Having burst on to the scene at the 2014 Electric Touring Car World Championships in Florida finishing runner-up, then dominating the 2016 Worlds in China up until A2 and again finishing runner-up, Bruno Coelho is finally World Champion. Widely acknowledged as the bench mark in touring car, the World title is the one to elude him but after a rocky start in South Africa it all came together for the Portuguese ace as he again found a way passed the defending champion to win A2 and the status of the No.1 driver in the World. Having found a way passed the Top Qualifier in A1 despite Volker’s best efforts to make his Yokomo wide, this time round Coelho set-up an impressive pass on his rival to go to the front after just 3-laps. Unfortunately any chances of Volker recovering to force the decider to go to A3 evaporated a lap later as the Welkom RC Arena’s curbing claimed another victim, Volker. In the end Volker would finish last with Viktor Wilck coming home second ahead of Freddy Sudhoff, all three now set to fight for the final two podium places in A3.
‘No words. Amazing. Finally’, was a somewhat stunned Coelho’s reaction after his title winning final, this the 10th running of the championships. He continued, ‘I missed it 4-years ago. I missed it again 2-years ago and now I finally got it when things didn’t look so good. In China everything was perfect but it wasn’t to be, it proves in racing anything can happen. To win at this amazing place is also extra special’. On the A2 final, the 25-year-old said, ‘In the warm-up I immediately felt the car was good. Before every time the car was different (set-up) so I didn’t know what it was going to do but this time I could feel it was good. I lost the rear two times on the first lap but I knew this was the because the tyre were cold from the grid and once they came in I made very high pressure on Ronald but I was just looking to get the points and not make a mistake. The overtake I made was a very good move. I made a dummy pass and then braked but Ronald thought I was coming down his inside and made a mistake and then I could got through. Qualifying was very bad. Ok it was 2nd but for me that is bad but now I’m really happy. There are no words for the feeling’.
Relinquishing his title, Volker said, ‘I felt good going into the final but he had a quicker car’. The Yokomo driver continued, ‘I had a good first lap but he was faster and forced me into a small mistake but the curbs basically ended my race. We all knew you are taking a risk going over them but it was the worst moment it could have happen’. A driver who came into the event looking super strong, energised and with a very positive mental approach, he said, ‘I’m surely disappointed and feel sorry for all my sponsors, my team and myself but credit to Bruno for a great drive and his title’.
Commenting on his second place in A2, Wilck said, ‘I was hoping for something bad to happen between them but Ronald spun himself and Bruno had too big a gap’. Looking to repeat the podium finish he achieved in China 2-years ago from 6th on the grid, the Serpent driver said, ‘I just have to push Ronald a little bit. His car seems a little unstable at the moment but Freddy is fast so I have to keep it clean’.
Sudhoff said, ‘That was a pretty good one and it was very close in the end with Viktor’. Looking to the all important A3, the Awesomatix driver added, ‘I know my car is good at the end of the run so I will keep confident to the end of the race and try to make a podium happen’.
In the Formula World Cup, the class set to be a full World Championship class in 2020, Jan Ratheisky made it two out of two to take the overall win. The Xray driver found himself under massive pressure from Serpent’s David Ehrbar who got by on lap two and led for 3 laps before Ratheisky got him back. While Ehrbar had the faster looking car the German didn’t have the patience and made a mistake 3 laps from home to finish 3rd.
Bruno Coelho has taken the opening A-Main at the Electric Touring Car World Championship in South Africa. Qualifying second on the grid, the Xray driver immediately put the pressure on Top Qualifier Ronald Volker weaving left and right to try and find a way passed the reigning champion. A side by side drag down the straight was the first warning from Coelho but Volker had the inside line but just after the halfway mark Coelho got the inside in the corner before the chicane with the two cars touching. Once in front Coelho quickly established a comfortable lead eventually crossing the line 1.4-seconds clear. Behind, contact between Viktor Wilck and Freddy Sudhoff in the middle of the race played into the hands of 6th place starter Christopher Krapp. Getting by Alexander Hagberg in the opening corners, the Yokomo driver took advantage of a mistake from Wilck which resulted in him giving Sudhoff’s Awesomatix a body tuck for which the Serpent driver waited to give back position. Sudhoff would finish 4th with Wilck fifth.
‘A very intense final’, was how a much more confident looking Coelho summed up his A1 win. Top Qualifier at the Worlds in China 2-years ago but ending the finals 2nd overall, the Portuguese driver said, ‘I started very well. The car was very reactive and had good traction unlike the Warm-up Final when it was not so good. So I felt confident for the race and started to put pressure on Ronald. I saw he was having difficultly with his car and tried different lines to get around. We went side by side down the straight but he had the inside so that pass didn’t happen but then I was able to make a good pass and was able to pull away’. He concluded, ‘I hope the car is the same in the next final and I can challenge again and try to make it happen’.
