Bruno Coelho mastered difficult track conditions on Day 2 of the Electric Touring Car World Championships in Beijing this morning to top the first round of controlled practice. Having topped yesterday’s six rounds of free practice, the Xray driver again was fastest but with wind effecting track conditions it was not a repeat of the 1-2 the Slovakian manufacturer witnessed on the opening Day. With Hagberg managing only P10, pulling up with a minute to go as he clearly struggled with his car, there was a marked improvement from reigning manufacturer champions Yokomo. Only p5 in free practice, Ronald Volker would set the second fastest time, albeit 7/10ths off Coelho over the best 3-consecutive laps, with team-mate Loic Jasmin completing the Top 3.
Almost 2 and half seconds slower than his free practice time Coelho said, ‘the track is super slow for everybody today’. Making ‘little changes’ to the set-up on his T4 in anticipation of the low traction he said ‘my car worked very well for the conditions’. While the re application of sugar water this morning with no sun to properly dry it out will have had some effect on the conditions, with a wind warning in place for Beijing today it is this which most drivers feel is the biggest reason for the low traction. Giving his reason for the slower track Coelho said, ‘the wind is bringing dust on to the track and that with it so loose the wind is effecting the car’. He continued, ‘it makes the car very unpredictable’ and looking up to the cloud covered sky he added, ‘I think it will get worse’.
‘A better start to the day for me’ was Volker’s reaction after the first of the 3 controlled practices, the first two determining the seeding of the qualifying heats. He continued, ‘the track is completely different to yesterday because of the wind but we definitely took the right direction when we combined the best set-ups from the two car yesterday onto one today’. In addition to the wind, the German also feels the much lower temperatures are effecting the traction too. Asked about changes to his soon to be released LRP powered BD8 for his next run, he replied ‘the car actually felt quite good but I need to check over the lap times for the whole run to compare the drop off to the others and then discuss with the team’.
Running in heat 13 of 15, French National Champion Jasmin said, ‘it was a good run’. Having struggled with a lack of steering yesterday he said, ‘I found more steering and this is the point everyone is lacking and to get more steering than yesterday when the track is as it is is very positive’. Feeling his BD8 is ‘still a little loose’ he added this was probably a combination of running new tyres and the fact there is ‘for sure less traction’ today. The ETS A-Main regular plans to make changes to his set-up for CP2 to try an improve the traction.
Having been concerned yesterday about how his car would be over 5-minutes, running two cars meaning he never ran more than 2 & a half minutes, Christopher Krapp said ‘now I’m happy about my 5-minute pace’. Posting the 4th fastest 3-consecutive lap time, the Tamiya driver however was less impressed with himself saying, ‘I’m not happy with my driving. I made too many mistakes here and there’. With his super star team-mates Marc Rheinard and reigning World Champion Naoto Matsukura 21st and 24th respectively, Krapp said, ‘For me there is not a huge change (in lap time) maybe 1-second but for others there is 2-seconds of a difference. Luckily I’m OK’. Planning ‘a small diff change’ on his Orion powered 419X, he said he would also ‘try to drive more clean’. Having finished P4 in free practice yesterday right behind Krapp, Rheinard said, ‘I have no idea what is happening. The track is really shit conditions with the wind’. He continued, ‘I don’t know how I can be almost 3-seconds a lap slower today. The car is doing funny stuff and just spins out’.
‘Better again today’, was Viktor Wilck’s reaction to posting the 5th fastest time. Serpent’s lead factory driver, he said, ‘when the grip is low, like yesterday morning, the car is OK, when the grip comes up I’m struggling’. The Swede added, ‘for sure the conditions now are better for our car’. Looking to CP2, he plans to make ‘small set-up changes’ to his Speedpassion powered 4X with running in his second set of tyres also a priority. New for this year’s Worlds is the use of new and used tyre for qualifying. With each round declared as a new or used tyre run, drivers must run new tyres in controlled practice to have used tyres for qualifying and one of the runs is that a driver must complete a minimum 10-laps on the tyres for them to be valid used tyres.
