Martin Hofer reports......
On the weekend from 10th to 12th of June 2011 the ETS community once again gathered at the superb facility of the AMCA Apeldoorn. It is definitely one of the most beautiful tracks in Europe. Big but still very challenging, with corners that are slightly banked on the inner 30 cm and thus require a special kind of driving to be up to pace. This combination gives quite a big advantage to locals so everybody knew before even going to the race that there will be Dutch racers setting the early pace.
This showed to be true during Fridays practice. I found my car to be spot-on right from the first run on the track and the Ride tires suited my setup and driving style quite well, so I focused on testing small changes like gear-diff oil to get the steering-flow throughout the corner to my likings.
Additionally addative was a big point on whether or not you’d be competitive. The rubber-petrol-mixture from nitro cars usually racing on this track provided pretty high traction but also stuck to the tires which caused a performance drop towards the end of the run by a few 1/10 of a second. I soon found that the local Dutch drivers where running a very thin addative that is not quite odourless and when I tried it in Q1 I was surprised how big the difference was. There suddenly was more traction, more steering, more corner speed. Basically more everything, plus there no longer was a drop in laptimes towards the end of the run. I was able to win Q1 with a 1 second gap, even though the field was super close as always at ETS races.
Saturday morning saw the race officials announce that before mentioned thin addative was no longer to be used and that the technical inspection would from now on also check for odourless addative before the run. I luckily had a plan-b addative which proofed to delivery nearly the same performance, so I also won Q2. In Q3 I got off the racing line while lapping another car and the dirt on the tires resulted in quite a big performance drop so I ended up third with local John Bruins taking that round. This meant that Q4 would decide who would start from pole. My luck left me at the start as my car stuttered badly off the line and kept stuttering for 3 laps. I later found that my motor was broken and was therefore causing the stuttering but it cost me the 1st place on the grid and therefore meant I had to start on the outside line which is proper dirty.
Sunday, finals day started late for the A-finalists as the lower finals had to do their first of 3 runs in the morning. In A1 my worries proofed true as I was totally lacking traction due to the dirt in the first few corners. I got hit from 3rd placed driver in the hairpin going onto the straightaway and saw me at the back of the field. I decided to pull off and save my new set of tires for the remaining 2 finals.
Those went better as I tried to get on the racing line as quickly as possible which made the tires work properly in the first few laps already. Before A2 I adjusted the rear toe-in to get a bit more on-power aggression. It worked but I had to gain the confidence that my car was now able to do corners at full throttle, it not used to be able to do so before. When I had the confidence that the rear-end remained stable, I closed the gap to John Bruins and started to battle for the lead. His track knowledge however paid off as he was able to calm his nerves just enough to not give up his first position and therefore won the race. A3 was a bit less spectacular. The start was smooth and I was able to stretch a comfortable lead of over 2 seconds which meant I secured myself the runner-up step on the Podium and with that the overall series win, before the series is even finished!!
This was the ultimate goal when the season started and without the great performance of the Mi4CX and the GM range of electronics and batteries I would never had been able to reach it.
See you in Andernach in just a few weeks.
Martin's set up sheet can be found in the set up section.