Ronald Volker backed up his early free practice form by topping the two rounds of controlled practice at the ETS season opener in the Czech Republic to secure himself the top seeding for qualifying. The Team Yokomo driver set the fastest time over 3-consecutive laps in the final practice by a convincing 3/10ths of a second from team-mate Naoto Matsukura. Behind the two Yokomos, Alexander Hagberg took his Xray to the third fastest time ahead of Freddy Sudhoff while Tamiya’s Marc Rheinard ended up only 9th fastest.
Widely recognised as the world’s best driver on carpet, Volker was pleased with his pace in the controlled practice runs. Managing to post is three fastest laps within just four laps of CP2 posting two 11 second laps, the German on the advice of his mechanic Yukijiro Umino pulled up 2-laps later to save tyres. Looking ahead to the opening qualifier, the winner of the last three ETS season openers said the plan is to go for a clean save run but with the traction increasing ever run he said he hopes he can keep his LRP powered BD7 on the ground for the full 5-minutes.
Still finding the high traction conditions ‘very difficult’, Naoto described his practice runs as OK. Struggling a little with his BD7 wanting to traction roll, the Japanese racer will change the front of the car to try and make it a little easier to drive for the 5-minutes duration of the qualifiers. Team-mate Yannic Prumper, who was second fastest to Volker in free practice, didn’t have a good controlled practice. Changing his set-up ‘a lot’ his BD7 was ‘not good’ leaving him to post only the 19th fastest time over the two 4-minute runs. Planning to go back to the set-up he ran in the morning, the German said he hopes this will allow him to run competitively in tonight’s opening qualifier and they can build on things from there.
Hagberg was very happy with his T4 once again describing it as ‘very easy to drive’. Planning to keep the set-up as is for Q1, the former ETS race winner said his aim for the moment is to just try & drive a clean 5-minutes and see where that takes time. Team-mate Tim Wahl took his T4 to the 7th fastest time, the 19-year-old also very happy with how easy his car is to drive. A finalist at last season’s opening race in Germany, Wahl said through a series of small changes he has improved the car every run and while it had a very slight amount of understeer it is nothing major and he can work around it. Adrian Berntsen made it three Xray’s in the Top 10 in the reseeding. After struggling in free practice, the Norwegian said a shock set-up adjustment improved the car a lot. Unfortunately in CP1 he didn’t get to see how the changes worked as he stripped a spur gear in the warm-up but doing the full 4-minutes in CP2 he was pleased with the changes that allowed him to post the 10th fastest time just behind Rheinard.
Running a new prototype diff in their cars, which only arrived at the Sport V Hotel after free practice, Sudhoff was the only driver along with Volker to run an 11-second lap in controlled practice. One of the contenders for the race win here last season, the lead Awesomatix driver said overall all the cars are working really well and they are very positive about the rest of the weekend. Highlighting this was the performance of 17-year-old Dionys Stadler. Very happy with the new diff, the German said fitting a top deck to his new A700L EVO has made the car really well balanced and he is happy to run it as is for the first qualifier. Viljami Kutvonen said changes to his A700L EVO made it a little too easy to drive for the 3-consecutive laps but over 5-minutes he feels he should have good pace. Ending up 12th fastest, the Finn tried two bodyshells comparing the Protoform Speed 6 to Bitty Designs’ new Nardo. He said in terms of lap times there was little difference but they both felt very different to drive and he is undecided which to choose for Q1.
Setting the sixth fastest time, Serpent’s Marc Fischer said his S411 was now easier to drive than in free practice. While the set-up has a little understeer the runner-up here last season said it feels OK and should be good for the full 5-minutes. Planning to go for a safe opening qualifier he plans to run the Hobbywing powered Serpent as is, adding that if that goes well they may look at some small adjustments for tomorrow’s second qualifier to try and improve the steering.
Team Associated’s Juho Levanen described his 8th fastest time as ‘not bad’. Running a pre-production TC6.2, the Finn said he was not really happy with the car on his faster run as he feels it can go faster. Suffering from understeer on corner entry he will fit a harder front spring for Q1.
‘Not so bad’ was how former champion Marc Rheinard summed up his controlled practice. The Tamiya Racing Factory driver lasted just two & a half minutes in the first run after he stripped a spur gear due to him losing a screw in his TRF418’s bulkhead. In the second run he had further gear issues when his pinion came loose. Luckily fast work by Muchmore’s Mr. Jang, who is the 3-time World Champions pitman this weekend, would mean he would get to rejoin the run after losing a minute & a half to set his 3-fastest consecutive laps.
Chassis Name – Team Associated TC6.2 Motor – Reedy ESC – Hobbywing Batteries – Reedy Tires – Ride (handout) Radio/Servos – Sanwa Remarks – Juho Levanen is running a pre production version of the all new TC6.2 chassis, which he ran for the first time at the recent IIC race in Vegas. Apart from the wishbones, uprights and steering block assemblies the car is completely new and is now more in line with the current touring car designs on the market with a new steering assembly, floating servo mount, flex over the entire chassis and chassis mounted lower suspension arms. Expected to be released at the end of this year, compared to the previous model it turns in better and can carry more corner speed.
