The Yokomo Euro Touring Series makes a long awaited return to Italy this weekend (10-12 April) with a record entry that includes six World Champions set to descend on the county’s famous seaside resort of Riccione. Only the second time the world famous touring car championship has travelled to Italy, the town of Scandiano having played host to an indoor race as part of the 2011/12 calendar, this time round the race takes place at the Road Race Riccione track as the third round of Season #8 takes the ETS action outdoor. With over 310 entries the weekend is set to be largest asphalt event in the championship’s 42 race history and but on track the big focus of attention will be on the performances of a number of high profile drivers who will debut with new manufacturers.
A former two time ETS Champion and a key contributor to the early success of the championship, Jilles Groskamp will make his first appearance in the colours of his new HB team. After seven years of been team-mates with Marc Rheinard & Viktor Wilck at Tamiya, the 2012 World Champion will at the weekend hook-up with 2006 World Champion Andy Moore and another of HB’s new 2015 signings Freddy Sudhoff. The Dutch ace will be hoping the first asphalt race of the 2014/15 season will provide a good starting point for the expanded HB team to gel and challenge for the Pro 5’s first ETS podium finish.
Joint leaders of the championship after Marc Rheinard took a convincing victory at Round 2 in Germany, Tamiya Racing Factory travels to Italy with an exciting new line-up. Having lost both Groskamp and Wilck, the ETS’ most race winning manufacturer has reassembled an impressive team around their 3-time World Champion with Rheinard being joined in the TRF colours by reigning World Champion Naoto Matsukura and multiple World finalist Christopher Krapp. Krapp’s move to Tamiya was only announced this week with Rheinard instrumental is the signing of his fellow countryman Krapp from Kyosho and the former ETS race winner is sure to benefit from the input of his two new World Champion team-mates.
With no distractions of new driver signings to worry about defending champions Yokomo travel to Italy with high hopes for both Ronald Volker, Yannic Prumper. Joint points leader having TQ’s & won the season opener, Volker proved last season he is now just as strong on asphalt as he had become famed for on carpet. A podium finisher at the first two rounds leaving him joint 3rd in the standings with Xray’s Alexander Hagberg, Prumper will be determined to build on that and will be hoping the move outdoors provides greater opportunities for overtaking with him having been somewhat frustrated by the lack of passing opportunities at Round 1 & 2. Bolstering the Yokomo line-up, World Championship finalist & former 1:10 Nitro Touring Car World Champion Meen Vejrak makes the trip from Thailand with Riccione markinghis return to ETS action.
At Team Xray Hagberg sits third in the standings and is sure to be in the mix but the big interest at the Slovakian manufacturer will be how his team-mate Bruno Coelho gets on. The star of the last October’s World Championships in Florida when he finished runner-up to Matsukura, this will be the Portugese drivers first ETS outing on asphalt. Also a star of last year’s European Championships only loosing out on the title due to an electrics issue, Coelho has opened his first ETS campaign with a 6th and 8th but more at home on asphalt he will his goal is sure to be much higher for Italy.
After a very impressive debut with Serpent at Round 2 in February, Viktor Wilck will be hoping he can build on that form. Last season Marc Fischer enjoyed his best result with the S411 on asphalt finishing 4th in Austria and with Wilck having had more test time with his new car the revitalised Swede be hoping to go at least one better.