Completing the Top 6 ahead of Australia’s Simon Nicholson, Andy Moore said, ‘it was ok but the track changed like a huge amount’. The Team Infinity driver added, ‘I’m not sure if its the wind or that they sprayed the track again but it’s a bit of disaster really’. Feeling he had better conditions than the top heat and describing his Xray as felling ok the 2006 World Champion concluded, ‘I made the most of what I had’. Behind Moore, Yokomo’s Nicolas Lee and Infinity team-mate Jilles Groskamp filled out the Top 10 ahead of Hagberg.
Remarks – Former World Champion Atsushi Hara is running a privately entered Kyosho here in Beijing. Having run the same car at the ETS final in Slovakia last month he found that when the grip was low there just wasn’t enough mechanical grip so after a lot of testing in Thailand, Kyosho have produced new parts for the car to address these issues. There is a new two piece motor mount and chassis plate with the aim to give more mounting points which allow the car’s flex to be adjusted and moved further to the rear. The top deck is also new with the motor now 2.5mm closer to the centre line. Hara is back to back testing a rear end with an ARS type system but has settled on using rear arms that are actually shorter than the front arms with a larger offset on the wheel.
Chassis – Schumacher Mi6 Motor – LRP X20 4.5T ESC – LRP FLow Battery – LRP 5600mAh LCG P5 Tires (handout) – Sweep Radio/Servo – Sanwa Body – Protoform LTC-R
Remarks – British National Champion Elliott Harper is using the Mi6 from Schumacher, arriving in Fengtai with a setup based on that used to make the main at ETS Rd6. Expecting lower traction they have made changes to the car’s shock package and changed the flex in an effort to get a car suitable for the conditions. Still lacking overall bite they will play with roll centres and droop to lock the car into the track.
Day 1 of the Electric Touring Car World Championships is complete in Beijing with Xray having controlled proceedings. Opening the day at the Fengtai R/C Model Area asphalt track at the top of the time sheets, after 6 rounds of free practice it was still an Xray 1,2 with Bruno Coelho fastest from Alexander Hagberg. While the pair would fail to improve on their 3-fastest lap time from FP4, Coelho would still top the times sheets for the final practice ahead of Tamiya’s Chrishopher Krapp. Krapp’s FP6 time would see him the best of the rest as he turned around his performance over the day to finish P3 ahead of TRF team-mate Marc Rheinard although the gap was substantial at over half a second. Unfortunately for defending champion Naoto Matsukura he couldn’t replicate the turn around of his team-mates ending up on page 2 of the time sheets with the 39th fastest time. The Japanese driver said despite making changes to his set-up each run his car ‘still feels the same’.
‘It was a good day today’, was how Coelho summed up Day 1 of what is only his second touring car World Championship. Finishing runner-up on his first attempt in Florida two years ago, the Portuguese driver added, ‘almost all runs we were on top showing we are strong in all conditions’. Describing his Hobbywing powered T4 2017 as ‘good’ he said ‘there is still room to improve’ and they are ‘still working on it’. Running two cars over the 5-minute practice, when asked about 5-minute pace he replied, ‘I think it should be fine. I did 7 laps with each car and at that point the drop off is not so big’.
Only 5th fastest in the final practice, Hagberg was a lot less happier than earlier in the day saying, ‘we seem to be going backwards’. Just under 4/10th of a second of his team-mate’s 3-lap pace, the 2014 Finalist continued, ‘things we tested didn’t work so we go back to our earlier set-up for the morning’.
‘We made a big improvement over the day’ was Krapp’s reaction to his strong finish to the day. The multiple World’s finalist added, ‘we worked good as a team and focused on shock set-up which I think is really important on this track’. On driving the car with the new shock set-up he said, ‘it did not feel so fast but was easy to drive’ and that combination helped him improve his 3-laps by almost 1.2-seconds. The German however added he is ‘still not super happy’ as with running 2-cars he has only run two & a half minutes with each so they don’t know how it is for the full 5-minutes which has him a little concerned.
