Ronald Volker is the leader at the end of the first day of racing at the Reedy Race of Champions, the Yokomo driver holding a single point lead thanks to an important victory in an exciting final race of the day ahead of reigning champion Marc Rheinard. Starting on pole for what was a heavily stacked race, Volker would get beaten into the first corner by the Xray of Jan Rathiesky who stayed out front for the first half of the race. All the time the pack was bunching up behind the German with Volker, Rheinard, Akio Sobue and Jilles Groskamp in the five car train. Volker would be the first to get by with a great move in the left side chicane. It would take 2-laps more for Rheinard to find a way through by but with the two main title contenders evenly matched Volker could maintain the gap joining Rheinard as the only multi winner of the day. In Race 2 of the fourth round, hotly tipped Christopher Krapp got his first win which together with his Top 3 finishes in his previous three races leaves the Yokomo driver 3rd in the points. Starting on pole in Race 1, Nicholas Lee would hold off a challenge from Viktor Wilck, the Serpent driver holding 4th in the standings going to the Day 2 racing action ahead of Sobue and Groskamp.
‘It was a must win race because I was starting first and it was important for stealing points off some tough competition starting behind me’, was how Volker summed up his second win of the day. The World Champion continued, ‘my diff went soft over the day so we went for a harder diff for Race 4 and maybe this was what caused the bad start. I lost my inside position on the start to Jan and then at the third corner lost more positions. I wasn’t happy with that’. He continued, ‘there was a 5-car train I was was in the middle of it so I tried to avoid any contact. I was able to go directly behind Jan and put a lot of pressure on him and made a good pass in him in the chicane. Marc and myself had the same pace so I could keep the gap’. A 3-time Reedy Race Champion, he concluded, ‘It has been a very satisfying first day. My goal was to make Top 2 runs every round and it worked out well’.
Commenting on what was the most entertaining race of the day’s 12 races, Rheinard said, ‘2nd is not bad, it was a really good race to watch I guess’. The Infinity driver continued, ‘there was a problem in the hairpin and I got hit and I got loose so 2nd from this heat is for sure good’. Summing up the day he said, ‘I messed up my second race myself but it was a decent first day given the high level here.’
A former podium finisher at the legendary race at the iconic Tamiya Raceway, Krapp was happy to end his day with a win. The personable Team Yokomo driver said, ‘The race started out well, I got the holeshot and then controlled the race. The day was pretty decent with all Top 3 runs in my races’. He continued, ‘I struggled a little in the hot conditions but the car was handling better in the last one so I am happy for the next days.’
Having taken a win in the opening round of racing at the Reedy Race of Champions Marc Rheinard has become the first repeat winner as he held off Christopher Krapp in Race 2 of the third round. Starting from the outside of the front row, the Infinity driver got the jump and broke clear quickly but once Krapp found a way passed pole sitter Randy Caster, he quickly reeled in his fellow countryman. In the end however Krapp got caught at the loop allowing Rheinard to take a victory lap with JJ Wang finishing a close third. Following Rheinard’s win all the attention was on what Ronald Volker could do in Race 3. Starting from pole position Reinard’s team-mate Jilles Groskamp would become the day’s 8th different winner keeping Volker in second which leaves the duo even on points at the top of the standing – Rheinard having 2 wins and a 3rd compared with a win and 2 second places for Volker. In the opening race of the round Ryan Cavalieri came through from 3rd to post his first win followed by pole sitter Barry Baker who had a good battle holding off Jan Ratheisky.
‘I was on the limit’, was Rheinard’s reaction after win No.2. The reigning 6-time Reedy Champion added, ‘It was a tough one but the result was perfect, every point is important’. Explaining why it was such a tough race, the German said, ‘I had to fight with the car. I had a lot of understeer. I made a good start and with Randy behind me it took a while till Krappi went by and that’s what allowed me win’.
Summing up his win, Groskamp said, ‘it especially nice when I can keep Ronald behind me. I had good pace and he didn’t come too close. The pace is there and the speed of the car is good so I’m happy’. The former World Champion added, ‘it was windy now and sometimes it caused one of us to go wide. The win is good but better because I beat Ronald, and it was good too for Marc. It’s nice to start the first day with a win especially because my heats today are pretty tough. There is still a lot of racing to go’.
