Coelho leads way in 1st timed practice at ETS Luxembourg
Bruno Coelho has set the pace in the first of the two timed practices at the penultimate round of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Luxembourg. Last year’s race winner posted the fastest 3-laps ahead of Jilles Groskamp stretching his advantage over the Dutch driver, the pair more evenly match in the morning’s untimed practice. Behind them it was local hero Lucas Urbain who would complete the Top 3 with a time 1/1000th of a second faster than defending champion Ronald Volker. A crucial weekend in the three way title battle, it wasn’t a great start to the weekend for Marc Rheinard as he found himself only 10th fastest over 1.4-seconds off points leader Coelho.
‘Very good’ was how Coelho summed up TP1 adding ‘we improved a little the car making it more stable’. The Xray driver who claimed his first ever ETS win at Mini Circuit “Ville de Luxembourg” said, ‘the car is there, its just down to small things now’. Comparing the practice to the untimed morning practice, the Portuguese ace said ‘I think it was slower and there was more wind which made the rear of the car feel strange at times’. Comparing his lap times he said while his ‘three laps (were the) same as the morning’, the higher temperature meant the pace ‘drops a lot after 5-laps’.
Also at the controls of a Xray this weekend Team Infinity’s Groskamp summed up his TP1 with ‘not bad but Bruno a lot faster now’. He continued ‘the track changed for sure but I also changed the set-up a little and it didn’t feel as good as before’. 4/10ths off Coelho over 3-laps, the Dutch driver who claimed his first European Championship title in Luxembourg in 2009, said ‘compared to everyone else my pace is the same as the morning its just Bruno who has stepped things up’. He concluded the ‘first three laps are rocket but my car is good for the whole run so I’m pretty happy’.
‘It’s ok, it’s building up nicely’ was Urbain’s reaction to his P3 time. The French driver, for whom this is his local track, added ‘Bruno is really fast now and I felt my car better in the 1st practice’. With ‘too much understeer he said while the first few laps are good his D08 then suffers too much of a drop off in pace. Having adjusted the weight distribution for TP1, moving more weight to the rear of the car, he will go back as this just ‘cooked the rear tyres quicker’.
Needing to deny Coelho the win on Sunday to have any chance of making it six ETS titles in a row, Volker said he ‘didn’t focus too much on 3-laps’. Describing his BD7 as ‘good throughout the run’, the German added it was ‘very stable’. Admitting if it had been a qualifier such was Coelho’s pace over the opening three laps it would have been hard to recover the time and he will ‘try to make sure not to lose so much time at the beginning’. Planning to ‘make some changes for the final practice, he needs to discuss his options first with his engineer.
Having made his first A-Main appearance in some time at the previous round in Italy, Viktor Wilck would post the 5th fastest time. The Serpent driver was much happier with his 4-X after reverting back to his own set-up. Running that set-up in open practice yesterday for the first run today he copied the set-up of the car’s designer David Ehrbar but making the car ‘completely different’ he was quick to switch back to his own ideas. Describing the car as being ‘pretty OK’ for TP1 he said he just needs to fine tune it to ‘make it a little more edgy’.
Having just announced a deal to drive for Capricorn, Marc Fischer got that new partnership off to a positive start as he completed the Top 6 just behind his former team-mate. Having had little time with his new car, in TP1 the German said he finally found his way with it. Moving the front & rear shocks to a lay down position he said the car was now ‘more easy to drive’. Also rising the rear diff, he can ‘now go closer to the limit’ were as before if he went off the line it was ‘undriveable’. For TP2, he will focus on getting more corner speed through the sweeper.
The lead Awesomatix after the first timed practice, Freddy Sudhoff said, ‘so far so good, our second race that we show the car is good on asphalt’. Having been trying different set-ups each run, the German said ‘so far we have too much steering or not enough and we need to find an in between’. He added ‘with new tyres our hot laps are not that quick but we are good for 5-minute qualifying so we should be fine’. Runner-up to Coelho in Italy, Sudhoff’s team-mate Viljami Kutvonen was 16th fastest saying ‘I’m struggling a little bit’. The Finn added ‘Freddy’s car is quite good and mine feels ok but its missing something’.
Behind Sudhoff, Alexander Hagberg was P8 followed by Nicolas Lee and Rheinard. Rheinard who was in the top heat while Coelho was in the second fastest, said ‘seems our heat was a little slower but anyway we are not fast enough’. The Tamiya driver said his TRF419X was ‘better the round before’ adding ‘I guess track conditions change’. For the final practice the 4-time World Champion will try a different set-up in the hope of closing, by his standards, the considerable gap to both Coelho and Volker, his two title rivals.
View the event image gallery here.