Bruno Coelho is the new Yokomo Euro Touring Series Champion, the Portuguese ace ending Ronald Volker’s 5-year reign over the World famous championship on only his second attempt. The title marks a number of firsts with it Xray’s first title in the ETS’ premiere class and the first time one manufacturer has claimed a clean sweep of titles with the Slovakian manufacturer having already taken the Pro Stock and Formula titles. As a driver Coelho also becomes the first driver to win both an ETS and Euro Offroad Series title a claim he can add to his already impressive feat of being the only driver to win races in the ETS, EOS and Euro Nitro Series. While Volker was eliminated from the title race at the previous round in Luxembourg, Coelho still had to deal with the possibility of having to share the title with Marc Rheinard. With the former champion needing to take the overall TQ to keep that slim chance alive, the third round of qualifying at the Hudy Arena would decide the title as Coelho’s team-mate Alexander Hagberg topped the penultimate qualifier while Rheinard could manage only a P8, leaving the Tamiya driver likely to finish runner-up for the sixth consecutive season, only a win tomorrow by Volker able to demote him.
‘I’m super happy, this is not one race but the end of six hard races and the result of a lot of hard work and preparations’, was Coelho’s reaction to finally locking down the title. The only multiple race winner this season, he was quick however to revert his attentions back to the job in hand and trying to make it three wins saying, ‘I almost have the TQ because Alex (Hagberg) now has used tyres so it will be hard to be better my time’. He added, ‘If I start first sure sure I will fight for the win for the perfect end to the championship’. Asked about Q3 in which he ended up 32nd after ‘a small mistake’ in which he flipped his T4 he said, ‘I was on used tyres so I expected to finish at the back and was just waiting to see what Rheinard could do’.
Reacting to Coelho’s title, Rheinard said, ‘to TQ and win at the Hudy Arena is like going to the Ferrari track as a Mercedes driver’. He continued, ‘Bruno is champion and I’m second again for the sixth time in a row’. Still the ETS’ most winning driver, the 4-time World Champion was also on used tyres for the third qualifier and felt ‘for old tyres my car was pretty good’. With a best round of a P2 in Q2 to his credit, the German is hoping to end qualifying with a strong run and will switch to the set of tyres he spun out on in Q1. With only 4-laps on the tyres, the spin caused by a suspected tweak in his car, he hopes they will give him the opportunity to TQ the round with only former team-mate Viktor Wilck and Team Associated’s Juho Levanen left with a new set of tyres to run.
Commenting on his TQ run which was 1.4-seconds off Coelho’s Q2 topping time, Hagberg said, ‘the track was a little slower than expected. It heated up too fast this morning which was frustrating’. The Swede continued, ‘the car was still fast and felt good but it was a conservative run to the TQ’. Admitting claiming the overall TQ is a tall order now with the conditions of the final qualifier expected to be even hotter and the fact he will be on used tyres, he said ‘I should be able to put in a good run on old tyres’.
‘I’m happy the gap is smaller now’, that was Luxembourg winner Jilles Groskamp’s reaction to taking a P2 for the round. The Team Infinity driver continued, ‘I had new tyres and did the same tyre prep as before but still the first 2 or 3 corners were not great so I need find what I am missing, maybe I need to leave the tyre warmers on longer’. Feeling the gaps between drivers should be announced during the qualifiers, he said he knew he was swapping the lead with Hagberg but when he heard Hagberg was in lead he ‘settled for 2nd as (he) needed a good run’ so he ‘didn’t take an risks’. Admitting to being relieved by his Q2 result after a bad start had him worried that after a successful Luxembourg race like last year that he might again find himself in the B-Main, he said the aim for the final qualifier is to try better his P5 result. Running an Xray chassis, the Dutchman said any set-up changes will depend on temperatures at the time of the run.
Posting his first Top 10 run with the third fastest time of Q3, Meen Vejrak said, ‘finally a good run, now my car is comfortable to drive’. Having struggled yesterday, the former ETS podium finisher said his car was much better today. Asked what the issue was yesterday when he could only managed a P17 and P21, the Yokomo team driver reply, ‘I had no rear bite, I had no everything’. Looking to make his Scorpion powered BD7 ‘a little more stable’ for Q4, the Thai driver said ‘I hope I have a chance to make the A-Main’. Team-mate Ronald Volker would end up only 11th despite running new tyres on his LRP powered example of the BD7. Suffering a spun onto the grass when he touched the paint on the curbing the German said ‘even without this I was off the pace’.
Setting the fourth fastest time, Yannick Prumper was very happy to book his first A-Main appearance since joining VBC. With extra factory support this weekend, the German said, ‘this was an important run as it puts me in the A-main which is the first time with VBC and this shows we have made big improvements with the car’. Running on new tyres, the multiple race winner adjusted the toe in for the fresh rubber saying the change ‘added a little push but overall made the car easier to drive’.
‘I needed a safe run after a random spin in Q1 and a random flip in Q2’, was former World Champion Andy Moore’s reaction to a P5 time in Q3. The Team Infinity driver, who like team-mate Groskamp is also running an Xray this weekend, ran his second set of tyres but said while it was a clean run it was not as fast as he would have liked. The British driver said, ‘the steering I had yesterday I need to find again’. With only a P12 from yesterday, he concluded, ‘I still need one more (result)’ if he is to make his first A-Main appearance of the season.
Making a very welcomed return to the ETS, Atsushi Hara completed the Top 6 of the penultimate qualifier. The multiple world champion said, ‘Fresh tyres for sure helped’ him get the result’ but added after he crashed on the first lap of Q1 he needed to make a safe run. Running a Kyosho as a privateer on his return to the championship, he said while he tested the car in Thailand before the event that was on other tyres and so he was left to find a set-up for the ETS handout Volante tyre. Describing the event as starting off ‘very bad’ after he ‘changed many things’ the car he is now starting to get the car to his liking but admitted he is still learning the car and needs more track time against the world class level that is the ETS. While the car is easy to drive he needs to get ‘just a little more speed’ out of it. Asked about the upcoming World Championship in China, a unique event in that no one will have driven the track prior to start of the event, he said while he is undecided on which car he will race its is looking more likely he will stick with the Kyosho adding the aim is to be ‘the first privateer to beat the factory drivers’.