Winning a World title is a special moment but to win your first World Championship at the very place where 20-years earlier your interest in a sport began is the stuff dreams are made of but this evening in the Netherlands just down the road from where he grew up Jilles Groskamp took a very emotional win at the 7th Electric Touring Car World Championships from Top Qualifier Atsushi Hara with Ronald Volker completing the podium at the MACH.
Five drivers had a chance of the title going into the third leg setting the stage for an epic battle but it turned out to be a much more subdued affair as Hara lead from start to finish shadowed by Groskamp. Taking the biggest gamble of his racing career in Leg 1 to pip Hara for the win, Groskamp said he drove a calculated last race as he could hear from the computer timing that the predicted time was 2 seconds slower and this would give him the overall win on tie break. With all his family and hundreds of cheering locals the win was a very emotional one for Groskamp who burst into tears on the rostrum as he was congratulated by his Tamiya team-mate and outgoing World Champion Marc Rheinard.
Afterwards Groskamp said he knew he had the fastest car on used tyres but the pressure was still there to get the job done. Describing himself as ‘not the youngest guy anymore’ he said he knew this was probably his last real chance at winning the sport’s top prize but despite this he was really calm during the race and he described the finals minute of the race as probably the most ‘perfect’ laps he had ever driven. With the Tamiya Racing Factory squad since 2008, Groskamp’s win gives the Japanese company their fifth Touring Car World title.
Left regretting he didn’t also throw his Hobby Wing powered HB across the finish line in Leg 1, Hara said his chance of a second Touring Car World title was lost in the first race. Surprised at how good his TCXX ran in the final A-Main, following a change back to his qualifying set-up, he said he did all he could but as he predicted before the race Groskamp always had the upper hand and just needed to sit behind him. Having been BQ at the last World Championship Hara said it was good to come back at take TQ honours. Contesting three World Championships this year he said to start his season with second is not bad and for the 1:10 Nitro Touring and 1:8 Offroad World Championships later in the year he is aiming to be standing one step higher on the podium.
Finishing third overall Team Yokomo’s Ronald Volker was very disappointed with the result saying they had the pace for the win but too many things went wrong. Having TQ’d the opening two rounds of qualifying, he said the controversy that hit Q5 & 6 cost him the pole position for the finals while in the races themselves contact with Hara in Leg 1 and Rheinard in Leg 3 robbed him the chance of his first World title. The Euro Touring Series Champion, said everything had come together in the lead up to the race with both the car and his electrics working perfectly and it was very frustrating to have things outside of his control influence the race.
A World Championship that was full of controversy mostly surrounding what are clearly crazy tyre rules, in the end a worthy champion was crowned. Red RC would to thank to our sponsors LRP, Speed Passion and JG Racing for making the past week of coverage from both the 1:12 and Touring Car World Championship possible. A special thanks also to time keepers Hugo Keller and Martijn van der Heijden for their assistance while in the Netherlands.