This weekend (11-13 May), the Yokomo Euro Touring Series will return to Andernach in Germany, the track having last hosted the championship seven years ago. The fourth & final round of the inaugural ETS season, with the 2008 victory going to Atsushi Hara, the event was famed for it’s party atmosphere due to Andernach being the hometown of 4-time World Champion Marc Rheinard and ETS organisers Uwe Rheinard. After four years of being the season finale, the ETS expanding to 5 races in the second season and to its current six rounds in Season #3, the track was dropped from the calendar. On that last visit, the race would see Ronald Volker claim the first of his record 5 consecutive ETS titles. Rheinard won the race but second was enough for Volker to wrap up the overall championship. Following the unfortunate news of the closure of the Mulhouse track in France, Andernach was a late addition to the Season #11 calendar with another of the town’s famed names of RC racing Tonisport putting all hands on deck to prepare the track for its ETS return.
The fourth round of the 2017/18 season, the weekend marks the start of the second half of a season that has so far produce three different winners. With the previous round in Madrid the first outdoor encounter it was Alexander Hagberg who took advantage of a clash between reigning champion Bruno Coelho and Ronald Volker. Only Hagberg’s 3rd ETS career win, the Xray driver took the win on tie-break from Yokomo’s Christopher Krapp with Coelho completing the podium to maintain his lead in the standings. The last time the ETS was in Andernach, Coelho had yet to make his burst onto the international racing scene so this will be the Round 2 winner’s first time to the track.
Winner of the season opener but not having a good first run on asphalt in Spain where he finished 6th, for Rheinard this is technically his ‘home track’ but the Infinity driver is not a fan of the track and despite its proximity to his house has actually completed little or no testing there. Four points down on Coelho in the standings, he will be aiming to get his title hopes back on track this weekend on the parking lot style track.
Another for whom the Madrid result was a disappointment, Volker will be extra determined to register his first win of the season. Dropping to fourth in the standings behind Hagberg as a result of his 7th place finish despite qualifying second to Coelho, the Yokomo driver was more than unhappy with Coelho’s actions. A track where he made his ETS debut before becoming one of the championship most decorated drivers, the World Champion know its all or nothing this weekend in terms of having a chance at the overall title this season.
On the podium the last time the ETS was in Andernach, Yannic Prumper has just missed out on the Top 3 at the previous two rounds. Holding fifth in the standings in between Yokomo team-mates Volker and Krapp, the German was another driver to come to international attention when making his ETS debut at Andernach. With Yokomo working particularly well as a team unit of late under the guidance of Volker we may finally see the first Yokomo win in more than 7-races. Another who will be looking to build on a competitive outing in Madrid is Freddy Sudhoff. At the third round, it was great to see the Awesomatix driver back in the mix with his best result in more than a season.
In Pro Stock, Jan Ratheisky suffered his first defeat of the season in Madrid with Max Mächler taking the win. It would be an Awesomatix 1-2 on the switch from carpet to asphalt with Olivier Bultynck taking second. With Ratheisky’s Xray completing the podium, and Mächler also taking the bonus point for the TQ, the Germans are now separated by 6 points. In Formula, Madrid saw a second consecutive win put Bultynck in front by a single point from Ratheisky with a difficult race pushing reigning champion David Erhbar back to 3rd, a further 3 points down. In the new +40 Masters class, Christian Drießle claimed a photo finish victory over Beni Stutz but it is Mr. Consistent Thomas Oehler who leads the way with three 3rd place finishes clocked up. Will Andernach be the place he finally takes that first win?