After spinning out while on TQ run in the second round of qualifying, Ronald Volker bounced back to top Q3 at the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Austria. The Yokomo driver produced the quickest run of the day so far, with a 0.289 of second advantage over the Xray of Alexander Hagberg with Q2 pace setter Bruno Coelho completing the Top 3 despite being on used tyres. Second fastest in each of the opening two qualifiers, Marc Rheinard was looking strong to go one better, but in a similar error to that of Coelho in Q1, he rolled coming onto the main straight on lap 12 of 17. The only driver to manage a 17-second lap for the round, with any chance of a result gone the Infinity driver pulled up. Volker’s second TQ run means only Coelho can deny him pole for Saturday’s finals with the Portuguese driver having the advantage of being on new tyres while Volker will be on used.
Commenting on his latest TQ run, Volker said, ‘for sure I am happy with a TQ run in Q3 as many guys were on new tyres’. He continued, Even though it didn’t feel as comfortable as in Q2 I just tried to make no single mistake. I had some slides but overall it was a clean run’. Looking to the fourth and deciding qualifier which is scheduled to take place after 20:00, the former World Champion said, ‘we will make a small change to the car for the late conditions but the pressure is on Bruno to deliver a TQ run’.
‘It was a good run. We improved the car since Q1 and have a better set-up now’, was Hagberg’s view on Q3. The Swede continued, ‘I didn’t realise it was so close to Ronald. Scotty didn’t announce the gap so I didn’t know it was only a couple of tenths. If I did I would have pushed harder. Anyway it is a good result and good points.’ Like team-mate Coelho, he has new tyres for the final qualifier saying, ‘I will push for a TQ run in the last one’.
Coelho said, ‘I was on used tyres and expected to be slower. I’m very happy with 3rd on used tyres’. The reigning Champion continued my time was only half a second off my TQ time from the run before’. Having made set-up changes to his car to try and get the more steering he was looking for he said the changes felt good and he hopes thet work as well when he’s on new tyres’.
Coming into the event on the back of his first ever ETS win, the penultimate qualifier finally saw Freddy Sudhoff put together a decent run. The Awesomatix driver said, ‘the car has been good all day long but finally the driver improved as well’. He said a speedo set-up change ‘allowed (him) to get a better rhythm with the car and a better overall feeling’. Another to use up his tyre allocation, the German is not overly concerned about running used tyres in the final qualifying saying he believes it won’t as big as disadvantage as the car is easier to drive on used tyres and that the advantage of new is only in the first lap or two.
In the Scorpion Power System Formula class, reigning Champion & current points leader Jan Ratheisky extended that advantage as he produced a third TQ run to claim the overall pole and bonus point that goes with it. Also being decided in Q3 was the Stock 17.5 TQ which will see Luis Moreno lead away tomorrow’s A-Main grid. In the Xray Pro Stock class Dominic Vogl continued his rise to the front. P3 in Q1, and then P2 in Q2, the Austrian hit the top in Q3 ahead of Awesomatix team-mates Max Mächler, Simon Lauter, Olivier Bultynck and Christian Donath. The TQ will be decided in the fourth round as will the Infinity Masters class which saw a repeat of Q2 with Alexander Stocker getting a TQ run ahead of Toni Mateo.
Having rolled out of contention for a TQ run in the opening qualifier at the ETS in Austria, Bruno Coelho has delivered an error free TQ performance on his second attempt. The Xray driver topped the times by 4/10ths from Marc Rheinard, the Q2 pace 3/10ths slower than the opening time set by Ronald Volker. Again leading away the field, Volker looked to be on target for 2 out of 2 as he pulled clear in the early laps but on his fifth lap he spun out in the chicane and spinning again on the following lap the Yokomo driver decided to pull off. This promoted Rheinard to the top of the timing screens but ultimately two bad laps from the Infinity driver was enough to allow Coelho to come out on top. Behind, Lucas Urbain backed up his P5 in Q1 with an impressive drive to claim 3rd ahead of Yannic Prümper, Akio Sobue and Freddy Südhoff.
