Alexander Hagberg will lead away the top heat in qualifying this evening at Round 2 of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series after the Xray driver was fastest in timed practice at the Muelheim-Kaerlich event. Having set the pace in the first timed practice over defending Champion Ronald Volker, the Swede was able to improve his 3-consecutive fastest laps by .085 of a second in the final practice while his closest rivals failed to better their early times. Hagberg becomes the first driver to top Volker this season, the Yokomo driver having completely dominated the season opener in the Czech Republic, a result albeit only practice will be a big boost for the former race winner who had a disappointing 2012/13 season of ETS.
Leaving his ORCA powered T4 as he ran in the first timed practice, Hagberg said the track had more traction second time round which suited his car even more giving extra steering. Really happy with the cars performance which gets better over the course of the run he admitted to it struggling a little at the beginning. Happy that the ‘pace is there’, he said they need to ‘figure something out’ to improve how it starts the run but overall he is very happy with how practice has gone.
Chasing a tenth ETS victory this weekend and his third win in succession, Volker said they ‘tried something’ for the second practice but ‘it didn’t work out’. The change caused the car to develop oversteer which increased over the run. Looking for more steering, emphasising that it was ‘not much’, he said they will try just a minor change to the set-up he ran in the first timed practice which he hopes will give him ‘that little bit more’ and allow him to find the fraction of speed he is missing. Again using the run to scrub in new tyres, team-mate Yannic Prumper again set the 3rd fastest time but like Volker couldn’t improve on his opening pace.
After Hagberg the best placed improvement in time came from Freddy Sudhoff. Fifth fastest first time round, the Awesomatix driver was able to knock 3/10ths off his time. Describing his A700, which features for this race a neat new personalised Awesomatix steering servo that has the mounting integrated into the casing, as ‘good’ but added the driver was ‘shit’. Chasing a first win looking to join the select list of ETS race winners, the German said he ‘tried too hard’ which resulted in a crash that caused him to pop a drive shaft that lost him over a minute of track time.
A new signing to Awesomatix for 2014, former Yokomo driver Erik Dankel appears to be settling in well at his new team. Tenth fastest in the first practice, the German found almost 7/10ths to post the 6th fastest time and separate the Tamiya’s of Marc Rheinard and Viktor Wilck who failed to improve their times. Asked how he was enjoying his first big race with the A700, Dankel said compared to the BD7 the Russian designed car suits his ‘aggressive driving style’ more. Capable of turning good speed on occasion with his Yokomo last season he said with the Awesomatix the set-up window is bigger and as he builds back up his confidence he believes can achieve some strong results.
Having been reasonably happy with his opening run Rheinard was left slightly dumbfounded by how his Much More powered TRF418 ran in the final practice. Describing it as ‘maximum shit’ he said his fastest lap is suddenly 3/10th of a second slower. Having made just small set-up changes he will revert back to what he ran early in the hope he can get a solid first qualifier in. Team-mate Wilck also struggled with his Speed Passion powered example ‘pushing really bad’. The Swede believes the biggest contributor to this was that the traction changed between runs.
Improving his time to go ahead of Xray’s Marco Kaufmann but remaining 8th fastest, Atsushi Hara said he is still not fast enough. Pretty much jumping in at the deep end by making his debut for Yokomo in the worlds most competitive touring car championship and racing on carpet for the first time since 2011, he said one positive was that his last run was his fastest so he is heading in the right direction.
Team Xray’s Alexander Hagberg set the pace in the opening round of timed practice at the Yokomo Euro Touring Series, the Swede the fastest over consecutive laps from defending Champion Ronald Volker. The second round of the championship, the German event marks the return of Atsushi Hara to international touring car competition, the former world Champion getting his debut for Yokomo off to a steady start with the 8th fastest time.
Missing out on defending the Snowbirds title he won last year due to this year’s ETS calendar regrettably clashing with the famous event that is currently underway in Florida, Hagberg was pleased to kick off his weekend in Muelheim-Kaerlich with his ORCA powered T4 top of the time sheets. Running two cars in the morning’s free practice, both of which he used in extensive pre-race testing at the Hudy Arena, the former race winner found one to be ‘a lot better’ than the other. Finding the good car to have more ‘rotation’ making it ‘better off the corner’ he ran this car for the full duration of the first timed practice. With good low speed steering he said this is beneficial due to the many 180 degrees corners on the superbly presented track. Running a time of 41.125 compared to Volker’s 41.148, the former ETS race winner plans to leave everything as is for the final practice.
