Ronald Volker lost out on a TQ run in the second round of qualifying at the ETS Slovakia when Bruno Coelho made up just over a tenth of a second on the final lap to make two out of two by just 0.069 of a second. Starting directly behind Coelho after the Xray driver took the opening qualifier, Volker went into the final lap looking like he had done enough with Coelho facing traffic but a slow lap from the Yokomo driver handed it to the reigning Champion. A significant loss for Volker, who needs the overall TQ to go into the Mains here at the Hudy Arena with any chance of deny his rival yet another ETS title, the German must now ensure he plays the perfect tyre strategy for the final two qualifiers, Q4 set to be the rocket round due to expected cooler conditions. Behind the two World Champions, Lucas Urbain set the third fastest time followed by Christopher Krapp, Elliott Harper and Marco Kaufmann.
Summing up his effort, Coelho said, ‘We changed the toe in. We increased it to make the car more easy to drive but it was too easy to drive’. The Portuguese ace, for whom this weekend is very much a ‘home race’, continued, ‘I had no steering basically so I was forcing a lot to keep the same pace as Volker’. Looking to Q3, he said, ‘we will go back with the toe in and try different stuff. The next one should be cooler which is good. Right now it is 55 degrees on track and the tyres are over 60 degrees which is way too much’.
‘I was super frustrated on discovering I lost out’, was Volker reaction to getting pipped at the end of the qualifier. He continued, ‘after a few minutes after I was happy we can fight heads up and we pushed each other to our limits. Hayato has done a great job with the car’. With the intense peak heat of the day now abating, for Q3 he plans ‘only a minor change’ to the car set-up with his tyre strategy the main discussion he plans to have with his mechanic. Volker needs to TQ the remaining two rounds and then it would come down to the fastest time which is widely expected to come in Q4 which is due to run after 19:00.
Reacting to his Q2 performance, Urbain said, ‘that was my best run so far. The driver was good this time. I had no mistakes. It is the first run without mistakes so I feel it was the best I could have done’. Set for his 4th A-Main start in a row, the French Awesomatix driver said, ‘for sure I will run used tyres for the next because the last round with the rocket round. The Top 2 on the grid should be fixed so I am in the fight with Alex (Hagberg) for 3rd. I’m pretty sure he ran used in Q2 so he has two sets left’.
Seventh fastest in the opening qualifier, Krapp said, ‘It was better than Q1 but I am still way off the pace. I’m struggling with my driving and getting used to the track’. The Yokomo driver added, ‘I tried Ronald’s set-up in practice this morning and it didn’t work for me so now I have to go another way’. Asked what the issue was the German replied, ‘the steering is OK but the forward traction is not there. It’s loose. I’m not sure what to change but I need to make big changes. Maybe I will change the flex set-up’.
In Pro Stock, Dominc Vogl found almost 2.5-second compared to his opening run to TQ the round ahead of Q1 winner Simon Lauter while Jan Ratheisky again completed the Top 3. Formula was a repeat for Ratheisky, this time the Xray driver getting the TQ ahead of title rivals David Ehrbar and Lauter. It was a similar story in Stock 17.5 with Dominik Ruf also making it two out of two with Cham Dassanayake his closest challenger on the timing screens.