‘I have been second so many times, finally I am first’, was how your new European Electric Touring Car Champion Jilles Groskamp summed up his victory here in Luxembourg. Having been a Top Qualifier on two previous occasions at the EFRA Championships, the factory Tamiya/Speedpassion driver made it third time lucky, converting his pole position into victory with wins in Leg 2 & 3. Starting the third leg, with four drivers still in contention for the 2009 title, the Dutch ace lead from start to finish but said another bad set of tyres had made his car loose. Still managing to set the fastest lap of the race, Groskamp believes he would have had his work cut out if outgoing champion Marc Rheinard and 2007 Champion Ronald Volker had not controversially come together on lap 6.
One of the hardest working drivers in the sport, Groskamp’s win was a very popular one and just after the race he said it was going to be cool to be on the top step of the podium joined by both the World and Vice World Champions. Relocating to Asia next week the win was a nice way for Groskamp to end his time in Europe but he has vowed to return to defend his title in France next year.
Coming to Luxembourg with both the World and European titles to his credit Marc Rheinard was forced to settle for the runners-up spot, not something he is accustomed to. The factory Tamiya/Speedpassion driver won the opening leg of the final and had a very fast car again in the third but a clash with Volker while battling over second earned him a stop go penalty. Accused by some of team driving the German replied by saying, ‘there was no team plan for this race I had the same opportunity to win as the other three and I was out to win for myself.’ The German hit his fellow countryman exiting the Laguna Seca style corner that leads onto the back straight. Waiting for the Team Yokomo driver to regain position, Volker’s LRP powered BD5 ended up on the grass. Rheinard resumed as he was swallowed up by the pack, serving his Stop Go penalty next time round, eventually finishing fourth for the Leg.
One had to feel sorry for Volker, the former Champion was clearly gutted by the incident. Changes to his Yokomo chassis had provided him with the best set-up he had all week and the German felt confident he could make a clean battle to challenge for his second European title. Recovering from the incident to finishing the Leg in second the third step of the podium offers some small consulation for this very unassuming factory driver.
Benefitting from all this was 15-year-old German Yannic Pruemper. Starting from eight on the grid the Tamiya Junior driver was elevated to second following the clash of the title protagonist. Eventually passed by Volker in the dying moments of the leg third place was enough to see Pruemper crowned the new Junior European Champion and finish sixth overall in his first European Championship final. Fourth for the leg was the other of the title contenders Hupo Honigl who ended his touring car career with fourth overall, equalling his previous best at these championships. The Austrian driver was pleased with his performance and is now looking forward to the 1:10 Off Road European Championship in two weeks time where he is confident of claiming a title for both Tamiya and LRP.
Taking fifth overall, the 2009 Championships will be one Viktor Wilck will want to forget. The Swede was super fast, recording the fastest lap of the event, but with the exception of the fourth round of qualifying always ran out of luck. In the third Leg he was all over teammate Groskamp until his Tamiya veered off the track with radio interference.
So after years of coming so close Jilles Groskamp, one of the top electric touring car drivers in the World, returns to the Netherlands this evening with his biggest trophy yet. Heading home with the biggest smile and as the proudest father in Europe right now is his dad Frank who has supported his son since he started out in the sport 16 years ago. A well run event we would like to thank everyone that made use feel so welcome here at the Mini-Circuit “Ville de Luxembourg”. We hope you enjoyed our coverage this week, which was brought to you in association with Team Orion and LRP, and we hope you will join us for our next live event, the 1:8 Onroad World Championships which takes place in Switzerland in two weeks time.
It was third time lucky for Jilles Groskamp as he converted his third European TQ position into overall victory at the 2009 EFRA Electric Touring European Championships to claim his first ever European title with another dominant performance in the third leg of the A-Main here in Luxembourg.
After his dramas in the opening leg Top Qualifier Jilles Groskamp made it look easy in the second to take the win over Ronald Volker. The Tamiya Racing Factory driver lead from start to finish on the dry track with the only challenge coming from his teammate Wilck but that ended when the Swede hit tyre problems. There was a few tense moments for Groskamp after the race when scruntineers found one of the four tyres on his TRF416WE was registered to title rival Volker. Under the rules this would have meant exclusion for the Dutch driver but the Yokomo team came to the rescue and produced all of the tyres registered to their star driver proving Groskamp had done no wrong and the error was down to the incorrect marking of the tyres by officials. Asked about the run Groskamp replied, ‘Tyre worked so car was great.’
Taking second Volker said his car was a little more difficult to drive this time round and it was hard to follow Groskamp and Wilck. The German was handed second when Wilck spun at the end of the straight but the Team Yokomo driver spun himself in the same spot next time round. Luckily for him Wilck who was struggling with his tyres did the same and he was able to keep the position to put himself in contention for the title going into the final leg.
Leg 1 winner and the defending champion here in Luxembourg Marc Rheinard took third for the round. Contact with Losi driver Lucas Urbain at the start meant he couldn’t repeat his blistering Leg 1 start but the German said a new set of tyres had made his car very difficult to drive. One of four drivers left in the hunt for the title, the World Champion said, ‘the Final is going to be a lottery’. Struggling home in fourth ending his hopes of a first European title Wilck’s response to his tyre problem was simple, ‘what can I say’. Austrian Hupo Honigl, the fourth driver in with a chance of the title, finished fifth with Urbain’s Losi completing the Top 6.
Leg 2 results
1. Groskamp Jilles – 17 laps in 5:05.099
2. Völker Ronald – 17 laps in 5:08.014
3. Rheinard Marc – 17 laps in 5:10.870
4. Wilck Viktor – 17 laps in 5:11.193
5. Hönigl Hubert – 17 laps in 5:12.659
6. Urbain Lucas – 17 laps in 5:14.578
7. Graversen Steen – 17 laps in 5:17.418
8. Krapp Christopher – 17 laps in 5:17.610
9. Hagberg Alexander – 12 laps in 3:37.399
10.Prümper Yannic – 11 laps in 3:25.411
Shown to us earlier in the week by Oscar Jansen of Team Orion, but asked not to publish it until today, is the company’s all new brushless competition motor called the Vortex Race 2010. Starting with a clean sheet of paper the new motor sports a shorter can than the previous version and is now made from a much thicker material allowing for better heat dissipation. Other new features include high speed, small diameter, bearings that along with a new smaller diameter rotor shaft ensures higher RPM. The sensor unit has also been changed with the connector for the cable moved to the centre of the motor, which not only keeps the wire away from getting caught while on track, but allows a simple and wide adjustment of the timing. The changes dont stop there, with an extra thick wire connector ring and solder tabs for getting the power from the ESC to the motor with less resistance, and the solder tabs are now also open ended for easier soldering of the wires to the motor.
Also new in the pitlane is the latest version of the Robitronic Avid touring car which is due for general release later this year. The car which is still in development is almost completely new with new chassis plate, top deck, front and rear bulkheads and the car is now much lower than the previous version for better centre of gravity.