Marc Rheinard has moved to the top of the points standings for the first time at the Reedy Race of Champions, the Infinity driver notching up his fourth win at the 21st running of the legendary race in the seventh round of racing. Starting from pole, it was another important win for the reigning champion as both Ronald Volker and Christopher Krapp were in the same heat. Even better for Rheinard was the fact his main challenge came from Krapp as Volker was delayed getting through the field and could only manage 3rd, his lowest finish so far. As a result of the win, Rheinard now holds a 1-point lead over Volker going into the final race of Day 2’s action. The other significant result from the round came in Race 3 as Viktor Wilck saw off a challenge from Jilles Groskamp to register his third win moving him back up to third in the points ahead of Krapp. Having taking a popular win the day’s opening round of racing, David Jun claimed another in Round 7 becoming only the 5th driver with multiple wins, the Team Associated driver joking afterwards ‘they are two wins more than I was expecting’.
Commenting on his race, Rheinard, ‘Even though I started 1st I knew Ronald and Krappi would come up and there would be a fight. When I got on the green Krappi closed right up but we both had the same pace and I could take the win. It’s for sure an important result’. Set to go up against Volker again in the day’s final encounter, he said, ‘I start last, Ronald is 5th ad Akio is on the front row. I hope Akio can win it and that I can get a Top 3’.
‘I thought I could catch Marc so I’m disappointed but we both had the same pace’, was Krapp’s reaction to the result. The Yokomo driver continued, ‘I’ll take the second. Every round I’ve been in the Top 3 so I had no drop result yet so I will just try now to be a little more aggressive’. Set to start his next race from last on the 8 car grid he said, ‘with no drop, I can try something.’ Admitting Marc’s form and latest win are making the title a increasingly difficult prospect for him he concluded, ‘the podium is still wide open’.
Volker said, ‘It was a tough heat with Marc and Krappi starting ahead of me. I took too long to get by Albano. He did a good job holding me behind and I was only able to get by after 3-minutes when he rolled’. The Yokomo driver continued, ‘the car was there again but the gap was too big by the time I got by’. Feeling he hasn’t capitalise on his front row starts as well as Rheinard, he said, ‘I hope for the rest of the races I can have more benefits from my starts’. The German also said, ‘I am glad me and Marc are racing more often this year. We start 5 of out of 8 races together were as in the past it has sometimes only been twice over the whole weekend’. Drivers don’t yet know the starting order of tomorrow’s final four races, the grid sheets only being released on the morning of each race day.
Lining up on the front row alongside pole sitter Kyle Klingforth, Wilck said, ‘It was a good good start and then Kyle made a mistake so I had a clear lead’. He continued, ‘then Jilles was coming a little but I could control the race to the end’. Having felt his car lacked pace in the previous round, the 2012 Reedy Champion, the race held at Norcal that year, said, ‘we improved the car a little that time by making a little more flex in the upper bulk head and we will leave it as now for today’. Faced with a back row start alongside Krapp for Round 8 he said, ‘I’ll just start and see what happens’.
It is all square at the end of the first half of racing at the Reedy Race of Champions with reigning champion Marc Rheinard and Ronald Volker on the same points when dropped rounds are taken into account. The sixth of the 12 rounds of heads up racing at Tamiya Raceway, would see Rheinard take a win to match Volker’s tally of three wins. With Volker lining up in a separate race, the duo having went up against one another in the previous two rounds, the Yokomo driver couldn’t find a way passed Viktor Wilck getting a P2 from 7th on the grid. For Wilck his win would see him join the list of multiple winners along with Meen Vejrak. After a rough Day 1 of racing, Vejrak made it two out of two in California this morning winning ahead of Jilles Groskamp to move up to third in the points equal with Christopher Krapp who maintained his run of Top 3 finishes despite starting P8.
‘Important points’, was how Rheinard summed up the Round 6 results. The Infinity driver continued, ‘I got a good start because someone crashed in front. I took it easy behind Keven (Herbert) but then the others were closing but then he made a mistake that gave me the lead. I messed up one time in the chicane and had no grip for the next lap but I was able to protect my line and once I got back into my rhythm I could take the win’.
Losing his one-point advantage in the round, Volker said, ‘my minimum goal was a Top 2 finish and I’m not unhappy with that but I had a shot for the win’. He continued, ‘I slid once and because I was offline I got dust on the tyres and lost the gap to Viktor. There was only 2-laps to go so I couldn’t make it back’. With the fastest lap for the 3 races of the round, the World Champion added, ‘the pace is still there’. He concluded, ‘we are halfway through and things are tight as expected’.
