August 18, 2018

Volker survives dramatic finish to take Q2 in South Africa

Ronald Volker has taken the second round of qualifying at the Electric Touring Car World Championships in South Africa.  The reigning champion kicked off Day 3 of the event by topping the first of the day’s 4 qualifier from last night Q1 winner Bruno Coelho with a dramatic finish to the heat eliminating three of the leading contenders.  P2 in the opening qualifier, Freddy Sudhoff was again in the hunt for a top result being right in contention for a TQ this time round but on his final run through the fast chicane he hit the board bouncing out into the path of Viktor Wilck who then got collected by Christopher Krapp. With all three cars instantly retiring and being attended to by a marshall, Volker would somehow run through the carnage unscathed to finish his final lap securing a TQ run 4/10ths up on Coelho.  Benefiting from the pile-up, Alexander Hagberg would complete the Top 3 nearly 3-seconds behind with Loic Jasmin inheriting a P4 ahead of Meen Vejrak and Nicholas Lee, the latter running in the second fastest heat group.

‘I got lucky not to end up as the fourth destroyed car in the sweeper.  Somehow I avoided the 3 cars and a marshal but I did have time to slow down’,  was Volker’s reaction after Q2.  Getting only a P5 for Q1 after a mistake, the Yokomo driver continued, ‘It was a crazy close qualifier with a crazy ending. I don’t know how many people where on point.  It was super close. I was just trying to focus on no mistakes at the end. I didn’t want to risk losing at least P2 but I’m very happy to TQ this round, the extra point is so important’.  On his car’s performance the Top Seed said, ‘It was better than Q1.  Practice this morning helped us a lot.  We changed the flex of the car and that gave a bit more traction’.

Coelho summed up his second attempt as ‘not a good qualifier from my point. I did a few mistakes which cost me a lot time’.   The Portuguese driver, who had a big off during the morning free practice which he said sounded worse than it actually was, continued, ‘the car is easier to drive today but it is not fast and we are still working on that point’.  He concluded, ‘the car could have been better but so too could my driving’.

Team-mate Hagberg reported a similar story saying, ‘It was not a good run. I had a small mistake in the middle and spun out. I as lucky to get third but it is important to get good points and I’ll take them’.  The Swede continued, ‘this pile up shows really how difficult the track is and mistakes can happy that cause a different result. Everyone is on the limit and you can see it is challenging for everyone with all the cars difficult to drive but we will try to improve our car for the next one’.

‘A lucky 4th for sure’, was Jasmin’s reaction afterwards.  The No.8 seed, each of the heats containing 8 cars, the Awesomatix driver added, ‘the car was little better but the problem for me is I start last and with the wait the tyres are really cold for the first lap.  After that it is OK but for sure there is room for improvement and we will try something different for the next one’.

In contention for the TQ before his error, Sudhoff explained, ‘I clipped the chicane and the transmission got stuck so I couldn’t move the car and for that I’m sorry to the other guys’.  He added, ‘Like in the first qualifier the car was amazing to drive but this time I messed it up myself’.  Wilck said, ‘First I hit Freddy and then Christopher hit me, he couldn’t avoid two cars’.  Krapp said, ‘that could have been a 1-2 with Ronald but I’m not that disappointed because the car was better today.  I also stayed with my own line because I tried to copy the others yesterday in Q1 and run on the curbs but with my car it didn’t work.  It was all going good til the last lap but I hope that is my bad luck now out of the way’.

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August 18, 2018

Chassis Focus – Viktor Wilck

Chassis – Serpent 4X EVO
Motor – Dash RTune 4.5T
ESC –  Dash AI PRO
Battery – Arrowmax Low Profile 6200
Tires (handout) – Team Powers
Radio/Servo – Sanwa
Body – Protoform Type S PRO-Lite

Remarks – Viktor is running what is the basis of Serpent’s next touring car kit release, the major change being the new rear end on the car.  Other smaller changes around the car will also see the new kit being lighter than the previous model.  While the rear end has been seen before at the ETS, Viktor said since then they have tried a number of different uprights but have come back to the original design.  One new feature of the rear end, which he said give the car a better geometry with the rear roll centre more neutral, is the push rod holder.  Now the holder has three mounting holes allowing different angle of the pushrod angle which he said is the same effect as changing the shock mount angles on a traditional suspension set-up.