Commenting on his race, Volker said, ‘I got a decent start and was able to get 2nd quickly behind Jilles. It took time to close the gap but then the wind caught me two times in the wrong spot and blew me off line and that ended my race for the win’. Changing cars for Round 3 in anticipation of the sun finally showing itself at Tamiya Raceway, he said the aluminium chassis was pushing and not as good as his first carbon chassis car. He said while conditions were sunnier, the wind negated the benefits the car change should have brought.
Claiming the first win for the American drivers, Cavalieri said his race ‘wasn’t too bad’ but quickly added, ‘we need to make more changes’. Asked where he felt his Associated could be improved, the offroad ace replied, ‘I don’t feel super comfortable. Finally we are racing in the sun but the weather is playing a role in making it hard to make the right decisions with set-up but I hope we can get it right for the next one’.
The second round of racing at the Reedy Race of Champions produced an all new batch of winners with Akio Sobue, JJ Wang and Viktor Wilck registering their first wins of the event.In the first of the 3 encounters, Infinity’s Sobue recovered from a first lap altercation with the Tamiya Raceway’s kink to come from the back to win ahead of Meen Vejrak. Also recovering from an early incident, when he caught the kernbing in the sweeper and rolled, Christopher Krapp completed the Top 3 ahead of pole sitter Keven Hebert.Having failed to start in Round 1, Xray’s JJ Wang would bounce back in the best way possible take the Race 2 win ahead of Jilles Groskamp and Nicolas Lee while pole sitter & offroad ace Ryan Cavalieri had a tough race dropping back to 6th.The main attention however would be on the stacked Race 3 in which both title favourites Marc Rheinard and Ronald Volker lined up against Wilck.Both Wilck and Volker had bad starts while Rheinard got things wrong in the chicane while holding third.This and an incident between Volker and Barry Baker played into the hands of the recovering Wilck he would take the win ahead of Volker, with whom he now shares the points lead together with Sobue.A disappointing race for Rheinard given he started ahead of his title rivals he would have to settle for third.
Commenting on his win, Wilck said, ‘It was a good result but I got lucky with incidents and traffic’.Starting the race 6th on the grid, the Serpent driver continued, ‘I made an ok start but got hit at the first corner and was at the back again but they crash a lot in front of me so it was possible to come back’.Showing good speed in practice and taking second to Rheinard in Round 1, the Swede said his car was ‘ok but needs to be a little faster to fight’.With his best lap time slower than that of both Volker and Rheinard he said, ‘the car is really stable but needs a little more so we will try a different setting in the front for the next one’.
‘That was a competitive round and we came away with valuable points’,was Volker’s reaction after Round 2 of 12.The Yokomo driver said, ‘I made a bad start off the line and was last.The number 7 spot is too far in and it’s dirty but I started to get positions back.When I passed Randy (Caster) he accidentally ht me and spun me so I was at the back again.Later I had an incident with Barry (Baker) and got very emotional but we cleared everything after’.He continued, ‘Marc and me then ran toe to toe trying to reduce the gap to Viktor but we didn’t have enough time to put pressure on him’.Getting by Rheinard when he went wide in the middle of the race, he concluded, ‘the car was on pace and 2-points is a good result’.
Rheinard summed up his race as ‘a bad result’ adding ‘it was my own fault’.The defending champion continued, ‘ it started ok but I had one stupid mistake at the chicane and went onto the green while I was second.Then the tyres were dirty and I had no grip Viktor dived down my inside.Then I hit someone and Ronald went by so not a great race for me’.
‘Not perfect because we were in a rush to make the start but it was a good comeback’, was Wang’s reaction to his win.Suffering an unknown electrical issue that meant he couldn’t start Round 1, the Chinese American said, ‘we changed everything possible and because it was a rush the car didn’t feel perfect but after our bad start I’m glad that things worked out that round’.Looking to Round 3 he said, ‘I will look through things (on the car) and take my time so we do things right’.
Commenting on his race, Sobue said, ‘I had to comeback because I jumped the kink on the first lap but luckily everyone made mistakes or crashed.I made back the positions but didn’t make so many overtakes’.With the fastest car in his race, the Japanese driver said, ‘the car is good but the next one I start 8th so it will be a difficult race but I hope to move up some places’.