Alexander Hagberg is looking good for TQ honours in the Modified class here in Odense after the factory Xray driver set the fastest time of the day in the penultimate qualifier for the 2009 DHI Cup. Running in the top heat, Hagberg topped the time sheets for the second time and only Marc Rheinard can now deny him the pole.
Rheinard had been on for an impressive 22 lap run but made two mistakes allowing Hagberg to take control and record the fastest time so far with 21 laps in 302.61. Eventually Rheinard stopped the clock with the second fastest time for the round despite a late rear diff failure on his Tamiya.
Hagberg admits that Rheinard is slightly faster but says he is more consistent and hopes he can work this to his advantage against the German. Rheinard is going to go for the TQ in the fifth and final qualifier but would almost prefer to start from the second spot – a case of being the hunter rather than being the prey.
Defending Champion Vicktor Wilck finally started to show the pace that took him to the title last year. Sporting a bandaged left hand following a snowboarding accident in Austria last week, Wilck has only been able to race here in Denmark after calling on the assistance of his boss, Lars Nordin of Swedish r/c distributor Phoenix Racing. Nordin has been doing all the work on the Speed Passion powered Tamiya TRF416 and Wilck is enjoying the experience. The Swede was surprised by his time as the car didn’t feel good and wants to grip roll. For the final qualifier he will try the same set-up as team-mate Rheinard.
Fourth fastest time brought the TQ challenge of Teemu Leino, winner of the second qualifier, to an end but the Finn is going to be a strong challenger for the overall victory in tomorrow’s finals. Jilles Groskamp and Marc Fischer completed the Top 6.
The Kyosho team enjoyed its best round with Steen Graversen, who was on the podium in 2008, equalling his earlier seventh. His Japanese team-mate Shin Adachi, the man responsible for much of the development on the Stallion, finally broke into the Top 10 with the ninth quickest time. Dutch National Champion Bart Wubben rounded out the Top 10 with his Xray.
Tommy Bergfeldt continues his domination of Pro Stock but in a slower time. Having sown up the TQ honours by topping the opening three qualifiers, the Swede tried a more aggressive driving style in Round 4 but found this brought on oversteer in his Cyclone TC. Fellow Scandinavian Henry Salmen, who is running in a slower heat was second fastest, continuing to impress with his Tamiya. The former Finnish Pro Stock Champion put the fast time down to pushing harder but with a number of cars in his heat running up to three laps off his pace he feels it will be hard to top Bergfeldt’s FTD time in the last qualifier.
Matthias Lang completed the Pro Stock Top 3 for Round 4 but the German said his Xray is tricky to drive and right on the limit. Together with the rest of his SMI Motorsport team-mates, who are struggling with corner speed, he will test a completely new set-up in the last of today’s runs.
It is all to play for here at the Speed Passion supported DHI Cup as World Champion Marc Rheinard became the third different driver in as many rounds of qualifying to top the time sheets. A switch to a light weight body and heavier shock oil on his Tamiya TRF416 have transformed the German’s performance which up to now was far from what we have come to expect from the reigning World & European Touring Car title holder. Recording 21 laps in 303.10, Rheinard was a massive three seconds clear of the next fastest man, team-mate Jilles Groskamp who was just 5/100th ahead of Round 2 pace setter Teemu Leino.
Rheinard described his Tamiya as ‘way better’ following the changes which have made the car much easier to drive. Putting much of the improvement down to the lighter body, the 2006 DHI Cup winner will make some small changes for the penultimate qualifier to fine tune the new set-up.
Making it a Tamiya 1-2 for the round Groskamp put his strong performance down to fresh tyre additive that he borrowed from early Tamiya pace setter Jonas Kaerup. The ETS Champion said his car felt much better and that it must be down to Jonas’ bottle of additive being fresher as they both use the same brand. With three solid results in the bag the Dutch ace will use the final two qualifiers to test a number of changes including the same shock oil as Rheinard.
Xray filled the next two places with Leino and Alexander Hagberg third and fourth respectively. Leino swapped times with Groskamp throughout their heat and lost out to his former team-mate on the last lap. A mistake on the opening lap cost Hagberg any change of his second maximum score. The Swede is going to make some small changes to try and improve corner speed but is otherwise happy with his car. The third member of the factory Xray squad Martin Hudy managed his best result so far with 10th fastest. The Slovak driver dumped in the first heat and made a mistake in the second but is starting to get better performance from his T2 009. Hudy said he is unable to copy the set-up of his team-mates as they both have very unique driving styles in particular Leino.
Marc Fisher had another solid run as the top Corally representative setting the fifth fastest time followed by 17-year-old Christer Andersson. The young Finn described his Associated TC5 as ‘Just perfect’ but after a troubled first heat he is now targeting a safe fourth run in an attempt to secure him a place on the grid for the A-Main.
Germany’s Freddy Sudhoff was disappointed with seventh feeling its not a true reflection of his pace. Behind him Kyosho’s Steen Graversen and emerging German talent Yannic Pruemper shared the 8th fastest time, the 15-year-old protege of Toni Rheinard finally got a clean run together.
