David Ehrbar reports on the ETS F1 season and victory
The prototype of the F110 SF3 was ready just in time for the first ETS race. I was confident in the design, but still it was a bit of a risk to try it the first time at an important race.
It showed the car was great. All ideas worked as intended and the performance was unbelievable.
For the second ETS I was sceptical if I can keep the advantage. But again I could TQ and win the race.
The first outdoor ETS race was a disappointment. It was early in the season, and although I had finished second at the TITC F1 class, the Spanish low gip conditions were something different. Also we had new tires, and I didn't know how long and at which temperature I should apply the additive.
It was clear for Round 4 in Italy, I would need some preparation. After a practice weekend, the performance of the car was great again. I could start from TQ after a tight qualifying. The race was also very close. Two mistakes and a hit by another driver ended my chance for the win, but the 2nd place together with the TQ point was still a step forward in the championship.
Round 5 was in Trencin on the Xray home track. It was a difficult race. I could already feel the pressure about the championship. It was clear I could seal the championship up with another win, but I was rather hoping not to lose too many points on Jan. Friday practice was basically cancelled, and in the first qualifying I built the setup too conservative. With only one more round of qualifying, it was maximum pressure. If I made a mistake it was quite possible to not even make the A final. On the other hand, with a TQ round I could even start first in the grid.
Actually I was in the lead with one lap to go. But Ollie Bultynck could pass me with a great last lap, so I started second.
In the finals, I was very fast. I knew, Jan behind me wold try hard to pass me, so I had to push maximum myself to pass Ollie. In the first final, my try ended up in Jan passing me.
In the second final ollie made a mistake and while I tried to avoid him, I lost a bit focus on the next corner, so Jan could pass me. A few laps later I could regain the lead and win the final.
For the last final I knew a win would secure the championship for me. Unfortunately, after an aggressive line over the curb my car went on 2 wheels, and I could not accelerate, which ended in a crash between Jan and me, followed by one more crash with another driver. So I ended up on the 3rd place although I had won one final. At least I still had the lead in the championship.
ETS Final Ettlingen report
Ettlingen is only 45 km from my home. So I could practice a lot there. Anyways when the race started the conditions were completely different compared to the testing after a rain shower on
In practice it was difficult to judge performance, as the conditions changed a lot.
In the first qualification run, I was close to the leaders, but a small mistake cost me some positions.
In the second qualification I was leading when I was taken out by another driver.
In the third run the weather was a lot warmer, and I took a wrong setup decision, leading to my car being very difficult to drive. So again I could make no good result.
Before the final qualifying all championship contenders were outside the A final. Of course now many drivers used their second set of rear tires.
After a few laps I was in the lead when a slower driver who was starting in front of me made a unfortunate move while I was overtaking him, costing me some time. While I was trying to make up time, the rear came a bit loose accelerating out of the corner, and after that it was clear I could not get the top positions, so I took it a bit easier making sure I would finish in the A final. As neither Jan Ratheisky nor Olivier Bultynck could get the TQ extra point, the championship was almost decided to my favour.
The starting grid was at least "interesting". My teammate Tim Benson was on TQ, while the championship contenders started from 6 (Olivier Bultynck), 7 (me) and 8 (Jan Ratheisky).
In the first final I didn't want to risk a move on Olivier in the first laps, but then Jan passed me, ending with me exiting a corner on the dirty side, so my car spun when I hit the throttle again.
It was nice to hear Serpent driver Tim Benson keeping the lead, while I tried to gain as many positions back as possible finishing 5th.
In the second final I had one of the usual tough fights with Jan for the position during the first laps. After some laps I could gain a few tenths of advantage on him, followed by a crash between Jan and another driver. Again I tried to make up a few positions finishing 5th, while Tim could again control the race. With my teammate winning the race with the F110 SF3 it was finally clear I would be ETS champion.
The third final was not run as it was raining. With only one final to count I finished the race on 7th place. While I felt I was beaten under value at this race, it was good to see the superb performance of the F110 SF3 from Tim, and of course the mission for the weekend was the championship title. So we had something to celebrate.
It is a very rewarding feeling after all the hard work to finally be the champion, having shown to the world that our car desing is capable of winning big championships, and even more so the personal satisfaction of that big win against these strong opponents. This is for sure one of the highlights of my RC carreer.
SPT - Serpent Performance Team