The Yokomo Euro Touring Series moves to Muelheim-Kaerlich in Germany this weekend (24-26 Feb) with Bruno Coelho looking to extend the championship lead he established after taking the TQ & win at the Season #10 opener in the Czech Republic in December. Riding on a high from his TITC win in Thailand last weekend where he fought off intense pressure from former ETS Champion Jilles Groskamp in A3 to secure overall victory, Coelho’s mindset for the resumption of the ETS will also be boosted by the fact that the Round 2 venue is where the Xray driver took a breakthrough rst win on carpet last year. That weekend would prove a strong one for Xray with team-mate Alexander Hagberg, a previous winner of the event, making it a 1-2 for the Slovakian manufacturer but their rivals will be determined to prevent such celebrations this time round.
The rst time, since commiting to a full ETS campaign 7-seasons ago, that he is not the reigning champion, Ronald Volker will be hoping extra testing since Round 1 will pay dividends this weekend. The World Champion was once the dominant force on carpet and while he made the nal step of the podium in Hrotovice he was never a match for Coelho. Taking full advantage of the recently opened Arena 33 permanent indoor track to try and get more comfortable with his Yokomo on carpet, the German will want to ensure he doesn’t go a fth race in a row without victory, a statistic that has never befell the 5-time ETS Champion before. An exciting addition to the Yokomo team for Round 2 is former Kyosho/Tamiya driver Christopher Krapp, with the former ETS race winner having previously podiumed in Muelheim.
Equalling his best ETS nish with second at Round 1, Viljami Kutvonen would love nothing more than to go one better in Germany. The Finn, who has become an established front runner of the championship, got his 2017 season off to a brilliant start in January when he took a convincing TQ & win ahead of Volker at the DHI Cup in Denmark. Unfortunately illness prevented the ‘Iceman’ from travelling to the TITC but now ghting t again, he will push harder than ever to give Awesomatix their rst win in touring car’s premiere class.
While Xray, Yokomo and Awesomatix are expected to challenge for victory one big unknown for the rst race of 2017 is new arrival In nity. Having of cially announced its EP program last week on the eve of the TITC, the Japanese company has bolstered its EP driver line-up with some big names notably Marc Rheinard. In Czech Republic, the 4-time World Champion marked the end of an era by running a special colour scheme in A3 as he made his nal outing with lifelong sponsor Tamiya who dissolved their iconic TRF race team. With tyre quality issues making for a dif cult debut with In nity at the TITC, Rheinard will be aiming for a much improved showing at what is his home race. Winner of the German round two years ago, Rheinard will be joined in ying the In nity ag this weekend by ex-Tamiya team-mate Akio Sobue with both drivers running the SMJ prototype chassis.
Elsewhere, after opening the season by putting his Schumacher into the A-Main, Elliott Harper will have his sights set on representing the British brand again in the main event come Sunday. Last year, the mutiple Worlds nalist claimed a season equalling best for the small factory team with 8th place in Muelheim. Leading the Serpent challenge, Viktor Wilck had a tough Round 1 nishing 18th, but at the same venue he made a strong debut for his current team in 2015, the World Championship podium nisher will be targeting a signi cantly better result this weekend. For VBC Racing pairing Yannic Prumper and Marc Fischer Round 2 is a home race and both will be out to secure the Hong Kong manufacturer a place in the A-Main. For Fischer it is his rst ETS outing with the team, the arrival of his rst child stopping him on his travels to the season opener.