European Champion Marc Rheinard has TQ’d the first round of qualifying for the 2008/2009 Euro Touring Series opener in Germany setting a time of 27 laps in 5:01.89 to pip Tamiya team-mate and defending ETS Champion Jilles Groskamp by 9/10th of a second. The German described the run as ‘so, so’ saying the track had a lot more traction than yesterday something that caught out many of the top Modified drivers this morning. ‘In the beginning the car was very good but the car started to feel like it wanted to traction roll as the run went on’. Targeting 28 laps next time out, Rheinard plans to run the same set-up on his TRF 416 and focus more on how he prepares his tyres for the run.
Groskamp is also focusing on tyres having found his car very hard to drive in the high traction conditions. The Dutch ace is gluing the side wall of his front Sweeps to reduce bit and will also try a different additive for Heat 2. Team Associated driver Joel Myrberg was happy with his time considering the number of mistakes he made. Having found his TC5 to be tweaked yesterday he says the car is much better today and with an incident free run he has the pace to challenge for TQ honours this weekend.
Continuing his impressive Xray debut Freddy Sudhoff posted the fourth fastest time despite finding his car harder to drive due to the extra traction. A good clean run, the German said he will use the same set-up again and instead work on his driving style to suit the conditions as the car is very good. Pitting next to Sudhoff and right behind him on the time sheets for Round 1 Steven Weiss, also driving an Xray, was pleased with his car but admitted to a costly driver error on the main straight. Completing the Top 6 Viktor Wilck also made a big mistake on his run at the chicane. The Swede says his car is working similar to Rheinard’s but he wants to rebuild his shocks for his next outing.
In Pro Stock Daniel Wohlgemuth topped the first qualifier with his Xray T2 ‘008 by 4 seconds from SMI team-mate Christoph Thiele. The German completed 25 laps but believes 26 is possible in Round 2 and plans no changes to his car. Thiele is also happy with how his Xray is working and will also leave his car unchanged as he too targets the extra lap over 5 minutes. Making it an all German Top 3 for Round 1, Corally driver Dominik Reschke plans to change shock position to make his RDX Phi more sensative to direction change through the double chicane. Tommy Bergfeldt is the fastest non German, the Swede posting the fourth fastest time at the controls of his Hot Bodies. For defending ETS Champion and recently crowned German National Champion Alexander Stocker he had a terrible run suffering with a car that just wanted to slide around. Having left his car set-up the same as yesterday’s practice, when his Hot Bodies was right on the pace, Stocker really struggled this morning and couldn’t really explain why other than maybe his new race tyres needed to be scrubbed in before the run.
It was two Dutch drivers who shared honours for outright pace in practice today for the opening round of the Much More sponsored European Touring Series. Both Jilles Groskamp and Bart Wubben set a best lap time of 10.80 seconds in the final session of the day. Defending ETS Champion Groskamp is well used to being at the head of the time sheets but Wubben, who is debuting his privately entered Xray, is delighted with his pace. Wubben admitted to making a few too many mistakes today but overall feels the car is really fast. Suffering from traction roll, a problem faced by many drivers in the final practice run, Wubben will reduce his steering for tomorrow’s first qualifier to try cure the problem but goes back to his hotel a very happy man.
Groskamp, who over 5 minutes is fastest, was pleased with his day and will leave his Speed Passion powered Tamiya as it is for the first two qualifiers tomorrow. With the best two of the five scheduled heats to count he will be hoping to secure two clean runs which will then allow him to run some set-up ideas he would like to try that may improve his TRF416 car further.
bbk Timing Systems, the official timing partner for the ETS, have been monitoring drivers best three consecutive lap times here today which gives a good indication of who is running consistently fast laps. This shows European Champion Marc Rheinard as the quickest ahead of fellow countryman Freddy Sudhoff. Sudhoff, another former Serpent driver making his Xray debut here in Kastellaun, is delighted with his new SMI drive describing the car as ‘super easy to drive’. Groskamp is showing as the third fastest just .03 slowing than team-mate Rheinard over three laps. Joel Myrberg who was very fast in the earlier runs is showing fourth but in the last run found his TC5 is tweaked and is now busy rebuilding his car. Wubben and Steven Weiss, who qualified P2 here last year, complete the ‘Super Pole’ style ranking.
In Pro Stock, again using BBK’s 3 lap timing as a good indicator as to who is setting the pace, Christoph Thiele is the man to watch. Top Qualifier at the DHI Cup, Thiele is one of Europe’s top Pro Stock drivers and armed with his Xray he will be a tough challenger to ETS Champion Alexander Stocker and his Hot Bodies.
So practice is over and now its straight into Heat 1 tomorrow morning for the 163 competitors with the first cars due on track at 08:00. Red RC will bring you extensive coverage of the days action as it unfolds.
Drivers have completed 3 practice runs here at the opening round of the Euro Touring Series and the general news from the pits is that drivers like the layout of the track for this year’s event in Kastellaun and that the new Sweep QTS tyre is a big improvement over that developed by the ETS last season.
Jilles Groskamp is, as expected, setting the pace with his Tamiya TRF416 and likes the track but says the chicane is hard. Possible to straightline, the Dutch driver says its hard to get right but if you do you can post a very fast lap and if you dont its going to be a very slow one. Jilles is planning to make the front end of his car wider for the next run to try and make it slightly easier to drive.
Up there with Groskamp is Team Associated driver Joel Myrberg. The Swede is really happy with how his TC5 is working but plans to try heavier shock oil in his next run as well as using it to scrub in tyres for the first of tomorrow’s qualifiers. Most of the top Modified drivers are reporting that the new controlled tyre works better on the second run. Former Euros Top Qualifier Steven Weiss driving his Xray is also on a front running pace.
