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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Alexander Hagberg’s WC winning Xray NT1 2014

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Hagberg claims first World title in Bangkok

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Their leading onroad driver since turning pro with the Slovakian manufacturer three years ago, Alexander Hagberg finally rewarded Team Xray by taking his first World title at the 200mm World Championships in Bangkok, Thailand, this evening.  Starting from third on the grid, the Swede would drive an impressive 1-hour race to see off strong challenges from both Jilles Groskamp and Top Qualifier Dominic Greiner to win Xray’s second 200mm World title.  Starting from 10th on the grid, it was Serpent’s Yuya Sahashi who would finish second 1-lap down with Greiner completing the podium at the Huge RC Circuit.

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Taking up competitive racing at the control of an Xray back in 2003, Hagberg described the final 10-minutes of the Main as ‘the longest 10-minutes of (his) life’. Running back over his race, the 25-year-old said having changed his NT1’s set-up following the Semi Final in which he got ‘twitchy’ he initially thought he ‘had over done it’.  With the car understeering more than expected at the start he said once he got used to it this worked in his favour as he was able to push harder without having any concerns of traction rolling on the track’s unique & not very popular levels of traction.  Describing his car and engine as ‘perfect’, he said he couldn’t have asked for more from his equipment and his pitman & Orcan owner Bertram Kessler.  While his rivals hit problems Hagberg said his only moment of the race was when his car got stepped on in the pitlane during his fuel stop just before he came up on half distance.  Having just made a stop ahead of Hagberg, JJ Wang’s Mugen would suffer a body tuck on being released with it stuck in the pitlane as his mechanic went to fix it his foot made contact with the Xray but luckily Hagberg didn’t suffer more than a slight break in concentration. Aware that Groskamp was on a longer fuel strategy, Hagberg unable to match the Dutch driver’s 6-minute run time and opting for 5:20 so as to end up having to do just one more stop, he said throughout the race he never really knew the exact order and even after Groskamp’s late flameout he didn’t relax too much although he did give Sahashi plenty of space to unlap himself in the closing laps.

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Despite ending up fourth having swapped the lead back & forth with Hagberg, Groskamp was pleased with his pace in the race saying ‘we battled for the win and entertained the crowd’.  The former Electric Touring Car World Champion complimented Hagberg on his drive admitting that even had he ran a faultless race himself he thinks his rival would have had just enough to still take his ‘well deserved’ win as towards the end his Velox V10 ‘got loose’.  Just as the race entered the second half, the Team Shepherd driver would clip the curbing and roll as he was about to pit.  Losing the advantage he had gained from having to do one less stop than his rivals, he said his challenge ultimately ended with a flame out on the straight with 13 minutes to go.  Declaring that he ‘can be happy’ with the performance of his Maxima engine & fuel, only Maxima team-mate Lomrose Mongkolplan also stretching 6-minutes between stops, it was his 3rd last stop when ‘things went wrong’.  A slow out-lap after contact with the pitlane he said in the same stop they also didn’t get a full fill of the tank and that this would catch up with them just ahead of his next scheduled stop with him running out of fuel.

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Starting from pole position, Serpent’s Dominic Greiner had mixed emotions after the race.  The only direct qualifier for the Main, the German made a strong start to his first ever World Championship appearance with his 748 pulling clear of the field over the opening 5-minutes.  A slow first fuel stop at 5-minutes, the 22-year-old describing as ‘awesome’ the run time Groskamp & Hagberg were able to get, he would rejoin in the lead pack but on six & a half minutes he would hit the curb coming off the straight and roll.  Damaging the rear right tyre he said this left him with a difficult car for the rest of the race.  Setting the fastest lap of the race, Greiner said while his Max engine was fast it was a little rich leading to his flame out on 10-minutes just as he passed the pitlane before his crew were set to call him in next time round.  ‘Disappointed’ on one side at not being able to battle through the race for the win, he said he had to be happy with taking ‘TQ, finishing on the podium and setting the fastest lap’ on his first time attending the World Championships.

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Through his limited english, Sahashi said he was ‘very happy’ to finish runner-up adding that starting from the back of the grid the result exceeded his best expectations. Pitting his Picco powered 748 on 5-minutes, the Japanese ace said the car was very consistent over the entire race as was the engine with the race throwing up no dramas.

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Starting from 5th on the grid, JJ Wang would end the race in that position as the top Mugen finisher. Declaring himself happy with the result of his first World Championship Main appearance, the Chinese-American said his Novarossi powered MTX-6 was good until he rolled it just before his first fuel stop. Leaving him with a chunked tyre and twisted bodyshell, the 16-year-old said while now more difficult to drive he just pushed on to the finish making his way back up from 9th to 5th. Having got his first taste of a World Championship Main he said he already ready looking forward to next year’s 1:8 Onroad World Championships in Brazil.

