Track Name – fahr(T)raum Country – Austria Location – Mattsee Host – fahr(T)raum Surface – Asphalt Direction – Anti-clockwise No. of ETS Races hosted – 1 (2014)
First appearing on the ETS calendar last year, Round 4 is something unique to the championship. Although classified as an outdoor race, racers don’t have to worry about what the Austrian weather brings during their time in Mattsee as the temporary track is covered by one massive marquee. Taking place in the small town which is situated 20km north of Salzburg, the race is hosted by fahr(T)raum, a museum that pays homage to Porsche car company founder Ferdinand Porsche and bringing the race here came about following a request from Porsche’s grandson Ernst Piech. A keen modeller himself, Piech wanted to bring a modelling event to the museum he set-up to tell the story of his grand father and putting the idea to Michael Klausner who owns the MK Racing model shop in Salzburg this is now the second year over 250 drivers have travelled from around the World to go racing on what is normally the museum’s split level car park – the track on the lower level overlooked by the pits.
The biggest improvement made following the inaugural running of the event 12-months ago is now instead of separate marquees for the pits and the track the entire ETS set-up is housed in one extremely large marquee. If just building such a ‘tent’ was not a big enough challenge, the hill side split level it covers meant that the supporting legs on one the top side of the hill had to be specially modified just for this event. In terms of the track, the layout very similar to last year, the black plastic track boards have been replaced with wood – the majority of it painted white after visibility issues last year – and new plastic curbing. Originally manufactured by a Japanese company for use in constructing drift track, the curbing which has been screw fixed to the asphalt is proving popular with drivers as riding them doesn’t unsettle the cars.
After just a short two week break the Yokomo Euro Touring Series is back in action this weekend (May 1-3) as Round 4 of the championship takes competitors to Mattsee in Austria. A venue that first appeared on the calendar last year, the event hosted by the fahr(T)raum Museum, a homage to Austrian automotive pioneer Ferdinand Porsche, brings a unique track to the world famous touring car championship. While classified as an outdoor asphalt race, the US boards style track is actually enclosed under one massive marquee that has been erected just for the ETS’ visit.
At an action packed Round 3, when the championship made a successful & long awaited return to Italy, Yannic Prumper took the win ending a 3-year winning hiatus and the Yokomo driver travels to Mattsee with new confidence. Last year the German pushed his team-mate Ronald Volker to the limit in A2 and then held off intense pressure himself from Marc Rheinard in A3 to finish runner-up behind Volker, so the track style is one which the 21-year-old relishes. With his quest for a fifth consecutive title taking a setback in Riccione when he failed to make the podium for the first time in 15-races Volker will be aiming to put the dramas of Round 3 behind him. Achieving his 10th ETS win in Austria last year his target this weekend is firmly on taking that tally to 12. After achieving his first ETS podium in Italy shooting him into title contention, Yokomo’s Meen Vejrak will be hoping he can go one better this weekend after describing Riccione as a break through race in terms of him adapting his driving to the BD7.
The star performer at Road Race Riccione RC Circuit Marco Simoncelli but ending up only third overall after contact with Volker in the opening two A-Mains, Bruno Coelho will be out to prove a point. Staying on in Italy, the Xray driver would take his first big victory by winning 1:10 200mm at the opening round of the Euro Nitro Series in Bologna. Dropping to fourth in the standings after finishing 6th at the third round, Coelho’s senior team-mate Alexander Hagberg goes into the event in need of a good result if the Swede is to stay in the title chase.
One of the three different drivers to win a race this season Marc Rheinard will be hoping the change of track will help his Tamiya team find the form he showed when he won Round 2 on carpet in Germany. Struggling as the championship moved to asphalt, his World Champion team-mate Naoto Matsukura not even making the A-Main in Italy, Rheinard can’t afford any more disappointing results as the second half of Season #8 kicks off this weekend. While Matsukura is not travelling over from Japan, new recruit Christopher Krapp should benefit from having had more time with his new car since Italy when he had his first outing with the championship’s most winning manufacturer.
Making his HB team debut at Round 3, two time ETS Champion Jilles Groskamp will be looking to build on the knowledge and experience gained from that outing as he makes his first visit to the contrasting fahr(T)raum track. Both his team-mates Andy Moore and Freddy Sudhoff, then driving for Awesomatix, made the A-Main in Austria and the 2012 World Champion, a strong team player who appears very happy in his new environment, should be able to get up to speed quickly between the boards.
After struggling in Italy with both their drivers failing to make the A-Main. Serpent will be hoping to bounce back to form with new signing Viktor Wilck and Marc Fischer. This was a strong event for Fischer last season as he finished 4th overall. Representing the TRF squad last year, Wilck qualified strongly in 3rd but didn’t have good finals ending up 10th.
In the Xray Pro Stock class Marek Cerny will be chasing a hat trick of wins having turned around a poor start to his title defence with victory in the last two outings. 2014 Pro Stock winner Jan Ratheisky is back but the Formula champion will be racing with an injury. Hospitalised after a fall while marshalling at a local race, the popular German was forced to miss Italy. Having just been cleared by his doctors to travel but still unable to prepare his cars himself due to his shoulder injury he has drafted in a mechanic so he can race in Austria. With Ratheisky feeling it will be ‘impossible’ to win in his condition, in Formula Serpent’s David Ehrbar will be aiming for a repeat of his maiden win at Round 3.
Last weekend (10-12 April) the Yokomo Euro Touring Series made a long awaited return to Italy with Round 3 taking racers to Road Race Riccione RC Circuit Marco Simoncelli. The 42nd running of an ETS race, while the weekend would prove hugely successful becoming the championship’s biggest outdoor event it would also give the rc community the chance to honour the memory of MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli after whom the track is proudly named and make a donation to the Marco Simoncelli Foundation which is based just a few hundred metres from the track.
