Day 2 of the Reedy Race of Champions is proving to be Viktor Wilck’s day with the Serpent driver posting his third win of the day to join Marc Rheinard and Meen Vejrak as the only drivers with 4 wins on the board. The Swede’s latest win was a significant one as Rheinard and defending champion Ronald Volker all line-up in the same race. With a mistake from pole sitter Freddy Sudhoff handing the No.2 starting Wilck the lead, the former Champion would stay there to the end to win ahead of Rheinard and reduce the German’s lead down to two points. Another important win of the round was that of overnight points leader Vejrak who now sits third a further 2 points behind Wilck. The third winner of Round 7 of 12 was Bruno Coelho, the Reedy Race rookie registering his first win of the event.
Reacting to his hat trick of wins, Wilck said, ‘I just drove without mistakes when I saw Marc was coming. If Marc won this one he would pretty much have it (the title)’. The World Championship podium finisher added, ‘I got lucky at the beginning when Sudhoff spun out and then had a clean road ahead of me. It was a good race and all 3 of us pushed maximum’. Set to finish off the day with another front row start when asked if it was now game on he replied, ‘I’m just going to try to get more cleans runs and see what happens’.
Starting from the back on the grid, Rheinard said, ‘for 8th this heat, 2nd was pretty good’. Last winning the Reedy Race in 2015, the Infinity driver continued, ‘I felt I would be able to real in Viktor but I had understeer to the left, this set of tyres not 100% but otherwise it was a good heat for me. Sure Viktor is 1 point closer to me but from 8th I’m happy’. Rheinard will end Day 2 starting Round 8 from 6th on the grid with Ryan Cavalieri, a winner yesterday and Coelho occupying the front row.
‘I had to make sure I took advantage of my front row start’ was how Vejrak summed up his win from pole. The Yokomo driver didn’t however have an easy time of the race with overheating tyres an issue. The former podium finisher said, ‘It was better than this morning because I have steering but I made a safe drive’. He continued, ‘the feeling is strange and after a few laps the grip goes completely. It looks like I overheat the tyres. When Naoto caught me I was having to go slow to cool the tyres but then could pull away again’.
‘Finally’ was Coelho’s reaction to his first win. The Xray driver continued, ‘so many times I was in 1st position but through my own fault or super bad luck I couldn’t stay there’. His first Reedy Race experience, the ETS Champion said, ‘For sure it is not going well for us. It’s our first year so we have no experience of the track and no base set-up for here. We are still working on it but the problem is I’ve no steering so its quite difficult’.
Viktor Wilck has moved himself into contention at the Reedy Race of Champions in California, the 2012 Champion claiming a third win as the 20th running of legendary race reach the half way point. With one of the two allowed dropped scores taken into account, the Serpent driver sits second, 3 points adrift of new leader Marc Rheinard. Starting fourth on the grid, Wilck would win ahead of reigning champion Ronald Volker with the same heat seeing the kink bring an end to Bruno Coelho’s run of Top 3 finishes, the impact leaving the Xray driver with a DNF. For Rheinard, Round 6 netted the Infinity driver his 4th win allowing him to take over the points lead from overnight leader Meen Vejrak, the Yokomo driver having his worst round so far with a 6th. In the third of the encounters, Christopher Krapp finally ended his run of bad luck, last year’s runner-up becoming the ninth of the 24 invite drivers to register a win.
‘Getting better. For sure it was a lot easier than the previous one’, was Wilck’s reaction to his latest win. Having taken a somewhat controversial win in Round 5, the Swede making contact with Akio Sobue in the kink, he added, ‘I thought it was going to be a good fight with Naoto but he rolled when I caught him. They then had a battle with Ronald so I could easily pull away’. Winning his Reedy Race title at the Norcal track before it returned to its spiritual home of the Tamiya Raceway, he said, ‘My car is still ok, it is easy to drive and is not having the same problem others are having in the heat’. Set to line-up in the same heat as Rheinard for Round 7, starting P2 while his former Tamiya team-mate starts last, he concluded, ‘it an important one the next one’.