Elsewhere defending champion Vicktor Wilck had another poor run managing only the 11th fastest time while Hot Bodies factory driver Andy Moore found himself in unfamiliar territory with the 22nd fastest time. The former World Champion is able to record quick laps times with the Cyclone TC but says the hard part is stringing them all together.
Tommy Bergfeldt will start on pole for the Pro Stock A-Mains of the 2009 DHI Cup here in Odense, Denmark, tomorrow after topping the third round of qualifying to record the perfect score. The Swede was once again the class of the 108 strong international field and shaved over three seconds of his previous best time. The Red Bull supported driver is delighted to guarantee that his Hot Bodies Cyclone TC will carry the No.1 in the three legs of tomorrow’s final. With the job done in terms of qualifying he plans to use the final two runs today to find the limits of the car by taking a more aggressive approach and pushing much harder.
Behind Bergfeldt it was an army of SMI Motorsport drivers, this time Christoph Thiele who dominated qualifying here last year mounting the closest challenge. A complete change of set-up on his Xray T2 009 allowed him to record his first 20 lap run and German is clearly much more upbeat having being a distant fourth in the opening two heats. Behind Thiele it was Bastian Hennig, Matthias Lang and Thomas Mirke who all improved on their earlier times. Completing the Top 6 after a clean run was Finland’s Henry Salmen at the controls of a Tamiya TRF416.
He was the Top Qualifier here in Denmark last year and after the second round of qualifying for the 2009 DHI Cup Teemu Leino is now the fastest man after just pipping team-mate & Round 1 pace setter Alexander Hagberg by 1/100th of a second. The flying Finn clocked up 21 laps in 307.20 after putting in a clean run. Leino said his car is good but getting a clean run is very difficult due to the inconsistency of the track surface, something which all the drivers are having to battle with here this weekend. ‘Yesterday I made too many mistakes but this was a clean run. Its very hard to not make mistakes as the track surface makes it very hard to predict what the car is going to do in the corners.’ The factory Xray driver will make an adjustment to his speedo after reporting run time as being right on the limit.
Team-mate Hagberg admitted to making too many small mistakes in his run. The Swede said the car is becoming too easy to drive now and so he will make some changes to the steering. Running LRP electrics, the changes to the speedo setting after yesterday’s TQ run have resulted in the perfect battery run time.
Former European Champion Jonas Kaerup continues his strong run although the Tamiya driver could have been fastest if he not rolled early on after catching a corner dot. The local hero is very happy with the set-up of his TRF416 which the Tamiya Factory Team line-up of Jilles Groskamp, Marc Rheinard and defending Champion Viktor Wilck are planning to run for the third qualifier. ETS Champion Groskamp was fourth fastest ahead of World Champion Rheinard with both drivers reporting their Speed Passion powered TRF416s sliding around a lot resulting in too many driving errors.
Marc Fisher completed the Top 6 for the round. The Corally factory driver increased the amount of time he left additive on the front tyres of his new RDX Phi 2 but made the car harder to drive at the beginning of the 5 minute run. Later in the heat the car was working well so the German will revert back to the original 5 minute application of tyre additive.
Heading the Kyosho challenge was Danish National Champion Steen Graversen. The factory driver described the run to the seventh fastest time as medium and feels he isn’t getting the most from his tyres. Behind him it was the leading Hot Bodies driven by 2007 DHI Champion Ronald Volker who set an identical time to young Christer Andersson who was the top Associated. Defending Champion Viktor Wilck rounded out the Top 10 after a troubled run.
Having won the opening qualifier yesterday Tommy Bergfeldt continues to set the pace on Day 2 of the 2009 DHI Cup putting his Red Bull Hot Bodies again at the top of the Pro Stock time sheets. Running the same set-up as yesterday, Bergfeldt appears to have found the perfect balance reporting his car as extremely easy to drive & fast and the times show this as he managed to knock 2 seconds off his first heat time.
Once again the closest challenger to the pace setter was Germany’s Bastian Hennig. The SMI Motorsport driver was not so happy with his run, failing to improve his time he feels he should be able to mount a stronger challenge in the third round which if Bergfeldt can win will secure him TQ honours for tomorrow’s all important A Main final. Former DHI Champion Hennig ran different foam inserts in the shocks of his Xray T2 009 to reduce chassis roll but felt traction was down compared with yesterday and this made the car a little difficult to drive. With traction expected to improve for the second of today’s four runs he is confident the shock changes will come good.
Having not featured in the first qualifier after forgetting to connect his sensor wire, Thomas Mirke put in a great run this morning to set the third fastest time for the round recording 20 laps in 315.38. A member of the large & powerful SMI Motorsport team, the German will again run the same set-up in the third round as he seeks another strong points finish but for the last two qualifiers he plans to try similar set-ups to his team-mate Hennig. Last year’s Top Qualifier Christoph Thiele was again fourth with Dane Carsten Madsen and German Tony Streit rounding off the Top 6.