Ronald Volker has made his intentions very clear at the season finale of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series at the amazing Hudy Racing Arena in Slovakia, the Yokomo driver topping the first timed practice by a massive 4/10th over 3-consecutive laps from team-mate Yannic Prumper with title rival Marc Rheinard over a second off Volker’s blistering pace in 3rd. With Volker and Rheinard here to battle it out to become champion of this the sixth season of the ETS, the scenarios are simple. For Rheinard to deny Volker a third consecutive title, he must win anything less and irrespective of where his fellow German finishes on Sunday the title stays with Yokomo. Should qualifying go the way of Volker, securing him the bonus championship point for TQ honours, and even if Rheinard can pass him for the win then second would still be enough for Volker to defend his title so ultimately the pressure is on the Tamiya driver.
Having been content with his pace yesterday in open practice, today the first of two time practice runs left Rheinard clearly stunned by Yokomo’s pace. ‘I don’t know where he makes up the time’ was how Rheinard summed up Volker’s pace. Running a fastest lap which is 4/10th fastest than Rheinard’s best, the former 3-time World Champion said having thought they were in touch with the Yokomos yesterday, today ‘the gap is huge’ and he has no idea what he can do to find the pace.
While Rheinard had a certain look of defeat on his face after the first time practice, Volker had a quiet air of confidence about him. Having yet to win an outdoor ETS race in the series 33 race history, Volker summed up his run with ‘we’re doing well’. Describing the track as ‘the perfect track for racing Mod Touring Car’, he added that there was ‘no better place to host the ETS Finale’. Having found a ‘good set-up’ in yesterday’s open practice he said the balance of his BD7 is perfect. Happy with the performance of the car in the hot midday conditions he said for the final practice he will run the car as is but with the opening two qualifiers set to take place later this evening he said they will probably have to make a change to suit the cooler conditions.
Describing the track as ‘amazing to drive’ adding that he really likes the technical layout, Prumper said his BD7 was really difficult for the first 2-laps something he is putting down to the particular set of handout Ride tyres he ran. After 4 laps the 19-year-old said the car was really good and other than freshening up the shocks and diff he will stay the same for the second timed practice, the best of the two counting for a reseed of the drivers for qualifying.
The only other driver apart from the two title contenders to win a race this season, Vikor Wilck set the fourth fastest time. The Tamiya Racing Factory driver tried a different additive which he said on the hotter track was no better than what he ran in the morning’s open practice run. The Swede said at the beginning of the run this TRF417 feels ‘actually OK’ but then thee tyres go off causing the car to develop understeer. Asked what he plans to try for his next run the Gran Canaria winner said the ‘Yokomos were way too strong’ adding that ‘even if they improve the car he’s not sure its going to be enough to close such a gap’.
Having ‘essentially wasted a day yesterday’ due to a problem with a prototype Sanwa radio he was using, HB’s Andy Moore was very happy to post the 5th fastest time. Having had his regular Sanwa radio shipped from the UK overnight, the 2006 World Champion said today he feels like he is at the races and back on the same page as everyone else. Generally happy with his TCXX he said he will use the final practice to try a few small changes which he hopes will bring him that bit closer to the lead pace.
Completing the Top 6 was Alexander Hagberg. Team Xray’s lead driver said he is struggling a little. Knowing the track better than most, this being Xray’s development track, the Swede said his T4 feels good to drive but on the time sheets it’s too slow. Feeling that the car is maybe too easy to drive he said for the next practice he will run a different suspension geometry. Team-mate Marco Kaufmann took his example of the T4 to the 8th fastest time just behind the Tamiya of Thomas Pumpler. The 19-year-old is happy with the consistency of his car but looking to find a little more corner speed he will adjust the front anti-dive for his next practice.
Serpent’s Marc Fischer took his S411 to the ninth fastest time, the German describing his performance as ‘so so’. He said his car is good after 2-minutes but he needs to get it to work right from start adding that his rivals pace from the first lap is ‘awesome’. Feeling that his problem is tyre additive he said the difficult part is deciding which one is the best one to use.
In the Xray Pro stock class Marek Cerny set the pace from Danish driver Mike Gosvig with Dominic Vogl third. The Czech driver who leads the championship standing, and barring all but a disaster should be become champion of the series biggest class on Sunday, described his Xray T4 as ‘perfect’.
Name – Hudy Racing Arena Club – Private Track Country – Slovakia Location – Trencin (120 km North East of Bratislava) Direction – Anti-clockwise Surface – Asphalt No. of ETS Races hosted – 0
The greatest R/C venue in the World, there is simply no other way to describe the Hudy Racing Arena in Slovakia. Built in 2006 on the grounds of a former soccer stadium, the massive 25,000 square metre facility also includes the factory of both Xray, the only true r/c car manufacturer in Europe, and Hudy but it is the Arena which dominates the grounds. Hosting its first international event this weekend as it plays host to the season finale of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series, the complex houses three tracks and from the moment racers drive in the main gate they can’t but be immediately impressed by what they see before them.