Back to back champion of the series for the past three seasons and winner of Round 1 back in November, Volker said he struggled with understeer on his BD7 2014. With experience of the black carpet being used this weekend, having raced at the GP3F race in Longwy, France, where it is in regular use, the German said it provides a lot of stable rear traction. With the understeer getting ‘worse & worse’ over the run he said they need to work on a finding a set-up to find more front end grip. Behind Volker, Yokomo team-mate Yannic Prumper took his similar car to the third fastest time. The teenager said his run was ‘so so’ due to the fact he used the run to scrub in a new set of the controlled tyre for qualifying. With the car improving over the 4-minutes the two time race winner will again run a fresh set of tyres in the final practice.
Running a softer chassis to the standard one that comes in the TRF418 kit, Tamiya’s Marc Rheinard set the fourth fastest time. Very complimentary of the track presentation and how it is to drive, the 3-time world Champion said the new chassis gives the car a better overall feeling on carpet. ‘Still trying some stuff’, he said for the final practice he will freshen up the car as well as making some small changes to trying a get a little more steering. Team-mate Viktor Wilck, who since Round 1 of the championship, has been doing a lot of testing with the new chassis would set the 6th fastest time. The Swede started the practice run with a standard chassis, which had no transponder fitted, and then switched to the softer car but managed only 3-laps before hitting problems. With those first three laps counting as his time, on the fourth lap the car suddenly braked on the main straight thankfully everyone able to avoid it. The problem appears to have been caused by a software update Wilck performed ahead of the run which clearly didn’t work. Despite only getting a few laps with the softer car he said he could feel a difference for the better and for the rest of the event he will stick with that car just reverting back to previous speedo software he has been using without issue.
‘Everything is fine’ is how Awesomatix lead driver Freddy Sudhoff summed up his run to the fifth fastest time. The German was pleased with how his A700 is working adding that it is ‘very consistent’ over the duration of the run. Describing the layout as ‘fun to drive’, he will fine tune his set-up for the second timed practice as he would like to ‘get a little more steering’.
Having just signed for Yokomo, the same company he won his 2000 Touring Car World title with, Hara said he is still getting used to carpet racing, his last carpet race being the IIC in 2011. A two time ETS winner, both on asphalt, he ran two different BD7 chassis’ in the timed practice one he built himself and the other which was built by Yokomo’s ace engineer Yukijiro Umino. Hara said the car from Umino was better with it having more steering. While still working on his driving, feeling he needs to be smoother, he said on pushing the car hard it started to develop slight understeer. For the next run he said Umino will ‘change something’.
Joining Hara at Yokomo this weekend, 1:8 Offroad World Champion Robert Batlle is making his touring car debut. Setting a very respectable 29th fastest time in a field of 92 cars, the Spaniard is really enjoying the experience. Making the trip to German as part of a group of 15 Spanish racers, he said the biggest difference to offroad is the level of precision required when it comes to your lines. Running only slightly off line he said he was surprised at how much time you lose but even more amazed at how quickly it allows the following car to catch up. One of a strong Yokomo team that is contesting the Euro Offroad Series, he said racing touring car this weekend should hugely benefit his driving for the EOS as it teaches you to drive a lot more smoothly.
Elsewhere setting the 11th fastest time HB’s Andy Moore said that so far the event was going a lot better than in the Czech Republic. The 2006 World Champion said compared to the ‘slide and flip’ issues he normal suffers with on carpet the balance of his Hobby Wing powered TCXX was ‘not bad’ Although suffering wih understeer he said it was a decent start to his weekend and he hopes he can build on it in the next practice.
Fellow countryman Elliot Harper, who is running a full production version of Team Durango’s first entry into touring car, was also happy with his start to the event despite a transponder change resulting in him having no times counted. His first big race with the production DETC410, which he said is the same as the prototype he raced at the Euros only now the quality of the parts are much higher, he described its performance in practice as ‘pretty good’. With it pushing a little, he will reduce the rear toe and change the front roll centre for the final practice for which he has registered the correct transponder.
Host – ETS Country – Germany Location – Muelheim-Kaerlich Venue – Philipp-Heift Halle Track type – Temporary Surface – Carpet Direction – Anti-Clockwise Previous ETS races hosted – 2
Hosting its third Euro Touring Series race this weekend, Muelheim-Kaerlich first made its appearance on the schedule in October 2011. The opening round of the series for the previous two seasons this year the race is the second date on the six round calendar. While the other five races are all hosted by clubs, this race at the 1344 sq metre Philipp-Heift Halle sports hall is the only event which is 100% organised by the ETS itself. Attracting a record entry, with the pits full of first time ETS racers, every corner of the hall has been utilised to cater for the 300 plus drivers.
