Bruno Coelho has taken the opening qualifier at the season finale of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Slovakia. With qualifying brought forward due to forecast rain that thankfully didn’t arrive in Trencin, Coelho was top seed for qualifying after setting the pace over yesterday’s 5 rounds of free practice and had no problems carrying that form through to qualifying. Initially followed by team-mate Alexander Hagberg until a small error, Coelho would top the time by almost a second from outgoing champion Ronald Volker. Only 18th fastest in practice which put him in the second fastest heat Yannic Prumper would put in a great Q1 performance to complete the Top 3 ahead of Viljami Kutvonen and Hagberg. Needing to TQ to stand a chance of sharing the ETS title with Coelho, Marc Rheinard would retire from the first of the four qualifiers after suffering a spin, the Tamiya team struggling with today’s extra hot track conditions.
Chasing a third win of the season to cap off an ETS title winning campaign, Coelho described his Q1 performance as ‘a very good start’. The only multiple race winner this season, the Xray driver continued, ‘we ran the car the same as yesterday and it again worked very well even though the asphalt temperature was super high’. He added, ‘the traction was lower but it was the same for everyone’. Pleased that, ‘Alex had super good pace’ until his error, the Portuguese ace plans to run his Hobbywing powered T4 unchanged for the day’s second & concluding qualifier.
‘Decent start to Q1’, was how Volker summed up his performance. Eliminated from the title chase in Luxembourg, the Yokomo driver was ‘happy to match the pace of Bruno & Alex’ but added his LRP powered BD7 started to develop ‘a little too much understeer over the 2nd half (of the qualifier)’. Looking to ‘try fix that for Q2′, the German said ,’I didn’t push too hard as I didn’t want to destroy the tyres’, drivers getting 2 sets for the four qualifiers, and he was ‘OK with P2’ as a result.
Running a prototype VBC this weekend which feature different material arms, Prumper said the car was ‘for sure a big step forward on the previous car’. With Carven Chow making the trip to Slovakia to support the Hong Kong manufacturer’s star driver, a change from a 3 to a 2.5mm swaybar for Q1 would give the car ‘a lot more steering’ with Prumper adding while making it ‘a little loose’ he was still ‘in control’ of it. By far Prumper’s most promising showing since his switch from Yokomo to VBC, his time 8/10ths of a second off old team-mate Volker, the former ETS race winner plans to ‘keep everything the same’ for Q2.
Kutvonen described his P4 as ‘pretty good’ before pausing and adding ‘actually better than expected’. The Awesomatix driver continued, ‘normally in hot weather we struggled but we have done a lot of work on this as a team and its getting better’. Making a dampening set-up change after practice he said this had made his A800 ‘better now’. Happy that both he and team-mate Freddy Sudhoff have ‘found the right direction’ in terms of set-up the Finn plans to continue his testing program with more changes for Q2. Suffering a body tuck on the opening lap, the Round 4 podium finisher said, ‘I need to fix that so it doesn’t happen again’.
‘My car was really good but I made a mistake after the straight’, was how Hagberg summed up his P5 before adding ‘shit happens’. Describing the error as ‘very costly at this level’, the Swede said the plan for the next qualifier is to leave his T4 as is and cut out the mistake.
Not feeling well within himself, Sudhoff said of his on track performance he ‘improved car a lot from yesterday (when his) pace was off a lot to Viljami’. Copying his team-mate’s set-up allowing him to post the sixth fastest time, the German said this improved the car but a contributing factor was that ‘I also found my rhythm’. For the his next outing he will ‘fine tune the set-up more to his driving (style)’.
With Rheinard pulling off after his spin having completed just 4-laps, Christopher Krapp would be the top Tamiya in P7 with World Champion Naoto Matsukura 10th with his TRF419X. Having missed Luxembourg, Krapp said ‘I’m kind of happy with P7 but in terms of the car I’m not happy’. The former ETS race winner continued, ‘yesterday in practice our car was good but we had a problem in the hot conditions. Compared to the practice conditions today is like starting from zero’. With the car suffering, ‘understeer and oversteer’, the German said, ‘other cars handling it (hot conditions) better and we need to work on finding something’. Behind Krapp outing Pro Stock champion Marek Cerny was 8th fastest followed by the Schumacher of Elliot Harper. Elsewere Round 5 winner Jilles Groskamp would pull over after rolling his Xray onto the grass half way through the qualifier while Serpent’s Viktor Wilck immediately played the tyre game pulling over immediately after crossing the start line.
In the Xray Pro Stock class, the top 3 times would come from the second fastest heat with Patrick Gassauer topping Q1. Behind the Team Magic driver, Xray’s Tom Krägefski was second fastest followed by Marco Siegenthaler. Fastest in the top heat, already crowned champion Jan Ratheisky would get P4 ahead of Olivier Bultynck. In the Serpent Formula class David Ehrbar set the pace followed by Ratheisky and Bultynck.