Although the majority of racers availed of a full day of free practice yesterday, today is officially the first day of action at the Yokomo Euro Touring Series at the amazing Hudy Racing Arena in Slovakia. A lovely morning here in Trencin, on the schedule for the 250 racers are two rounds of free practice that will be followed by two more timed runs from which each driver’s fastest three consecutive laps will determine the seeding for the qualifying. The day will conclude with the first of the event’s 4 rounds of qualifying.
The conclusion of Season #7 of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series this weekend (4-6th July) will have a truly World class affair as the sixth & final round of the championship travels to the amazing Hudy Arena in Slovakia where the 260 strong entry will include no less than 6 World Champions. Joining championship regulars Marc Rheinard and Andy Moore, current World Champions Jilles Groskamp and Meen Vejrak along with all round legends of the sport Atsushi Hara and Lamberto Collari will all race at the track for the first time, this being only the ETS’ second to the race facility that is located next to the Xray factory.
With Ronald Volker having already wrapped up his fourth consecutive Ride Modified title last month in Luxembourg at Round 5, in the premiere class the big championship focus is on who will finish runner to the Yokomo ace. That battle is set to between Rheinard, the Tamiya driver currently second in the standings, and Team Xray’s Alexander Hagberg. Unlike Rheinard, Hagberg has been a race winner this season and the Swede would love nothing better than to make that two at his team’s home track. Rheinard has never went a full season of ETS without a win and with Tamiya really upping their support of the 3-time World Champion in this world championship year he will be more determined than ever to get the job done this weekend.
Having made a popular return to the ETS at Luxembourg after over a season’s absence and claiming a podium finish, Groskamp will be relishing the opportunity to build on that result. The Tamiya Racing Factory driver remains the championship’s 3rd most winning driver behind Volker & Rheinard and would like to add to his tally of wins on his first visit to what is widely recognised as the world’s greatest RC facility.
While this will be Hara’s first time to race at the Hudy Racing Arena, it is not his first visit. The former Electric Touring Car & 1:8 Buggy World Champion, travelled last year to the event with the championship’s official tyre supplier Ride in a development role. Only arriving on the Saturday he was unable to compete himself but to the delight of all competitors they did get to see him drive albeit only a few laps in the reverse direction of the track. A late addition to the A-Main ‘Dash for Cash’ event, he borrowed Xray designer Martin Hudy’s car for the run. This year Hara’s track time will be of much more importance as he forms part of Yokomo’s factory line-up.
Reigning 1:10 Nitro Touring Car World Champion Vejrak and 9-time 1:8 Onroad World Champion Collari both make only their second ever ETS appearance. Vejrak made his championship debut last season when he travelled to Gran Canaria while Collari had his first real go at electric touring car racing in 2012 when the championship travelled to the Italian’s home country. Having just missed out on making the A-Main, ending up BQ, Vejrak will be targeting an A-Main performance for Team Yokomo, while for nitro specialist Collari the event is more about enjoying the atmosphere for which the ETS has become World famous.
While the Ride Modified and Formula titles have already been decided, in the championships biggest class, the Xray Pro-Stock class, things still have to be decided. Thanks to his win and TQ at Round 5 defending champion Marek Cerny put himself back in contention to successfully defend his title. The factory Xray driver has just one title rival and that is his team-mate Jan Ratheisky with both drivers tied on 619 points going into the season finale. Having successfully defended his Formula title this season, Ratheisky has 3 wins compared to Cerny’s two meaning the Czech driver needs to pull off the perfect win to deny the German his first Pro-Stock title, something which would be a first for the ETS – a champion of two classes in one season.
