Winning a World title is a special moment but to win your first World Championship at the very place where 20-years earlier your interest in a sport began is the stuff dreams are made of but this evening in the Netherlands just down the road from where he grew up Jilles Groskamp took a very emotional win at the 7th Electric Touring Car World Championships from Top Qualifier Atsushi Hara with Ronald Volker completing the podium at the MACH.
Five drivers had a chance of the title going into the third leg setting the stage for an epic battle but it turned out to be a much more subdued affair as Hara lead from start to finish shadowed by Groskamp. Taking the biggest gamble of his racing career in Leg 1 to pip Hara for the win, Groskamp said he drove a calculated last race as he could hear from the computer timing that the predicted time was 2 seconds slower and this would give him the overall win on tie break. With all his family and hundreds of cheering locals the win was a very emotional one for Groskamp who burst into tears on the rostrum as he was congratulated by his Tamiya team-mate and outgoing World Champion Marc Rheinard.
Afterwards Groskamp said he knew he had the fastest car on used tyres but the pressure was still there to get the job done. Describing himself as ‘not the youngest guy anymore’ he said he knew this was probably his last real chance at winning the sport’s top prize but despite this he was really calm during the race and he described the finals minute of the race as probably the most ‘perfect’ laps he had ever driven. With the Tamiya Racing Factory squad since 2008, Groskamp’s win gives the Japanese company their fifth Touring Car World title.
Left regretting he didn’t also throw his Hobby Wing powered HB across the finish line in Leg 1, Hara said his chance of a second Touring Car World title was lost in the first race. Surprised at how good his TCXX ran in the final A-Main, following a change back to his qualifying set-up, he said he did all he could but as he predicted before the race Groskamp always had the upper hand and just needed to sit behind him. Having been BQ at the last World Championship Hara said it was good to come back at take TQ honours. Contesting three World Championships this year he said to start his season with second is not bad and for the 1:10 Nitro Touring and 1:8 Offroad World Championships later in the year he is aiming to be standing one step higher on the podium.
Finishing third overall Team Yokomo’s Ronald Volker was very disappointed with the result saying they had the pace for the win but too many things went wrong. Having TQ’d the opening two rounds of qualifying, he said the controversy that hit Q5 & 6 cost him the pole position for the finals while in the races themselves contact with Hara in Leg 1 and Rheinard in Leg 3 robbed him the chance of his first World title. The Euro Touring Series Champion, said everything had come together in the lead up to the race with both the car and his electrics working perfectly and it was very frustrating to have things outside of his control influence the race.
A World Championship that was full of controversy mostly surrounding what are clearly crazy tyre rules, in the end a worthy champion was crowned. Red RC would to thank to our sponsors LRP, Speed Passion and JG Racing for making the past week of coverage from both the 1:12 and Touring Car World Championship possible. A special thanks also to time keepers Hugo Keller and Martijn van der Heijden for their assistance while in the Netherlands.
Marc Rheinard’s quest for a third consecutive World title is over after the German, who sat out the opening A-Main to save tyres, rolled his Tamiya on the first run through the chicane dropping him to the tail of the field from where he could only recover to finish 6th. With Rheinard, the clear favourite to take the win for the Leg due to having fresh tyres, out of contention it was Ronald Volker who took the win ahead of Yokomo team-mate Naoto Matsukura with Viktor Wilck again finishing 3rd.
With his car ending up on its roof on the exit of the chicane Rheinard, whose 4-year reign will come to an end shortly after 5pm local time, said the roll was his ‘own fault’ as he steered too early in the middle of the chicane, the curb sending the car up on two wheels. Rheinard, who has held the World title three times, said while the race was over for him there was still plenty to play for in the final leg as his Tamiya Racing Factory team still had ‘two horses’ in the race. Those being Leg 1 winner Jilles Groskamp and Wilck.
After the disappointment of Leg 1, when contact with Hara ended his chances of a win, Volker drove a very patient second A-Main. Having more pace than Top Qualifier Hara, the ETS Champion said this bunched up the pack but he knew he needed to make a clean pass on the Team HB driver. Aware that Rheinard’s challenge was over he said he was conscious of his own team-mate Matsukura, who also started the race with fresh tyres, and as the 1:12 World Champion joined the lead battle he knew had to get out front. Once out front he said he knew if he could hold off Matsukura for a few laps then the 18-year-old’s tyre advantage would drop off and on equal tyres he knew he could keep him at bay which is what he did til the end to win by half a second with Wilck a distant third almost 4 seconds adrift.
Hara said he ran too soft a set-up for the race and after a coming together with the recovering Rheinard he was pleased to to take fourth for the Leg. Planning to go back to a set-up he ran yesterday in qualifying for the final Leg the former Touring Car and 1:8 Offroad World Champion is expecting a ‘really big fight’ with five drivers still in with a chance of being crowned the Electric Touring Car World Champion, he being the only previous holder of the title.
The clear favourite of the large crowd of onlookers who have turned out at the MACH, Groskamp saw his challenge for a top result grabbed from him in the exact same spot as team-mate Wilck lost his challenge for the win in Leg 1. Through the Omega sweeper the Dutch driver ran a tight line over the curb only to also get pulled into the grass on lap 8 resulting in his TRF417 needing to be marshaled. Pulling up on the next lap the former European Champion is confident about his chances in the final Leg as he has shown throughout the event his car is very good on used tyres.
