changes to his A700 Evo gave it a little more steering it was stiil not enough with the Finn declaring they ‘just dont have the pace’ to race those starting ahead of him. Planning to ‘change something’ for A3 he said hopefully he can race rather than have to defend. Behind Viljami, top Portugese driver Bruno Coehlo again made up three places to finish 5th with Serpent’s Marc Fischer completing the Top 6 ahead of Rheinard.
In the Xray Pro Stock class Lars Hoppe completed the perfect weekend to claim his first ETS victory. The ARC team driver has been in a league of his own in the Sport-V-Hotel track taking all four rounds of qualifying and back up his A1 win with another crushing victory in A2. While Hoppe was as Scotty Ernst famously says ‘checked out, gone’, behind the German the early battle was again between team-mate Jan Ratheisky and Marek Cerny. With the Xray’s battling and slowing themselves up a third T4, that of Valentin Hettrich , joined the battle. On lap 9 champion Cerny would get up on the curbing causing him to spin out. With Hettrich now challenging last year’s race winner Ratheisky this allowed Serpent’s Julian Borowski to close in. Unfortunately on the penultimate lap Borowski would tag Hettrich and although he waited on his fellow countryman the challenge was over. In Formula Top Qualifier Ratheisky looked to bag the overall win in the bag but a mistake with 1-minute to go would allow former Champion Herbert Weber’s CRC through for the win setting the stage for the race to be decided in A3.
Chassis – Fenix Su-Zuka Motor – Hobbywing (Handout) ESC – Hobbywing (Handout) Batteries – Intellect Tires – Ride (handout) Radio/Servo – Ko Propo Bodyshell – Fenix Phi-Gamma Remarks – Italian factory driver Matteo Berlincioni is running here in Czech Republic the latest version of Fenix’ Formula car. The front end features some brand new upper and lower arms, that allow for a quicker caster setting without needing to change the arms themselves. they also sport an o-ring as a guide for the front kingpin to smoothen the suspension travel. The steering system has been changed as well, with the servo being brought backwards and is now laid down on the carbon fiber chassis.
Yokomo Euro Touring Series Round 1 Top Qualifier Marc Rheinard saw off a sterling challenge from arch rival Ronald Volker to win the opening A-Main at the Czech Republic event. Leading away the field, the Tamiya driver quickly came under pressure from Volker’s Yokomo with lap 7 producing passes from two of the World’s greatest touring cars drivers that would see a roar of excitement & admiration from onlookers. Having shadowed Rheinard, Volker took advantage of him running wide on the track centre straight to get his BD7 down the inside at the following hairpin. Famed for his ability to make passes where most drivers would never contemplate overtaking, at the next corner Rheinard would squeeze his TRF419 down the inside to retake the lead. Unfortunately as everyone got their breath back and waited for the battle to heat up again, coming onto the straight two laps later Volker would traction roll ending his challenge and leaving him to finish sixth. Behind an equally close battle for what had become second would see Alexander Hagberg just hold off Yannic Prumper.
‘Good in terms of the result’ was Rheinard’s reaction to the race. With both Volker and Hagberg setting faster laps than his best, the ETS’ most winning driver said he just drove defensively. Describing his car as starting off good he said from then on it ‘just got worse and worse’ every lap. Asked about his pass, the 3-time World Champion said ‘I ran a little wide which allowed Ronald to get by but I thought I am not letting him have it that easy and got him back at the next corner’. With no free practice tomorrow morning due to the busy race schedule of the finals, he said defensive driving would have to be his strategy for A2 as he didn’t want to take the risk of running his second set of tyres which in practice left him struggling for steering on an already challenging track.
‘I think the crowd liked it’, that was Volker’s reaction to the race. The defending four time back to back champion continued it ‘wasn’t to be my better hand’ but ‘I enjoyed the battle with Marc’. Happy with the pace of his car, setting the fastest lap of the race, he said while it was ‘not so easy to drive’ he said his traction roll was sudden and unexplainable but his ‘race was done’ because of it. The 3-time Hrotovice race winner, said he was paying for his mistakes in qualifying having to start behind Rheinard but while passing is challenging he is confident for tomorrow as he was ‘clearly faster than Marc’.
Inheriting second, Hagberg said he didn’t have a good feeling with his car for the first two minutes. Feeling as if his T4 was tweaked, the factory Xray driver said as a result he was left to defend rather than challenge for the lead. The Swede said he had no option but to make changes to the set-up for tomorrow in order to stick with Rheinard & Volker.
Running all over the rear of Hagberg’s car, Yokomo’s Yannic Prumper was pleased with his race saying his car was the best its been all weekend. Changing to a different set of tyres, harder rear shock oil and most significantly switching from a Protoform Speed 6 to an LTC-R his car had a lot more steering. Trying as hard as he did, the 20-year-old said he just couldn’t find a way passed Hagberg but the race has given with a lot more confidence going into A2.
Having complained of his car being on the limit of wanting to traction roll in the final qualifier Awesomatix driver Viljami Kutvonen described his run to fourth in A1 as ‘slow and safe’. The Finn changed his set-up to make the A700 Evo easier to drive but said he went too far and it was too easy. Still happy to improve his starting position by one place for tomorrow he will go back a little on the changes made in the hope of having better pace for A2. Starting his ETS debut from 8th on the grid, World Championship runner-up Bruno Coehlo would complete the Top 6.
In the Xray Pro Stock class Top Qualifier Lars Hoppe continued his impressive domination taking his ARC to an easy unchallenged win. As if he needed any help the German benefitted from an initial battle between the number 2 & 3 starting Xray team-mates of last year’s race winner Jan Ratheisky and defending champion Marek Cerny that bunched up the field. Cerny would get out of shape coming onto the straight hitting the boards and then touching Mike Gosvig as he made a pass. The contact ended Cerny’s race but four corners later Ratheisky would go off also as a result of contact with Gosvig. Former champion Martin Hofer was the big benefactor, his Schumacher coming through to take second with Markus Kreder completing the Top 3 just infront of the recovering Ratheisky.
Formula would also prove entertaining. Intially Top Qualifier Ratheisky looked to have broke clear but a mistake on lap 4 allowed a very quick David Ehrbar to get right onto his rear wing. Setting the fastest lap of the race the Serpent driver was very patient but when he went for a move the pair made contact, Ehrbar coming off worse allowing former champion Herbert Weber up through to second. Finding a way back passed Weber only for Weber to spin him out, the CRC driver would wait and give back the position but Ratheisky was now uncatchable winning by almost 5-seconds.