Euro Touring Series Xray Pro Stock Champion Marek Cerny put himself back in contention to defend his title by taking the victory in Luxembourg after three thrilling A-Main encounters. The only one of the A-Mains at Round 5 of the championship to go to A3, the factory Xray driver again had a thrilling 5-minute battle with ARC’s Lars Hoppe for the overall. Having rubbed bodyshells a number of times, a mistake by the Top Qualifier would finally allow Hoppe, who set the fastest lap of the race and looked to have a slightly quicker car, to go to the front from were it looked like the German would claim both his & the R10’s first ETS win. Better known for his 1:8 Onroad exploits, him set to be a contender at next weekend ENS race in Hockeheim, it wasn’t to be as with 3-laps to go he hit the curbing at the hairpin which was all Cerny needed to move back to the front. Having pulled off a great pass on the downhill chicane to win A1, Hoppe would try the move again on the last lap but couldn’t pull it off. Ending up on the grass this would give Cerny the win and also allow former Champion Martin Hofer and local Gilles Choque to get passed. For Hofer the result would secure him the final step on the podium.
His second win of the season, Cerny said the race brought a lot of pressure but going into the deciding round he just focused on that single 5-minutes of racing rather than the overall result. Describing his T4 as ‘good’, the 19-year-old said he knew the car was there and it was ‘in his hands’ to take the win. Having seen in A1 & 2 that Hoppe had slightly better top speed he said he knew if he ‘just tried to do perfect lines every lap’ it would be hard for his rival to get passed but added that plan took a set back when he made a mistake on lap 11. Despite the pressure he said he never gave up and then when Hoppe got t wrong he was able to take back the lead. Thanking his team of Martin Hudy and Francesco Martini for their ‘valuable’ support over the weekend, he said he needed to start focusing already on the season finale when he will go head to head for the title with his Xray team-mate Jan Ratheisky, the German having a difficult weekend finishing just 8th.
Hoppe said he was both happy and at the same time a little disappointed, his disappointment being for that one mistake over the curbing that cost him the win. Only his second ETS outing on asphalt, having made his first earlier this year in Gran Canaria where he finished fourth, he said he was happy to claim his first podium in the championship. Describing his car as ‘perfect’, him easily able to make up time after using the grass twice to try and find a way passed Cerny adding he ‘really enjoyed the battle’ and the weekend in general at a very sunny Mini Circuit “Ville de Luxembourg”.
In the Ride Modifed class, Ronald Volker having sewn up his 4th Championship title in a row and the overall race win in A2, the closing race would decide who joined the Yokomo driver on the podium. Marc Rheinard would take a tone to tone win of the race which saw a Tamiya 1-2-3. Getting passed Lucas Urbain when the VBC Racing driver got out of shape, World Champion Jilles Groskamp made a sterling effort to try and get passed his team-mate but just couldn’t get it done. Wilck would also get passed Urbain but Rheinard & Groskamp would complete the overall Top 3 with the Frenchman having to settle for fourth at his home race.
Ride Modified Overall Result
1. Ronald Volker – Yokomo – 2 pts
2. Marc Rheinard – Tamiya – 3
3. Jilles Groskamp – Tamiya – 5
4. Lucas Urbain – VBC Racing – 7
5. Viktor Wilck – Tamiya – 8
6. Loic Jasmin – Yokomo – 8
7. Alexander Hagberg – Xray – 11
8. Elliott Harper – Team Durango – 13
9. Christopher Krapp – Kyosho – 15
10.Leo Arnold – Team Magic – 17
Ride Modified A-Main Leg 3 Result
