Marc Rheinard topped the first round of timed practice at the season opener of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in the Czech Republic. The Tamiya driver who closed off last season’s ETS championship with a victory was quickest over 3-consecutive laps from defending champion Ronald Volker, the pair separated by just 0.09 of a second around the large carpet track. 2/10th off Rheinard’s pace, Yannic Prumper would complete an all German Top 3 followed by Xray’s Alexander Hagberg and Serpent’s Marc Fischer.
‘Not too bad’ was how Rheinard summed up his early performance. Taking advantage of the latest round of the popular Czech Mibo Cup, which uses the same Sport-V-Hotel venue to host its championship, the former World Champion ran two different TRF419 chassis over the 4-minute practice. Starting out with a carbon chassis car the German would set his fastest time with the second car he would run which is fitted with an aluminum chassis. With the carbon chassis struggling with understeer, he described the alu version as ‘good’ and while he is swaying towards running this in qualifying he said for the final practice he will again run both cars. With different shock set-ups on the cars he will make both the same to get a more true comparison before making his final decision.
Feeling slightly under the weather as he is suffering from a sore throat, Volker who has dominated this event on the last three visits, this being the ETS’ fifth, said 2nd fastest was ‘not to bad’ but added ‘there is room for improvement’. Running an alloy chassis on his Yokomo BD7, the four time back to back champion reported understeer, something he put down to the ETS’ new spec carpet. Commenting that normally on carpet too much steering is the issue, he said this particular carpet creates a lot of rear traction from the hand out Ride tyre causing the car to push. With the steering improving as the tyres wear he said even allowing for this they would also ‘change a little’ the set-up for the final practice.
Running Yokomo’s standard carbon chassis on his BD7, Prumper felt his car is not the best for a ‘hot lap’ but the 20-year-old is condifent he has a really good package for a 5-minute run. With the car very stable in the rear for the last timed practice his mechanic Toni Rheinard will adjust the toe in as well as change to a softer shock oil all round which he hopes will further improve an already good package.
‘Too slow’ was how Hagberg summed up his early pace. The newly crowned nitro touring car World Champion said the track’s carpet is causing his T4 to push and they need to adjust the set-up to compensate for that fact. Commenting on the layout, which he said is better than last year, the Swede likes the bigger layout which so far is proving to be about 3-seconds a lap slower such is the increase in size.
A podium finisher here two season back, Fischer said after changing bodyshell for the first time practice he will revert to the all white shell he ran in the morning’s open practice. Switching to a Protoform Speed 6 done up is his orange colour scheme, he said due to this shell being mounted further back on his S411 the car pushed too much. In addition to returning to the more forward mounted body which he said as well as giving more steering give a better overall feeling, the German also intends to make a front spring change.
Having tried two cars in open practice and opted to run just the alu chassis TRF419 for the first timed practice, Tamiya’s Viktor Wilck posted the 6th fastest time. The Swede said while the alu version was better in terms of having more steering he still needs to reduce the understeer and so he plans to try a different shock set-up for the last practice.
Joined by Canadian team-mate Keven Hebert this weekend, Team Associated’s Juho Levanen set the 7th fastest time describing his car as ‘actually pretty good’. Unfortunately half way through the run a heavy contact would result in him tweaking the car. Testing different suspension parts on his TC6.2, with Herbert in turn trying another suspension package, the Finn is confident that there is more to come as he tweaked the car before the tyres had reached their best. Other than dial out the tweak, the two time ETS race winner said he will run the same set-up for the second timed practice.
Running the same set-up as he did at last weekend’s Charty Race in Italy, Xray chassis designer Martin Hudy set the 8th fastest time. The Slovak driver said while his T4 had a ‘little push’ it was OK for now as with the traction improving, so should the car’s steering.
Making his Ride Modified class debut since becoming back to back champion of the Xray Pro-Stock class, Marek Cerny posted the 9th fastest time. The Czech factory Xray driver said while he could do with a little more steering his T4 was ‘super easy’ to drive. Describing this as his first serious attempt at racing Modified, his plan being to contest both Mod & Pro Stock at all six rounds this season, he said his aim for this weekend is the B-Main. Only fifth fastest in the first timed Pro Stock practice he said this car was a ‘little more difficult’ but added traffic was too a bit of an issue over the 3-laps too and he feels his 5-minute pace is better. Former champion Martin Hofer would top the Pro Stock times with his Schumacher setting the pace from the ARC of Lars Hoppe and Xray’s Mike Gosvig.
Completing the Top 10 in Modifed was Freddy Sudhoff. While his Awesomatix team have spent the last week testing in Germany, work commitments meant Sudhoff was unable to attend. Describing his two practice runs as ‘so far so good’, he said while the overall balance of the car is very good they will make a set-up change so as to try and get more on power steering. Starting out with a Protoform Speed 6, for the first time run he switch to the American company’s new Dart shell. Describing the body as making the car a lot easier to drive he said it was ‘probably too easy’ and he plans to go back for now to the Speed 6.