Having opened Season #10 of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series with a TQ run in the Czech Republic last night, Bruno Coelho got Day 2’s proceedings underway with another in Q2. The Xray driver was again the class of the field, his rivals failing to get on terms with the reigning Champion who again topped the times comfortably by ETS standards. Over 2-seconds off Coelho, Ronald Volker was again his closest rival however the German only just managed to finish ahead of Viljami Kutvonen, the Q2 Top 3 a repeat of the opening qualifier. After a number of mistakes left Akio Sobue P10 in the first round, the number 2 seeded driver kept it clean in Q2 to post the fourth fastest time ahead of last year’s event winner Marc Rheinard with top seed Alexander Hagberg completing the Top 6.
‘Very good for sure’ was how Coelho summed up the second of the four qualifiers. He continued, ‘I could pull away at the beginning as the car was amazing and with less stress I could then just manage it to the end’. Claiming his first podium finish on carpet in Hrotovice last year when he finished third behind Rheinard and Volker, he said the qualifying was not without its challenges with him admitting ‘for the last few laps I was struggling with the rear being very loose’. With rear traction a big issue for drivers this weekend but his package appearing to be dealing with it better than his rivals, when asked what he felt is the cause of it, the Portuguese driver said, ‘The tyre, additive or carpet batch could be slightly different but I think the idea of the carpet is out because when we tested at the (Hudy) Arena we had the same problem there. The tyres bring a lot of fluff’.
‘Right away Bruno was pulling away’, was Volker’s reaction to Q2. The Yokomo driver continued, ‘the car felt OK in the beginning and I pulled away from Viljami but half way through it got loose and I was fighting to the end with the car trying to snap away in the rear’. With his best lap time over 2/10th off that of Coelho, he said his struggles at the end resulted in ‘a heads up with Viljami and Akio for second’ while out front ‘Bruno was gone’. Looking to Q3, the World Champion said, ‘We will discuss set-up and tyre prep but we need to find something to get closer to P1’.
Kutvonen was not overly happy with his P3 saying ‘it was ok’. The Awesomatix driver continued, ‘I lost a lot of time at the beginning because in Q1 I started out with wet tyres but the officials changed it now that you must start with dry tyres and I struggling with this so we need to find a way to make it better at the start now’. With this dropping the Finn to ‘2nd to last at the beginning’, after 1 and a half minutes his LRP powered A800 got better but by the end it was ‘so difficult to drive’ – something he admits is the same problem for everyone so his focus is to get the car to work better at the start and just deal with the traction fall off at the end.
‘The car is ok but the carpet is not good, there is still no traction’, was Sobue’s summary of Q2. The Tamiya driver added, ‘the first 3-minutes were OK but after it was loose and too difficult to drive. We need to change something’. The closest driver to match Coelho in terms of outright lap pace, the Japanese driver wants to get his TRF419 ‘easier to drive’ by improving rear traction and will change rear shock and diff oils.
TRF team-mate Rheinard said he had ‘no grip’ and he was ‘just trying to hold the car on the track’. The winner of 14 ETS races, the German said he wasn’t sure why everyone is experiencing the strange drop off in traction adding, ‘we have no idea about these conditions so we don’t know what we need to do’. For Q3 he plans to ‘play with the diff position’ in his Muchmore powered TRF419.
Asked how the changes he made after Q1 worked out, Hagberg replied, ‘not very good’. The Xray driver and former ETS carpet round winner said, ‘the car is super hard to drive. We have to try something new for the next one’. Looking to ‘find more grip at the end of the run’, he continued, ‘I seem to struggle more than the others at the end’.
In the Xray Pro-Stock class Christian Donath, fresh from returning from the Tamiya World Cup in Japan, took his TRF419 to a TQ run in the second qualifier ahead of Alexandre Duchet with former Hrotovice winner Lars Hoppe third. Olivier Bultynck would TQ in the Scorpion Power Formula class ahead of David Ehbrar, who took Q1, while reigning champion Jan Ratheisky recovered from a tough first day to post the 3rd fastest time.