Completing a perfect day, winning all four of his races, Ronald Volker will go into the final day of the 19th running of the Reedy Race of Champions tomorrow with a 2-point lead over Christopher Krapp with four races separating the Yokomo driver from his third title at the iconic race. Unfortunately in contrast to his Tamiya team-mate Krapp who enjoyed three wins today, defending champion & leader after Day 1’s action Marc Rheinard would fall fowl of the draw. Starting three of the day’s encounters in the same race as Volker, the 5-time Champion would loose points to his rival each time, a win in Round 6 when he didn’t line-up on the same grid as Volker little consolation as he finds himself 3 points and 2 wins off his long standing arch rival. Starting the days closing race from pole, Volker made easy work of his opposition as Rheinard starting from P6 found himself spun out on the opening lap by Rick Hohwart ending any hopes of challenging for a much needed win. In Krapp’s race, once he got by France’s Loic Jasmin on the fifth lap, it was just a matter of putting in laps on what would be cooler and much faster track conditions. In the second race of the round, from the front row of the grid, 2015 podium finisher Meen Vejrak got the jump on pole starter Juho Levanen to cruise to a second win of the event. This left Round 7 race winner Levanen to fend off AE team-mate Ryan Cavalieri for second, the Offroad star doing well to come through from P8 on the grid for 3rd to end the day with all Top 3 finishes.
‘The last race went perfect’ was how a very happy Volker summed up today’s action adding it was ‘the first time every I had a perfect day (at the Reedy Race)’. Putting the improved performance down to ‘better starting positions than yesterday’ he continued ‘the job is still not done yet and from past experiences I know too much stuff can happen (over the remaining four races) and I will take it race by race tomorrow’. Commenting on his sixth win of the event, the multiple reigning ETS Champion said ‘I had a slide at the first corner but afterwards was able to control the race. I took no risk I was just out to get the win’. Despite his no risk approach he improved on his previous best race time by 8-seconds saying ‘the track was much more responsive and the corner speeds improved a lot.’ This time could prove crucial should the tie breaker be called upon tomorrow evening.
Reacting to his 2nd place finish in the closing race, Rheinard said, ‘I would like one time to at least get a clean first lap. Rick took me out’. Starting the opening round tomorrow in the same race as Volker and behind him both times, Rheinard said ‘it is pointless’ and ‘it’s over’ in terms of his quest to claim a 6th Reedy Race title. With only half the number of wins to Volker, and team-mate Akio Sobue only 2-points off plus having pole in the opening Round 9 race, he concluded ‘now I’m fighting for third (overall)’.
Krapp was ‘really happy to finish the day with a win’. Claiming 3 wins and having ‘one shitty race’, the personable German was airing caution about his prospects saying, ‘last year I was in the same position’. A title contender going into the final day on his debut at the Reedy Race 12-months ago he added, ‘I know how quickly it can go wrong from last year’. Describing his TRF419X as ‘dialled in’, he said the approach for the final day was to ‘do my own races and see what happens’.
Going into last year’s final day sitting fourth before benefiting from Krapp’s key error in Round 10 to snatch a podium finish, Vejrak said, ‘It was a bad day for me, I lost a lot of points’. Happy to end the day with a win, his other result being two P4s and an 8th, the Bangkok driver said hopefully he used up his bad luck today and that his win would be a turning point adding ‘who knows what can happen, its the Reedy Race’. The Yokomo driver sits 6th in the standings tied on 16 points with RROC rookie Viljami Kutvonen with Ryan Cavalieri 3-points ahead of him in 5th.
Chassis – VBC Wildfire D08 Dynamics Motor – Muchmore Fleta 5.0T ESC – Muchmore Fleta Pro Batteries – Silverback Spiral II 6400mAh Tires – Sweep (handout) Radio/Servo – Futaba Bodyshell – Protoform LTC-R Remarks – Australian VBC team driver Ryan Maker came to California with his standard TITC setup on his Wildfire D08 and has continued to make changes to adapt to the track’s unique track surface. Changing to a prototype chassis plate that has more flex for improved traction he has also narrowed the rear of the car to get more rotation. Due to the track changing a lot since yesterday and to cope with the lower traction he is still working on his setup.
Having assumed the lead at the Reedy Race of Champions this morning from overnight leader & defending champion Marc Rheinard, Ronald Volker is starting to stretch his advantage with the Yokomo driver making it three wins from three races today at Tamiya Raceway. With himself and Rheinard claiming a win a piece in the second race of the day maintaining the single point separation, Round 7 would see the duo draw to run in the same race. Starting from 3rd on the grid with Rheinard at the back, Volker would survive contact with his team-mate Loic Jasmin, and a call from the referee for a Stop & Go, to win. While a good race from Rheinard would see him snatch 2nd from Ryan Cavalieri on the final dash to the finish line, the result leaves Volker with a two point lead as they again start in the same race in similar grid positions for the 8th of 12, & final race of the day. Very much a battle of the Germans this year, the round would see fellow countryman Christopher Krapp add a third win ahead of Tamiya team-mate Akio Sobue to move him into a provisional overall podium placing. Kicking off the round, Race 1 would be the most exciting encounter as a trio of Team Associated drivers battled for their first win of the 19th running of the Reedy Race.In the end Juho Levanen would take the win after Rick Hohwart spun but that set up another great battle for second as the Reedy electronics frontman tried to get passed his team driver Keven Hebert.
