Marc Rheinard has won the European Touring Car Championship for the second time in one day!! Having won the second leg of the A Mains the German looked to have wrapped up his first ever Touring Car Euros title only for his cells to fail post race scrutiny. Excluded from the results of Leg 2 this meant the title would have to be decided in the final Leg and shadowing Top Qualifier Ronald Volker throughout the race, Rheinard put in a calculated drive to take second and reinstate himself as the 2008 Champion.
With Leg 1 victory to his credit, Rheinard knew he only needed to finish in a podium placing and ahead of his team-mate Viktor Wilck, who inherited the Leg 2 victory, to clinch his second European title having won the 1:12 Euros earlier this year. Glued to the bumper of Volker, the Tamiya ace appeared to have slightly better pace than the defending champion. Passing him on the back straight on lap 14 Rheinard very briefly led only to out brake himself into the hairpin. A slight mistake on the next lap as they came onto the straight was enough to give Volker the breathing space he needed to claim a deserved victory.
‘I knew second place was OK and because of this I drove a sensible race. My car was very quick especially down the back straight. I’m delighted to win my first Touring Car Euros and really pleased for Tamiya who finished 1-2 especially as Kiyo (Suzuki) was here supporting us all week.’
Race winner Volker was happy to finally get a good run in the finals. Pleased with his car which remained unchanged from Leg 1 & 2 other than a new set of tyres, the Hot Bodies/LRP drivers suspects bad tyres were the cause of his earlier handling problems. The result was enough to give 2007 Champion the final place on the overall podium.
Viktor Wilck fought back from an early clash with Teemu Leino to finish third, which combined with his Leg 2 victory secured him Vice Champion honours and an impressive 1-2 result for Tamiya’s TRF416.
At one stage it looked as though the Japanese marque would dominate the podium as Jilles Groskamp held third in the final Leg but the Dutch ace was to come to a hault on lap 9 when his pinion came off. Although disappointed for himself as the non finish dropped him to seventh in the final ranking, Groskamp was happy for his team-mates and Tamiya on taking the top two positions.
Missing out on the podium Andy Moore had yet another troubled run finishing in eight but his results from the opening two legs were good enough to give him fourth ahead of Leino, Alexander Hagberg, Groskamp and Weiss who all finished up with 9 points.
Finishing 9th overall, promising young UK driver Elliot Harper should be very proud to come away with the European Junior title. The Xray driver did well against his more experienced rivals and is sure be a leading force in future Euros. Marc Fisher, whose Corally made it four different manufactuers in the A Main, completed the ranking that will now go into the EFRA history books as the 10 best drivers in Europe for the 2008 season.
Red RC would like to thank all the race officials and the Nitro 15 club for making us feel so welcome during our time here in Vila Real. We would also like to thank our sponsors LRP and Speed Passion for supporting our live race coverage.
Final results (Official)
1. Marc Rheinard (DE) – 3pts [Tamiya]
2. Vikor Wilck (SE) – 4pts [Tamiya]
3. Ronald Volker (DE) – 5pts [Hot Bodies]
4. Andy Moore (GB) – 7pts [Hot Bodies]
5. Teemo Leino (FI) – 9pts [Xray]
6. Alexander Hagberg (SE) – 9pts [Xray]
7. Jilles Groskamp (NL) – 9pts [Tamiya]
8. Steven Weiss (DE) – 9pts [Xray]
9. Elliott Harper (GB) – 11pts [Xray]
10. Marc Fischer (DE) – 16pts [Corally]
Action from Leg 2 of the A Mains at the 2008 EFRA Touring Car European Championships at the Nitro 15 track in Vila Real, Spain. The result of this final looked to have secured a first Euro Touring title for Marc Rheinard but afterwards the German driver’s cells failed scrutiny pushing the title battle to go to the wire in Leg 3.
Breaking news here from Vila Real is that Marc Rheinard has been excluded from his victory in A Main Leg 2 after his cells failed post race scrutiny. The cells failed to meet the maximum permitted length as laid down by the sports governing body EFRA. The exclusion hands the win to Sweden’s Viktor Wilck and means the European title is still wide open with anyone of seven drivers still able to win the title.
Revised Leg 2 results
1. Viktor Wilck (SE) 17 05:03.051
2. Andy Moore (GB) 17 05:04.790
3. Jilles Groskamp (NL) 17 05:05.966
4. Ronald Volker (DE) 17 05:06.553
5. Steven Weiss (DE) 17 05:07.854
6. Elliott Harper (GB) 17 05:08.354
7. Alexander Hagberg (SE) 17 05:09.051
8. Marc Fischer (DE) 17 05:11.480
9. Teemo Leino (FI) 16 04:46.269
10. Marc Rheinard (DE) DQ
Marc Rheinard is the new European Electric Touring Champion after backing up his Leg 1 victory with another win in Leg 2. The German won the race after Top Qualifier Ronald Volker rolled out of the lead allowing the former World Champion to claim his first every European Touring car title which he adds to the 1:12 European title he won earlier this year.
UPDATE: Rheinard has been excluded from the results. See news item above.
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.