Commenting on the run, Coelho said, ‘Now it was a solid round. The round before I was also in the Top 3 before my mistake but this time Volker stopped for some reason so now it was only me and Marc. I had to force a bit more to get it but at the end I did it.’ Pleased with the result, the reigning Champion admitted they still have work to do on the car set-up saying they needed to find more steering, something they have been fighting up to now. Asked about the track conditions, the World Champion replied, ‘a couple of times I missed the corner by a couple of centimetres cause of the wind and I also lost the rear at the end of the straight’. He added while the wind was a challenge and an unpredictable one, ‘you have got to be close to the curb to be fast and that’s a risk you have got to take. It’s the same for everyone’.
Reacting to his run, a slight frustrated Rheinard said, ‘I had three really bad laps especially the last lap . I don’t know if it was the wind or just me’. He continued, ‘It was difficult as I didn’t know the gap because Bruno didn’t start with us. I guess I went a little too easy when Ronald was done’. The multiple World Champion concluded, ‘It’s still an OK result but I needed that TQ’.
Making a change to his car Urbain said, ‘I reduced the rear droop and I don’t know if it was this or that there was less wind but that was the best car I have ever had on asphalt. It was like it had a magnet holding it to the track’. The Awesomatix driver said he is now not sure where to push more in the next one and risk more or just ‘run laps’ as he has been doing. With a P5 and and P3, he said it is unlikely he will improve his overall grid position given the results of others adding ‘if I can stay in the first half of the grid it would be insane’.
‘Better than before’, was Prumper’s thoughts on Q2, the Infinity joking ‘the gap is only 2.5-seconds now’. He added, ‘It was another clean run and another result but I will try to push more so as to get a little faster lap time. I’ll keep the car the same’.
Asked what happened on his run Volker explained, ‘I started perfect and had quite a gap after a few laps but suddenly the car spun in the chicane and on the lap after I spun again and I stopped to save tyres. I am disappointed for this but I know I have the pace to TQ’.
In the Xray Pro Stock class Florian Joos had a great run to TQ the second qualifier. The 15 year-old Belgian’s first ever ETS TQ run, he topped the times from Dominic Vogl and Christian Donath with Q1 pace setter Simon Lauter recovering to P4 after an early mistake. In Formula Jan Ratheisky made it 2 out of 2, the Xray driver this time going fastest from team-mate Luke Lee with Andreas Stiebler third. In the Infinity Masters class, Alexander Stocker went one better that in the first one for a TQ run ahead of Toni Mateo and Peter Miko. In Stock 17.5, Luis Moreno continued to be the benchmark with the top seed producing another TQ run, this time ahead of Marwin Riedelbauch.
Ronald Volker has taken the opening round of qualifying at the fourth round of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Austria. With the Championship making its first trip to the technical ERC Wiener Neudorf track, Volker maintained his practice form in the difficult conditions to top the times ahead of No.2 seed Marc Rheinard. With a roll coming onto the main straight eliminating reigning Champion Bruno Coelho from the TQ hunt, it was Xray team-mate Alexander Hagberg who completed the Top 3 ahead of Akio Sobue, Lucas Urbain and Yannic Prumper. Describing the track during practice as ‘the most difficult track I’ve been to so far’, ETS Madrid winner Freddy Sudhoff had an error fill Q1 which left the Awesomatix driver 10th behind Coelho. With bad weather showing in the Vienna area for Sunday, it is going to be a busy Friday for drivers with the schedule being brought forward to run all four rounds of qualifying today to hopefully allow enough time to run all triple finals tomorrow.
‘One of the harder 5-minute run you can have to drive due to the difficult conditions’, was how Volker summed up Q1. The current Championship points leader continued, ‘the grip is lower than yesterday and the wind is stronger with makes the chicane incredibly hard to judge each lap’. Struggling in CP1 this morning and unable to post a Top 10 time, the Yokomo driver said, ‘for CP2 we made the car much more stable for the conditions and that helped us in Q1 to TQ. I didn’t have any full spins or crashes but many times I was sliding. Luckily I didn’t lose too much time’. Looking to Q2, the German concluded, ‘if it keeps like this it won’t be easy to get another good run. There is no chance to go flat out for 5-minutes so anything can still happen’.
Completing the 5-minutes 7/10ths off Volker, Rheinard described his first effort as ‘a solid start’. The Infinity driver continued, ‘I had to fight the wind a couple of times. Twice, when I was closing the gap on Ronald, I got up on two wheels. Luckily Ronald & I made less mistakes than the others’. Pleased with the performance of his car, he said the track was the biggest challenge for everyone concluding, ‘these are the most difficult conditions I’ve ever had on asphalt’.
