Its the final day of ETS Round 3 in Gran Canaria and its a slightly cold & overcast start to the day. Overnight rain meant the track required work this morning to clear off damp patches but racing was still able to start on time. Three rounds of Mains await all drivers with Top Qualifiers Ronald Volker going for his first Ride Modified win on the island, Marek Cerny chasing a hat trick at the event in Xray Pro Stock, and Olivier Bultynck going for his first Formula win.
Ronald Volker is Top Qualifier for the third round of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series taking place in Gran Canaria. The Team Yokomo driver’s 13th ETS TQ, Volker secured his first pole position on the island when he topped the time sheets for a fourth time in the fifth & final qualifier. The only driver who could challenge the defending series champion for the top spot on the grid, Adrian Berntsen was able to match the pace of the German finishing second 2-second off. Having TQ’d the opening qualifier, the Norwegian will start second on the grid his best starting position at the ETS. Winner of Round 2 of the championship and despite having a bad last qualifier, posting only the 6th fastest time, Team Xray’s Alexander Hagberg will start tomorrow’s finals from third.
The driver with the greatest tally of ETS TQs, Volker said ‘considering the tricky conditions this week’ he was ‘very pleased with how the day went’. Changing nothing on his LRP powered BD7 since the second qualifier, he said ‘as good as the car is now’ he hopes conditions are similar for tomorrow. Compared to Q1 & 2, he said they improved the car quite a bit and over the final three qualifiers he was able to increase the gap by which he outpaced his rivals. Saying ‘it is difficult to know what the track will do for tomorrow’, Volker said he doesn’t plan on making an changes to his car with his main focus being to try to make a clean start feeling if he can get a good opening lap he should be ‘ok’.
‘I tried as hard as I could but no chance, Ronald was too fast’, that was how Berntsen summed up his Q5 performance. Running a new set of Ride tyres for the qualifier, he said his first lap was ‘super slow’ with him loosing a second to Volker as be battled for traction. Although he posted the fastest qualifying time of the day in Q1 making the most of the day’s best conditions, Berntsen said he thinks taking the battle to Volker tomorrow is a tall order but he will discuss set-up with his father tonight to see if they think there is anything they can chance to get them somewhat closer to the 3-time champion.
Hagberg said Q5 ‘wasn’t very good for me’. Making a set-up change the Xray team leader said it resulted in his ORCA powered T4 ’14 lacking high speed steering. Planning to switch back to his Q4 set-up for tomorrow, he said he expects the finals to be difficult. Due to the low traction of the newly laid surface, the Swede said its hard to just drive on the racing line each lap so its going to be even harder to race adding that ‘no one is really in control of their car’.
Posting his best run in the final qualifier to snatch 4th on the grid on tie break from Andy Moore, Naoto Matsukura said a change to a set-up he ran yesterday in open practice gave him a much better car. Looking to tomorrow’s finals the Japanese ace said a win was impossible due to track conditions and his team-mate Volker’s pace. Hoping for a podium, he said that to was going to be hard work and probably require a mistake from the drivers starting ahead of him. The 1:12 World champion showed he has the speed as against the other nine A-Main finalists he won the ‘Dash for Cash’ that took place after qualifying pocketing himself €200.
Starting from 5th on the grid Moore said he was disappointed to loose out to Matsukura. The HB’s driver said he has ‘such a lack of traction at the start’ of the run but by the end it feels ‘ok’ andhe needs to find a way to balance it out over the 5-minutes. Aiming to push for a podium he said with the first corner so tight combined with the lack of traction anything is possible joking that if there is a messy start he probably be the one to come out of it worst.
Completing the Top 6 on the grid is 2012 event winner Christopher Krapp. The Kyosho driver used his second set of tyres in Q5 to set the 4th fastest time saying the gave his Orion powered TF6 more grip and traction. While he said the winner is pretty much locked up with the tricky conditions the ‘rest is up for grabs’ and he is confident he can ‘gain some positions’.
For the Tamiya team the event marks one of their worst events in the series with Marc Rheinard starting 8th behind the Xray of Magnus Vässmar and Viktor Wilck lining up ninth just ahead of Marc Fischer.
A-Main Grids/Qualifying times Q5
Ride Modified A-Main Grid
1. Ronald Volker – Yokomo – 310 pts
2. Adrian Berntsen – Xray – 308
3. Alexander Hagberg – Xray – 305
4. Naoto Matukura – Yokomo – 302
5. Andy Moore – HB – 302
6. Christopher Krapp – Kyosho – 301
7. Magnus Vässmar – Xray – 301
8. Marc Rheinard – Tamiya – 300
9. Viktor Wilck – Tamiya – 297
10.Marc Fischer – Serpent – 296
Ride Modified Q5 times
1. Ronald Volker – Yokomo – 15/5:09.371
2. Adrian Berntsen – Xray – 15/5:11.310
3. Naoto Matukura – Yokomo – 15/5:12.409
4. Christopher Krapp – Kyosho – 15/5:13.574
5. Marc Rheinard – Tamiya – 15/5:13.781
6. Alexander Hagberg – Xray – 15/5:13.885
7. Andy Moore – HB – 15/5:13.990
8. David Perez – 15/5:14.676
9. Marc Fischer – Serpent – 15/5:15.170
10.Viktor Wilck – Tamiya – 15/5:15.170
Ronald Volker claimed his third TQ run of the day but the overall TQ honours will be decided in the fifth & final qualifier of the Gran Canaria event. Like in Q2 & 3, the Yokomo driver headed the two Xray’s of Alexander Hagberg and Adrian Berntsen in the penultimate qualifier, Hagberg finally outpacing his Norwegian team-mate to post a second for the round. Despite Volker’s string of TQ runs, Q5 will be a shoot out between him and Bernsten to see who starts the triple A-Main on pole tomorrow. With 2 of the 5 rounds counting and fastest time being the tie breaker, a TQ run by Berntsen will give him his first overall ETS TQ but if anyone else tops the time sheets it will secure Volker his 13th ETS pole.