For the ETS it is the outdoor asphalt track that is being used while indoors there is another asphalt track and a carpet offroad track which this weekend had been cleared to make space for extra pitting area for the near 250 entries. In typical Hudy fashion everything about the Arena has been meticulously thought out with the first word out of every driver this morning being ‘amazing’. In terms of racing on the track, Tamiya’s Marc Rheinard said it is really nice but to go fast is quite hard due to the high speed chicane and end of the straight, which isn’t actually straight, making the breaking point difficult to get right each time.
Used mainly as a development track by Xray along with hosting Xray Challenge races, the Arena is open every Wednesday to the public for practice although the number of racers in the surrounding area is not particularly high. While the complex is already impressive it is set for further development with the addition of a cover dirt offroad track which Juraj Hudy said will be similar to the Padova track in Italy. This addition is expected to start construction later this year and is set to be ready to host its first race next year.
The story behind how Juraj Hudy and the journey his company took to his current location is very interesting. Located about 100 metres behind the Arena is a little row of garages on a back street where Juraj rented Unit No.1 in 1989 when communism ended in what was then known as Czechoslovakia. From there he started making parts for slot cars which he sold mainly to the United States through a friend of his who had emigrated there. Building up to two employees in the small unit, as he started to make drive shafts for Serpent, both these workers are still with the company which today employs 80 people. While working for yourself in communist times was not allowed, Juraj used to make 1:8 Onroad cars in his flat before he officially became self employed producing about 10 of these hand built cars a year. Out growing the ‘shed’ they then moved to a bigger unit in the town of Trencin which in turn they out grew as they expanded their product line which now includes the FX Engine brand. In the now ultra high-tech factory, the original machine which he started out with in Unit No.1 is still in use in amongst the computer controlled CNC machines.
The Yokomo Euro Touring Series makes its first visit to Slovakia this week (July 18-21) with the Hudy Racing Arena playing host to the season finale where two of electric touring car’s greatest rivals Ronald Volker and Marc Rheinard are set for a showdown that will decide which driver becomes the champion of the sixth season of the World famous championship. A new venue on the calendar, the Hudy Racing Arena is the perfect stage for what is set to be the most thrilling climax to an ETS season and in typical Hudy/Xray fashion the track has undergone meticulous preparations as it gets ready to welcome over the coming days the 240 plus drivers who will contest the 33rd race of the ETS.
Chasing a third consecutive title, which would make him the most crowned driver in the series, Team Yokomo’s Ronald Volker goes into the race at the top of the points standings but the margin is such that the German ace can’t afford to focus on anything less than going for his third win of the 2012/13 season. The situation is the same for Tamiya Racing Factory’s Rheinard, who in terms of race wins is the series most successful driver with 11 victories. After a poor start to the season in which he failed to make the podium in the opening three races, the former 3-time World Champion has made a strong recovery winning the last two encounters including Round 5 in Austria where emotions ran high after an incident packed 2nd Leg of the A-Main. Regaining his composure to take Leg 3 and the overall Traiskirchen win, Rheinard forced the title battle to go to Slovakia where if the German is to claim his second ETS Championship he must win, otherwise irrespective of his finishing position Volker will retain his title.
While the attention will firmly surround the Volker/Yokomo versus Rheinard/Tamiya title showdown, with their respective team-mates Yannic Prumper and Viktor Wilck sure to be well briefed on their supporting roles for the event, a number of manufacturers will be looking to shine at Hudy Racing Arena not least Team Xray. Located next to the Xray factory the outdoor circuit is where the team conducts the majority of its chassis development so their drivers will have the advantage of track knowledge. Alexander Hagberg heads the team’s challenge, which will be bolstered this weekend by their American star driver Paul Lemieux, and will be hoping to capitalise on his track experience and give the T4 its first Ride Modified class win of the 2012/13 season.
Having made a huge leap forward in terms of set-up on his HB TCXX during Round 5, former World Champion Andy Moore will be one to watch at the season finale. Following the set-up break through, the British ace was a contender for the win in Austria and having not been on the podium for more than two seasons he will be more than determined to prove a point this weekend.
In the biggest class of the ETS, Xray Pro Stock, four drivers still have a mathematical chance of becoming champion. Xray’s Marek Cerny heads the standings with 3 wins with Awesomatix pairing Dominic Vogl & Viljami Kutvonen and Schumacher’s former champion Martin Hofer in with an outside chance of denying the Czech driver his first ETS title. Austria Vogl was impressive at his home event losing out on the overall win on a tie break by just 2/10ths of a second but that form and confidence boost has the 16-year-old really fired up for the last race of the season. While the Speed Passion Formula Class title was decided at the penultimate round, new champion Jan Asmer will be looking to end on a high for Serpent as he goes for win number 4 of the season.
Round 5 of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series officially gets underway on Thursday, the season finale being extended by a day and culminates with triple mains for all drivers on Sunday. All the action from the Hudy Race Arena can be followed on RedRC where regular updates and increased video action will be published throughout the weekend.