1.(2) Marc Rheinard (DE) – Tamiya – 16/5:06.663
2.(4) Jilles Groskamp (NL) – Tamiya – 16/5:06.777
3.(5) Viktor Wilck (SE) – Tamiya – 16/5:08.004
4.(3) Lucas Urbain (FR) – VBC Racing – 16/5:09.614
5.(6) Loic Jasmin (FR) – Yokomo – 16/5:10.782
6.(8) Elliott Harper (GB) – Team Durango – 16/5:12.878
7.(10)Christopher Krapp (DE) – Kyosho – 16/5:13.126
8.(9) Leo Arnold (FR) – Team Magic – 16/5:13.211
9.(7) Alexander Hagberg (SE) – Xray – 12/3:53.034
10.(1)Ronald Volker (DE) – Yokomo – DNS
Xray Pro-Stock Overall Result
1. Marek Cerny – Xray – 2 pts
2. Lars Hoppe – ARC – 3
3. Martin Hofer – Schumacher – 5
4. Gilles Choque – Xray – 7
5. Mike Gosvig – Awesomatix – 9
6. Henrik Heitsch – ARC – 10
7. Joe Streff – Xray – 12
8. Jan Ratheisky – Xray – 15
9. Max Machler – Awesomatix – 15
10.Julian Borowski – Serpent – 15
Xray Pro Stock A-Main Leg 3 Result
1.(1) Marek Cerny (CZ) – Xray – 14/5:08.018
2.(4) Martin Hofer (DE) – Schumacher – 14/5:08.987
3.(6) Gilles Choque (LU) – Xray – 14/5:09.137
4.(2) Lars Hoppe (DE) – ARC – 14/5:09.139
5.(3) Mike Gosvig (DK) – Awesomatix – 14/5:10.816
6.(9) Max Machler (DE) – Awesomatix – 14/5:11.618
7.(10)Joe Streff (LU) – Xray – 14/5:11.735
8.(5) Julian Borowski (DE) – Serpent – 14/5:13.236
9.(7) Jan Ratheisky (DE) – Xray – 14/5:14.736
10.(8)Henrik Heitsch (DE) – ARC – 14/5:19.661
Ronald Volker has claimed his fourth consecutive Yokomo Euro Touring Series title securing the world famous championship’s top prize with victory at the penultimate round in Luxembourg. His 11th ETS race win, the Yokomo driver would back up his A1 win at the spectacular Mini Circuit “Ville de Luxembourg” track with another tone to tone win in the second encounter which started out looking like Marc Rheinard might take things to A3. Ultimately once the race passed a minute & a half however Volker would pull clear to wrap up his third win of Season #7. Behind Rheinard, Lucas Urbain would hold on to his starting position this time round to complete the Top 3.
‘Amazing’ was Volker’s reaction to his latest title. Having in the past struggled on asphalt and secured his titles thanks to his domination of the early part of the season on carpet, he said his team’s improvement on asphalt this season was key to the title. Widely regarded as currently being the best electric touring car driver in the world, the German suffered his worst finish on carpet this season, a 3rd at Round 2, but during the last two asphalt outings commanding victories eliminated one by one the number of rivals that could challenge him for the title. Xray’s Alexander Hagberg was the only driver left coming in the Luxembourg race who could have made the title go to the final race. Despite this being his 4th back to back title he said ‘Every year is alway hard work’ and even though he has achieved his goal he is no less motivated for the season finale at the Hudy Arena which he said is ‘in my opinion’ one of the best tracks in the world. A World Championship year, a title that has eluded him, he said they cannot afford to get complacent but added with Yukijiro Umino’s ‘passionate support’ and hunger to always improve that wasn’t going to happen. Thanking his engineer for his suppor he also praised his electronics sponsor LRP for ‘what we have now’. Commenting on A2, he described it as ‘exciting’ saying the pressure in the first minute felt similar to that which he faced in Austria also in A2 from his team-mate Yannic Prumper. A problem with one of the cups on his tyre warmer not working, which Umino decided against informing him about before the race, left him struggling for the first 6 to 7 laps particularly out of left hand corners as he struggled getting on power. Once the cold tyres came up to temperature he said he was then able to open up a gap and pace the rest of the race.
