The opening qualifier in Daun was set to be something special, as the close practice times and extended track time made the field look closer than it has been in recent years. That played out to be true as the times were incredibly close and just a few small errors determined the top placings. At the end of five minutes, TONISPORT's Marc Rheinard came through to set the fastest time with his Awesomatix chassis. Reacting to his win, the German reacted by saying “of course it’s a good start”. Elaborating more, trying to think of when he last topped a qualifier at an ETS, he said the result was as the result of “the perfect work by the whole team” - Marc now being more formally supported by Awesomatix for this event and for the rest of the 2020 season. However, despite the pace in Q1, he wasn’t completely happy with everything, saying that the “car was too easy to drive. I need more steering in the hairpins”. Seeming more energised coming into this race, he ended by saying “it shows everyone that we [him and team-mate Yannic Prümper] can still drive”.
Prumper came through to set the second best time, after mistakes from Ronald Völker and Bruno Coelho pushed them down the ranking. Prumper noted that he had a “bad start”, with the car being “super loose for the first two minutes”. Following the initial stint, once the car came in he said he had “more traction and it was more stable. Then I could push as hard as possible”. Rounding out the top three was an impressive recovery from Volker. The lead Team Yokomo factory driver initially lead the heat, before “heads up racing with Marc made me push a bit too much and I touched a kerb” - resulting in his car taking a roll. Despite dropping as low as eighth in the running, he said “the car didn’t drop pace and I could put in the laptimes still”, before looking to the next round by saying “It’s very promising for Q2 – but of course disappointing to throw away a potential TQ in the first run”.
Coelho was in the mix with Rheinard and Volker through the early stages, but then admitted he “made a big mistake on the fifth or sixth lap”. Landing back on his wheels, the current ETS and World Champion took fourth in the round, four hundredths of a second back on Volker, and just one hundredth up on fifth place finisher, Christopher Krapp. Thinking about changes to his XRAY chassis, Coelho explained that he “needs to find a different additive strategy – the car is very different to drive in the first minute. The laptimes show the car is not slow, so we just have to find something in the beginning [of the run]”. With Krapp making it two Yokomo cars in the top five, the German reacted by saying he was “happy with the result, but not with the driver”. Loosing a top-three result by a few hundredths of a second, he said the main change for Q2 would be “to change to my other tyre set”. Looking at who he feels he needs to race against, the former ETS winner said “there is a bit of a gap to the usual top three [Rheinard, Volker and Coelho], but I feel I can race with Yannic, Freddy, and Alexander Hagberg and try to close the gap to the top three”.
In the Pro Stock class, Jan Ratheisky showed everyone the way home, but he explained he “made some small driving mistakes”. Feeling “comfortable” with his Xray, he admitted that he “didn’t push super hard” as he “couldn’t risk flipping”. Looking to Q2, he will try less timing on the additive as he tries to “free the car up more”. Taking second in the round, popular Belgian Olivier Bultynck said that whilst he “struggled in practice, I didn’t actually make any changes for Q1. Maybe the track came to the car, or maybe I just got better!”. Reflecting on the run, the Awesomatix driver felt that “two small wobbles probably cost me TQ this time”. Rounding out the top three, fellow Awesomatix driver Simon Lauter said his car was “very good”. He had some concerns after second practice – using some rather choice words but toning it down to summarise as “just no pace, so I was pretty unsure how it would be [for the first qualifier]”. Wanting to make some “little tweaks” ahead of the second round, he is still unsure what they will be “but I have four hours left to decide” - the 410+ entries making for plenty of time between rounds for the drivers to work on their cars.
|06.||Frederik B. Mikkelsen||592pts|
|03.||Martijn v. d. Heijden||569pts|
|04.||Steven M. Olsen||598pts|