December 3, 2016

Coelho to start ETS defence from pole position


Bruno Coelho will start the defence of his Euro Touring Series title from pole position, the Xray driver becoming Top Qualifier at the season opener in Czech after he made it three out of three in the penultimate qualifier. His 5th ETS career TQ, Coelho would again set the pace ahead of Ronald Volker in Q3 even surviving flipping his car.  With Top 3 pace setter from Q1 & 2 Viljami Kutvonen crashing out in third qualifier when he ran a wide line on the main straight and then understeered into the boards at the sweeper breaking his Awesomatix, this would allow last year’s Top Qualifier Marc Rheinard to post his best round with a P3 ahead of Alexander Hagberg and Elliott Harper.


‘Having one point already is a very good start to the season’, was Coelho’s reaction to claiming the overall TQ which carries a bonus championship point.  Describing his Hobbywing powered T4 as ‘awesome at the start’, he said when he heard he had just posted a fastest lap time of the weekend he pushed even more but suffering a flip this was ‘a signal to stop (pushing) and manage getting the car to the end’.  While his ‘car was amazing for the first 3-minute he said he had ‘the same problem as before in the last 3-laps’, the car getting loose in the rear.  Asked about dealing with his continuing issue in the finals, the World Championship Top Qualifier said, ‘for sure if I am fighting for the win it will be a problem but all (drivers) are having the same issue so it’s a problem for both sides’.


A ‘similar story to the other qualifiers’ was how Volker summed up his run.  The World Champion continued, ‘we changed two things on the set-up and it changed a little the handling of the car but it is still not good enough to catch up’.  While the car was now ‘more predictable in the end than before’, he will make ‘another small change for Q4’. A 14-time ETS race winner & 20-time Top Qualifier he said, ‘we need to maintain P2 on the grid which is still open’, two of the four qualifiers counting.


Rheinard said Q3 was ‘for sure a little better’ adding ‘but it’s still a flight (to drive the car)’.  Changing to harder shock oil, lowering the diff and switching to a different front spring, the 4-time World Champion said while this improved the car he may also have benefited from the track not being any better (feeling) but a little faster’.  Currently sitting P4 on the grid, the Tamiya driver believes ‘the finals are going to be interesting with everyone struggling in the last minute and a half of the 5-minutes’.


‘A bit better, we were closer to the front’, was Hagberg’s view of his P4. He continued, ‘we are still struggling the last minute for rear traction’.  Losing time as Kutvonen crashed in front of him and finishing 2/10ths of Rheinard he said ‘maybe without this I could have got third’.   For the final qualifier, the 2015 European Champion plans to make further changes to his ORCA powered T4 by going more in the direction they took ahead of Q3.


After spinning while on ‘a really fast run’ in Q2 this morning leaving him 24th fastest, with an improved set-up on his Schumacher Mi6 Harper would enjoy make up for the earlier error to get a P5.  The British driver said, ‘we fixed the spinning around thing and that time I could drive harder for all the 5-minutes’.  Not wanting to divulge what set-up changes they had made to improve the car he said they included the car’s rear end.  A side effect of the change was the car lost steering and so they will now fine tune the set-up to get the car ‘more consistent for the last one’ with a change to their additive routine also planned.


Making his ETS debut in Hrotovice, Yokomo driver Yugo Nagashima would round out the Top 6 for Q3.  The reigning 1:12 Japanese National Champion put his improved performance down to a clean run.  With ‘too many mistakes’ in the first two heats, the 21-year-old said his car is also getting better each outing but the focus for the final qualifier is on trying harder with his driving.   Behind Nagashima fellow countryman Akio Sobue took seventh ahead of the impressive German teenager Thimo Weissbauer with Naoki Akiyama in 9th followed by TRF’s Christopher Krapp.


The Xray Pro Stock class saw Olivier Bultynck put in a second TQ run meaning the Top Qualifier will be decided in Q4.  Behind the Belgian Awesomatix driver, reigning champion Jan Ratheisky would enjoy his best heat so far with a P2 ahead of fellow Xray driver Noah Asendorf.  The third qualifier of the Scorpion Power Formula class also produced a repeat TQ, this time for Serpent’s David Ehrbar who will fight it out with Bultynck for the first overall TQ of ETS Season #10.

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