Leg 2 A-Main Result
1.(2) Ronald Völker (DE) – Yokomo/LRP – 18/5:01.535
2.(6) Naoto Matsukura (JP) – Yokomo/Nosram – 18/5:02.110
3.(5) Viktor Wilck (SE) – Tamiya/Thunder Power – 18/5:05.392
4.(1) Atsushi Hara (JP) – HB/Reedy – 18/5:07.988
5.(10)Chris Grainger (GB) – Schumacher/GM – 18/5:10.005
6.(4) Marc Rheinard (DE) – Tamiya/Speedpassion – 18/5:10.923
7.(7) Christopher Krapp (DE) – Kyosho/Orion – 18/5:13.597
8.(8) Loïc Jasmin (FR) – Yokomo/LRP – 18/5:13.872
9.(9) Andy Moore (GB) – HB/Hobbywing – 14/3:57.640
10.(3)Jilles Groskamp (NL) – Tamiya/Orion – 9/2:31.004
Jilles Groskamp took one of the biggest gambles of his life to win the opening A-Main at the Electric Touring Car World Championships to deny Top Qualifier Atsushi Hara by 14/100ths of a second as he threw his Tamiya across the finish line as Hara slowed his car to make the hairpin, thinking the race would go one more lap. Viktor Wilck, who challenged Hara for the lead in the middle of the race finished 3rd ahead of Ronald Volker.
His home track, Groskamp was ecstatic with the result admitting afterwards having heard the announcement that there was four seconds to go that his move was a risk but looking at the finishing time of 5:00.282 it was actually a huge gamble he took. Having got passed Hara earlier in the race, only to get the chicane wrong allowing the 2000 World Champion to get the drive on him down the straight, Groskamp said coming to the end of the race he was very conscious of team-mate Wilck and Yokomo’s Ronald Volker behind him and so didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks with trying a move on Hara. Still unable to break into a 16 second lap around the MACH track, where his interest in r/c racing start 20 years ago, the Dutch ace only set the fifth fastest lap of the race but is confident that on used tyres his Orion powered Tamiya doesn’t drop off on pace as much as his rivals. An overcast morning in Heemstede, just after A-Main Leg 1 the sun started to break cover something Groskamp said should further play in to his hand for the remaining two legs.
Hara was clearly disappointed at being denied the win having seen off challenges from Volker, Wilck and Groskamp. Based on the announcement that 4 seconds remained in the race, Hara said he was sure the race would go one more lap but it didn’t and he added Groskamp ‘won the gamble’. Hara said he was not as happy with his TCX as he was yesterday as it suffered from slight understeer which could be seen when he ran wide through the Omega corner giving Wilck a chance at the lead. Hara said the next leg is going to be tough as the drivers who pulled up to save their tyres are going to have a substantial performance advantage, but he will give his best adding that with a few crashes anything could happen.
Swapping stickers with Hara as the pair to battle it out on lap 10, Wilck looked set to take lead at the end of the lap when the No.1 car ran wide but on the inside of the Omega and up on the curb the back end of Reedy Race Champion’s Tamiya stepped out and ended up on the grass. Needing to be marshaled he lost 3 seconds promoting Groskamp to second.
Starting second on the grid, Euro Touring Series Champion Volker was the first driver to try a pass on Hara his LRP powered BD7 getting a run on the HB down the straight on lap 9 but the two touched and the German’s car went airborne ending up on the grass and needing to be marshaled. After the race Volker was clearly upset by the incident saying he had ‘no comment’ to make.
A World Championships that been dominated by tyre tactics the finals have not escaped the game playing with defending World Champion Marc Rheinard pulling up at the first full lap of the track to save his tyres for Leg 2. The German, who lines up 4th on the grid, said he ran the first lap in case there was any crashes but it was always his plan to save his tyres for Leg 2. 10th place starter Chris Grainger also pulled up on lap 2. With their cars sitting in the pitlane, their mechanics not allowed to touch the cars before they were post race tech-ed, they where soon joined by 1:12 World Champion Naoto Matsukura who rolled his Yokomo on lap 3 and the 2006 World Champion Andy Moore after 5 laps.
Leg 1 A-Main Result
1.(3) Jilles Groskamp (NL) – Tamiya/Orion – 18/5:00.282
2.(1) Atsushi Hara (JP) – HB/Reedy – 18/5:00.421
3.(5) Viktor Wilck (SE) – Tamiya/Thunder Power – 18/5:01.137
4.(2) Ronald Völker (DE) – Yokomo/LRP – 18/5:01.888
5.(7) Christopher Krapp (DE) – Kyosho/Orion – 18/5:05.744
6.(8) Loïc Jasmin (FR) – Yokomo/LRP – 18/5:07.783
7.(9) Andy Moore (GB) – HB/Hobbywing – 5/1:27.544
8.(6) Naoto Matsukura (JP) – Yokomo/Nosram – 3/0:47.844
9.(4) Marc Rheinard (DE) – Tamiya/Speedpassion – 2/0:22.414
10.(10)Chris Grainger (GB) – Schumacher/GM – 2/0:25.791