‘I tried’ was how Rheinard’s summed up the race. The Tamiya driver almost got through on the main straight but ‘backed off so as not to crash’ continuning ‘had it been a minute to go rather than the first minute of the race (he) would for sure have been more aggressive’. Set to start A3 from the front as Volker will sit it out, he said his focus is to get the leg win & second overall as he looks to overhaul Hagberg for second in he championship standings. A frustrating season for the series most winning driver, he said this race was always more about testing for the World Championship as he was already out of the title chase. With Volker and Yokomo clear favourites for the World Championship he said this and the next ETS race are the best places for the defending World Champion team to gauge themselves against their rivals adding they have work to do. The entire Tamiya team will stay on in Luxembourg Monday & Tuesday for testing which he said he hopes will result in him being competitive enough to end the ETS season in Slovakia with a win. Should he fail to achieve that it would be his and Tamiya first ETS campaign without a single victory.
Happy to maintain his position, Urbain said it was a difficult opening lap as he was ‘so slow’ and he ‘feel(s) a responsible for Jilles (Groskamp) and Viktor’s (Wilck) coming together’. Using tyre warmers for A2, he said his VBC was much better off the line than in A1 but his driving was not. Describing Groskamp as a ‘gentleman’ for not risking the move on him at the hairpin which cost the Dutchman any chance of a good result, he said once he got a few laps under himself he was able to cruise. Having adjusted the timing on his motor due to the hotter conditions of the second encounter he said he went a little too much and he was lacking a little speed as a result. Planning to put it back to the A1 setting for the closing, he said he hopes to put in a better opening lap and to be able to battle it out for a podium finish at his home race.
Groskamp, who after suffering a body tuck when team-mate Wilck ran into the back of his TRF418 on the entry to the hairpin finished 6th, said afterwards that he was maybe a little too nice to Urbain. With a podium finish on the line at a track where he won his 2009 European Championship title he said he will be looking to get past the No.3 car as soon as possible this time round.
Once again the Xray Pro Stock class provided the best of the A-Main action with Marek Cerny and Lars Hoppe going at it for a second time. A mistake by Top Qualifier Cerny at the end of lap 1 in the same downhill chicane where Hoppe snatched the A1 win allowed the German past the Champion’s Xray. On lap 6 however an error in the track Laguna Seca corner from the ARC driver allowed Cerny back to the front where he would stay to the end, setting the stage for a great A3 decider. In Formula Olivier Bultynck found a way past Top Qualifier David Ehrbar to take the win from Champion Jan Ratheisky and claim his first overall win of the season.
Ride Modified A-Main Leg 2 Result
1.(1) Ronald Volker (DE) – Yokomo – 16/5:02.327
2.(2) Marc Rheinard (DE) – Tamiya – 16/5:02.722
3.(3) Lucas Urbain (FR) – VBC Racing – 16/5:06.836
4.(6) Loic Jasmin (FR) – Yokomo – 16/5:07.299
5.(7) Alexander Hagberg (SE) – Xray – 16/5:09.437
6.(4) Jilles Groskamp (NL) – Tamiya – 16/5:11.757
7.(8) Elliott Harper (GB) – Team Durango – 16/5:16.048
8.(5) Viktor Wilck (SE) – Tamiya – 15/4:59.036
9.(9) Leo Arnold (FR) – Team Magic – 15/5:05.058
10.(10)Christopher Krapp (DE) – Kyosho – 12/3:54.350
Xray Pro Stock A-Main Leg 2 Result
1.(1) Marek Cerny (CZ) – Xray – 14/5:02.428
2.(2) Lars Hoppe (DE) – ARC – 14/5:02.496
3.(4) Martin Hofer (DE) – Schumacher – 14/5:06.314
4.(3) Mike Gosvig (DK) – Awesomatix – 14/5:07.533
5.(6) Gilles Choque (LU) – Xray – 14/5:07.670
6.(7) Jan Ratheisky (DE) – Xray – 14/5:08.792
7.(8) Henrik Heitsch (DE) – ARC – 14/5:11.209
8.(5) Julian Borowski (DE) – Serpent – 14/5:11.576
9.(9) Max Machler (DE) – Awesomatix – 14/5:12.348
10.(10)Joe Streff (LU) – Xray – 14/5:13.980