On the Sunday of the event the ETS organised a raffle to raise funds for the non-profit social welfare organisation with the three reigning world champions, Naoto Matsukura, Marc Rheinard and Alexander Hagberg donating bodyshells along with both Yokomo and Xray donating kits as prizes. A rider who had a huge following within the world of rc racing, with his 58 race number being carried by all the top ETS drivers following his tragic death in 2011 and defending ETS champion Ronald Volker carrying the famous 58 on his car over the weekend, the raffle would raise €650.
Following the event, ETS organiser Uwe Rheinard together with the series time keeper Hartmut Wenzel and press officer Oisin O’Briain visited the Foundation’s offices on where Marco’s girlfriend Kate Fretti accepted the donation. In acknowledgement of the donation, which will go towards the building of a day centre for the disabled in Marco’s home town of Coriano, the Marco Simoncelli Foundation issued a silver membership card to the ‘ETS Family’. Having built a link with the Foundation, both Kate and the ETS have pledged to form a greater collaboration for the benefit of the charity when the Euro Touring Series returns to Riccione next season.
Yannic Prumper ended a 3-year winning hiatus today when he headed a Yokomo 1-2 on the return of the Euro Touring Series to Italy. Last winning an ETS encounter in 2012 when he took victory at the season finale in Traiskirchen, the German claimed his third ever ETS win today in Riccione thanks to his A1 winning race time. Going into the third A-Main as one of three drivers who could take the overall win, second would secure him the top step in the podium, his A1 time giving him the tie break over A2 winner Meen Vejrak. Vejrak’s ETS first podium finish, the first asphalt race of Season #8 would also see Xray’s Bruno Coelho claim his first podium of the championship, the exciting Portuguese driver gaining a lot of new supporters with his efforts over the weekend. For defending champion Ronald Volker the event would end a 15-race, 3-year, run of podium finishes for the Yokomo driver as he finished 4th overall. Top Qualifier in Italy, the bonus point for pole position means with half the season complete Volker still maintains his lead in the points standings.
‘Finally after 3-years of being so close its worked out’, said a very happy Prumper. Starting from third on the grid behind Volker and Coelho, the 21-year-old said while he had no idea why his Muchmore powered BD7 was better than the previous two mains he also ‘got lucky when Bruno had a slide at the beginning (of the race)’. Allowing him through to second on the opening lap, Prumper would hold position until a recovering Coelho attempted a pass on the penultimate lap but contact would result in a body tuck yet again scuppering an exciting climax to the race. With a body tuck also ruining the prospect of a great battle between Volker and Coelho in A1 maybe its time the structure of bodyshells needs to be looked at. On the final lap Coelho would let Prumper resume position, the winner complimenting his competitor afterwards for showing ‘great sportsmanship’. Putting him right in the championship hunt as he sits just one point off Volker, Prumper said he is already looking forward to Round 4 in Mattsee in three weeks time pointing out it was a strong track for him last year as he made Volker work hard for the win there.
Happy to claim his first ETS podium finish and be part of a Yokomo 1-2, Vejrak was at the same time a little frustrated he never got the chance to race with his team-mate for the overall win in A3. Starting fourth behind Prumper, an out of shape Coehlo would make contact with his BD7 sending him off the track and back to last. Setting the fastest lap of A3 he said while his car was ‘really good’ the time lost on the first lap was too much to make up. His first ETS outing of the 2014/15 season, the 2012 Nitro Touring Car World Champion said the weekend has shown he has made a big step forward with driving the Yokomo. With the result putting him in the mix in terms of the overall championship he confirmed he will now contest the rest of the ETS season.
Struggling in A3, having had one of the strongest cars over the opening laps of the previous two mains, Coelho said his T4 was ‘super strange’ for the closing race adding that the crash with Volker on the last lap of A2 must have broken broken something as he ran the same set-up. Although the weekend still marked the championship newcomer’s first podium finish, he said ‘it is disappointing to know you have the best car and when all is perfect others prevent you from doing your job’. While the 21-year-old said he doesn’t really know what to expect at the next round in Austria, the event run on rather unique track, he will prepare the best he can and see what happens.
With ‘nothing to win or lose’, Volker switched cars for A3 saying they decided after struggling in the early laps of A1 & 2 to go with his second BD7 and ‘just give it a shot’. The 11-time ETS race winner said the car was better with it have ‘good rear traction’ from the start adding the set of tyres & weather, it much hotter for A3, may have contributed to the improvement. Describing his 4th overall as ‘lucky’, given the previous mains, he said the result was a copy of his arch rival Rheinard’s when the Tamiya driver TQ’d but ended up fourth in the final. Happy for his two team-mate’s success, the four time back to back champion said today’s result throws the championship wide open. He continued with ‘Yannic as well as Bruno and Vejrak now contenders I think its going to create a lot of interest in the rest of the season’. Having come to Italy joint leader of the championship Marc Rheinard would finish 5th overall a result that drops the Tamiya driver to third in the standings 2-points behind Prumper.
Also decided in A3 was the Formula A-Main. Having messed up the start in A1, recovering to finish 2nd and then having a bad A2, Top Qualifier David Ehrbar would win A3 to give Serpent’s F110 SF2 its first overall ETS victory. Behind the German, A2 winner Martin Hofer would claim 2nd overall for Yokomo while Italy’s Michele Romagnoli, who took A1, would complete the podium. With defending champion Marek Cerny wrapping up the Pro Stock win in A2, the third final would see Hofer win to finish runner-up. Surprising everyone when he TQ’d the opening qualifier Team C’s Johannes Sperr capped off a great weekend as he completed the podium at Road Race Riccione RC Circuit Marco Simoncelli.