Holding off a gaggle of cars in the closing race of the round, Vejrak said, ‘It’s a good day today, I had a bad first day’. Ending Day 1 with a 6th and and 8th, the Thai driver is the first multiple winner of Day 2 saying, ‘I hope today continues to be good for me’. On his Round 6 race, the former 1:10 Nitro World Champion said, ‘It was a difficult race. My car was not perfect and I had to block, I’m happy I can make it for 5-minutes. It was hard with Jilles, Jan and Akio all lined up behind me’. Asked the problem with his car the Yokomo driver replied, ‘I need to check the tweak. On power it goes to the right’.
Commenting on his win, Wilck said, ‘I got the start and tried to drive safe but thought maybe I would have more time to get a gap but Ronald was already coming. Then one time I got in the dust and he was there but I knew if I keep my line he wouldn’t be able to pass’. The Serpent driver added, ‘we need to improve the car a little bit, we need more pace’. Explaining the problem he said, ‘it is pushing a bit too much in the heat. In the morning it is ok and fast enough but in the heat we struggle’.
Ronald Volker has started off the second day of racing at the Reedy Race of Champions with an important win, the Yokomo driver clocking up win No.3 ahead of arch rival Marc Rheinard. Lining up on the front row for the Round 5 encounter with Rheinard and Akio Sobue also on the grid, Volker took two laps to find a way passed pole sitter Andy Moore before pulling clear of the field. Looking on target to cruise to the win as Rheinard worked his way through from his P5 starting position, Volker then had a spin in the kink but such was his lead all still seemed to be under control for the World Champion, but it wasn’t. A few laps later he would have an even bigger moment which was Rheinard’s opportunity but as the Infinity driver went for the pass he rolled allowing Volker to resume his lead as Rheinard found himself under attack from team-mate Sobue but the order remainder unchanged to the finish. Ending the first day of racing 3rd in the standings, Christopher Krapp would come through from the back row to finish second in the opening race of the day as 2015 podium finisher Meen Vejrak posted his first win of the 2018 event. In a somewhat crazy Race 3 in which the kink lived up to its infamous reputation, David Jun showed the youth how it is done to take the win, despite being in a last lap pile-up, ahead of Ryan Cavalieri and points contender Viktor Wilck.
‘I must admit, sometimes you need luck on your side and I had it this time to be able to stay ahead of Marc and Akio’, was how Volker summed up his latest win. The 3-time former Champion continued, ‘I put a lot of pressure on Andy at the beginning because I want to get as much of a gap as possible on Marc. Once I got by him I tried to pull away but after 2-minutes I had two spins in the kink. The second one Marc was on my ass but then he made a mistake.’ Changing to a softer diff given the cooler morning conditions, he said the car became ‘very hard to drive in the rear end’ adding ‘I was struggling big time. It got sunny 20-minute before the race and the diff felt like water’.
‘Just stupid’, was Rheinard’s reaction to his lost opportunity. The defending champion said, ‘He gave me the chance to pass him and then I rolled it in the same corner. I don’t know’. The German continued, ‘that time the car felt loose to one side so I was fighting it. I’m not sure if it was the car or the tyres’. He concluded, ‘let’s hope for better in Round 6, it’s almost half time’.
Three points off Volker in the points table, 2016 Runner-up Krapp said, ‘given my grid position I’m happy with the result’. With the second allowing him to drop a third, the Yokomo driver continued, ‘just before the start the guy putting down my car noticed the knuckle was loose and tightened it but the my camber was off but I was lucky they found it.’ On his race he said, ‘I got through the traffic and thought I could catch Meen but saw he had a good save so I decided it was better to settle for 2nd than risk anything. I have two 8th place and a 4th place starts for the rest of the day so I just going to try and keep getting Top 3 finishes’.
Recovering from an early penalty in his race to finish 3rd which moves him on to the same points as 3rd placed Krapp, Wilck said, ‘At the beginning Nicholas (Lee) went wide so I had to try a pass but in the end it was a bit too hard and I had to wait so I was last again’. The Serpent driver continued, ‘everyone started to crash so I was able to come back to third’. Asking the referee for clarification on penalties after the race feeling Lee had closed the door on him after running wide, the Swede said, ‘in the moment I didn’t feel the call was right because he closed the door but afterwards I think it was probably right’. Starting his next race on pole, he said, ‘I’m first for the next one so I will try to have a clean run’.