Alexander Hagberg has topped a very cold opening round of qualifying at Round 5 of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Luxembourg. A day which was affected by rain, the Xray driver topped the late qualifier from Yokomo’s Ronald Volker and Tamiya’s Marc Rheinard, the three covered by 2/10ths of a second. With track conditions dry but extremely cold for the first of the weekend’s four scheduled qualifiers it was Hagberg’s team-mate Bruno Coelho who set the early TQ pace. Starting second behind top seed Volker, the Portuguese driver would catch the German but on passing him would clip the curbing and put his car on its roof. Continuing for one more lap once marshalled the always spectacular driver would then opt to pull off to save his tyres having lost almost 3-seconds due to his mistake.
With an outside chance of the overall ETS championship title, Hagberg was delighted with his performance saying ‘the car was brilliant’. Driving ‘too careful at the beginning’ of the run, the Swede said once he started to push his ORCA powered T4 it felt ‘super’. Feeling there is even more in the car if he pushes it harder he added ‘I will not change anything for tomorrow’.
Having a ‘bad second lap’, spinning after clipping the corner on the way up the hill to the track’s feature corner, Volker said he wasn’t too unhappy to end up with a P2 for the opening qualifier. The reigning champion, who could bring his title tally to five this weekend, said after his mistake Coelho was ‘right on (his) tail’. Opening the door for his new rival, with whom he has had clashes at the previous two ETS encounters, he said when Coelho hit the curbing he got lucky it didn’t cost him more time. He continued, the fact that he had to open the door in the first place cost him the TQ. Putting his early mistake down to the cold temperature adding he needed to pay more attention to the conditions, the German said with his LRP powered BD7 easy to drive he may make a small set-up change for Q2 to try and add a little more steering.
Losing 4/10th to Volker on the opening lap after overshooting his entry in the Laguna Seca corner, Rheinard said once Coelho exited proceedings he was surprised to find himself in the mix. The newly crowned Reedy Race Champion said his Much More powered TRF419 ‘felt safe but I didn’t feel I was fast’. Describing his pace for the qualifier better than practice he said it was more a case that his rivals had got slower more than him making a big step forward in performance. Putting his car top of the time screens he said he lost it again when he clipped the curbing preventing him from getting on the power and it was this that cost him a shot at the TQ his gap to Volker just 0.013.
Fourth fastest Yokomo’s Yannic Prumper struggled with his BD7 in left corners, the banked sweeper at the end of the straight causing him particular problems. Running the car the same as yesterday having only changed radio, the Italian ETS race winner was to discover afterwards an issue with the steering end points and will now revert back to his Sanwa M12 for the remainder of the event.
Another to go top of the timing early in the round, Meen Vejrak would finished the qualifier 5th fastest. Claiming his first ETS podium finish in Italy, the Yokomo driver said his Scorpion powered BD7 was a lot better after they discovered an issue with a new bodyshell. Changing the body for the final practice he said afterwards he noticed even though they made no body post adjustments the new shell was sitting nose high – the rear of the body formed slightly than both of his other shells. While the car started off well, the Thai driver said it started to develop understeer adding they need to work on a set-up that gives a more consistent car over the 5-minutes.
Completing the Top 6, Viktor Wilck said he was lucky not to put his Serpent on the grass off the start line. Starting the top heat last he said a combination of the cold conditions and sitting on the line for so long, the Swede said his tyres took a few laps to get up to temperature. Once they did the Serpent driver would set the fastest lap saying his S411 was ‘really good’. On hearing he was running a Top 3 pace he said he pushed a little too hard leading to a mistake through Laguna Seca that cost him over a second but based on how the car is working he is confident for tomorrow’s three qualifiers.
Posting the seventh fastest time, HB’s Jilles Groskamp felt his driving didn’t make the most of his ever improving car. Encouraged that his Orion powered PRO5 was a lot closer to the pace than in Riccione and Mattsee, he said after ‘a long and cold day’ at the track he hoped with a good sleep tonight he would drive the car to his potential tomorrow. Team-mate Andy Moore would take his Hobbywing powered PRO5 to the 10th fastest time behind young Spanish Xray talent David Perez and the VBC of local track hero Lucas Urbain.
In the Xray Pro Stock class, Italian Yokomo driver Nico Catelani TQ’d the opening round from the Team Magic of Patrick Gassauer by 4/100th of a second. Just over 1/10 back defending champion Marek Cerny would complete the Top 3 ahead of title rival Lars Hoppe whose ARC posted the fastest lap. In Formula, Jan Ratheisky’s quest to wrap up a 3rd consecutive title this week started off perfectly as he TQ’d Q1 from Xray team-mate Mike Gosvig with local Jacques Libar third.