He is the defending champion and he is proving he is still at top of his game taking yet another round TQ here at the 2008 Euros. Ronald Volker and his Hot Bodies have just notched up their third qualifier victory and one can only presume the German would be holding four wins from the four heats run so far if it were not for a stripped belt in Heat 2 yesterday.
Volker once again complained of his car being very loose at the start of the heat. The problem was bad enough that he had to let his only overall TQ challenger Viktor Wilck through early on in the run. Once the opening minute was completed the LRP team driver’s Cyclone TC improved but it would appear that the early handling problems aren’t effecting his overall performance too much.
Again finishing second to Volker, Marc Rheinard has made further progress with his Tamiya. Running harder oil in his shocks he said the car is better in the middle part of the race but now they need to find an in between setting so as to improve the TRF416 for the beginning and the end of the run. Rheinard had been in a very close fight for the heat win for much of the heat with Andy Moore but both fell off the pace in the last few laps.
Viktor Wilck, the only driver left who can deny Volker the TQ, was also on for a possible fastest time but believes he overheated his tyres. While he says it will be difficult to beat Volker’s fastest TQ run due to the warmer track conditions he will definitely try. The Swede hopes less time in the tyre warmers will mean his tyres last the distance in the final qualifier.
Andy Moore, who again recorded the fastest lap for the round, continues to be at a loose end as to why his Hot Bodies is dropping off the pace by 3/10th a lap over the last four laps. The British ace said he has no corner speed over the last minute and has no idea why. Still thinking of what he can do to cure the problem, the World Champion looks set to try big changes for the final heat and the morning’s Final practice in his quest to get what is a very fast car for four minutes to work right through the full 5 minutes.
Corally’s main man Marc Fisher was fifth for the round with Hupo Honigl making it four Tamiya’s in the Top 6 after recording the sixth fastest time. In the overall ranking with one round of qualifying remaining Volker holds the pole from Wilck, with Rheinard, Moore, Groskamp, Fisher, Hagberg, Leino, Weiss and Honigl holding A Main positions. Unfortunately for Euro Warm Up race winner Elliot Harper he is in probably the most dreaded position, P11.
Top 10 after Round 4 (2 of 5 counting)
1. Ronald Volker (DE) [Hot Bodies] – 2pts
2. Vikor Wilck (SE) [Tamiya] – 3pts
3. Marc Rheinard (DE) [Tamiya] – 4pts
4. Andy Moore (GB) [Hot Bodies] – 6pts
5. Jilles Groskamp (NL) [Tamiya] – 7pts
6. Marc Fischer (DE) [Corally] – 8pts
7. Alexander Hagberg (SE) [Xray] – 11pts
8. Teemo Leino (FI) [Xray] – 11pts
9. Steven Weiss (DE) [Xray] – 13pts
10. Hupo Honigl (AT) [Tamiya] – 15pts
Reigning European Champion Ronald Volker has ensured himself a front row start for the A Mains here tomorrow in Vila Real after topping the time sheets for a second time in qualifying. The Hot Bodies/LRP driver won the opening heat of Day 3 of the Championships with the fastest run we have seen yet and with the best two of the five heats to count the German will at worst start from No. 2 on grid. The only thing that can rob him of the pole is if Viktor Wilck can produce another win in a faster time than the current best of 17 laps in 05:04.574 or one of his rivals should dominant the final two qualifiers.
Volker said the run felt like there was more traction but that his Cyclone TC was a little loose on throttle. He suspects this might be related to his diff which he will now check but other than that he will leave the car the same for the penultimate qualifier.
Second for the round was fellow countryman Marc Rheinard. The Tamiya driver says his TRF416 is still not perfect but that a switch a lightweight bodyshell was an improvement. With a second and a third to his credit the former World Champion currently sits third in the qualification rankings just behind team-mate Wilck.
Jilles Groskamp described the pace here in Spain as very close after finishing third fastest despite a costly slide on lap 9. The Dutch ace is assure of a place in the A Final and so will use the remaining two heats to test for Sunday’s finals. Groskamp will try a new rear shock tower, which was brought over by Tamiya Senior Designer Kiyo Suzuki, and with more holes this allows finer adjustment to the rear shock position. He also plans to raise the front camber link to increase mid corner steering.
Fastest Xray in Heat 3 Alexander Hagberg is a lot happier with his T2 008 after trying the same set-up as Warm Up race winner Elliot Harper. The 18-year-old Swede described the car as very good and feels now he has the pace to make the A Main. Just behind Hagberg, also driving an Xray, was last year’s Top Qualifier Steven Weiss. Switching to harder rear springs the German said his T2 008 was better and plans to change shock oil for his next outing. Andy Moore, who recorded the new fastest lap with a 17.522, completed the Top 6.
Englishman Olly Jefferies enjoyed his best run so far with the seventh fastest time followed by Kyosho’s top challenger Steen Graversen, who was just 3/100th off Jefferies time, Hupo Honigl and Marc Fisher who had a differential problem.
