July 23, 2009

Hagberg sets early pace

After three days of untimed free practice, controlled practice is now underway here in Gubbio with 1:10 200mm Euros debutant Alexander Hagberg setting the early pace.  Hagberg is an established electric touring car racer but has quickly adapted to nitro racing having only started in the class this year.  The Swede set a fastest lap time of 15.939 to top the times sheets from young Italian Biagio Spataro who posted a 15.999.  Hagberg said his Max powered Xray was perfect this morning and feels a Top 5 placing in qualifying is very possible now.  Running Matrix tyres on dish wheels he will now try a softer wheel for his next run.  15-year-old Spataro made a number of changes to his car for this morning including lowering the rear diff oil and switching to a lighweight Blitz body.  The Xray/JP driver said the car felt really fast and the bodyshell made it easier to drive.  Making it three Xray’s at the top was Spanish National Championship front runner Inaki Pahissa Lopez (16.016). One of the late arrivals at the track, only getting here on Tuesday, he said his car felt really easy to drive and other than trying different shores tyres he will leave the set-up the same for his next run.

Fourth fastest was former double European Junior Champion Kyle Branson (16.028). Driving his Sirio powered Serpent 733 the British National Champion said the car felt pretty good but he might play around with tyres next time out. Fifth fastest was another of the Sirio team drivers Dino Giacalone (16.060) at the controls of an Xray.

Warm Up race winner and one of the pre event favourites Giuseppe D’Angelo (16.085) completed the Top 6. The Italian ran a brand new Mugen MTX-4R which he has built up as his race car with final settings on it.  Happy with the set-up he will now revert to his test car for the remainder of the day.

Elsewhere defending Champion Dario Balestri had a difficult run after changing the set-up on his Novarossi powered Team Magic.  The Italian didn’t run a transponder but said the big changes made the car terrible to drive and he will revert back to yesterday’s set up.  Other big names not running transponders were Francesco Tironi, Teemu Leino and Adrien Bertin. Tironi used the run to test a brand new Mugen chassis which wasn’t perfect.  Leino wasn’t giving anything away but we get the feeling the flying Finn is there or there abouts in terms of pace. Former World Champion Bertin said he changed the set-up on his Kyosho but the result was a car that was traction rolling.  World Champion Daniele Ielasi (16.481), who is debuting the new Shepherd Velox V10, had a troubled run.  Running an Xray gearbox on the car he couldn’t get it to work and is now busy fitting a Kyosho gearbox to the car.

View our event image gallery here.

July 22, 2009

New in the Pits – Part 2

Making its competition debut at this race is the Velox V10 chassis from Shepherd. Only one car at the event, it is being driven by non other than current World Champion Daniele Ielasi. The car which is in its production form looks very similar to that seen at the toy fair with the exception of a few plastic parts that replace aluminium prototype parts. The car is going well and despite it being the first time Daniele drove the production car, he is confident of a good finish come Sunday.

Also new and proving to be very popular in the pits is the new small INS box from Xceed RC. The low profile, lightweight (only 19 grams) filter was only released earlier this month while available in both clear and black it is only here in its semi transparent form as seen on the car of Michael Salven above.

View more images of the new products in our event gallery here.

July 22, 2009

Newcomers impress themselves

Drivers are continuing to clock up the laps here in Gubbio and walking through the pits this evening one can see a lot more happy faces.  One guy with a big smile on his face is World Champion Daniele Ielasi who is carrying all the hopes of 1:10 newcomer Shepherd on his shoulders. Running the sole Velox V10, the Italian said coming to the event he had set himself the goal of making the main final which would be like a victory for the car but the performance of the chassis in free practice is giving him the feeling they can aim higher. Running the same pace as the race favourites, Ielasi said the base set-up of the car is very good and this has allowed them to concentrate on trying lots of different things to see how the car reacts including large tyres. Commenting on the most distinctive features of the V10, its Direct-V-Brake System, Ielasi is very happy with the cars stopping power which can be set very strong without causing the car to lock up.

