Groskamp wins thrilling first A-Main
Jilles Groskamp took one of the biggest gambles of his life to win the opening A-Main at the Electric Touring Car World Championships to deny Top Qualifier Atsushi Hara by 14/100ths of a second as he threw his Tamiya across the finish line as Hara slowed his car to make the hairpin, thinking the race would go one more lap. Viktor Wilck, who challenged Hara for the lead in the middle of the race finished 3rd ahead of Ronald Volker.
His home track, Groskamp was ecstatic with the result admitting afterwards having heard the announcement that there was four seconds to go that his move was a risk but looking at the finishing time of 5:00.282 it was actually a huge gamble he took. Having got passed Hara earlier in the race, only to get the chicane wrong allowing the 2000 World Champion to get the drive on him down the straight, Groskamp said coming to the end of the race he was very conscious of team-mate Wilck and Yokomo’s Ronald Volker behind him and so didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks with trying a move on Hara. Still unable to break into a 16 second lap around the MACH track, where his interest in r/c racing start 20 years ago, the Dutch ace only set the fifth fastest lap of the race but is confident that on used tyres his Orion powered Tamiya doesn’t drop off on pace as much as his rivals. An overcast morning in Heemstede, just after A-Main Leg 1 the sun started to break cover something Groskamp said should further play in to his hand for the remaining two legs.
Hara was clearly disappointed at being denied the win having seen off challenges from Volker, Wilck and Groskamp. Based on the announcement that 4 seconds remained in the race, Hara said he was sure the race would go one more lap but it didn’t and he added Groskamp ‘won the gamble’. Hara said he was not as happy with his TCX as he was yesterday as it suffered from slight understeer which could be seen when he ran wide through the Omega corner giving Wilck a chance at the lead. Hara said the next leg is going to be tough as the drivers who pulled up to save their tyres are going to have a substantial performance advantage, but he will give his best adding that with a few crashes anything could happen.
Swapping stickers with Hara as the pair to battle it out on lap 10, Wilck looked set to take lead at the end of the lap when the No.1 car ran wide but on the inside of the Omega and up on the curb the back end of Reedy Race Champion’s Tamiya stepped out and ended up on the grass. Needing to be marshaled he lost 3 seconds promoting Groskamp to second.
Starting second on the grid, Euro Touring Series Champion Volker was the first driver to try a pass on Hara his LRP powered BD7 getting a run on the HB down the straight on lap 9 but the two touched and the German’s car went airborne ending up on the grass and needing to be marshaled. After the race Volker was clearly upset by the incident saying he had ‘no comment’ to make.
A World Championships that been dominated by tyre tactics the finals have not escaped the game playing with defending World Champion Marc Rheinard pulling up at the first full lap of the track to save his tyres for Leg 2. The German, who lines up 4th on the grid, said he ran the first lap in case there was any crashes but it was always his plan to save his tyres for Leg 2. 10th place starter Chris Grainger also pulled up on lap 2. With their cars sitting in the pitlane, their mechanics not allowed to touch the cars before they were post race tech-ed, they where soon joined by 1:12 World Champion Naoto Matsukura who rolled his Yokomo on lap 3 and the 2006 World Champion Andy Moore after 5 laps.
Leg 1 A-Main Result
1.(3) Jilles Groskamp (NL) – Tamiya/Orion – 18/5:00.282
2.(1) Atsushi Hara (JP) – HB/Reedy – 18/5:00.421
3.(5) Viktor Wilck (SE) – Tamiya/Thunder Power – 18/5:01.137
4.(2) Ronald Völker (DE) – Yokomo/LRP – 18/5:01.888
5.(7) Christopher Krapp (DE) – Kyosho/Orion – 18/5:05.744
6.(8) Loïc Jasmin (FR) – Yokomo/LRP – 18/5:07.783
7.(9) Andy Moore (GB) – HB/Hobbywing – 5/1:27.544
8.(6) Naoto Matsukura (JP) – Yokomo/Nosram – 3/0:47.844
9.(4) Marc Rheinard (DE) – Tamiya/Speedpassion – 2/0:22.414
10.(10)Chris Grainger (GB) – Schumacher/GM – 2/0:25.791
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