Ronald Volker was fastest in practice for this year’s DHI Cup, the Yokomo driver leading the way from the Schumacher of Elliott Harper. With the 18th running of the Danish Classic void of reigning champion Viljami Kutvonen, it was previous 7-time Champion Volker who came out of controlled practice quickest. Topping free practice, Volker wouldn’t be second quickest in the CP1 as returning Yokomo team-mate Yannic Prumper topped the times. While Prumper would repeat his time in CP2, Volker would find half a second to go to the top with Harper finding a similar improvement leaving Prumper to drop to P5 behind Marc Rheinard and former champion Viktor Wilck.
‘All good so far’ was Volker’s reaction to topping seeding. Working on his own car this weekend, engineer Yukijiro Umino not making the trip to Denmark, he continued, ‘I tried a different shock set-up in CP2 and found more corner speed’. While declaring himself ‘happy with P1’, the World Champion added, ‘but as always here it is not easy due to the carpet, the tyres and the high dots’. Looking to the first of the 4 rounds of scheduled qualifying that will conclude Day 1 of the event, he said, ‘Over 3-laps it is pretty close so I will just try to keep it clean for the 5-minutes’.
Commenting on his practice, Harper said, ‘I just tried going one way with the set-up and then the other way to see what works best. I had a little understeer in the last one but its hard to find the right balance between too much and not enough steering’. The British driver continued, ‘Overall everything is good so now lets see what we can do in qualifying’.
Setting the third fastest time, Rheinard summed up his performance as ‘average’ adding ‘the tyres are too different’. The Infinity driver said the tyres he had for CP1 where better than the set he ran in CP2. Calling the difference in the feeling of the tyres set as ‘weird’, he said ‘otherwise the car feels ok’ given the carpet and tyre are different to the ETS making the car ‘completely different to drive’.
Happy with his opening controlled practice, Prumper was somewhat at a loss to explain why ‘everyone else went quicker’ in CP2. The German said, ‘I just changed tyres but everyone went faster while we stayed at the same speed. I don’t know what to do’. One change he will make for the opening qualifier is to move the position of the rear diff in his Yokomo. Team-mate Christopher Krapp would take his example to the 6th fastest time, the German ‘still trying to get a balance’ that works with the differences between his two sets of handout tyres but he is better over 5-minutes than the 3-laps used in seeding.
With it 10-years since his breakthrough DHI Cup victory, then as a Tamiya driver, Serpent’s Wilck would post the fourth fastest time saying, ‘in the last one it was a little better’. The 2008 Champion continued, ‘I changed the set-up and it was faster but it was very difficult to drive due to a combination of the tyres, the carpet and set-up. I need to make it more stable over 5-minutes.’
Host Club – Odense R/C Minirace Country – Denmark Location – Odense Venue – Stadium Arena Fyn Track type – Temporary Surface – Carpet (both Onroad & Offroad) Direction – Anti-Clockwise for Onroad, Clockwise for Offroad Previous races hosted – 17 Onroad, 6 Offroad
A classic on the electric touring car calendar, 2018 marks a big anniversary for the DHI Cup as the Danish event takes place for the 18th time. While the hay days of when the entry read like a whose who of the best touring car drivers in the world has passed, the event still enjoys a capacity entry and leading the entry this year is the reigning World Champion Ronald Volker. With defending champion Viljami Kutvonen absent, as are the whole Xray team, the main opposition to Volker going for an 8th DHI Cup title looks set to come from Marc Rheinard and fellow Germans Christopher Krapp and Yannic Prumper. Asked for his thoughts on the track layout, Volker said, ‘It is the same as last year. Normally they contact me to help with the layout but I heard nothing (from the organisers) so I thought they had got someone else to do the layout so I was surprised to see they used the same layout as last year but I think its a good layout’. With the layout ‘familiar territory for everyone’, the Yokomo driver said the big difference this year is getting used to the new handout tyre from LRP, the main difference being the different material insert being used.