Claiming Tamiya’s best performance of the day Viktor Wilck posted the fourth fastest time ahead of fellow Swede Magnus Vässmar. Wilck who having failed to start Q1 and was only 9th in Q2 & 3, said knowing he needed a good run to make the A-Main he just drove ‘super safe’ run and it actually worked out pretty well. Team-mate Marc Rheinard could only manage 6th for the round almost a full 6-seconds off Volker’s TQ pace.
In the Xray Pro Stock class, Marek Cerny continued his domination of the class making it four TQ runs from four rounds to secure his third overall TQ on the island. The defending champion looks perfectly poised to make it a hat trick of Gran Canaria wins and take over the lead of the championship standings from team-mate Jan Ratheisky.
Ride Modified Q4 times
1. Ronald Volker – Yokomo – 15/5:10.321
2. Alexander Hagberg – Xray – 15/5:13.039
3. Adrian Berntsen – Xray – 15/5:14.757
4. Viktor Wilck – Tamiya – 15/5:15.310
5. Magnus Vässmar – Xray – 15/5:15.379
6. Marc Rheinard – Tamiya – 15/5:16.237
7. Marco Kaufmann – Xray – 15/5:17.642
8. Marc Fischer – Serpent – 15/5:17.817
9. Christopher Krapp – Kyosho – 15/5:17.890
10.Juho Levanen – Team Associated – 15/5:18.565
Ronald Volker claimed a second TQ run at the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Gran Canaria when he again topped the time sheets in the third of the five scheduled qualifiers. Fastest in Q2, the Yokomo driver posted a similar pace in Q3 to once again take maximum points ahead of the Xray’s of Adrian Berntsen and Alexander Hagberg. Magnus Vässmar made it three Xray’s in the Top 4 as he found improvement to post the fourth fastest time.
Volker said while he was pleased to top the round, his main focus was to finish ahead of Berntsen as his rival is for now the main contender to become Top Qualifier. Feeling another TQ run by the Norwegian will make him impossible to beat, due to his faster Q1 time set in the morning’s cooler condition, for last two qualifiers tyre strategy is going to be key as both drivers still have a second fresh set of Ride tyres at their disposal. Planning to leave his car set-up as is he said even for the final qualifier he doesn’t think it will be cool enough to beat the Q1 pace.
Bernsten said in the warmer track conditions of the last two qualifiers his car felt ‘slow and more difficult’ to drive. Planning to work around the conditions rather than change his set-up and based on how loose the track feels he will leave it till the final qualifier to run his second set of tyres.
Hagberg said there wasn’t much to report about the latest run. Changing his set-up each round he said due to the track conditions it makes no real difference to how the car feels. Set to change his set-up again for Q4, the Swede said hopefully he will find a change that actually makes a noticeable difference and improves his car that fraction that allows him challenge Volker & Berntsen for a TQ run.
Starting out qualifying with a new set-up, Vässmar said for Q2 he reverted to the set-up he ran in practice yesterday. Posting the 7th fastest time he said his T4 was much better but the run had too many driver errors. A better drive in Q3, he was pleased to take fourth for the round and hopes to build on that for Q4. Describing the car as feeling ‘alright’, the Swede added that if you ‘drive it right for the conditions’ the balance is ok but he still plans to make a few small changes for his next qualifier.
Posting the fifth fastest time was Kyosho’s Christopher Krapp. The German said the pace of Volker & Berntsen was a little frustrating but between everyone else it is ‘super close’. Running in the second fastest heat, he said watching Volker as he marshalled their qualifier he maybe needs to adjust his driving as his fellow German is drifting while he is trying to be keep everything too much under control.
In the Tamiya pits the form is not good to say the least. Setting the 6th fastest time, Marc Rheinard said he had ‘no feeling’ between his car & the track and he was ‘just drifting everywhere’. Setting again the 9th fastest time team-mate Viktor Wilck said it was ‘unbelievable’ how low traction was adding there was ‘just no grip’.
Setting the 7th fastest time HB’s Andy Moore said he made a few changes for the round but it ‘didn’t really make any difference’. ‘Sliding around’ the former World Champion said he is missing a couple of seconds and for Q4 he ‘will make a big change and see what happens’.
Completing the Top 8, Volker’s team-mate Naoto Matsukura said he had ‘no traction and no good feeling with the car’. The 1:12 World Champion added he’s not sure what to try for the remaining two qualifiers.
Ride Modified Q3 times
1. Ronald Volker – Yokomo – 15/5:11.523
2. Adrian Berntsen – Xray – 15/5:13.594
3. Alexander Hagberg – Xray – 15/5:14.616
4. Magnus Vässmar – Xray – 15/5:15.974
5. Christopher Krapp – Kyosho – 15/5:16.247
6. Marc Rheinard – Tamiya – 15/5:16.435
7. Andy Moore – HB – 15/5:16.556
8. Naoto Matukura – Yokomo – 15/5:16.868
9. Viktor Wilck – Tamiya – 15/5:17.242
10.Kyle Branson – Capricorn – 15/5:17.935