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August 17, 2018

Coelho takes opening qualifier in Welkom

Bruno Coelho has taken the opening round of qualifying at the Electric Touring Car World Championships in Welkom, South Africa.  The Xray driver topped Q1 in a more convincing time than expected having a 2-seconds advantage over Freddy Sudhoff who in turn was just 4/10ths up on Viktor Wilck.  For Top Seed & reigning Champion Ronald Volker it was not the start to qualifying the Yokomo driver was looking.  He suffered contact with the wall on the main straight after losing his car on the curbing entering the straight dropping him to fifth where he would remain to the end.  Instead it was Christopher Krapp who was top Yokomo with a P4 for the first of the six rounds with Alexander Hagberg completing the Top 6 to end Day 2 of the 10th running of the championships.

A much happier looking Coelho said, ‘After a long discussion we didn’t change the car from CP3.  We decided to leave it and see what happens because we didn’t yet know everyone’s actual 5-minute pace.  We know we are not fastest over 3-laps but we were good on 5-minutes’.   The dominant ETS Champion continued, ‘the qualifier didn’t start so good because at the end of the straight I lose the rear on the first lap but the car felt good and I make a big push.  Then Volker had a mistake and I could see he was also losing the rear so I think the problem is the same for everyone’.  With four qualifiers on tomorrow’s schedule he plans to use the morning’s two free practice runs to ‘try to improve the car to be be faster and more easy to drive’ admitting ‘at the moment I am driving very careful’.

‘Crazy feeling. Everything worked out perfect’, was Sudhoff’s reaction to his P2.  The Awesomatix driver said, ‘we went back to the set-up from CP2 and the car was easy to drive but it was even cooler so again the car was a little sliding around’.  He continued, ‘It was super close between the Top 5 and my last lap was the better one against Viktor which gave me second’.  Looking to tomorrow the German said, ‘there is still a 2-second gap to Bruno so we will use free practice to try get more rear bite in the car but I will go out & enjoy driving’.

Reacting to his first qualifier, Wilck called it ‘a decent run’ but added, ‘I missed the curbing on the first lap and spun out in the chicane on the last lap otherwise I it would have been closer with Freddy.  I lost 6/10ths and he was 4/10ths in front’.  The Serpent driver continued, ‘I think the car is ok and I just need to do good driving and a little luck on the curbing. I will just focus a little better tomorrow’.

‘Seems I am a small bit off the pace and I’m struggling a bit with the new chassis’, was Krapp’s view on Q1.  The multiple Worlds finalist, who destroyed his race car in the second controlled practice and had to build a new car said, ‘I’m missing steering and traction. I’m just missing a little bit compared to the first car. I’m missing just that little extra. The set-up is identical to the other car and its 99% the same to drive but I’m missing that 1% which we now need to find’.  The German also felt his driving wasn’t fully up to scratch saying, ‘In the end I didn’t drive perfect. Freddy was catching me and I started to overdrive’.

Volker explained his P5 saying, ‘I had a big mistake going onto the straight.  I accelerated while still on the curb and hit the wall coming onto the straight and this cost me at least P2’.  He added, ‘My warm-up was not good enough and I had a bad first lap so the pace was only good enough for P2 but then I threw away good points.  Anyway there are six qualifiers and three count so there is nothing lost yet’.

Having ended practice on a high, Hagberg’s opening qualifier didn’t go as well.  The Xray driver said, ‘we made a set-up change and it didn’t work.  I lost too much steering so we will go back’.  Behind the Swede, Loic Jasmin would get a P7 ahead of Meen Vejrak and Jan Ratheisky, who TQ’d the opening Formula World Cup qualifier at the Welkom RC Arena, with the Top 10 completed by Nicholas Lee.