Set out on an area 34m wide and 20m deep, this weekend sees the debut of the ETS’ newly purchased Azetx track system. Having successfully worked with the Polish company that manufacture the click together track system at the first two rounds of this season’s Euro Offroad Series, the ETS has acquired its own kit which will from this event on be used to create the track at all indoor carpet rounds of the series. Another new feature of the track is the use of black carpet. Having used black carpet the first time it visited Muelheim-Kaerlich but suffering gluing issues with the carpet, the black glue required for the dark surface struggling with the heat generated by the tyres, last year they reverted to the more traditional grey colour carpet more commonly seen at indoor racing. This year however thanks to the help of the organisers of the GP3F race in Longwy, France, the black carpet is back. Having run black carpet at their race for many years the MRC Longwy club helped the ETS organisers to source a much heavier version of the black carpet which is able to withstand the punishment it gets from the friction generated by the RIDE tyres.
Easily the best presented indoor track yet in the ETS’ 7 seasons of existence, Race Director Scotty Ernst described the track, which has a 3m wide infield and 4m wide straight, at ‘fast and flowing’. Lap times for the RIDE Modified class are expected to be in the region of low to mid 13 seconds.
The Euro Touring Series is in Muelheim-Kaerlich in Germany this weekend for Round 2 of the 2013/14 championship and on the agenda for Day 1 is practice followed by the opening round of qualifying. Attracting a record entry first up for the drivers is a round of free practice after which drivers will have a further two timed practice runs from which each driver’s fastest 3-consecutive laps will be used to seed the heats for qualifying. For the Ride Modified and Formula classes their day will conclude with Round 1 of qualifying while for the largest class of the ETS, Xray Pro-Stock, they will bring the day to a close with the completion of their second round of qualifying.
RC racing legend Atsushi Hara will make a return to the Yokomo Euro Touring Series after concluding a deal with reigning champions Yokomo to contest this weekend’s (31st Jan – 2nd Feb) second round in Germany. A two time ETS race winner, Hara has signed with the Japanese manufacturer to also contest Round 3 of the world famous touring car championship which takes place on the Spanish holiday Island of Gran Canaria in March. Teaming up with three time series champion & Round 1 winner Ronald Volker and race winner Yannic Prumper, this will be the 2006 World Champions first competitive ETS outing since Apeldoorn in 2012. One of world’s most popular racers, as highlighted by the reaction when he drove in the ‘Dash for Cash’ in the season finale last year at the Hudy Arena, ETS Round 2 will be Hara’s first international touring car event since his departure from HB/HPI Racing last August. Also joining Hara for the weekend at Yokomo will be 1:8 offroad rival and reigning World Champion Robert Batlle who will make his touring car debut at the Muelheim-Kaerlich event.
While the signing of Hara to the team is a big coup for Yokomo, for lead driver Volker the weekend will be all about trying to repeat the dominant performance he put in at the season opener in the Czech Republic. Top Qualifier for that November race, the German ace already sits 3 points clear of arch rival Marc Rheinard at the top of the Ride Modified points standings and having taken an easy win at the recent DHI Cup in Denmark on his first European outing with the new BD7 2014 he is still clearly the man to beat.
Volker’s biggest competition at the weekend is as usual expected to come from fellow countryman Rheinard but also from Freddy Sudhoff. Expected to have a new chassis for his Tamiya TRF418 this weekend, Rheinard will be hoping this will help him to close the gap to the back to back champion and give him the extra pace needed to be in with a fighting chance of his 12th ETS victory. Joining Volker & Rheinard on the podium at the season opener, Team Awesomatix lead driver Sudhoff and his unique Russian designed chassis are a continually improving package with ‘Fast Freddy’ more motivated than ever in his quest for that first ETS victory.
The third year that Muelheim-Kaerlich has hosted a round of the ETS, this year’s event has attracted the series’ biggest ever field with over 360 entries. The Xray Pro Stock class is again the largest class with 201 drivers while Formula continues its impressive growth with 68 cars. Round 1 saw Jan Ratheisky, then Jan Asmer, take the win in both classes becoming the only driver to take two wins over the same weekend. Missing out on a podium finish at Round 1 and having just announced his continuation as an Xray factory driver for 2014, defending Pro Stock Champion Marek Cerny will be looking to get his title defence back on track this weekend. Another driver who should be in the mix is 2-time race winner Oliver Franke. The German has switched to Awesomatix for 2014 and got his relationship with the team off to the perfect start when he won the recent DHI Cup ahead of Cerny and Ratheisky.