Commenting on A1, a disappointed Volker said, ‘it was not a good run. I need a bit more pace’. The Yokomo driver continued, ‘I defended as good as I can but he found a way to get by’. ‘Its two out of two now so I have to deliver and just give him no opportunities at all’.
‘A lucky third’, was Krapp’s thoughts on the opening A-Main but the Yokomo driver was very happy with the performance of his car. He said, ‘finally we got the car the way it should be pace wise. We improved it’. On his race he added, ‘I got by Hagberg in the 2nd or 3rd corner and was staying with the top pack and then Freddy and Viktor tangled which put me third. Then it was quiet to the end. I hoped something happened up front but it looks that Bruno made a clean pass’.
In the Formula World Cup opening A-Main, Top Qualifier Jan Ratheisky took an easy win. Behind the Xray driver the big battle was for second between Dominic Quek, David Ehrbar and Martin Hudy. Quick, Ehrbar’s race was full of mistakes and a challenge into the last corner saw contact with Hudy but crossing the line before serving a stop and go, Ehrbar was given a 10-second penalty. This meant Hudy got third behind Quek with Ehrbar fifth behind Florian Joos.
Chassis – Awesomatix A800X MMCX Motor – LRP X22 4.5T ESC – LRP Flow X Batteries – LRP 6400 Tires – Team Powers (handout) Radio/Servo – Sanwa/Highest DLP650 Bodyshell – Protoform Type S Pro Light
Remarks – Joining team-mate Freddy Südhoff in the A-Main here at the World Championships in South Africa, top French driver Loic Jasmin is using Awesomatix’s A800X MMCX. Like Südhoff, Loic also felt more comfortable with the Mid Motor configuration on the Welkom RC Arena indoor asphalt track because it offered more steering and rotation. In terms of set-up Loic’s car is similar to Freddy’s setup using the new C04M1+9.0 arms in front and C04M1+8.0 arms in the rear as well as the new AM105 rear stiffener.
The concluding round of qualifying at the Touring Car World Championships in South Africa saw Bruno Coelho take a confidence boosting TQ run ahead of today’s title deciding triple A-Mains. With the overall TQ already decided yesterday in Q5, with reigning champion Ronald Volker securing his first Worlds TQ, and Coelho already locked into 2nd on the grid, the sixth & final qualifier was about deciding the rest of the grid in particular 3rd place. A battle between 2016 Podium finisher Viktor Wilck and Freddy Sudhoff, it was Wilck who would keep the position he held overnight taking third for the round once again behind Coelho and Volker. Fifth in Q6, Sudhoff’s fourth on the grid means four different manufacturers will be represented at the front of the grid for this the 10th running of the IFMAR World Championships. Completing the top half of the grid at Welkom RC Arena will be newly crowned 1:12 World Champion Alexander Hagberg ahead of Christopher Krapp. The 2018 line-up will be completed by Loic Jasmin, Meen Vejrak, Jan Ratheisky and Nicholas Lee with Yokomo having the bragging rights of the most cars in the final.
Having struggled to match Volker in yesterday’s four rounds of qualifying, Coelho was clearly more upbeat following his second TQ run of the event. The Xray driver said, ‘That was a very good qualifying run. We changed quite a lot on the car today and came up with some good ideas. I had one mistake when I did a donut and lost 7/10ths I think but still it was a good run’. Looking to the finals, the Portuguese driver went on, ‘I am much more positive today for the finals. Yesterday I was negative, not negative, but I was not feeling good with the car. Now I am much more comfortable with the car. It does what I want so for sure they will be good finals’.
‘It was an ok qualifier but Bruno was just a bit faster’, was Volker’s summary of Q6. Finishing 6/10ths off Coelho, the Yokomo driver continued, ‘we tested something different in the morning practice but then went to our Q4 set-up and it wasn’t what we expected and now we will make another change for the final practice which is important to have’. He concluded, ‘then we are good to go. Bruno is going to challenge hard but I’m ready’.
Wilck was pleased to keep his P3 on the grid saying, ‘It was a clean run. I just had to defend my third place against Freddy’. Asked about the finals, the Serpent driver replied, ‘I think there can be a good chance, it depends what happens in front. It should be pretty close. Worst case they are 1-second faster at the end of 5-minutes but I hope I can stay with them and be there if something happens’.
‘It was ok but the car was a little too easy to drive and of course I was hoping for 3rd overall’, was how Sudhoff summed up his final qualifier. The Awesomatix driver continued, ‘I’m sure on this layout a lot can happen. The curbs are not so forgiving’. On his car the German said, ‘we will try to find a little more mid corner steering in the final practice’.