Touring car’s great rivalry is set for a showdown tomorrow at the 18th running of the Reedy Race of Champions at Tamiya Raceway with Marc Rheinard and Ronald Volker set to battle it out over the final four races for the win at the famous heads up racing event. After an ‘almost perfect day’ for Rheinard yesterday, Volker would enjoy the best performances of the second day of racing with the defending champion notching up 3 wins and a 3rd over the day’s four races. While Rheinard would match his fellow German in terms of wins, bringing his total to an impressive 6 from 8 starts, the day’s second encounter would see the Tamiya driver finish 5th. After dropped scores, 10 from the 12 races counting, the ranking going into the final day sees Rheinard hold just a 2-point advantage over Volker with another German, Christopher Krapp, sitting third a further point back.
Despite holding the advantage going into Sunday’s final four rounds of racing, Rheinard was ‘taking nothing for granted’ saying while he would be driving tactically there was always the chance that he could ‘mess up 4-times’. Chasing a record 5th Reedy Race title, him sharing the honour of the most wins with the ‘fabulous’ Barry Baker, the multiple World champion said what was also interesting about tomorrow was that having only went head to head once per day so far himself and Volker will race in the same heat twice including the closing race of the event. Starting today’s final race from pole position and taking a tone to tone win he said being able to pull quickly clear of the pack he used the race to set a fast race time and posting the only 25-lap race time, he said he did this to have extra security should the overall win have to be decided on tie breaker.
Volker said considering his starting positions for his opening three races it ‘was a better day than expected’ as ‘only expecting Top 3 finishes (he) ended up with 3 wins’. Despite sitting second in the points, the 4-time Euro Touring Series Champion said he was ‘not so optimistic’ about claiming a third Reedy Race title. He added ‘as I said before for the overall win I am too far behind’ but ‘the race always has it own story and I hope that I get the opportunity to challenge Marc for the win’. Summing up his last race of the day, when he started second on the grid alongside Yokomo team-mate Meen Vejrak, Volker said he didn’t attack at the beginning in order for them to be able to pull a gap on third. ‘Only a little faster’ than the Thai ace, he said towards the end of the race he got close enough to capitalise when Vejrak’s DB7 ran wide through the keyhole. Getting down the inside as they headed through the track’s famous kink, Volker said he got tapped in the rear left sending his car jumping over the carousel with around 40-seconds to go. Waiting on Vejrak to catch-up after the contact before resuming racing he would win by 3/10th of second but the incident would see both drivers called up by the Race Director.
His first visit to Tamiya Raceway, after a poor start to the day Krapp turned things around to put himself third and in contention for an overall podium finish. Unable to get by JJ Wang in the final race, he said he was a little disappointed with second but complimented Wang on his driving saying the only way it would have been possible to get by him would have been to drive over him. Taking a third win of the event and 2 second places he said ‘it was a good day’ and with a podium within reach he would ‘give it everything tomorrow’.
Giving HB its first win of the event, Wang response to seeing off the pressure from Krapp was ‘Finally I did it, I’m super happy’. Having shown great speed in a number of his races but not having had any luck, the 17-year-old from Shanghai said his PRO-5 was a little difficult to drive following ‘a few contacts in the previous race’ that left him with an unbalanced tyre. Aware of the problem before the start, drivers having to run each set of the handout Sweep tyres for two race, he said he drove ‘super careful’ but knew if he kept on his line and stayed off the curbs he could make it hard for anyone to pass him and that’s exactly what he achieved. Becoming the 11th driver of the 27 car field to win he said he feels his luck has finally changed and he is now looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings.
Having gained some ground on points leader Marc Rheinard in the day’s second round of racing with a win, defending Reedy Race Champion Ronald Volker continued his fight back with a third victory as the famous heads up racing event entered the second half. Winning Round 7’s opening encounter from 9th on the grid, having pulled back 4 points on his rival in the previous encounter, the Yokomo driver however wouldn’t reduce the gap further as his rival snatched a late victory in Race 3. While the two best touring car drivers in the world added a win to their tally, them separated by 2-points, the round would see one of the best offroad drivers in the world register his first. Starting from the front row of the grid Ryan Cavalieri would win Race 2 convincingly over his experienced Team Associated touring car team-mates Juho Levanen and Keven Hebert.
Having only registered a single win yesterday, but already with two wins and a second for today, Volker said he is ‘having a way better day than yesterday’. Starting from the back row of the grid, he was ‘only hoping for a Top 3’ and so the win over Christopher Krapp was ‘super good’. With Rheinard matching him with his win, the 4-time back to back ETS Champion said ‘Marc needs to hit trouble in the next few races if I am to have any chance of the win’. Admitting that there was still a long way to go in the event he said he would just continue to approach the race round by round but ‘finally getting to start from the front row again’ for the day’s final race he is hopeful he can end the day with a win.
