Outgoing champion Ronald Volker and Viktor Wilck joined newly crowned 6-time Reedy Race Champion Marc Rheinard on the podium at Tamiya Raceway as the 12th & final round of racing at the legendary event determined Volker won the battle for second overall. With Rheinard putting the title to bed early with his 7th win of the weekend in the penultimate round of racing, the interest of the concluding three races was on the podium battle between Volker, Wilck and Nicholas Lee. Running in the first heat Lee, a winner of 3-races, would finish second behind Naoki Akiyama, with him having to wait to see if that was enough for him to make the Top 3. Next up it was Wilck’s turn to see what he could do, the Swede claiming a 3rd from 6th on the grid with Jan Ratheisky taking the win. Getting to go last, running in the last of the weekends 36 races, Volker had the advantage of knowing what he needed to do and duly brought home a P2 behind Ryan Cavalieri to secure second overall. For Wilck and Lee it would come down to the tie breaker with Wilck’s extra win giving him the final step on the podium. With Lee fourth, Day 1 overnight leader Meen Vejrak would finish 5th ahead of Akio Sobue, Sobue’s result combined with team-mate Rheinard’s win claiming the title of Manufacturers Champion for event debutants Infinity. Having completely forgotten about the Manufacturers title despite winning it for Tamiya last year, Rheinard said, ‘this is a crazy achievement. I didn’t even think about until they announced we had won. It further shows we are on the right direction. Even though Akio was super unlucky today we still managed to become Manufacturers Champions, it caps off an great weekend for the team’.
Commenting on finishing runner-up, Volker said, ‘I knew I needed a P4 to secure second overall and off the line everything went well. I was chasing Cav but could attack as he was just too quick’, the World Champion adding, ‘he should do more touring car’. A 3-time Reedy Race Champion, the Yokomo driver said, ‘P2 overall was the maximum I could get this time because we struggled for pace in a few runs. Aside from Round 11 I did good runs but Marc was fast all the time and didn’t have back luck so he is deserved to win’. With his team-mate Lee missing out on the podium, he said, ‘In my opinion Viktor got a bit too lucky to finish on the podium as the referee didn’t see a couple things like his Round 12 corner cut. I’m sorry for Nicholas that he got P4’. Summing up the 20th Reedy Race of Champions, this its best entry of the current decade, he said, ‘this is the best racing we have in the year and maybe it is time to change the format of other events. The amount of action and fun we have here is amazing’.
Reacting to making the podium, Wilck said, ‘my thinking before the race was a Top 10 if all goes well. We were actually surprised by the performance of the car here and it was fun racing for the title’. The Serpent driver continued, ‘a couple of races I had issues with others and my own driving and without this for sure it could have been close with Marc. He still would have won because he had perfect races and was also the fastest on the track. Still it was good to finish on the podium’.
With one of the 24 spots for the Invitational Reedy Race of Champions going to the winner of the supporting Open Modified Class, Jin Sawada booked his place on the 2017 entry with victory over Offroad World Champion Spencer Rivikin. With Sawada taking the TQ, the Destiny driver won the opening A-Main but Rivkin took A2 to force the fight to A3. While Rivkin would pressure the Japanese driver for the entire race he would hold on for the win much to the absolute delight of mentor Terutaka Hanaumi. Joining him & Rivkin the podium would be Singapore driver Dominic Quek.
Marc Rheinard has claimed a sixth Reedy Race of Champions title, the race’s most celebrated champion wrapping up victory at the 20th edition of the legendary event in style with his 7th win of the weekend in the penultimate round of the heads up racing format. First crowned Reedy Race Champion in 2006, that win also at the historic Tamiya Raceway, Rheinard’s latest victory sees him extend his record tally of wins having surpassed 4-time Champion Barry Baker as the races most successful driver with his last win in 2015. The German’s win also marked the first major international title for touring car newcomers Infinity for whom the 4-time World Champion only signed for earlier this year after his unprecedented professional stint with Tamiya came to an end at the end of 2016.
‘I’m super happy to win a 6th title. This is one of my favourites race every year. I just love the heads up racing, even starting at the back of the grid because it’s a challenge to work your way to the front’, was Rheinard’s reaction after sealing up the title in Round 11 of 12. His fourth time to win it at Tamiya Raceway, and this the most competitive field of invitation drivers this decade, he continued, ‘My car worked from the beginning to the end, all our cars worked well and even though its not about being the fastest I think we also had this too. The whole team did a great job, for sure luck needs to be on your side but thats what makes the Reedy Race. To come here with a new team and giving them their first major win makes this one extra special, we have been close in the ETS but finally Infinity has got a big win’.
While Rheinard celebrated regaining the title he lost to Ronald Volker, the outgoing champion was far from happy with what happened to him in the penultimate round. Having pretty much conceded defeat to his long standing rival last night when Rheinard took the overnight points lead, Volker is battling for the runner-up spot with Viktor Wilck but was far from impressed with the standard of driving. With Wilck having a bad result in Heat 2 of Round 11 finishing 7th, it was an opportunity for Volker, running in Heat 3, to sew up the second spot on the podium however he would have an altercation with Bruno Coelho leading to a spectacular exit from the race when he had contact with Freddy Sudhoff at the end of the straight. ‘I can’t believe what just happened’, was the World Champion’s reaction afterwards. He continued, ‘there was 4-minutes to go and I was behind Randy (Caster) but Bruno just ran over me. I can’t believe he was so impatient, there was so much time left. After the spin from Bruno I went on to the straight side by side with Freddy. I should have lifted because I was on the outside but I guess I was too worked up because of the Bruno incident. I made the wrong decision, it was my first big mistake of the event. I hope the car is alright for Round 12 and I can maintain 2nd’.
Asked about his race, Wilck said, ‘JJ (Wang) rolled and I had to go around him. After that delay I was trying to pass Viljami and my car rolled over’. Sitting a point off Volker, he concluded, ‘its going to be an interesting final round’. Having looked like their battle was over whether they stood left or right of Rheinard on the podium, their bad results and a P2 for Nicholas Lee means the Singapore driver could take one of their places which adds some extra interest to the closing races.