Marc Rheinard has taken victory in the opening Leg of the A Mains here in Vila Real in what was an incident filled race which saw the Top Qualifier & defending Champion Ronald Volker completing just 4 laps.
From the start it was Volker who led from the hard chasing pack with Rheinard right on the rear bumper of the leading Hot Bodies Cyclone TC. Attempting a number of times to find his way passed the No.1 car the Germans touched coming on to the front straight at the start of lap 5 with Volker’s car going into a slide. Rheinard tried to wait for Volker but his team-mate Viktor Wilck, who was running a very close third, ran into the back of him while Volker made heavy contact with the pit wall ending his race.
Describing the incident Rheinard said, ‘I was a little faster and when I tried to pass Ronald we touched and his car got loose. I tried to wait for him but then Viktor ran into me.’ After the incident which allowed Teemu Leino to move into second the German cruised to an easy victory. Recording the fastest lap of the race Rheinard was happy with his TRF416, ‘The car was super good. I was able to make a better start too after Kiyo (Suzuki) cleaned my starting spot.’
Asked for his account of the incident Volker opted to make no comment other than to say that he has two more rounds.
Taking his Xray to second Teemu Leino described his race as OK. While his T2 008 was working better now the Finn said it is too difficult at this stage to challenge for the title.
Starting from ninth on the grid Alexander Hagberg made the most of the many incidents in the race to take third after getting past Wilck in the later half of the race. Wilck was looking good in the beginning of the Leg but the Swede believes he tweaked his Tamiya when he ran into the back of his team-mate as it was a hand full to drive following the incident.
Fifth placed Andy Moore described his first final as ‘Shit’. The current World Champion clashed with Leino at the first corner and then got caught up in a second incident ending his chances of fighting for the lead. Having also cleaned his grid spot, Moore said his car got off the line straight this time but after the incidents he was too far back to do anything despite his car feeling really good.
Jilles Groskamp, who also got pushed off the track, completed the Top 6 followed by Steven Weiss, Marc Fisher and Harper Elliot who is set to become the 2008 European Junior Champion.
A-main Leg 1 results
1. Marc Rheinard (DE) 17 05:01.632
2. Teemo Leino (FI) 17 05:03.196
3. Alexander Hagberg (SE) 17 05:04.999
4. Vikor Wilck (SE) 17 05:05.298
5. Andy Moore (GB) 17 05:05.707
6. Jilles Groskamp (NL) 17 05:07.371
7. Steven Weiss (DE) 17 05:07.585
8. Marc Fischer (DE) 17 05:09.767
9. Elliott Harper (GB) 17 05:10.364
10. Ronald Volker (DE) 4 01:05.519
The practice finals have just been completed and if the battle in the A Final practice group is anything to go by we are in for a thrilling afternoon of European Championship Finals.
Top Qualifier Ronald Volker lead intially but came under intense pressure from the Tamiya pairing of Marc Rheinard and Viktor Wilck. Getting past his team-mate, Wilck was the first to challenge Volker but was unable to find a way passed. It was then Rheinard’s turn to have a go at the defending champion the pair swapping decals through the hairpin at end of the back straight. Finally Rheinard found a way through and despite very close attention from Volker over the final few laps Rheinard took an important physcological victory with Wilck third.
After the practice Rheinard complained about the dirt on the no.2 position of the grid. Located off the racing line, the German said the car had no traction leaving the line and for the opening few corners his tyres were dirty. Once the tyres cleaned themselves his TRF416 was good although over the last few laps he felt the car started to go off. The former World Champion says he should be OK if he can get the starts sorted.
Volker tried tyre warmers ahead of the practice and wasn’t happy with the results. The Hot Bodies/LRP driver said his car suffered badly from understeer and so he will not use them for the actual finals. Wilck was upbeat about his Speed Passion powered Tamiya and feels he has winning pace. The Swede made a mistake when he rode a curb which caused his car to spin but other than that is confident he can challenge for the victory.
So the stage is now set for three thrilling A Main Finals with the practice proving that the race for the title is wide open.
Reigning European Electric Touring Car Champion Ronald Volker has successfully completed the first stage of his title defence by securing the TQ, putting his LRP powered Hot Bodies at the front of the grid for tomorrow’s triple A Main Finals.
Volker has been on form throughout qualifying securing victory in four of the five heats with the only blotch in his text book performance being a stripped front belt at the start of Heat number 2. Volker, who was confirmed as the Top Qualifier after Heat 4 when Viktor Wilck got in trouble for late marshalling, produced the fastest time for the final qualifier ahead of a very improved Teemu Leino.
With a fresh spool fitted to his car for the run Volker said his Cyclone TC was the best it has been yet and it felt really good. Asked if the TQ honours brought on any extra pressure the German said it didn’t and knowing that his car works so well he felt really good ahead of the finals. Speaking about who he expected to provide the greatest challenge tomorrow he was quick to name fellow countryman Marc Rheinard who will start from P2 on the grid.
Second fastest in the final run and looking much happy then he has since the start of qualifying was Teemu Leino. The Team Xray driver has finally found a set-up that helps his T2 008 to get the most from the controlled Sorex tyres. The Finn says a very quick opening lap will be so important to the results of the final and believes he has cracked the tyre warming temperature needed to give him a fast opening lap while not causing the tyres to go off as much during the run.
Rheinard appeared much more upbeat with his car after the final heat describing it as pretty good. Finishing a second off Volkers time, the Tamiya Racing Factory team driver admitted to making a ‘stupid mistake’ during the run when he jumped the curb at the chicane and ran onto the dusty part of the track. A former World Champion who knows his competitors very well said the competition here is super close and believes anyone of the 10 drivers in the A Main can win tomorrow.
