After a long break, the opening round in Vienna in October now a somewhat distant memory, our EP team travelled to Germany for their first major international race of 2019. On the back of the success of a Yannic/Marc 1-2 result at GP3F in France, the team was in confident mood. Adding to the anticipation of the ETS weekend that lay ahead, Daun marked the debut race for our newest EP team signing Viktor Wilck in Infinity team colours. For Marc, Yannic and Akio it was also the reunion of the same team that enjoyed much success in the early days of the ETS well before Infinity's arrival into the world of electric touring car competition. While snow greeted the drivers outside in the hilly German countryside, inside the warm sports hall at Sporthotel & Resort Grafenwald one of the biggest indoor carpet tracks was ready to challenge the world's best drivers. The second hosting of the event in Daun, the popularity of the venue was evident by the huge entry of over 320.
Making use of the hall's cross spaced floor space, the large track again featured a unique layout with the centre section as deep as many indoor tracks are long. The busy 15-second laps contained many 180 corners and this combination was to challenge the team in terms of finding the perfect set-up balance along with the arrival of some extreme new bodyshells on the market. With just a single round of free practice followed by two seeding rounds, each only of 4-minutes duration due to the large entry, track time was limited. Yannic came out top in seeding ending up 4th fastest ahead of Marc while Viktor and Akio (who only got 1-lap in the first timed practice due to an electronics issue) ended up seeded in the second fastest heat.
Q1 on Friday night summed up a tough day with Marc quickest for the team with only a P7! Not exactly the form the team had imagined 12-hours earlier in the day. Saturday marked a new day with the final three qualifiers on the schedule and things got off to a much more positive start with Yannic posting the fourth fastest time in Q2. He would repeat that in Q3 and then capped off the day with a Top 3 run in the final qualifier to put the possibility of a podium finish on the team's radar albeit from 5th on the grid. With his best qualifier coming in the Q3, a P6, Marc would qualify 8th on the grid with Viktor concluding qualifying with his best run to make it three IF14 on the A-Main grid for Sunday. In Pro Stock, the IF14 was also to be represented in the A-Main with Dominic qualifying 7th - the same position he would finish in the finals.
In the first A-Main, Yannic made up one position to finish fourth but Viktor gained the most places going from 9th to 5th. A last lap crashed cost Marc four positions as he recovered to cross the loop 10th. A2 would be a most static affair upfront with the Top 5 finishing in the same order as they started, so a P5 for Yannic while behind Marc made up 2 places to finish 6th. With the overall win decided in A2, for Yannic A3 still presented the opportunity of an overall podium finish. Planning to play the patient game at the start, contact ahead on the opening lap between Ronald Volker and Alexander Hagberg would scupper his aim to salvage a podium from the weekend as he got caught up in their incident. This would help Marc however who avoided the pile-up to get a third for A3, enough to secure 5th overall ahead of Yannic with Viktor ending up 7th overall. While developing a better set-up as the weekend progressed, the guys never got 100% to terms with the track layout. Given the level of competition at the ETS, missing that 1% meant the result was far from what everyone had their sights set on. Such weekends however are what build a stronger team. The last indoor carpet race of the winter season, the team is now highly motivated and excited about moving outdoors and onto asphalt and what better way to do so than to travel to Thailand for the TITC as the defending champions.