October 27, 2017

Coelho from Volker in controlled practice at ETS opener

A new season of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series got underway in Vienna, Austria, today with practice ending with a familiar theme to last season as Bruno Coelho topped the times.  Having topped free practice, the Xray driver would lay down the fastest 3-consecutive laps in the first of the controlled practice runs with no one able to better the pace in the second and final practice.  It would be Ronald Volker who would top CP2, but like Coelho he couldn’t beat his earlier time.  Behind, Alexander Hagberg would complete the Top 3, the Xray driver improving his time in CP2 by more than 4/10ths of a second.  Also improving in CP2, Naoki Akiyama is seeded P4 for qualifying ahead of Infinity pairing Akio Sobue and Marc Rheinard.

Summing up his practice at Messe Wien, the ETS running as part of Austria’s biggest hobby show, Coelho said, ‘the last one I had a lot of mistakes and traffic but the car is working good.  I just need to drive more consistent and with less mistakes’.  The reigning champion added, ‘I haven’t changed the car during the practice, I have just worked on adapting to the track’.

‘It is surprising the track didn’t improve more’, was Volker’s reaction as he came in from marshalling with him adding, ‘Normally you expect it to change a lot more’.  The Yokomo driver continued that for the final practice ‘I focused a bit more on my driving for a clean run and it worked out well’ – his overall time the fastest of all four practices.  He added, ‘The Top 10 is very close to each other so you have to be faultless’.  On his car, the World Champion said, ‘the balance is good we just need slightly more steering’.

Reacting to his P3 seeding, Hagberg said, ‘it is getting better and its is pretty good now’.  The Swede added, ‘the track changed and the grip came up which is better for our set-up and hopefully it will be even better in qualifying’.  Commenting on the track layout the multiple ETS race winner said, ‘it is nice to drive.  There are some small bumps in the carpet but this is the only negative point’.  Asked about changing his car for Q1 he replied, ‘I will talk to my mechanic about making a small change’ – his mechanic being the T4’s designer Martin Hudy.

Akiyama was pleased with the performance of his Yokomo but less happy with his own driving.  Describing the track as ‘a little difficult’, the 18-year-old added, ‘there are many long corners’.  Planning to leave his BD8 unchanged for Q1, the World Finalist said, ‘I need to focus more on my driving for qualifying’.

Fellow countryman Sobue was having similar issues to Akiyama.  The Japanese National Champion said, ‘the car is good but the driver is making too many mistakes’.  Also finding the track ‘a little bit difficult’, he was complimentary of the track saying it was better than any of the carpet tracks he raced on in the ETS last season. While hoping to make his IF14 a little more balanced for his first qualifying attempt he concluded, ‘the big thing is to improve the driver’.

Completing the Top 6, Rheinard summed up his practice as having gone ‘pretty OK’.  The German continued, ‘my 3-laps are not super fast but on a full run I’m consistent’. He added, ‘Things looked bad in the first one because Bruno was 1.7 in front but it’s got better’.  Using the four practice runs to break in two sets of race tyres, the Infinity driver is confident these will each bring him a further improvement in qualifying when they will be on their optimum 3rd run.  In terms of liking the track layout, he said, ‘it is kind of fast so many people have the same speed but it is a good layout’.

Setting the seventh quickest time, Awesomatix’ Freddy Sudhoff said the final practice was the first time he was confident with the car and therefore able to push.  The German said, ‘we struggled a little with the layout and set-up but at least we could improve run after run’.  Having been able to improve his lap times in CP2, he said now they need to look at finding a little more overall traction for qualifying.  Behind Sudhoff the Top 10 was completed by Olly Jefferies, Marco Kaufmann and Awesomatix team-mate Viljami Kutvonen.

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