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Completing the Top 6, Francesco Tironi described his race as ‘really difficult’.  A podium finish at the last World Championships, the factory Shepherd driver said changing the ride height of his Velox V10 to protect the chassis plate for the longer race left it ‘hard to push’ and he just ‘ran around and around for the 1-hour’.  Suffering one flame out, he said overall this had no effect on his final position.

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Finishing out his reign as World Champion with 7th, Meen Vejrak said his race was going pretty much to plan until he lost second gear.  Starting from 4th on the grid, the factory KM Racing driver ran in the Top 3 but having gone a lap down on the leaders his challenge for a podium would end at 45-minutes as he pitted for almost two & a half minutes to have a new gear fitted.  Elsewhere after an impressive run up through four finals from the 1/16th to make the Main, Capricorn driver Peter Jovanovic would retire from the race after 15-minutes.  Starting seventh the Australian was up to fourth before a broken fuel tank lid which jammed open would force him to call an end to his busy day.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Champion Vejrak to defend title from P4

Meen Vejrak

After a below expectations qualifying, reigning World Champion Meen Vejrak will defend his 200mm title from 4th on the grid after the 1/4 Final qualifier won his Semi Final to bump up to the 1-hour Main at Huge RC Circuit in Bangkok, Thailand.  Starting from 9th on the grid, the KM Racing driver quickly moved his way to the front making a strong pass on fellow 2012 podium finisher Francesco Tironi at the 13-minute mark coming of the sweeper at the end of the straight. Behind, Mugen driver JJ Wang would finish 7.7 seconds in 2nd after a thrilling last minute battle with Tironi, the pair originally battling for the last direct bump up position until Peter Jovanovic had to make a splash & dash on the penultimate lap having been running second.  Although the Australian had to wait to see the race times of the second Semi, his pace, as was that of Yuya Sahashi who finished 5th, was good enough to give him one of the 3-fastest race time bump ups.

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Commenting on his race, Vejrak said his OS Speed powered H-K1 was very difficult to drive towards the end of the half hour and driving the last 5-minutes at ‘only 50%’ he said he will have to make a set-up change for Q2 a sentiment shared by 16-year-old Wang who was delighted to make his first World Championship final.  Confident he can improve his car for the Main and having already run two finals today, the Pattaya driver said he is feeling really confident he is in a strong position to successful retain his World title. While Vejrak had a good race up front, his Semi would see the demise of fellow 2012 Finalist Andy Moore who went off and broke a rear lower arm on his HB R10, and former finalist Mark Green who suffered a flame out during his third pit stop.  Pole position starter Nicholas Lee made a good start to lead from Green for 10 laps until the Singapore driver rolled.  The Xray driver would eventually finish 8th just behind his cars designer & 2008 podium finisher Martin Hudy.

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In the other Semi there would be confusion afterwards to who had actually won.  Originally the timing screen showed pole position starter Alexander Hagberg as taking the win from 2008 Top Qualifier Jilles Groskamp.  In the end after a number of checks it was discover that Groskamp had missed a lap on the timing system midway through the race and again on his last lap, the Shepherd driver being classified second but as a non finisher.  With the results corrected, the Shepherd driver who having ran one less stop than Hagberg having been able to get 6-minutes from his Maxima engine, would get the win and 2nd on the grid behind direct top qualifier Dominic Greiner with Hagberg lining up 3rd.  Also coming through from that Semi was Maxima team driver Mongkolpan Lomrose and 2010 podium finisher Takehiro Terauchi despite the Mugen driver having a flame out during his first stop.

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While Lomrose gave HB one car in the final, the same race would see the demise of their star driver Teemu Leino.  Running 4th, having bumped up from the 1/4 Finals, the Finn hit trouble on the out lap after his second stop, his R10 steering linkage popping out.  While his crew were able to fix it and getting him going again he would retire at 20-minutes with further steering problems after an off.  Host track owner Surikarn C who looked good to bump up would hit bad luck as he crashed with Simon Kurzbuch with his Mugen flaming out in the incident.  1:8 World Champion Tadahiko Sahashi, who started 2nd, would also be a non-finisher. Star of the Electric Touring Car World Championships in Florida last month, Bruno Coelho would call a 10-minute delay to the race start after his engine broke in the warm-up.  Getting a new one fitted and having to start from the back of the grid he would eventually finish 7th.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

World Champion progresses to Semi

Meen Vejrak

Defending World Champion Meen Vejrak is through to the Semi Finals at the 200mm World Championship but it would be a very tense closing minute & a half to the 1/4 Finals for the KM Racing driver.  Starting from pole position, due to a disastrous first day of qualifying, the Thai driver had control of the 20-minute encounter leading from man on a mission Peter Jovanovic but as the race reached the closing stages he would struggle to control his H-K1. A heavily loaded 10-car grid, Vejrak’s car would suddenly become nervous to drive, it clear to see he was struggling to keep it on four wheels.  Suffering a roll that would lose him over 4-seconds, he would get unlapped by the 3rd place battling pair of Martin Hudy and Robert Pietsch with fastest man on the track Jovanovic going to the front.  Tentatively trying to bring the car home, Vejrak would just hold on to finish second ahead of Hudy & Pietsch who such as the World Champion’s loss of pace managed to get the gap down to 2 seconds.  One more lap and the outcome could have been very different.  Afterwards a clearly relieved Vejrak would find out that the loss of a rear body clip had allowed the body to lift with the opposite side cutting into his rear tyre to cause his handling issues.