Also debuting a new car here is the not so well known Capricon RC.  The Italian company has been offering engines and tuning parts for other cars for some time but will shortly become a fully fledged car manufacturer with the release of its 1:10 200mm kit. Heading the two car entry is Martin Christensen. The Danish ace has had a busy day trying to gather as much set-up data as possible about the new creation but said already it is proving very consistent and easy to drive. Cristensen believes he is running about a 1/10th off the fastest pace but feels a fresh engine should make that up.

For Serpent, the company that invented 1:10 nitro racing, this week is an important one for their latest creation the 733. A preproduction car ran at the Bumod Grand Prix in Turkey but now the full team are equipped with production versions. Heading that team is the cars designer Michael Salven. The two time European Champion said his and the rest of the team’s cars are working really well but his main problem was his lack of engine power. On the second of his two race deal with Serpent, Jilles Groskamp is the leading 733 at the moment in terms of pace with his Max powered version. The Dutch ace only arrived here in Gubbio yesterday due to other racing commitments that saw him claim back to back Euro Touring Series titles in Germany over the weekend. Working with former Serpent designer Rene Cornella who has been drafted back into the team for the week to look after the electric touring car ace, Groskamp said he is surprised at how close he is to the established nitro racers who arrived here on Monday.

Britian’s Mark Green is very happy now with his Novarossi powered 733 after getting it to his liking today but said the biggest problem is with his driving.  Missing his apexes in the chicane, the two time Euros runner up feels if he can get that sorted he we be well on the pace.  Asked who he feels is looking strong so far he responded by saying ‘Apart from the entire Italian team’, Jilles looks really good driving perfect lines every lap and with 29 laps predicted for the 7 minutes heats that consistency is going to add up. Alessio Mazzeo and Kyle Branson are the young guns of the Serpent team but its been a tough start to the event for the teenagers. Madrid podium finisher and former European B Champion Mazzeo said his car is working well but he is having many silly problems during his runs like a dead reciever battery and a tyre coming off the rim.  For British Champion Branson tyres was the issue, a lack of them. The former two time Junior Champion had arranged a tyre sponsorship deal ahead of the event but the tyres never arrived leaving him in trouble, but Xceed have stepped in and he will continue the event running their tyres.

After a difficult start to the event Kyosho’s Adrien Bertin said things are much better now after taking a short sleep. The former World Champion flew directly to Italy from the US, where he was supporting Team Orion drivers at the American 1:8 Off Road Nationals, and his travels caught up with him. Feeling a lot fresher today and able to drive in a straight line he has found a good base set-up on his V-One RRR and can now start to work on getting his lap times down.

View our event image gallery here.

July 22, 2009

Drivers settle in at Gubbio

Its another extremely hot day here in Italy as free practice for the 2009 EFRA 1:10 200mm European Championships continues at the beautiful Gubbio track.  Drivers will get another six 10 minute sessions today but with no official timing we will have to wait till tomorrow’s controlled practice before we can get a clearer picture of who is doing what but many of the leading drivers say its going to be a very close competition.

Defending Champion Dario Balestri is here with his new Team Magic G4RS 09 but the Italian knows he will have his work cut out for him if he is retain a third consecutive title. After two sessions this morning he said his car is not perfect suffering from grip roll but with ten more runs to find a better set-up he is not too concerned yet. In Madrid Balestri struggled throughout the event with most writing him off but when it counted most he beat Jilles Groskamp to successfully defend his title.  Groskamp is one of the drivers Balestri fears most here this weekend along with World’s podium finisher Martin Hudy and ex World Champion Adrien Bertin.