On the Offroad track, in a change from the tradition of using the carpet from the previous year’s touring car track, the organisers have bought EOS carpet for the event opting for a grey rather than black colour. The 7th year Offroad has been included at the DHI Cup, the new carpet has made for a much cleaner looking track with the slightly revised layout having been given an extra jump section. Having done the double here last year, Michal Orlowski welcomed the new carpet saying, ‘A big improvement finally. It is more fun to drive and we don’t have the same tyre wear problems as before when we needed new tyres every run’. On the layout, the Schumacher driver said, ‘the base layout is the same as last year just they have moved the jumps. The table top is tricky, you can land pretty weird but the EOS carpet is the big difference this year. Its a really good change’.
The 21st running of the 1:8 Onroad World Championships is down the final 22 drivers with the 1/4 finals completing the line up for the two Semi finals which will decide the 8 drivers to join Dario Balestri and Naoto Matsukura in the fight to become the World Champion. In the first of the 1/4 encounters it was JJ Wang who took the win ahead of Takaaki Shimo after the 2015 Vice Champion was given a penalty for bad refuelling. Behind them John Ermen was holding third but the ARC driver came under intense pressure from 2013 World Champion Tadahiko Sahashi in the final laps. With the Serpent driver all over the Dutchman the pair made contact at the final corner with Ermen ending up on the grass. While Ermen protested the result, after watching video footage of the pass officials deemed the result would stand with Sahashi progressing to the Semis.
In the second 1/4 final, Alberto Picco was the winner from Infinity team-mate Carmine Raiola who was another to be penalised for bad refuelling. Behind them Takehiro Terauchi would complete the Top 3 of a race that would see reigning 1:10 European Champion Toni Gruber and former finalists Rick Vrieljink and Flavio Elias go out. Losing second gear on his WRC, Gruber tried to continue but it was too much for his engine and it expired. For Vrieljink his chances of progressing ended when he ran out of fuel and for Elias, who was running his 5th final after a bad qualifying, his run ended due to a broken steering servo.
‘Very happy’ was how Wang summed up progressing to the Semis. The Mugen driver continued, ‘qualifying was so so, so I’m happy to still be in the mix’. On the 20-minute encounter which he started 4th, the Chinese American driver said, ‘The start was good for me but the conditions were very difficult. The Top 3 were evenly spaced but then the drivers behind started to attack. When Shimo got the drive through I took the lead and just tried to drive a safe race to the end’.
Echoing Wang’s comments of conditions being more difficult today, Picco said, ‘the track was not as good as yesterday. It was slippery and more difficult to drive’. He continued, ‘I just tried to keep a good pace without pushing because I didn’t have the same confidence as before because of the dust on the track’. Otherwise, the Italian veteran said the rest of the race was good and while conditions are more difficult he will leave his Infinity unchanged for the longer 30-minute Semi Final.
Lamberto Collari is out of the 21st running the 1:8 Onroad World Championships. The driver who has been World Champion a record 9 times, saw his attempt for a 10th title end when he suffered a glow plug failure while leading his 1/8 Final with 2/3rd distance complete. The Italian’s last Worlds Final appearance was when he won the last of his titles in Switzerland in 2009. Losing 3-laps as a new plug was fitted, Collari eventually finish 8th while up front it was former Finalist Rick Vrielijnck who took the win to progress to the 1/4 Finals. Also joining the Capricorn driver by completing the Top 3 would be Thomas Desmaries and Paphon Chanyasah. For 2013 and 2015 Finalist Shinnosuke Yokoyama it was the end of his run of final appearances with the Japanese driver finishing 6th.
In the first of the 1/8 finals which got the final day of action in France underway, it would be Serpent’s Merlin Depta who took the win having started 8th on the grid. Behind the German, former European Champion Oliver Mack would follow him home having start the the 20-minute directly behind his fellow countryman. One of the standouts, having had a bad qualifying when he ended up qualifying in the 1/64th final, 2015 Finalist Flavio Elias completed his run of bump ups with third. As a result the Brazilian Capricorn driver will now make his 5th race start here in Monteux. Casualties of the race included Michael Salven who went out after a crash at the start and his Serpent team-mate & 2009 Finalist Mark Green who could only manage P5.