Ronald Volker added another TQ run to his tally at the Touring Car World Championships when he backed up the Day’s opening qualifier with another in the 3rd round. After a disappointing start to qualifying last night, the Yokomo driver is having a much better run today with the reigning champion again having the edge over Bruno Coelho. Interestingly despite Q3 being on used tyres both Volker and Coelho ran almost identical times to the Q2 which was on new tyres. Behind the two pre-race favourites it was Viktor Wilck who completed the Top 3 at the Welkom RC Arena ahead of Freddy Sudhoff. Together with Christopher Krapp who got a P6 for the round, all three drivers who were involved in the same pile up in Q2 reported their cars to have suffered no effects from the dramatic last lap incident. Ahead of Krapp, Alexander Hagberg would cap off the first half of qualifying with a P5.
Commenting on his TQ run, Volker said, ‘to be honest I didn’t expect to TQ this round after the first few laps. I saw Bruno was pulling away’. He continued, ‘I kept driving clean & safe and somehow I was able to come closer and take the lead and at the end I was just trying to save it (his lead)’. On his car the German said, ‘today the big difference has come from changes to the flex after some good ideas of Hayato. We tried different combinations of flex in the morning’s practice and again in Q2. We left it the same for Q3 and I now more confident with the car’.
‘Not so good’ was Coelho’s description of Q3. The Warm-up Race winner said, ‘the start was very strong for the first 3 or 4 laps but then we lose traction and the car starts to slide a little bit’. Asked if this was down to being on used tyres, he replied, ‘No we have the same problem with new’. He concluded, ‘we will try to find the problem. At the start the car is strong but then it drops a lot, its actually not a lot, but at this level it is’.
Wilck summed up his Q3 as ‘pretty clean with almost no incidents’. The Serpent driver continued, ‘I was pushing a little at the end but that is normal on used tyres’. Asked how his car was on used tyres and after it’s Q2 crash he said, ‘it was still pretty ok. It was more stable, a little too safe, so I think we will try a different set-up for the next time we are on used tyres. The car seems fine after the crash. I had to fix the body and some other stuff but it seems ok’.
Quick to thank his Awesomatix team-manager for getting his car out in time for Q3, Sudhoff said, ‘I have to say a big thanks to Max (Machler). After the crash the car was completely broken but he was able to fix it in time for the qualifier and it felt exactly the same as before. He did a great job’. On his P4 pace the German said, ‘I drove a little conservative especially in the chicane because I didn’t want to risk anything. I will keep the car as it for the next one. On new tyres the car is a little better so we will see how it works out’.
Hagberg struggled a little more than his rivals on the used tyres saying, ‘my car was a little different on used tyres and it took way too long for them to come in. I only had good traction for the last minute’. The Xray driver added, ‘I can only fight in the final minute so I need to make the first half better so I am considering making the car softer to get the tyres working earlier’.
‘I messed it up’ was Krapp’s reaction after the round. The Yokomo driver said, ‘I threw it away. I lost 2-second when I spun on the curbs at the end of the straight. The car was ok given we were on used tyres’. He continued, ‘ It is a little frustrating to know the car is good for Top 3 runs but things keep going wrong. I hope I get it together for the next one’.