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Behind Jovanovic, the Australian Capricorn driver looking stronger and stronger as he bumps up for a third time, and Vejrak, Hudy would benefit from a fast last pitstop to get ahead of 2010 Top Qualifier Robert Pietsch in the pitlane.  While the Mugen designer would come back at his Xray counterpart, unfortunately contact with Serpent’s Toni Gruber would end the German’s chances of getting a Top 3 to progress as he lost 2-seconds in the incident.  Despite a sterling effort to recover, it is 2008 podium finisher Hudy who goes  to the Semi, the separation at the finish just 1/10th of a second.  The encounter would see the demise of a number of big names including two former champions Keisuke Fukuda (2006) and HB’s Adrien Bertin (2004).

Teemu Leino

In the second of the 1/4 finals, 2012 Top Qualifier Teemu Leino would also come close to succumbing to tyre issues.  Top Qualifier of two rounds of qualifying but suffering run time issues in the final two qualifiers, the HB would start from pole and would lead from start to finish, but like Vejrak he would also struggle in the closing minutes.  Afterwards the Finn said both his rear tyres had come unglued make the car ‘super difficult’ to drive.  Leino would also have issues in his pitstop half way into the race when on releasing the R10 the roof collapsed forcing him to pit again on the next lap to have it fixed.  Despite this he never gave up the lead.

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4.6 seconds behind Leino, 2010 Finalist Sinnosuke Yokoyama, having secured the final bump-up position of the 1/8 B Final to start 10th, would take his OS Speed powered Xray to second.   Thai 2012 Semi-Finalist Mongkolpan Lomrose would hang on to complete the Top 3 to again take his place in the Semis, his Maxima powered HB finishing 1.5 seconds ahead of 2010 finalist Takaaki Shimo.  Unfortunately for Capricorn driver Kyle Branson, a roll just after coming out from his final pitstop while holding third would see him suffer an engine cut and put an end to his chances of progressing, with him coming home sixth.

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View the complete event results here.

View our event image gallery here.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

1/8 Finals Update

Mazzeo Car

The day teams and drivers have waited two years for has finally arrived at the 200mm World Championships, with proceedings in Thailand getting underway with the 1/8 Finals from which the biggest casualty of the two 20-minute encounters would be Dario Balestri. After a torrid time in qualifying due to run time issues, the Capricorn driver would start the race from 7th on the grid, quickly working his way to the front.  Running second behind fellow Italian Alessio Mazzeo at 8-minutes his quest to progress would effectively end as his XRD engine cut.  Although he would rejoin and set the fastest lap, the 2012 Semi Finalist would only recover to 5th.  Behind the Max powered Serpent of 2013 European Champion Mazzeo, Japanese drivers Shoki Takahata, the KM Racing driver having bumped up from last nights 1/16 Final, and Sinnosuke Yokoyama completed the Top 3 to secure their places on the 1/4 Final grid.

Gruber

In the first of the 1/8 Finals to run, 18-year-old Serpent driver Toni Gruber all but controlled the entire race having started from pole position.   Having lapped the entire field, the German’s only hiccup came when he rolled his Novarossi powered 748 with 5-minutes to go.  Behind, Capricorn’s Peter Jovanovic didn’t make things easy for himself but such was his speed he was able to get second.  Having struggled like team-mate Balestri in qualifying with run time issues from his XRD engine, making the switch to Capricorn’s SQR engine Jovanovic managed to win yesterday evening’s 1/16 final.  Starting the 1/8 final from 8th on the grid despite rolling his LAB C03 three times he was able to recover each time setting the fastest lap enroute to his second bump up. Thai Xray/Maxima driver Tanit K, who had a race long battle with Yamada Hayato before the pair came together for which the latter got a stop & go, would complete the Top 3 to make sure he continues in the event.

View the complete event results here.

View our event image gallery here.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Live Event Updates

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Introduction

Red RC are at Huge RC in Bangkok, Thailand for the 2014 IFMAR 1/10th 200mm World Championships. Returning to Thailand for the 2nd time in as many years, last time out it was Meen Vejrak that took the win on home soil and this year racers from around the World will be out to take the title away from him on this indoor high grip asphalt track. Red RC's coverage begins in full on Monday noon (10th) and we will be trackside bringing you reports, insights, videos and photos directly from the track throughout the week.

Local time in Bangkok, Thailand

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