‘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 consolation 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.
1. Groskamp Jilles – Tamiya/Speedpassion – 2 pts
2. Rheinard Marc – Tamiya/Speedpassion – 4
3. Völker Ronald – Yokomo/LRP – 4
4. Hönigl Hubert – Tamiya/LRP – 7
5. Wilck Viktor – Tamiya/Speedpassion – 8
6. Prümper Yannic – Tamiya/Speedpassion – 9
7. Graversen Steen – Kyosho/Team Orion – 12
8. Krapp Christopher – Kyosho/Team Orion – 13
9. Urbain Lucas – Losi/GM Racing – 13
10.Hagberg Alexander – Xray/LRP – 15