The final is an impressive line-up of World class drivers. While Volker and Rheinard occupy the front row behind them we have Pre World’s Race winner Viktor Wilck and current World Champion Andy Moore. Wilck is enjoying a very good season, having also won the DHI Cup earlier in the year, and Moore’s title says enough about his abilities although the Englishman is still struggling to find a consistent full race distance pace.
Row three is made up of two more international champions with Teemu Leino, the TITC Champion, and Jilles Groskamp who is the Euro Touring Series Champion. On the penultimate row it is Corally ace Marc Fisher and last year’s Top Qualifier Steven Weiss while top Swede Alexander Hagberg and Euro Warm Race winner Elliot Harper completing the line up for what is set to be three cracking Legs of racing tomorrow. The unfortuate and dreaded 11th place went to Tamiya team driver Hupo Honigl who actually finished on the same points as Harper but the latter had a higher finish in his best run.
Final qualifying order
1. Ronald Volker (DE) [Hot Bodies] – 2pts
2. Marc Rheinard (DE) [Tamiya] – 4pts
3. Viktor Wilck (SE) [Tamiya] – 5pts
4. Andy Moore (GB) [Hot Bodies] – 6pts
5. Teemo Leino (FI) [Xray] – 6pts
6. Jilles Groskamp (NL) [Tamiya] – 7pts
7. Marc Fischer (DE) [Corally] – 8pts
8. Steven Weiss (DE) [Xray] – 9pts
9. Alexander Hagberg (SE) [Xray] – 11pts
10. Elliott Harper (GB) [Xray] – 15pts
Its the most important race of the year in Europe for manufacturers involved in EP Touring cars and in the pits we caught up with some of the key players who are here to support both their team drivers and the many privateer racers who make up the 144 entries.
Senior Designer with Tamiya, Kiyo Suzuki has made the long trip from Japan to Spain to support their four factory drivers Rheinard, Wilck, Groskamp and Honigl. Kiyo, who is super impressed by the Nitro 15 track, has brought along new parts for the team to try such as a new rear shock tower and is pleased with the performance of the TRF416 here so far.
Talking to him about the upcoming Worlds, Kiyo believes that 5 cell is already fast enough and with six cells to be run in Thailand the cars will be way too fast. As a result of the extra speed and the local weather conditions in Bangkok, they plan to run a modified TRF416 which will better handle the hot track temperatures and the extra demands put on the drive train.
Also making the trip over from Japan is Kyosho development driver Shin Adachi. Shin, who himself races regularly in Europe, is here to help Steen Graversen and Christopher Krapp who are both running prototype Stallion chassis’ which will form the basis of their next production kit. Shin told us that the car being used here in Spain will remain pretty much unchanged for the Worlds however extensive testing is planned in Thailand shortly.
The very pleasant Terutaka Hanaumi from Xenon Racing Products is present to highlight their range of gears, traction additives and accessories. Very well known in the Japanese market, Xenon have a growing number of distributors in Europe and feel it is important to be seen at such big races and to support the large number of drivers using, in particular, their gears.
Two European chassis manufacturers with support on hand are Xray, the most popular chassis here at the championships, and Corally. Juraj Hudy the founder of Xray and the man responsible for penning the designs of all Xray cars is himself taking part in the event. Racing the T2 008 allows Juraj to better understand how the car works on the track which is in turn a huge benefit when working on set-up with his team drivers.
Suzanne Siegel is over from the Netherlands to look after the large contingent of Corally drivers. With Marc Fisher set for a place in the A Main, Suzanne is very happy with the progress of the prototype RDX Phi car being used by the German. The Dutch company are very busy working on the prototype of their yet unnamed next generation 190mm car for the Worlds but Suzanne told us the car will share a lot of common parts with the current RDX Phi.
As is to be expected at EP Euros there is plenty of support from the electric components manufacturers. Oscar Jansen, himself a former European Champion, drove all the way here from Switzerland due to the large number of cells he needed to bring with him. The Dutch motor guru is busy working with the top Team Orion drivers like Steen Graversen, Andy Moore and Steven Weiss and is also pitman for Teemu Leino.
Head of Development at GM Racing, Ralf Helbing is here to over see the new Genius 120 speed controller which is being used by 10 of the German company’s team drivers. From the small first production batch, the new ESC is proving its worth in Fisher’s car and Ralf tells us the main production batch should be ready for general release at the beginning of September.
One of the sponsors of our live Red RC coverage for the Euros, LRP are also present supporting defending champion Ronald Volker and their other star drivers. Reto Koening, who is responsible for R&D and managing the LRP race team, is here along with Steffen Leinburger whose main duty is to be mechanic for Volker. Reto says he is very busy due to the large number of drivers running their products and from looking around the pits their Sphere speedo is the dominant force among the field. Interestingly LRP brought 50 motors and 80 battery packs to this event.
Xray – 46
Tamiya – 25
Corally – 18
Schumacher – 16
Hot Bodies – 15
Yokomo – 7
Associated – 6
Kyosho – 4
TOP – 2
Losi – 2
Team Magic – 1
Serpent – 1
Robitronic – 1
————– Thanks to Xray for compiling the numbers
More action from Vila Real in which we see Heat 15 take to the track for their 4th round of qualifying. This race saw Marc Rheinard in top spot for a large portion of the race but Ronald Volker came good in the dying moments to take the win.
Ronald Volker has been confirmed as the top qualifier here in Vila Real. The only person who could deny him TQ honours, Sweden’s Viktor Wilck has had his fastest time taken away for not marshalling the fifth and final qualifier. While the Tamiya driver is still guaranteed a position in the A-main on Sunday, he will now most likely start from row 2 unless he can TQ the last round which is currently underway.