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August 17, 2018

Volker top seed in South Africa

Practice at the Electric Touring Car World Championships in South Africa has finally concluded and it is the reigning champion Ronald Volker who is the top seed for qualifying.  The Yokomo driver topped 2 of the three rounds of controlled practice but it it was his 3-consecutive laps from CP1 that was the time to beat. Bruno Coelho would top the final practice getting much closer to Volker than before, the fastest time separated by 0.073 of a second.  While Coelho was happier with his CP3 pace, it was his team-mate Alexander Hagberg who made the biggest improvement in the final practice as he was second fastest with a time that moved him up to the No.3 seeding position.  Like Volker, Viktor Wilck’s best time would come from CP1 leaving him 4th overall ahead of Christopher Krapp, who suffered a huge crash in CP2, and Freddy Sudhoff.  In a change to the previously reported rule that drivers who have to run a set of tyres from CP1 or 2 in the opening qualifier all drivers will now have the option to run new tyres.  There were complaints following the first two controlled practices regarding the definition of the ruling and the 95% race pace ruling.  A number of drivers backed off considerably after posting 3-laps which would have seen a large percentage of drivers disqualified.  Another issue arose from the fact the ruling was in the Stage Report but was deleted from the IFMAR rule book.  In the end it was decided all drivers would be allowed new sets of tyres for CP3 and Q1 after which the new ruling regarding when a driver must choose new and used tyres will be implemented.

Finding himself only 5th fastest in CP3, Volker said, ‘the car was a bit better in CP2, it was more comfortable, so I think we will do another fine adjustment for Q1’.  The German continued, ‘As you can see it is very close between the Top 6 and you need to get an edge over the others and we are still looking for that’.  On being top seed, he said, ‘I like to start in the front but I think the gap between cars should mean qualifying is the driver just against the clock.  It is a large track and everyone is so close on pace so there should be no need for anyone to need to be getting out of the way.  Hopefully we can find that edge and be on top but it wont be easy’.  Asked about tyre ruling which delayed the schedule by 45-minutes, with himself and team-mate Krapp accused of backing off too much, he replied, ‘the rule wasn’t clear before the start of controlled practice and I think the change was the right choice after some complaints’.

Summing up his final, and fastest, practice run, Coelho said, ‘It was ok. I think we are back to a good pace but again it is not perfect so we will try to improve for qualifying’.  The Xray driver said, ‘we changed the car a lot between CP2 and CP3 and now we will try something small for Q1.  The car is good but just not 100% what we like to have but I’m sure we will find something’.  Asked about the changing of the tyre ruling, the Portuguese driver said, ‘It fair because it they continued to the rule many drivers would be disqualified after CP1.  Me and Alex where the only one to push for the 5-minutes but I don’t want to see anyone disqualified so its fair for everyone’.

‘A lot better’ was how a pleased looking Hagberg summed up his improved CP3 pace.  The newly crowned 1:12 World Champion continued, ‘we are closer to the pace now and the race starts now. We are where we want to be and hopefully we can fight for the TQ’.  Asked how he improved the car the Swede replied, ‘we changed a couple of details like geometry changes and I will probably leave it as is for Q1 and work on my driving’.

Summing up his CP3, being third fastest behind the two Xrays, Wilck said, ‘It was almost the same as before.  There was a little less grip but not a big difference’.  A podium finisher in China 2-year ago, he added, ‘5-minutes is very close so it should be interesting.  I will leave the car the same for Q1 and just drive clean’.  Asked if the track presented a challenge to making a clean 5-minutes he said it was pretty good but pointed out some drivers have suffered ‘spins on the curbs’.