He came close in Round 1 but with the demise of the first round Top Qualifier, Ronald Volker, Tamiya hotshot Viktor Wilck won the second qualifier from Andy Moore. Wilck made the most of the cooler track conditions to knock over 2 seconds off the fastest time set by Volker in Round 1 but it was a close run thing. While the Swede was much happier with the handling of his TRF416 he struggled with run time as his cars power dropped off 2 laps from the end. Running a new prototype motor, which he and team-mate Jilles Groskamp have found to give a better power delivery, Wilck may revert to the current production Speed Passion unit to try give him that little bit extra time at the end.
Moore, who finished just over half a second off Wilck to record his best run, said his car was OK but was still suffering from the same issues as the first round. The World Champion believes if they can cure this then they are good to go. Changes to his Hot Bodies chassis had made no difference to his car but a new Team Orion motor had given him more power and better run time.
Thanks to the sterling efforts of Kiyo Suzuki, who basically rebuilt a new car for their star German driver between qualifying heats, Marc Rheinard was much more upbeat about his pace, commenting afterwards, ‘Much better. Now we can start working on fine tuning the car’.
Fourth place was Teemu Leino who looks to have improved his Xray but biggest surprise came from fifth fastest man Elliot Harper. Running in Group 13, the Euros Warm Up race winner drove a great heat having reverted to a set-up very similar to that which he used when he took his Xray to victory back in June. The emerging talent from the UK said the car was really consistent and was now able to carry a lot more corner speed.
Marc Fisher rounded out the Top 6 for the second qualifier and now sits fourth in the Qualification Rankings behind Wilck, Moore and Rheinard. Unfortunately for Volker, the fastest man in Round 1 & the current Champion, he did not even manage a lap in Round 2 after the front belt stripped on his LRP powered Hot Bodies Cyclone TC.
With three more qualifiers awaiting the drivers tomorrow and with just two scores to count things are wide open here in Spain.
He’s the defending champion and he has shown his intentions are to retain his European crown by TQ’ing the first qualifier for the 2008 Championships. Ronald Volker’s Hot Bodies stopped the clocks at 17 laps in 05:08.819 to top the round by a little over 6/10th from Pre Worlds race win Vicktor Wilck.
Volker said his run was pretty trouble free although he did struggle with seeing his car on occasions due to the strong glare from the midday sun. The German said the car was perfect and he will leave the set-up the same for the second of today’s qualifiers. Wilck on the other hand wont be leaving his Tamiya the same. The Swede wasn’t so happy as he started to struggling with traction from the middle part of the run and also rekons a small mistake on lap 7 cost him a TQ time.
Marc Fisher, who is running a group earlier than the top heat, took his factory Corally RDX Phi to third in the opening round. The hotter track conditions are perfect for his car with the German saying the car unlike everyone else works better in the hotter track conditions than when its cooler. Pleased with his run he said his car did start to push a little at the end of the 5 minutes but that it was not a major issue.
Dutchman Jilles Groskamp was next up with the fourth fastest time and was very happy as he closed the gap between him and the pace setters. Running a narrower trackwidth on his TRF416 he said the car felt better with more steering and while it was a bit twitchy at the start he had better lap times at the end of the run.
Marc Rheinard made it three Tamiyas in the top six with 5th but the German is complaining of his car being way to loose. With a chassis change not permitted once qualification starts Kiyo Suzuki, who is over from the Tamiya factory, will rebuild all the parts from Marc second car onto the designated chassis in an attempt to get a more stable car.
In terms of lap times current World Champion Andy Moore was quickest producing a best lap of 17.567 but the Englishman suffered badly with push from around half way through the heat. Moore thinks the problem might be in his driving as he may have drove a little too hard early on.
Posting the seventh fastest time Teemu Leino was again unhappy with the set-up on his Xray complaining of push. Rounding out the top 10 Alexander Hagberg was eight ahead of leading Kyosho runner Steen Graversen and last year’s EC Top Qualifier Steven Weiss.
Top 10 after Round 1 (2 of 5 counting)
1. Ronald Volker – 17 Laps in 05:08.819
2. Vikor Wilck – 17 Laps in 05:09.462
3. Marc Fischer – 17 Laps in 05:10.076
4. Jilles Groskamp – 17 Laps in 05:10.606
5. Marc Rheinard – 17 Laps in 05:10.886
6. Andy Moore – 17 Laps in 05:11.048
7. Teemo Leino – 17 Laps in 05:11.952
8. Alexander Hagberg – 17 Laps in 05:12.846
9. Steen Gravesen – 17 Laps in 05:12.875
10.Steven Weiss – 17 Laps in 05:13.630
More new items from Japanese company Xenon, who are present here in Vila Real to support their customers and first up is an exclusive look at their new touring car rubber tire. Called the Max, it is designed to be used as a control tire with the rubber having similar characteristics to the Sorex tire that is currently in use at this weeks Euros. Aiming to be considerably cheaper to purchase than other similar products, the tire has been finalised and is in production, however the insert together with the wheel are still in the final testing stages. Also new from Xenon are some new greases, the first of which is used together with silicone o-rings, such as those used in the cars shock absorbers, while the other grease we were shown is to be used together with driveshafts.