‘Slow & Steady. My focus was on having a clean run’, was Hagberg’s reaction to his P3. The Swede continued, ‘the conditions are very difficult. The wind makes it inconsistent but I will try to push harder in the next one. It is really about taking risks or not but if you push too much you’ll have mistakes. The track changes lap to lap cause of the wind’.
Running in the second fastest heat, Sobue summed up his run as a ‘maximum safety drive’ adding the ‘wind is making the middle chicane super difficult’. The Japanese driver plans to repeat his cautious approach for Q2 hoping it will bring him enough points to lock down an A-Main starting position. If he can secure this he said he will take more risks in the final two qualifiers.
Heading the Awesomatix charge in Q1, Urban said, ‘I was running under the radar in practice but I knew I had a good car and it was just down to me to drive it. I had a half spin on the first lap and another on lap 4, both at the chicane. The wind was being a bit of a dick’. The Frenchman concluded, ‘the car is really good so it is all about the driving’.
‘That’s the first time my car felt drivable but there is still a lot of pace missing compared to the front guys’, was how Prumper summed up the opening qualifier. The Infinity driver added, ‘my car was very bad all day yesterday in practice. I couldn’t keep it on the track so I completely changed my set-up. I don’t know what the problem was but I copied Marc’s set-up and that allowed me to get some average points so now I can try make the Main. That wasn’t looking possible yesterday’.
In Pro Stock, it was also the championship points leader who topped Q1 as Simon Lauter topped the times Jan Ratheisky, who after seeding found himself in the second fastest heat. Also running in the second fastest heat Oliver Havránek completed the Top 3 ahead of Awesomatix’s Max Mächler. In Formula, Ratheisky topped the opening qualifier with Andreas Stiebler joining him as the only driver to complete a 14 lap run. In the Masters class, Werner Schmitzer denied Alexander Stocker the TQ run while in the 17.5 Stock class Luis Moreno was fastest over the 5-minutes.
Track Name – ERC Wiener Neudorf Country – Austria Location – Wiener Neudorf (20km South of Vienna) Direction – Anti-clockwise Surface – Asphalt No. of ETS Races hosted – 0
The first new outdoor track addition to the ETS calendar since Ettlingen two season ago, ERC Wiener Neudorf is situated just south of the Austrian capital of Vienna. Built 15-years ago, this is the first international race to be hosted by the very small club of approximately 15 members. With most ETS drivers on their first ever visit to the 65m by 38m track there is an overwhelming reaction that the layout is very technical. Claiming his first ever ETS win last time out in Madrid, Freddy Sudhoff called it the ‘the most difficult track I’ve been to so far’ adding ‘it is very difficult to get a rhythm’ – the long chicane particularly challenging. Adding to the difficulty of the layout is a strong wind that has arrived at the track today (Friday) with big gusts blowing cars offline.
Asked his thoughts on the track, Championship points leader Ronald Volker replied, ‘I like the technical nature of the track. Most ETS races are on bigger tracks. This place has a more challenging infield section which I like’. Like Sudoff, he added, ‘the wind has picked up so much today it’s not as much fun to drive compared to yesterday. You are fighting to stay on the track but hopefully the wind dies down’. Describing the track as ‘super technical’, Bruno Coelho added there is ‘not so high traction’ with him labelling the grip levels as ‘medium’. Enjoying the track in Thursday’s free practice, he said today is almost impossible to do 5-minutes without mistakes due to the wind. With high curbing, once the wind blows the car offline it gets launched into the air by the curbing.
Chassis – Awesomatix A800X Evo (MMCX-2) Motor – Hobbywing G3 4.5T ESC – Hobbywing Prototype Batteries – Team Silverback 6300 Spiral-G Tires – Volante (handout) Radio/Servo – Sanwa/MKS HBL SL575 Bodyshell – Protoform Type S
Remarks – Finally getting the win he has come so close to achieving on multiple occasions, Freddy Sudhoff’s Awesomatix A800X Evo is the same base car as that used in Daun at the previous round of the series but with the carbon middle motor chassis. Looking to adapt to the cold and low grip conditions this weekend, Freddy, along with mechanic Max Machler focussed on the car’s roll centres and flex.