The only driver with four wins, Rheinard summed up Round 6 with, ‘what can I say, I had a lucky start because 1 & 2 crashed and had the lead in the first corner’. The 3-time Touring Car World Champion who won the first of his five Reedy Race titles 11-years-ago here at the historic Tamiya track, continued, ‘after that I could take it easy to the end, apart from having to avoid one car flying into the chicane the race went like a perfect plan’. Asked about Wilck’s form, he joked, ‘he’s just been lucky’ but on starting in the same heat as his good friend off track he said, ‘everything can happen, Ronald went from 8th to 2nd in the last one so I will just drive and see what happens’.
Sitting fifth, with just a single win to his credit, Volker wasn’t happy with the performance of his latest set of tyres. The World Champion said, ‘Having struggled with understeer in Round 5 we swapped the front tyres from left to right and now it had crazy understeer in right corners which is totally frustrating’. The Yokomo driver continued, ‘I benefited from Naoto and Bruno’s kink hit and 2nd is a valuable result given I started 8th’. He added, ‘While 5 out of the 6 races I have started at the back I can only look forward to the upcoming races and better grids, better tyres and better results’.
Making his third Reedy Race appearance, making a big impression on his 2015 debut, Krapp said, ‘I’m just happy to finally get a clean run’. Suffering a spur gear failure in yesterday’s final round which left his car stranded in the middle of the kink with the entire field somehow avoiding his Yokomo, the German said, ‘With yesterday’s results the race is over for me. The car is good but I have just been unlucky but now with a win I just want to have fun the next round and enjoy the rest of the event’.
Marc Rheinard made the biggest gain as Day 2 of the Reedy Race of Champions got underway with Round 5 of racing at Tamiya Raceway, a third place moving the Infinity driver to within 2 points of overnight leader Meen Vejrak and Akio Sobue. The opening heat of the day’s four rounds of racing would see Eric Albano capitalise on his pole position, the Yokomo driver winning by over 3-seconds from fellow American Ryan Cavalieri as Bruno Coelho snatched 3rd from Juho Levanan in a drag race to the finish line. The second encounter was the most heavily stacked heat of the round, Rheinard joined by reigning champion Ronald Volker and points leader Vejrak with Nicolas Lee on pole. Lee would take the win with all eyes on the battle behind for second. Starting second Naoki Akiyama drove a great race as Rheinard overshadowed him, the German eventually getting by with a forceful move only to be called to give it back by the referee. Getting by the young Japanese driver for a second time, the 5-time Champion would then make a mistake entering the kink with Akiyama there to take back second and hold it to the end ahead of Rheinard, Volker and Vejrak. Heat 3 would see a great battle between Viktor Wilck and Sobue with Wilck going to the front after a questionable move on the Infinity driver in the kink. Sending Sobue flying of the track, Sobue with drop to 5th as the Serpent driver registered his second win of the event. While no call came from the referees the general opinion of the invitation class drivers watching was the Swede was at fault for the incident.
‘Overall I made some points I guess compared the leading driver in the points’, was Rheinard’s reaction to his P3. With a DNF & 8 points, in his tally, he added, ‘2nd would have been good but 3rd is ok given the result of the others’. Commenting on his race, he said, ‘I was in a Yokomo sandwich, I was faster than both of them but had to be careful not to touch them and Naoki was driving really well’. On his first pass on Akiyama, he said, ‘We touched but I didn’t hit him so I don’t think the call was fair, there have been worse crashes and no penalties’. Explaining his error in the kink he said, ‘I was pushing trying to catch Nicholas but ran too much inside and slid up the curb on the green and got dirty tyres and that’s how Naoki got back by’.
The only triple winner so far along with Rheinard, Vejrak summed up his P5 with, ‘not a good start this morning’. The Thai driver said, ‘Marc opened in the sweeper and I went for the pass but we touched and my tyres got dirty so I lost a few positions’. The 2015 podium finishers continued, ‘the car feeling changes every round so it really difficult to know how it will react in the race’. Vejrak’s worst round so far, if taken as one of the two rounds drivers will drop, the former nitro touring car World Champion sits 1-point behind Rheinard in the points.
Giving his view of his incident with Sobue, Wilck said, ‘It was a tough battle with Akio. It is way different when you go defensive driving. I tried to pull away but hit the kink. Then we went into the kink side by side, I lifted a little but we touched. It was side by side’. Asking Sobue for his view of things, the friendly Japanese driver was ultra PC describing it as ‘unlucky’. Commenting on his heat win Lee said, ‘That was the most difficult heat so far in terms of the level of drivers in it. My car was a little difficult in the beginning but the others fighting helped me get away’.