Bruno Coelho is the Top Qualifier at the fourth round of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Austria, the Xray driver becoming the first double pole sitter of Season #12. After enduring a tough weekend at the first asphalt race of the ETS season in Madrid last month, the ETS Daun winner secured an important TQ on the championship’s first ever visit to the tight and technical ERC Wiener Neudorf track. Making the gamble to save new tyres for the last of the four qualifiers, Coelho duly delivered the fastest time of the day in Q4 helped too by the wind that caused drivers so much issues earlier in the day having dissipated for the late evening run. Having gone into the final qualifier with TQ runs from Q1 and 3, Ronald Volker tried to make the most of part run tyres, as a result of his Q2 errors, but it came to an end when he became the latest victim of the entry onto the straight and rolled his Yokomo. Taking a P2, also on new tyres Alexander Hagberg managed to move ahead of Marc Rheinard to secure third on the grid with Lucas Urbain completing the Top 5 starting positions for tomorrow’s finals.
‘Saving new tyres for the last round was risky for sure but in the end it worked out’, was Coelho’s reaction after Q4. The World Champion explained, ‘we wanted to try something on the car and test it on used tyres which is why we ran used tyres in Q3. The changes worked good and I had a really good final round. The performance is good for a prototype car’. Looking to the finals, which due to rain forecast for Sunday will be run tomorrow, he said, ‘The finals are going to be super hard. The track is very tight but fast in places so it is easy to make mistakes. Also Volker is fast and super aggressive at the beginning of the races but I will do my best to keep him behind me’.
Volker said, ‘I gave it everything. I was on half run old tyres but it felt phenomenal’. The winner at the season opener in Vienna last October on carpet, he continued, ‘I was closing the gap he made at the start from being on fresh tyres but then I touched the curb coming onto the straight. I knew I’d lost it’. Asked about the finals, the championship points leader said, ‘I am maximum confident with the car going into the Mains but there is no real opportunity to pass and we need to see how the track conditions will be tomorrow’.
Summing up his final qualifying effort, Hagberg said, ‘It was a good run although it was hard to see in some corners with the low sun’. He added, ‘I knew I needed second to be ahead of Marc on the grid so I am glad that worked out’. While admitting the track layout was going to make it challenging to pass he said it was easy to make mistakes meaning the finals will be all about driving a clean race.
‘One of the worst days to have’, was how Rheinard summed up qualifying. Having shown great speed, setting the fastest lap in Q3 before throwing away a TQ run by rolling coming onto the main straight, he continued, ‘to come close to the TQ twice and then to end up fourth especially on a track that so hard to pass on is frustrating when you know you have a good car’. The Infinity driver added, ‘I made the mistake myself in Q3 and in Q2 I just missed out by 4/10ths when I made some bad laps. Others had more luck today’.
‘I’m very happy. I made some mistakes but the car was super awesome in the last one on used tyres’, was the reaction of Urbain to his P5 on the grid. Out qualifying Awesomatix team-mate and ETS Madrid winner Freddy Sudhoff, the Frenchman is ‘super confident for tomorrow’ describing his car as ‘near perfect’ meaning he can ‘just drive and have no worries’. Also making the A-Main at the previous round, he said it was ‘awesome’ that there would be 3 Awesomatix’ on the grid tomorrow with new recruit Tim Wahl putting his example 10th on the grid.
The Xray Pro Stock overall TQ would also be decided in Q4, with Simon Lauter topping the times for a second time in the final round to secure his third TQ of the season. The Awesomatix driver and championship leader will start on pole ahead of team-mates Dominic Vogl and Max Mächler with Xray’s Jan Ratheisky having work to do in fourth if he is to prevent the fourth win of the season for the unique Russian designed car. With 17.5 Stock and Formula TQs settled in Q3, Alexander Stocker wrapped up another TQ despite a poor final qualifier. Topping Q4, Toni Mateo will start second with Q1 winner Werner Schmitzer lining up third.