Xray have confirmed that multiple US National Champion Paul Lemieux will compete at the season finale of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series at the Hudy Arena in Slovakia from the 19th to 21st of July. The Factory Xray driver has made a number of appearances at the World renowned series, his most recent coming last year at the fifth round of the championship in the Netherlands, prior to him winning the Worlds warmup race. Fielding a strong factory team, Xray are looking to put on a good showing at what is the company’s test track, with Paul being joined by ETS regulars Alexander Hagberg, Magnus Vassmar & Martin Hudy and in Pro Stock, Championship leader, Marek Cerny who is looking to wrap up the title. Set to be a spectacular battle on track, the Hudy Arena have been pulling out all the stops to ensure that everything is equally spectacular off track as well, going so far as organising tours of the Xray factory to all racers wishing to get a rare glimpse behind the scenes of this state of the art facility. For those wishing to compete in this the final race of our sixth season, entries are still open here.
Marc Rheinard has won the penultimate round of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series ahead of Ronald Volker meaning that the two great rivals will battle it out for the overall title at the season finale at the Hudy Arena in Slovakia next month. After the chaos of Leg 2, the closing race in Traiskirchen was a much calmer affair with Top Qualifier Rheinard seeing off the close attention of Yokomo drivers Yannic Prumper and Volker to take the leg and the overall win which he needed to keep his title hopes alive.
Delighted to back up his Round 4 win and collect his second maximium points haul of the season, his TQ for the race earning him an extra bonus point, the former World Champion said while the first two Mains didn’t go to plan the final outcome was what he came here looking for. Irate after the happenings in Leg 2 and not wanting to comment on the race at the time, Rheinard said the incident combined with the pressure of the only result that would do being the win, emotions ran very high. He said going ‘from a safe win to a DNF in a couple of seconds’, after being hit by Andy Moore, was hugely frustrating and while his reaction at the time was full of emotion once he went away had a drink and cleared his head he could refocus on the job in hand. With Andy Moore apologizing for the incident, Rheinard said he knew the British ace didn’t hit him intentionally and it is all behind them now joking that he will be happy to drink a beer with the HB driver but ‘he can buy the first one’. Commenting on the final outcome of the weekend, the Top 3 all finishing on equal points, Rheinard said it would have ‘of course been better if Volker had finished third’, but the main thing is the championship battle goes to Slovakia.
Volker said he was disappointed at not being able to win the event and wrap up the championship as ‘they clearly had the pace and most of the time were faster than Marc (Rheinard)’. Starting from 3rd on the grid, a traction roll in Q1 was costly for the German, he said winning was always going to be difficult although the opening A-Main showed it was not impossible. While he would have much rather be leaving Austria with a third consecutive ETS title, the reigning European Champion said the championship being decided in Slovakia will create great interest in the race and he is looking forward to the showdown.
Prumper, who came into the event with an outside chance of the title that is now gone, said considering how the weekend started out and how his car ran in practice the result was ‘OK’ for him. Last year’s winner, when the ETS made its first visit to the unique Traiskirchen venue, the 19-year-old said he struggled a little at the start of the third leg with understeer but as the race went on his Much More powered BD7 improved and he was able to close right in on Rheinard but he said the risks were too high to try and make a pass with both Volker and Moore very close behind him. His third podium finish of the season, Prumper said he was more determined than ever to go for the win at the next race.
Missing out on the podium was Leg 2 winner Alexander Hagberg, the factory Xray driver finishing fourth ahead of fellow Swede Viktor Wilck who broke in the final A-Main. A race winner last season, Hagberg had a reasonable weekend in Austria considering the last few ETS races but with Round 6 at a track he knows extremely well due to it being where Xray develops its cars he will be one to watch. Although he only finished 6th, despite taking 4th in Legs 1 & 3, many onlookers commented on how well Moore drove this weekend. The 2006 World Champion intially struggled in practice but made a big step forward after making a significant discovery as to how he sets up his TCXX.
In the Xray Pro Stock class the third A-Main saw the biggest class in the ETS put on another great race which was won by the Awesomatix of 16-year-old Dominic Vogl. A hugely popular race win, unfortunately for the Austrian his winning time was 2/10ths of a second too slow and it was Xray’s Marek Cerny, who was only fourth in the leg, who took the overall win. His third win of the season, the Czech driver was delighted with the win after his terrible run at Apeldoorn. Although he moves closer to the title, defending Champion Zdenko Kunak’s chances of retaining the title coming to an end in Austria after a tough event, Cerny still needs to do well at the season finale but should he win it will be the perfect place to win his first title. Former Champion Martin Hofer and his Schumacher completed the podium.
The Speed Passion Formula class saw Roman Pichler again get the better of Top Qualifier Jan Asmer in Leg 3 to claim the win and his second overall victory of the season. However for Asmer second on the podium ahead of current champion Herbert Weber was enough to secure the Serpent driver the overall 2012/13 ETS title.