Marc Rheinard is the Top Qualifier for the season finale of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series, the 3-time World Champion claiming the honour for the first time in more than a season after he topped the final round of qualifying at the Hudy Racing Arena in Slovakia. Needing a TQ run to deny his Tamiya team-mate Viktor Wilck, who topped Q2 & 3, the pair pushed one another extremely hard over the five minutes until Wilck went for an all or nothing last lap that saw the Swede roll at the end of the straight. Taking the round ahead of this season’s already crowned champion Ronald Volker, Rheinard would end up tied on points but thanks to his fastest Q1 time he would claim his 9th ETS pole position. A weekend that has seen the Tamiya Racing Factory make a huge step forward in performance, Wilck will start second with Jilles Groskamp and Akio Sobue also on the grid making them the best represented manufacturer.
Having been critised for venting his frustration at his car lacking pace in the past, Rheinard was understandably very happy not just with his own performance but that of his team-mates adding that Wilck turned out to be a little faster than he expected in Q4. Describing the run as ‘very close’, the former Champion said starting the heat directly behind Wilck he could see very clearly changes in the gap. After closing in at the start, he said at the end the Swede really brought it on. Asked if he could convert his No.1 qualifying position into his first win of the season, the German said his main goal coming into the weekend was to secure second overall in the championship and that remains the same.
Wilck said while in the end the result was great for Tamiya it would have been nice if he had taken the overall TQ. A Top Qualifier four times previously, he said he lost out at the beginning of the run as he was too slow. Managing to pull back much of the lost time he said he went for it on the last lap but catching the curb at the end of the straight he rolled losing over one & a half seconds. Asked about the final, he said he could do with a little more steering something he hoped engineer Kiyo Suzuki would be able to sort out.
‘Never that happy starting third’ was how Volker summed up his qualifying. The driver with the most number of TQ’s in the championship having started 15 races from the front of the grid, he said today was a tough day. Pulling off in Q2 afterstruggling with his set-up and having a motor issue in Q3, he said having just moved to the top of the time sheets it was driver error that was the problem in the final heat. Clipping a dot half way through the run he would lose over a second & a half. Driving at ‘more than 100%’ he was able to get back a few 1/10th which helped him move from fifth to third on the grid – him winning the tie break with Alexander Hagberg. Happy with how his LRP powered BD7 ran in Q4 he said they may just make some small tweaks adding it will be interesting to see how everyone runs on fresh tyres, A-Main drivers getting a new set of Ride tyres for each of the three legs. Looking to cap off his championship winning season with a win he said his aim for the race was to ‘swap the situation’.
Starting his team’s home race from fourth on the grid, Xray’s Alexander Hagberg is was disappointed at losing out on 3rd. On the opening lap of the qualifier the Swede’s ORCA powered T4 overshot the end of the straight costing him valuable tenths in the extremely closely matched field. He said the car got better lap by lap and in the end it was really fast but it was all ‘too late’. Admitting it will be hard to win from fourth he believes he has a good chance at the podium and due to how close everyone was in qualifying it should be very interesting finals.
Dropping from looking like starting third to ending up 5th, Yannic Prumper said his Yokomo was ‘really good’ for the last qualifier but he ‘just messed it up on my own’. Clipping the curbing and sending his BD7 onto grass on its roof, the mistake left him 23rd for the round. The 20-year-old said the car is there to challenge for the win but the loss of grid position means its going to be ‘harder work tomorrow’.
Completing the Top 6 ahead of team-mate & ETS debutant Sobue, Groskamp said with four cars in the Top 7 and two of the them up front, Tamiya could now say ‘we are back’. He said the greatest thing about today was that Tamiya had shown they are competitive again adding for him the order is fine as getting the team back up to speed in this world championship year was the most important thing. Completing the grid Yokomo’s Loic Jasmin will start 8th, followed by the Awesomatix of last year’s Pro-Stock winner at the Arena Viljami Kutvonen with 9-time national champion Alessio Menicucci becoming the first Italian to make the premiere class A-main at an ETS.
Despite having alreasdy ready wrapped up a very important overall TQ in the Xray Pro-Stock class, defending champion Marek Cerny completed the clean sweep for Xray as he topped Q4 from fellow Czech Xray driver Kuba Simurda who will start second on the grid. Home driver David Nemcek starts third with Cerny’s title rival Jan Ratheisky starting fourth but the pressure is on Cerny as he needs the win to retain his title. In the Formula class, Team Serpent’s driver David Ehrbar claimed his second overall TQ of the season and will start the finals ahead of Olivier Bultynck, the VBC Racing driver having denied Ehrbar the win in Luxembourg.
Ride Modified A-Main Grid
1. Marc Rheinard – Tamiya Racing Factory – 310 pts
2. Viktor Wilck – Tamiya Racing Factory – 310
3. Ronald Volker – Team Yokomo – 305
4. Alexander Hagberg – Xray Racing Team – 305
5. Yannic Prumper – Team Yokomo – 304
6. Jilles Groskamp – Tamiya Racing Factory – 301
7. Akio Sobue – Tamiya Racing Factory – 299
8. Loic Jasmin – Team Yokomo – 298
9. Viljami Kutvonen – Awesomatix – 297
10.Alessio Menicucci – Xray Racing Team – 297
Ride Modified Round 4 Qualifying – Top 10
1. Marc Rheinard – Tamiya Racing Factory – 17/5:10.779
2. Ronald Volker – Team Yokomo – 17/5:11.915
3. Alexander Hagberg – Xray Racing Team – 17/5:11.997
4. Jilles Groskamp – Tamiya Racing Factory – 17/5:12.535
5. Akio Sobue – Tamiya Racing Factory – 17/5:12.658
6. Viktor Wilck – Tamiya Racing Factory – 17/5:12.758
7. Steven Weiss – Xray Racing Team – 17/5:13.807
8. Alessio Menicucci – Xray Racing Team – 17/5:13.838
9. Atsushi Hara – Team Yokomo – 17/5:14.042
10.Viljami Kutvonen – Awesomatix – 17/5:14.697
Xray Pro-Stock A-Main Grid
1. Marek Cerny – Xray – 310 pts
2. Kuba Simurda – Xray – 306
3. David Nemcek – Xray – 306
4. Jan Ratheisky – Xray – 303
5. Henrik Heitsch – ARC – 302
6. Tobias Seidl – Team C – 302
7. Kevin Homburg – ARC – 300
8. Philip Tschupp – Serpent – 297
9. Mustafa Alp – VBC Racing – 297
10.Mike Gosvig – Awesomatix – 297
Xray Pro-Stock Round 4 Qualifying – Top 10
1. Marek Cerny – Xray – 15/5:07.762
2. Kuba Simurda – Xray – 15/5:10.283
3. Henrik Heitsch – ARC – 15/5:10.430
4. Tobias Seidl – Team C – 15/5:10.457
5. Mustafa Alp – VBC Racing- 15/5:11.192
6. Jan Ratheisky – Xray – 15/5:11.899
7. Kevin Homburg – ARC – 15/5:12.667
8. Mike Gosvig – Awesomatix – 15/5:12.904
9. Marco Siegenthaler – Serpent – 15/5:13.552
10.Barnabas Toth – Yokomo – 15/5:13.586