This weekend (28 Feb-2 March) the Yokomo Euro Touring Series heads to Gran Canaria where a freshly resurfaced track awaits competitors travelling to the Spanish holiday island for the third round of the championship. The third year for the ETS to visit the Circuito Automodelismo El Hornillo track, the event marks the welcomed switch from a winter of indoor carpet racing to outdoor asphalt and previous encounters have turned up unexpected race winners. Last year the event saw Tamiya’s Viktor Wilck take his first ETS win in 19-races while on the first visit to the island Kyosho’s Christopher Krapp took his maiden victory, both drivers ending the dominant start by Yokomo’s Ronald Volker to the past two seasons.
Although he travels to Cran Canaria as the 2013/14 championship points leader, just as he did the last two occasions, Volker has just one victory on his Season #7 score sheet after Team Xray’s Alexander Hagberg’s impressive performance at Round 2 saw him bag his second ever ETS victory in style. Traditionally Volker has been untouchable on carpet with asphalt racing proving to be the only weak link in his all conquering partnership with Yokomo engineer Yukijiro Umino. With the majority of ETS front runners contesting last weekend’s TITC race in Thailand, it would appear that Volker and his BD7 2014 chassis has found its edge on asphalt as the 3 -time back to back ETS champion took the win ahead of team-mate Naoto Matsukura. Having skipped Round 2, reigning 1:12 World Champion Matsukura returns to the series this weekend. Despite having been scheduled to travel to Gran Canaria, unfortunately new Yokomo touring car signing Atsushi Hara will not race this weekend due to new 1:8 Buggy commitments. The former World Champion will however return for Round 4 in Austria.
Although he finished only 7th at TITC, Hagberg will be hoping he can continue where he left off in Muelheim-Kaerlich a month ago. The Swede has always been fast and a strong contender in Gran Canaria finishing runner-up in 2012 and just missing out on the podium last year to Volker on a tie break. The Xray line-up in the Ride Modified class will be bolstered this weekend by Steven Weiss, the former European Champion Top Qualifier & runner-up having just been announced as returning to the Slovakian manufacturer after a stint with TOP Racing.
Having openly aired his dislike of racing on carpet and having struggled to be competitive at the first two races of the season, Tamiya Racing Factory’s Marc Rheinard will be hoping that he can get his ETS title aspirations back on track with the move to outdoor action. Based on his first asphalt encounter of 2014 at the TITC, where he was 4th behind the all Yokomo podium, the series’ most winning driver looks like he is going to have his work cut out if he is to notch up his first win on the island.
One driver making his return to the championship is 2012 event winner. While Krapp has experienced the joy of standing on the top step of the podium, it is now a distant memory for the German and making his first ETS of the season he will be looking to make a strong impression on his return in this World Championship year. Having missed Round 2 due to racing commitments in the USA, Marc Fischer will be hoping he can master the new asphalt in Gran Canaria as he & his Serpent team search for that first win.
Having secured his maiden ETS victory on the first visit to Gran Canaria, reigning Xray Pro Stock Champion Marek Cerny is chasing a hat trick of wins on the island. The biggest challenger to the factory Xray driver for the win will be own team-mate Jan Ratheisky, winner of Round 1, and Yokomo’s former Champion Zdenko Kunak. In the Formula class Ratheisky is the clear favourite as the defending champion goes for a fourth win in a row.