Alexander Hagberg took the second round of qualifying at the season opener of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series this morning, the Xray driver topping the times in the Czech Republic by 0.187 from last night’s Q1 pace setter Marc Rheinard. A reverse of the order in which the Top 3 finished in the last season’s ETS, Ronald Volker would post the third fastest time with Awesomatix driver Viljami Kutvonen making it four different manufacturers in the Top 4.
Taking advantage of the early morning open practice on the 24 X 30 metre carpet track, Hagberg said a move to a stiffer spring on his Xray T4 ‘improved the car a lot’. The Swede said while the ‘nature of the track’ means understeer can never be completely dialled out of any car the changes he made resulted in a set-up that left his car ‘near perfect’ for the conditions. A two time ETS winner on carpet, the newly crowned nitro touring car World Champion will leave his car unchanged for Q3 adding it’s up to the driver now to get the time out of it.
Setting the TQ pace for the first half of the 5-minute heat, Rheinard said his second round ‘was ok’. The Tamiya star was pleased with how his Much More powered TRF419 started out the run but said it pushed more and more as the run went on with the car becoming particularly bad in left corners. Planning a camber change for Q3, the German said ‘in the end it was very close’ between him and Hagberg and so anything could happen over the remaining two qualifiers.
Feeling slightly better after getting 9-hours of sleep last night, Volker made a bad first lap. Half spinning his Yokomo and having to drive across the dots, the German believes the unexpected reaction of the car was due to his diff having not be broken in enough. Leaving Hagberg on his rear bumper, he said he was able to match both his & Rheinard’s pace but due to the track’s understeer inducing conditions he was unable to gain back any of the lost time. With ‘everyone suffering with understeer’, the 4-time winner of this race said they will change something for the next one in the hope they can somehow find just a little more steering than his rivals.
Another driver to take advantage of the morning’s open practice, Kutvonen said he was able to evaluate his planned body change. Running Bittydesign’s new M15 yesterday he had planned to switch to the Nardò for Q2 but on trying it in the practice he found it made the car too aggressive. Sticking with the M15 he instead changed his swaybar settings making the front harder and the rear softer with this giving him a more manageable level of steering. Feeling the car is now near to their rivals, for the next one he will try to fine tune it by setting the car’s unique suspension to a harder spring setting. In contrast to the Finn’s competitive run his team-mate Freddy Sudhoff would suffer a heavy crash. With Marek Cerny getting it wrong on the main straight, last year’s podium finisher made heavy contact with the Xray. Describing the outcome of the crash as the worst damage he has done to a car since joining the Russian manufacturer, the German said he will have to build up a new car for the rest of the event such was the impact. Dionys Stadler would enjoy a good run for the team taking his A700 to the 7th fastest time.
Suffering two bad opening laps without which he feels second would have been possible, Yannic Prumper would set the 5th fastest time. While he would set the second fastest lap of the round, the Yokomo driver’s DB7 was too edgy to drive at the beginning leading to his bad laps. With the narrow rear end causing the car to roll too much, his mechanic Toni Rheinard said they will make it wider for Q3 as well as switching over to short shocks.
Completing the Top 6, Serpent’s Marc Fischer also had to deal with a car that was hard to drive at the beginning of the run. With this leading to a ‘couple of mistakes’, he said in the end it felt good. If he can get the car to work like that from start to finish he said Top 4 times are possible and to try and achieve this he will change shock spring and the stiffness of the S411’s geardiff.
Behind Stadler, star of the recent World Championships Bruno Coehlo set the 8th fastest time. Copying Cerny’s set-up for today’s action, the Portuguese driver said his T4 had ‘much more steering’. Running a Top 3 pace before a mistake, he plans to leave his car unchanged and work on cleaning up his driving. Behind Coehlo, Xray designer Martin Hudy and Tamiya’s Viktor Wilck completed the Top 10.