Reigning Yokomo Euro Touring Series Champion Ronald Volker has kicked off the defense of his 3rd consecutive title by putting his Yokomo top the times sheets in free practice. Drivers had two rounds of free practice this morning for the Czech Republic event, with the German fastest from team-mate Yannic Prumper. Volker’s main title rival for the past three seasons, Marc Rheinard was third fastest around the track which is proving popular with the drivers with Marc Fischer, Andy Moore and Viljami Kutvonen completing the Top 6.
Winner of this event on the last two occasions the ETS traveled to Hrotovice, Volker said after a poor opening practice run changes for FP2 gave him a much more consistent car although he would like to find a little more steering. The first ETS race to feature handout additive and tyre cleaner, the additive set to be a different colour for each round of the series, the 8-time ETS race winner welcomed the move describing it as ‘a good thing’. Hinting that he isn’t a big fan of tyre additive testing, he said for the two controlled practice rounds he will work on his tyre strategy to determine whether to run new or used, scrubbed or unscrubbed tyres in qualifying. Asked about going for a fourth consecutive title, Volker said his approach this season is no different to before and as always his aim will be to try and go as fast as possible. Rating Prumper as being his biggest title rival, he said it is great to have Naoto Matsukura here for the opening race as he is ‘always fast on carpet’. Unable to gauge the true pace of Tamiya’s Rheinard and Vicktor Wilck with the new TRF418 on carpet, he said in addition to his own team-mates he feels Serpent’s Marc Fischer will be strong this weekend as he was last year here.
Prumper declared himself happy with his free practice. Liking the track in the second practice he ran two cars, preferring his own to the car of his long time mentor/mechanic Toni Rheinard. Setting the seventh fastest time 1:12 World Champion Naoto Matsukura described the track as difficult due to the high traction. The Japanese ace, who depending on the outcome of this weekend could contest the full season of ETS, said his BD7 feels pretty good but he plans to make some small changes to try and get it a little easier to drive for the high bite conditions.
Having spent the days leading up to the season opener testing at the Hudy Racing Arena, Rheinard said so far things were going ‘OK’. Cautious about how his Much More powered TRF418 will cope should the traction get any higher, he said he probably could have ran a faster time in FP2. Trying two cars in the 4-minute run he said for him the controlled Ride tyre was only really starting to come in when he stopped to change car. Back to back testing two set-ups the former World Champion said the first car he ran felt better and he will run this for the first controlled practice.
Despite setting the fourth fastest time, Fischer said he has work to do. The runner-up here last season, he said his S411 is hard to drive and feels like it is on the limit of traction rolling. While his pace over 3-laps is competitive he said over 5-minutes with the current set-up he is not very confident. Setting himself a target of a Top 5 result this weekend, the German hopes a shock position & spring change for controlled practice will result in his car being a little easier to drive.
Running Awesomatix’ new A700L EVO for the first time on carpet, Kutvonen said the car is much easier to drive. Putting in a very competitive performance here last year with the old car, the Finn said that with a few more small set-up changes he thinks they are on a for a good result again this year. Team-mate Freddy Sudhoff, who was on the podium here last time, declared himself really happy with the performance of the new car. Although he failed to register a competitive time, the German said the new parts have improved the car. For the first controlled practice, Sudhoff will run a new design of differential in his car which was only delivered to he hotel just before lunch time. He said the diff is ‘typical Oleg (Babich) design’ and just in his hand already feels a lot smoother than the previous design.
Setting the 8th fastest time Alexander Hagberg was the fastest Xray. The Swede, described his ORCA powered T4 as ‘very easy to drive’. Having also spent the earlier part of the week testing at the Hudy Arena adding that it was good having other manufacturers there to better gauge their pace, he said while over 3-laps he’s ‘not super fast’ with his car very consistent to drive he should be good over the 5-minutes of the qualifiers. Team-mate Adrian Berntsen said he is struggling a little with his car something that was not helped by his throttle not being properly matched between his speedo and radio.
Running a pre-production version of the soon to be released Associated T6.2, former ETS race winner Juho Levanen is very upbeat about his chances this weekend. Having raced the same car at the recent IIC in Las Vegas, the Finn said he hopes he can build on that performance declaring himself very happy with how free practice went. Featuring ‘almost all new parts’, he said the overall result is that the car now has more steering and more corner speed.
Host – Mibo Sport Country – Czech Republic Location – Hrotovice Venue – Sport-V-Hotel Track type – Temporary Surface – Carpet Direction – Anti-Clockwise Previous ETS races hosted – 3
The Yokomo Euro Touring Series is in the Czech Republic for the opening round of the 2013/14 season, marking the fourth time the small town of Hrotovice has hosted a round of the world famous championship. Joining the series in Season #3 & 4 it switched to hosting the opening round of the EOS during season #5 before returning to the ETS calendar for the past two seasons.
Run in the large sports hall of the Sport-V-Hotel, a facility that is very popular with racers, the race is hosted by Mibo Sport. Run by top Czech racer Michal Bok, the company which is a distributor for Yokomo uses the venue as the base for its very successful Mibo Cup race series with Ronald Volker, Marc Rheinard and Marc Fischer attending the most recent round as practice for this weekend.
One noticeably difference over last year is the lighting in the hall which has been converted to an LED lighting systems which makes the hall much brighter giving a more natural feeling of light. In terms of the track layout of the black carpet track defending champion Ronald Volker said compared with last year the layout features more long corners making for a more flowing track. Lap times are expected to be in the region of low 12 seconds for the series’ fastest category, the Ride Modified class.