‘That was a tough one’ was how Volker described the race, adding there were ‘a lot of top guys in the race not only Marc’. He continued, ‘I’m definitely glad to get the win. Loic hit the curbing on the inside and we made contact. The sent my car for moment into the air and I was just praying it would land on four wheels. I somehow got away with’. Having survived the incident Volker would then find himself being called for a Stop & Go for his involvement in the incident but telling the referee it was not his fault the penalty was dropped as Jasmin pointed out he got out of shape and the contact was not Volker’s fault. Commenting on the Stop & Go call, Volker said it was a ‘strange situation’ but added ‘it was good the referee apologised afterwards’ for the mistaken call.
A race that was always going to be a tough challenge, Rheinard said, ‘the luck was not in my favour that time. Nobody crashed so I had a lot of traffic to deal with and by the time I got through, Ronald was already gone’. Posting the fastest lap of the round, the Tamiya driver said his TRF419X was good adding ‘this time I could I could match him (Volker)’. Describing his last lap overtake on Cavalieri a ‘good pass’, the Reedy Race’s most successful driver said, ‘I think its almost over as he (Volker) now has two more wins and for the next one he starts 1st and I start 6th’.
Reacting to his race, Krapp said, ‘I’m happy to get the win as the last race was really shitty as I had problems with other drivers’. Starting fifth, he would take the lead on lap 5 after an error by pole starter & early leader Thomas Pumpler. Once in front he was untroubled adding that his Orion powered TRF419X was ‘really good’. Describing the car as ‘dialled in now’, he added ‘I just need luck’. Sobue would finish over 5-seconds back but it was still a good result for the Japanese driver as he started from the back row.
‘It was a good battle with Rick until he spun out, after that it was a boring race for me’, was how Levanen summed up the race. The Finnish driver continued, ‘I had pretty bad luck yesterday so it is nice to get a win. It hasn’t been my greatest Reedy Race so far’. Commenting on his TC7 around the small Tamiya Raceway track, he said ‘it is getting better’ and starting the day’s final race from pole he added ‘hopefully I can double my number of wins’. With a DNF in the days opening race and a P2 in the second, P2 was a boost for Hebert, the Canadian again lining up in the same race as his team-mate for Round 8.
With half of the 12 rounds of heads up racing complete at the Reedy Race of Champions, it is Ronald Volker who narrowly leads the way from defending champion Marc Rheinard. The sixth round of racing would see the early title contenders maintain equilibrium as both drivers recorded wins, the other race going to Round 4 winner Randy Caster. The only time both drivers don’t line up in the same races today, it was Rheinard who laid down the gauntlet after a disappointing start to Day 2 as he won the opening race of the round from fourth on the grid ahead of P8 starter Viljami Kutvonen and Naoto Matsukura. Starting his encounter from 3rd, Volker however would match his fellow German to win ahead of 3rd in the overall standings Akio Sobue to make it a neutral round in terms of the point divide between himself and Rheinard. Two pretty straight forward races the third race would provide all the action. While Caster would complete a tone to tone win from pole, behind him there was a great battle between Austria’s Thomas Pumpler, American Touring Car stalwart Rick Hohwart and for a time Juho Levanen. Pumpler would hold his nerve to finish second, himself and Hohwart high-fiving after their crowd pleasing tussle.
With a 1-point deficit to Volker based of the best 5 0f 6, both dropping a 3rd place for now, Rheinard said, ‘In the end it was an easy win but before that I had to take care with Naoto and a few others’. Going to the front on lap 7, he continued, ‘As soon as I passed them for the lead they crashed so then I could just cruise in the lead’. Commenting on Volker’s lead and looking to the two races that will complete the second day’s action, the Tamiya star said, ‘It going to be tough. We are racing in the same races and both times he is starting up front while I’m at the back. For Round 7, Rheinard’s TRF419X will line up last on the grid as Volker starts off P3 while for their 8th race its a P6 start with Volker on pole.
Summing up his 4th win of the 19th running of the Reedy Race, Volker said it was ‘what we planned’. The former champion said, he was ‘just patient at the start as Felix (Law) blocked very good and I had no chance to pass at the beginning’. Starting from pole, Law would eventually roll at the chicane allowing Volker ‘to do (his) own race’. With his LRP powered BD7 suffering a big impact in the previous race when he collected Keven Hebert on the straight after his car shutdown, he said his car was a little loose as the impact had damaged a front wheel – drivers having to use new tyres in the odd race and the sane set in the proceeding even numbered race. On his lead in the points, the reigning ETS Champion reacted, ‘overall I’m happy with the day so far as I have got two wins’. Commenting on the grid order for the next two races he added, ‘the next ones I will just try to stay ahead of Marc so I will take it easy at the start so as not to get caught up in any incidents’.