He has come close in the past but today Freddy Sudhoff delivered on years of promise to finally take his first ETS win and add his name to the championship’s exclusive Winner’s Role of Honour. Having secured his first ever TQ yesterday in Spain, the Awesomatix driver converted that into his first win with a repeat dominant performance in A2, again ahead of Ronald Volker. A hugely popular win for ‘Fabulous Freddy’, the Round 3 win also marks the first for Awesomatix in touring car’s premiere category and puts their long time lead driver now firmly in title contention. The first outdoor races of the ETS season, Sudhoff’s success is also a significant boost for the Russian brand who previously struggled against their rivals on asphalt. Finishing runner-up at the Asoger RC track today, Volker retains his championship lead but it is down to a single point with Sudhoff’s maximum points haul moving him up to second spot. With reigning champion Bruno Coelho having a tough weekend following his win at the previous round, ending up 7th, the podium was completed by Viktor Wilck ahead of Infinity team-mate Marc Rheinard.
‘Again amazing. The car was better than the first race. I felt super confident and just completely focused on driving’, was Sudhoff’s reaction on winning A2. He continued, ‘After one and a half minutes I had made a gap and was just trying to stay in my rhythm and not think what the outcome would bring. Four years ago I was close (to the overall win) in Hrotovice but to get the first win on asphalt is better because in the past we had issues on this surface. Finally now we can deliver on carpet and asphalt’. With team-manager Max Machler describing his driver’s win as the culmination of ‘7-years of hard work’, Sudhoff acknowledged Machler’s input. He said, ‘I have to thank Max for his work on my car. At this level of competition you can not win on your own, you win as a team’.
Seeing off the challenge of Marc Rheinard to win A3, Volker summed up the race weekend by saying, ‘First of all congrats to Freddy. It was a well deserved win. I couldn’t challenge him today’. The only driver to podium at all three races to date, the Yokomo driver said, ‘I have to be happy with finishing P2 and to still be leading the championship. On Thursday our performance on asphalt was very promising and the car felt awesome. I have to thank Hayato Matsuzaki for his help. We just need to work on set-up to make it better for changing conditions but I’m very positive for the rest of the season on asphalt’.
‘It been a long time since I made an ETS podium so I am happy for that’, was Wilck’s reaction to his first podium since joining Infinity’. The Swede continued, ‘since practice we improve the car little by little and it seems to work good in lower grip’. Asked about his incident with Rheinard in A2 he said, ‘be braked for Ronald but I didn’t brake in time. It was an accident not intentional’. Ending up with a P3 which he backed up with another P3 in A3, he concluded by saying, ‘the Awesomatix was a little too fast here but for sure I am positive for the rest of the ETS season’.
‘Not my day’ was how Rheinard summed up the finals. He continued, ‘Qualifying was good and the first A-Main started good until I had a problem with the tyres. In the 2nd one I got taken out which meant the last one didn’t really matter. A weekend to forget but one positive is that the pace was there’.
Spain was to prove a happy hunting ground for longtime ETS racers with Jitse Miedema making ‘a dream come true’ when he took both his and Infinity’s first ever Formula win. Qualifying second, the Dutch driver secured his first overall win in the best way possible when he took the A2 victory ahead of class master Jan Ratheisky. The multiple champion and race Top Qualifier came back hard at Miedema putting him under intense pressure until he attempted a pass and got too close to the boards and got stuck in the turn. Winning A3, Ratheisky would finish 2nd with last year’s winner Olivier Bultynck completing the podium.
In Pro Stock, Simon Lauter moved clear at the top of the points table as he wrapped up maximum championship points early with another win from the TQ spot in A2. His second win of the season, the Awesomatix driver was joined by team-mates Bultynck and Dominic Vogl on the podium. Winner in Daun and coming into the weekend as joint championship leader, last year’s race winner Machler could only manage 7th, a result the German will be hoping is one of his dropped rounds come the end of the season. In the 17.5 Stock class, Tobias Baumbach made use of his TQ to win A1 & 2 to take the win while victory in A3 for Luis Moreno gave him the runner-up spot with championship leader Daniel Pöhlmann completing the Top 3. The only class to go to A3 to decide the winner, 40+ Masters came to a battle between Top Qualifier Toni Mateo, winner of A1, and Alexander Stocker, winner of A2. Under pressure from Stocker, Mateo would roll on the curbing and with his car sitting on its roof the entire field went passed. Stocker won the race ahead of Beni Stutz for his third win of the season while Stutz completed the podium behind Mateo.