A-Main drivers have completed their practice finals and both encounters saw a lot of bumping. In Pro Stock Tommy Bergfeldt is clearly the man to beat as just left the pack trailing but on lap times Thomas Mirke was able to match the pace of the Swede.
In the Modified A-main practice, Jilles Groskamp was registered as taking first position but the pace setter was defending Champion Viktor Wilck. The Swede’s Tamiya looked really good allowing him to record the fastest lap with a 14.11 before pulling up early while holding the lead. Wilck was 1/10th faster than fellow countryman & Top Qualifier Alexander Hagberg. Hagberg had an unfortunate incident this morning when someone accidentally spilt hot coffee on his arm resulting in rather nasty burns. The Xray driver has taken pain killers but thinks he should be OK for the real finals. The majority of drivers used the practice final to scrub in new tyres.
In the quality B Final pole sitter Ronald Volker got collected at the start and found himself last at the end of the opening lap. This allowed Andy Moore, Freddy Sudhoff and Martin Hudy to battle it out for the lead. Three lead changes later and it was Slovak Hudy who took the win from Sudhoff, Moore and the recovering Volker.
First A-Main for Pro Stock is scheduled for 13:00 with Leg 1 for Modified out at 13:45.
Your first big international race TQ is always going to be something special but when you fend off the might of a double World Champion the occassion is even greater. For Sweden’s Alexander Hagberg the DHI Cup marks such an achievement as he topped the final round of heats to secure the Top Qualifier’s spot on the grid for tomorrow’s 9th edition of the famous Danish race.
Going into the last qualifier only reigning World & European Champion Marc Rheinard could deny Hagberg the No.1 starting spot but the Swede rose to the occassion to top the round by over a second from defending DHI Cup Champion Vicktor Wilck. Hagberg said, ‘I’m very happy to take the TQ. I pushed really hard because I expected a strong challenge from Marc (Rheinard) but he wasn’t fast. My car was perfect and I am going to leave the set-up the same for tomorrow.’
Rheinard could only manage fifth for the round and attributes the poor handling of his car down to his tyres going off having run the same set all day. Lining up second on the grid the Tamiya Racing Factory team leader said, ‘My car was sliding around a lot which is down to the tyres being finished, I hope. Second on the grid is fine and I think it will be a very close race tomorrow between Alex, me, Teemu and Jilles.’
Lining up on the second row of the grid will be last year’s Top Qualifier Teemu Leino and 2002 Champion Jilles Groskamp. Leino was denied the victory last year by Wilck who started second but should be able to mount a serious challenge from third. Groskamp, who suffered traction roll in the last qualifier, cannot be ruled out either.
For defending Champion Wilck it is going to be a tough job to retain his title from fifth, a feat that has only been achieved by Atsushi Hara who did so in 2006. The Tamiya driver fitted a new rear diff for the last run & copied Rheinard’s set-up and was much happier with his TRF416 now so he cant be totally ruled out.
Sixth on the grid will be the Corally of Marc Fisher. The German switched to Corally additive for the last round which transformed his new RDX Phi 2 but a mistake on the last lap meant he took 6th for the round when a Top 3 was on the cards. Jonas Kaerup takes the honour of being the leading local on the grid putting his Tamiya seventh on the grid.
The drive of the final qualifier came from up & coming talent Yannic Pruemper who is sure to be a name we will be hearing a lot more of in the future. The 15-year-old German set the third fastest time at the controls of his Tamiya to secure 8th spot in the A-Main, much to the delight of his mentor Toni Rheinard.
Completing the grid and bringing the total number of manufacturers to be represented in the final to five are Kyosho’s Steen Graversen and Team Associated’s Christer Andersson. There will be no Hot Bodies in the final with 2006 Champion Ronald Volker just missing out to take unenviable BQ. A-Main drivers will get a practice final in the morning before its down to the serious business of racing over three legs with the best two to count.
Final Modified Standings
1. Alexander Hagberg (Xray/LRP) – 465pts
2. Marc Rheinard (Tamiya/Speedpassion) – 459pts
3. Teemu Leino (Xray/Team Orion)- 458pts
4. Jilles Groskamp (Tamiya/Speedpassion)- 456pts
5. Viktor Wilck (Tamiya/Speedpassion) – 453pts
6. Marc Fischer (Corally/GM) – 449pts
7. Jonas Kaerup (Tamiya/GM) – 448pts
8. Yannic Prumper (Tamiya/Speedpassion) – 446pts
9. Steen Graversen (Kyosho/Team Orion) – 444pts
10. Christer Andersson (Associated/LRP) – 443pts
Henry Salmen has laid down his intentions for the Pro Stock A-Mains by taking the final qualifier. The Finn recorded a time of 20 lap in 308.91 to TQ the round from Matthias Lang and will carry the No.3 on his Tamiya in tomorrow’s all important finals. Salmen has been improving with each outing here in Denmark and pushed harder last time round allowing him to record his best run and the second fastest time of the entire qualifying.
Setting the second fastest time Lang will line up on the No.2 spot of the A final grid behind the dominant Tommy Bergfeldt who sacrificed the final heat to scrub in new tyres for the Finals. Having run his spare Xray in the last run Lang was pleased with the feeling of the car and is pleased to be lining up second referring to last year’s winner Jimmy Maddison who held the same starting position and beat Top Qualifier Christoph Thiele. Thiele will carry No.5 in this years final.
The only previous DHI Cup winner to line up on this year’s grid will be Bastian Hennig who took the title back in 2007 when he too beat the Top Qualifier.
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.