Ending up P5 in the seeding, Krapp said, ‘I am just happy to survive my crash in CP2. It was horrible’.  Explaining the high speed crash he continued, ‘I had a short circuit in the battery and the speedo shut down when I was on the straight and I went full punch into the wall’.  Having to replace the car’s chassis and top deck, the chassis having to be re-marked by technical inspection he thanked his team for effectively building him a new car for CP3, ‘my team did a really good job to rebuild me a new car’.  Running the car in CP3 he said, ‘I am happy with the car, overall it felt good and I was third fastest over 5-minutes.  I lacked a little steering so I will make some changes for that for Q1’.

Completing the Top 6 in seeding, Sudhoff said, ‘I think the track changed quite a lot that time.  We made a small set-up change but the car was sliding about on all four tyres. I think this was the track conditions’.  The Awesomatix driver  now plans to ‘go back to CP2 set-up for the first round’ describing it ‘more safe to drive’ and ‘it should work’ given ‘it is cooler now’.  Behind Sudhoff, Meen Vejrak and Loic Jasmin complete the 8 car line-up for the top heat.

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August 17, 2018

Volker tops first controlled practice at Worlds

Ronald Volker has set the pace in the first controlled practice at the Electric Touring Car World Championships in South Africa. With finally things turning official after 10 rounds of free practice, the Yokomo driver set the fastest 3-consecutive seeding laps ahead of yesterday’s free practice leader Bruno Coelho, the pre-race favourites separated by just 2/10ths around the large Welkom track.  Behind, Viktor Wilck put in the 3rd fastest time, the 2016 podium finisher only 8/100ths off Coelho. Christopher Krapp was next up with the fourth quickest time ahead of Alexander Hagberg with Freddy Sudhoff completing the Top 6.  Tyre management was an important element of CP1 with drivers having to run new tyres in the opening two controlled practices before reusing them for CP3 and more importantly the opening qualifier which takes place this evening.

‘It is close between all of us’, was Volker’s reaction after CP1 adding, ‘It not just me and Bruno but Freddy & Christopher have pace so it should be an interesting day’.  The reigning champion continued, ‘I focused on the 3-laps at the start and then backed off within the rules to save the tyres for later or the first qualifier’.  Running new tyres for CP1 & 2 drivers must complete the run and do so within a minimum pace in order to prevent drivers from saving tyre to have an advantage for Q1, which must be run using tyres from the earlier controlled practice runs.  On his car Volker said, ‘we keep changing small things and it is getting slightly better but there is still room for improvement but overall I’m happy together with Christopher to be on the pace’.

In contrast to his rival Volker, Coelho summed up the first of the three controlled practice runs with ‘it was so so’.  The Xray driver added, ‘we tried to find out our pace and it was not as expected. We are missing some speed’.  Winner of the Warm-up Race, he continued, ‘basically we are looking for steering without losing the rear. We will try something different and still have some ideas but for sure it is difficult at the moment.  We try many things and can’t go fast but nothing is easy so we will work to find the solution’.

‘Better’ was Wilck’s thoughts on CP1.  The Serpent driver said, ‘we change many small things and went back to what I thought would work and finally improved our pace a bit’.  Asked about changes for his next run, the Swede replied, ‘I think for now it is OK and maybe I will just drive to check which set of tyres is best’.

Krapp described his first seeding practice as ‘a solid run’ adding ‘I have been happy with the car since a few runs now’.  The German said, ‘It is pretty close up front but 3-laps are not really what count its the 5-minutes and my car is good on that.  We have had too much practice and now I just want to go racing’.

‘Decent but still looking for more pace’, was Hagberg’s summary after CP1, the Xray driver added, ‘I am still looking for a bit more steering’.  Running an all green bodyshell, he said, ‘it had a different mounting position. It was more forward and initially it was better but I need to check the overall lap times’.

Sudhoff was pleased with his pace saying, ‘we made a small set-up change and it felt very balanced and consistent’.  The Awesomatix driver concluded, ‘I think everyone saved tyres a little because we have to use them again but I am very confident with our car’.  Behind the German, Thailand’s Meen Vejrak posted the 7th fastest time ahead of France’s Loic Jasmin wth Nicholas Lee and Jan Ratheisky completing the Top 10.

View the complete event results here.

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