Rheinard’s reply to how Day 1 went was, ‘we are not so far off now’. He continued, ‘we found the right direction as Krappy showed in the last one and his car is really good now’. Having switched between two cars, chassis thickness the key difference between them, the 3-time Champion said he is ‘still not sure which car to use for the race’. Not a fan of the rule that requires a driver to mark a single chassis for the race, he is still undecided on which car to present to technical inspection adding ‘the difference (between cars) is not so big’.
Only fifth fastest, a low position by his standards, Ronald Volker said the day was spent ‘testing a lot of things’. The Yokomo driver continued, ‘we found positive and negative stuff’ with ‘testing 2 cars a big help in collecting set-ups’. Having to mark one car for tomorrow he said he will discuss with the team the best set-up options and put them onto his race car adding ‘I’m looking forward to improving tomorrow’. Asked about where he thinks he is over the length of a full qualifier he replied ‘its better for 5-minute but I still want to find the .1, .2 were missing over a single lap’.
Completing the Top 6 with his time from FP5, Marc Fischer said ‘In the end the day was quite OK’. The factory Capricorn driver said , ‘its only 3-laps and 5-minutes will be a little different but I hope we are the same pace in qualifying’. With it ‘easy’ to get his three lap pace, the German said the car felt good for the 7 laps he ran before switching car. Having preferred the car fitted with the optional chassis earlier in practice, he said now he prefers the standard car but fitted with the optional bridge top deck. Planning to tech this car, the only other change will be to fit a race body.
Star of this year’s ETS race in Luxembourg, his home track, VBC driver Lucas Urbain would end the day P7. The French driver said, ‘It went better than expected’. Running a new car, having only done a little testing with it in Luxembourg before coming out to Beijing, he said it is ‘way better than the previous car’. Asked about the car he said, ‘is the same as Yannic Prumper used to good effect at the ETS in Trencin’, where he took it to 4th at the season finale last month. Unfortunately due to illness Prumper had to cancel his trip to China. Declaring the car ‘really good on 3-laps’ he added, ‘but thats it as the drop off is too much after 2-minutes’. Feeling its a ‘balance issue’, he said the car starts with a little understeer and gets worse and so tonight they will try to come up with a set-up change that improves it for 5-minutes. Behind Urbain, the Top 10 was completed by three former World Champions with Team Infinity drivers Andy Moore and Jilles Groskamp sandwiching the Kyosho of Atsushi Hara.
Chassis – Tamiya TRF419X Motor – Muchmore Fleta ZX 4.5T ESC – Muchmore Fleta Pro Battery – Muchmore 6000mAh Tires (handout) – Sweep Radio/Servo – Sanwa/Xpert Body – Protoform LTC-R
Remarks – 3-time touring car World Champion Marc Rheinard is using the latest TRF419X from Tamiya starting with the setup from mechanic Takayuki Kono. This didn’t work as expected due to different traction levels so they have reverted back to a mic of ETS and Euros setup which sees the front spool and rear diffs 1.3mm higher for more roll and bite as well as 0.5mm high roll centres. With the traction coming up and needing more steering they have also changed from 3 degrees rear toe-in to 2.5 degrees.
Chassis – Capricorn TE03 Evo Motor – Trion 4.5T ESC – Trion Trico Pro V2 Battery – Gens Ace 6500mAh Tires (handout) – Sweep Radio/Servo – Sanwa/Savox Body – Protoform LTC-R
Remarks – German Marc Fischer is sitting in the top 6 after free practice with the TE03 Evo, the same car he ran in Luxembourg for ETS Rd5. Using the practice to back to back between two cars, he decided for the version with the Italian company’s unique centre bridge. This car was more safe and while it understeered slightly it means it will be safe for 5 minutes. Looking to get just a little more steering he may change to a harder rear diff oil and shock package.