Viktor Wilck, who is suffering from a cold he picked up on his impressive 1:8 nitro buggy race debut at the Novarossi GP in England last weekend where he finished on the podium, has so far only completed one run having decided to rest this morning. Tamiya team mate Hupo Honigl has been forced to miss the event due to illness. Wilck and current European Champion Marc Rheinard are both sporting very flash custom graphics on their pit equipment thanks to new sponsorship from Backbone of Japan.
New Danish Champion and factory Kyosho driver Steen Graversen is reporting he still has work to do as he struggles to get his car to work on the controlled tyre. The Dane has tested the tyre at home and found them to work well but so far here he can’t find the right setting.
Elsewhere one of Europe’s emerging young talents Christer Andersson from Finland is trying to evaluate if a spool or oneway on the front of his TC5 is the way to go. Former Serpent factory driver Bart Wubben is here but at the controls of an Xray T2 008 rather than an S400 and is really pleased with the new car although the leading Dutch Championship contender admits he himself is a little race rusty.
Defending Pro Stock Champion Alexander Stocker is pleased with his runs so far but says the track is not as easy as it looks. Vice Champion George Spitteler is also happy with his pace despite his car being a little loose on the rear. Having secured backing from TOP and Corally following his performance in the 07/08 Euro Touring Series, Spitteler is quietly confident of another good showing this weekend.
One interesting new product on display here is the new SPX Stock Spec speedo from LRP. Although the ESC, which features four specific Stock mode settings that actively advance the motors timing relative to the speed, has been used before by the likes of Stocker at Andernach back in June more drivers are using the exciting new product here this weekend. Andreas Myrberg from LRP, who is here supporting his brother Joel this weekend, tells us the SPX Stock Spec ESC is being shipped now and will be available in shops very soon.
The 2008/2009 Euro Touring Series is go here in Kastellaun, Germany, with official practice underway for the large entry who have travelled from across Europe to contest the opening round of ETS second edition. Enjoying continued support from Much More, Hot Bodies and Speed Passion, heading the field at the indoor carpet track are defending champions Jilles Groskamp from The Netherlands and Germany’s Alexander Stocker. Groskamp was a winner twice in the 07/08 Series on his way to the Modified title but was absent from this event last year. Out to get his title defence off to the perfect start, the full time racer will be looking to add a Kastellaun victory to his already impressive CV.
Stocker, who is again driving a Hot Bodies, won here last year and so the defending Pro Stock Champion is clearly the favourite this weekend but he faces some tough competition including ETS Vice Champion George Spitteler. Pro Stock competitors are running the hand out 9.5T motor from Speed Passion while Sweep is the controlled tire for both classes. Following today’s practice, competitors will have four of their five qualifiers tomorrow followed by the fifth heat & finals on Sunday, all of which will be directed by legendary race announcer/organiser Scotty Ernst who is just about over his jetlag! The organisers of the ETS also welcome four new sponsors to the series this year in Kyosho, LRP, Robitronic and TOP.
As the competitors settle in and the fresh carpet builds up some grip we will catch up with the drivers and bring you updates later today and extensive coverage throughout the rest of the weekend.
Following the success of our inaugural year, the Euro Touring Series is back for another bigger and better season, incorporating some emerging countries along the way. The season will kick off next month, 10th-12th of October, in Kastellaun, Germany, before moving on to Hungary in December, Poland in March, Netherlands in May and back to Andernach in Germany for the season finale in July. Round 1 will be run in place of the well known Speed Weekend and has already attracted the cream of European racing with Jilles Groskamp, Marc Rheinard, Viktor Wilck, Steen Graversen, Jonas Kaerup, Christer Andersson, Hupo Hönigl and more having already confirmed their entry.
Entry closes on the 9th of October, but as a bonus for those that pay their entry fees prior to the 19th of September they will receive a great goodie bag containing lots of freebies from the event sponsors. As always the legendary Scotty Ernst will be doing the commentary, BBK will be handling the timing and Red RC will be reporting live from the event.
For more information about the event and where it takes place go to the Series page on our site here.
Reedy Race of Champions winner Atsushi Hara continued his winning form with an impressive victory at the finale of the 2007/2008 Euro Touring Series. The Hot Bodies driver put in a great performance at the German Andernach track with European Champion Ronald Volker the only one of the world class field able to pose any serious threat to the Japanese ace.
Having dominated practice and qualifying Hara was the man to beat all weekend. Securing the TQ with four wins from the five heats, the former World Champion took an easy victory in Leg 1 but was denied victory in Leg 2 by German Volker who chased him the entire race. Hara flipped his car on a curb with a minute and a half to go allowing the German to nip through for the win and force the battle for victory to go to the final Leg. This would produce another ding dong battle between Hara and Volker with the No.1 car just holding off the pressure of the No.2 to take a well deserved overall victory. Paul Lemieux’s trip across the Altantic proved fruitful as the Trinity/Xray star took the final overall podium placing.
With Alexander Stocker having tied up Pro Stock honours and secured the Euro Touring Series title after 2 legs he sat out the third leaving Meik Niemann to claim a narrow victory over Tony Streit. The pair were separated by just .02 of a second as they both launched their cars across the finish line in attempt to take the win.
So the curtains have come down on the inaugural Much More backed European Touring Car Series and we have two very worthy champions in Dutch ace Jilles Groskamp (Modified) and Germany’s Alexander Stocker (Pro Stock). Also supported by Hot Bodies, Speed Passion and Team Checkpoint, the ETS produced some thrilling race action and attracted many of the world’s top drivers including three Touring Car World Champions. Organised by Scotty Ernst and Uwe Rheinard, plans are already underway for the 2008/2009 Championship and Red RC look forward to bringing further live coverage of this unique series.