Venue – Sporthotel & Resort Grafenwald Race Hosts – ETS Country – Germany Location – Daun (180km West of Frankfurt) Direction – Clockwise Surface – Carpet No. of ETS Races hosted – 0
Racing RC cars in the hills of the German countryside in February initially sounded liked a bit of a daft idea but the discovery of the Sporthotel & Resort Grafenwalds is the perfect venue for a weekend racing retreat. Last weekend the small town of Daun was invaded by Offroad racers from around the world when it hosted the Euro Offroad Series and this weekend its the turn of the best touring car drivers in the world to go to battle at the holiday resort, the ETS drivers getting the bonus of waking up to a snowy day outside. With drivers living in holiday homes at the resort, the track is located in the venue’s 2,600 square metre sports hall which thanks to the configuration of its tennis courts has allowed for the creation of a track that doesn’t fit the usual rectangle layout. Covering an area of 830 square metres, the layout has also meant a very long lap is possible so much so that rather than 3-consecutive laps normally used for seeding now drivers will count only their best two laps. Featuring a 38 metre long straight, the centre section of the track stretches to 30 metres wide with the layout best described as ‘fast’.
Winner of the season opener in Austria, Marc Rheinard, describes the track as feeling ok to drive but feels it would be much better if it was run in the opposite direction. Run clockwise, he said, ‘I think it would be better the other way around. It would be easier for everyone and there would be less crashes but its the same for everyone so we have the make the most of it’. Asked why he doesn’t like the direction choice he replied, ‘At the end of the straight is a long sweeper. If you hit it your going to brake an arm and then there is the risk of cars coming across the track there from the hairpin if the hit the dot. I think the racing would be better the other way too because you could get a run on someone out of the sweeper and then you have a hairpin at the end of the straight into which to try and out brake and pass someone. In terms of the main challenges of a lap of the track he said, ‘The far away right side is not so easy to see. The right side is a technical point because you come full power in to a chicane.’
‘The track looks very good, it’s very fast and its completely different to what we normal race on’, was how reigning Champion Bruno Coelho summed up the track layout. He added, ‘For me the direction makes no difference. To run clockwise or anti-clockwise would make no difference for me’. Like Rheinard he agreed the right side chicane is one key element of the layout. He said, ‘the chicane is very fast and difficult. You are on full power and if you touch anything you will destroy the car. Its a place to get a lot of time but its very risky’.
Calling the layout ‘unusual’, World Champion Ronald Volker welcomed it adding. ‘which is not a bad thing because its new and challenging. It’s not only big but its a different shape’. Sharing the feeling of his fellow countryman that it would ‘probably better to run the other way around’ he added, ‘anyway its the same for all’. Picking his most challenging areas he highlighted the centre section and the two straights there. He said, ‘you run quite close to the boards and it very high speed’. The Yokomo driver also picked out the furthest away corners as being ‘tricky and hard to judge’. He said they provide a chance to gain time by running tight to the board but the risk was high as their is no corner dot. Both myself and Marc hit the same corner in practice’.