Getting by Alexander Hagberg when the pair touched as they exited the sweeper with 4-laps to go, the Swede’s Xray flying off into the fencing, Rheinard notched up an impressive 5th win from 7 races. Commenting on the incident with Hagberg, there being some history between the pair, Rheinard said his TRF419 was ‘really good’ and he knew he was faster. ‘Waiting’ behind as he knew Meen Vejrak was closing and any contact would hand the Thai driver the lead, he said he went close to Hagberg to put pressure on him leading him to run wide through the sweeper. With Hagberg opening the door again through the sweeper the reigning 1:12 World Champion said he went for the pass and running side by side they touched. Going over to Hagberg’s pit after the race to confirm with him that it was a ‘side by side racing’ incident the TITC Champion agreed it was. Despite his T4 bouncing off the fencing Hagberg would still secure a second for the round. Going to the front after a mistake from early leader Ty Tessmann, he said he made a good start from 7th on the grid and the race was going really well until he ‘opened the door a little for Marc’ adding ‘unfortunately I came off worst and hit the wall’. Describing today as pretty good he said he ‘just needed to keep it going’ even if he wished he had a few more wins.
Starting on the front row alongside pole sitter Hebert, Cavalieri was happy to notch up his first win of the event having got by his team-mate on lap 5. He said he knew from the race before, when he started 10th, that his TC6.2 was strong over the opening laps and he said he went for it. With the car dropping off in the last minute of Round 6 he said he tried to open up as much of a lead as possible but with Randy Caster making a set-up change the 4-time electric offroad World Champion said it stayed really consistent for the race and now that ‘they have it figured out’ he was looking forward to trying to add a few more wins although starting his final race of the day from 7th behind Volker, Vejrak and Hagberg he might have to wait till tomorrow.
Ron Schuur from Schuur Speed is at the Reedy Race of Champions with samples of their new limited edition “Select Signature Series” of 13.5T and 17.5T Stock motors. Hand built and race prepped by Ron himself, they have just become available for purchase through the Schuur Speed website where upon ordering the customer can choose among a series of customising options. There will be a choice of standard or the ability to select “extra strength” rotor, steel or ceramic bearings, timing and anodising color – the default color being blue. The order form also features an extra field for special requests.
Defending Reedy Race Champion Ronald Volker claimed a significant win at the Tamiya Raceway as the 18th running of the event reached the halfway mark. The Yokomo driver, having started from the back of the grid, claimed only his second win as points leader Marc Rheinard, who started in the same race from 3rd on the grid, finished only 5th. Round 6 of 12 would be about repeat winners with Tamiya’s Christopher Krapp and Xray’s Alexander Hagberg adding to yesterday’s wins.
Having been frustrated at his starting position for today’s action, the German lining up towards the back for 3 of his 4 races, Volker said the win was ‘very satisfying’. Making up places on the first run through the sweeper, contact between Rheinard and Mike Haynes in the chicane would leave the ETS champion second at the end of lap 1. With former team-mate Naoto Matsukura leading, Volker again setting the fastest lap said he knew he had the faster car and with time on his side he just drove patiently behind the World Champion. On lap 6 the waiting game paid off as the Japanese Tamiya driver jumped the track’s famous kink allowing Volker through at the next corner for a lead he would extend and hold to the end.
Commenting on what has been his worst finish so far, 5th, Rheinard said ‘hopefully that will be one of my dropped rounds’. Commenting on the first lap incident that dropped him down to 7th, the multiple World Champion said Haynes, who started from P2, got out of shape and he had no chance to avoid him. Working his way back up to third placed Andy Moore, he said the HB driver was ‘really slow’ resulting in contact at the sweeper. Having to wait on the fellow former World Champion, Rheinard would make further contact with Moore whose PRO-5 got caught on the boards losing him 4-seconds as he again waited.
Winning the opening race of the round after Juho Levanen rolled his Associated having led for 7 laps, Krapp said while he was happy to get the win he was more happy that his Tamiya was good again. In Round 5, yesterday’s double race winner had a big off during the warm-up and he struggled finishing 6th. Finding afterwards the car had a broken chassis plus other key parts, he said his mechanic did a great job rebuilding the car and while it took a few laps to feel the car was ok after that it was ‘super good to drive’ and he goes into the second half of the event in a confident mood.
Asked about his win, Hagberg said ‘I got lucky in the end’ referring to fellow Swede Viktor Wilck rolling out of the lead with 4-laps to go. With Wilck pulling off the pass of the day yesterday on Hagberg, the Xray driver said he ‘got distracted by the huge wreck’ on the main straight, Canadian Andrew Hardmann collecting an out of shape Charlee Phutiyotin, and this was enough to let Wilck by. With his T4 ‘working better today’, he said he was able to keep with the Serpent driver. Hoping things ‘stay as lucky for the rest of the day’ he added that ‘for this race you need it’. Wilck said once he got passed Hagberg he got too relaxed and just tried to cruise close to the curbing to keep him behind but over did it and got too tight causing his S411 to roll. Happy with how is car is performing he said second was ‘still good points’. Having led for 8-laps under pressure from Hagberg, ARC’s Steven Weiss would, unlike Cahrlie P, survive getting out of shape on the straight but would relinquish the lead as a result to finish 3rd.