Hudy is part of a very strong Xray team. He didn’t attend the ‘Warm Up’ race but together with team-mate Teemu Leino he had a successful number of days of testing here in June. The Slovak driver said he is feeling very comfortable at the controls of his Max powered NT1 and is targeting a podium finish come Sunday. Leino, who was Top Qualifier in Madrid, is running his World’s car at the moment but in between practice rounds has been building a new NT1 that he will run later today. Also looking strong for Xray is Bumod Grand Prix winner Dirk Wischnewski. The German had a difficult time with set-up at the ‘Warm Up’ but stayed on after the race for two days testing.  With the car to his liking now the SMI Motorsport team driver is looking strong posting some good (unoffcial) lap times. Other Xray drivers who can be expected to be competitive are Warm Up race podium finisher Niki Duina and top electric touring car racer Alexander Hagberg but the biggest surprise of the week could come in the form of 15-year-old Biagio Spataro who is putting in some extremely fast lap times with his JP powered car.

Having won the ‘Warm up’ Giuseppe D´Angelo is one of the favourites here this week along with his Mugen teammate Francesco Tironi who TQ’d the race. Having conducted a week of testing at the Gubbio track in preparation for the Euros, D´Angelo has developed a new chassis plate and new plastic parts for the MTX-4R and its very pleased with the results. Although they did not attended the warm up race D´Angelo has singled out Balestri and Leino as ones to watch. Other big names in the Mugen camp are Rick V. and Robert Pietsch. Rick V. hasnt raced 200mm since last year’s World Championship due to his 1:8 World Championship preparations and admitted its taking him time to readjust his driving style to 1:10.  Although he is running the same engine/chassis package as D´Angelo the Dutch ace is having to find his own set up as he is running ZAC Project tyres but he said this morning has been very productive and he is much happier now with his pace. Also focusing on the 1:8 Worlds, which take place in Swtzerland next month, Pietsch has only competed twice in 200mm this year but has the benefit of one of them being the ‘Warm Up’ race. Although he retired from the Main final with a broken car, the Mugen designer said he was happy with his lap times and so far free practice has gone to plan but admits there are many more fast guys here now.

In our next report we will bring you news from the Serpent and Kyosho camps and the sports newest arrivals Shepherd and Capricon.

View our event image gallery here.

July 22, 2009

New in the Pits – Part 1

New in the pits is the Capricorn RC 200mm car, which is making its competition debut here in Gubbio. The car, which we featured CAD images of some time ago, is nearing completion with only a few parts left to be finalized before its scheduled release next month. We took a look at the car belonging to Martin Christensen, one of only two cars here and he talked us through it. The car is extremely low and as is the trend with modern 200mm touring cars, the bulkheads are machined from aluminium like on the new Serpent 733 and the Shepherd Velox V10. This provides a lot of stiffness and brings the weight more to the centre line of the car.

A conventional car regarding geometry and adjustment possibilities, the car sports a nice feature that allows the entire axles, along with CVD shaft, to be pulled through the blocks by removing a clip mounted on the inside. Other nice touches are the machined aluminium servo saver, that has carbon inserts to adjust the Ackermann, and the differentials that are using the company’s own composite diff gears for a large weight saving. With this weight saving, the car can now utilize a brass battery plate to bring the weight down as low as possible. Overall a nice looking car, especially with the red anodising, and one of the best things that Martin liked about the car is its simplicity and ease of maintenance.

View more images of the new car in our event gallery here.

July 21, 2009

World’s best in Gubbio for Euros battle

This week the beautifully presented Gubbio track in the centre of Italy plays host to the 2009 EFRA 1:10 200mm European Championships. After a one year break due to EFRA’s hosting of the World Championship in Portugal last year, the sixth European title will be awarded on Sunday evening to one of the 120 drivers, from 16 nations, up on the Formula one style podium. Amoung the quality entry are 8 of the 10 World Finalists including World Champion Daniele Ielasi and the Top Qualifier Jilles Groskamp. The defending European Champion Dario Balestri is aiming for a European Championship hat trick on home soil having held the title since 2006 when he won in the Netherlands. Hoping to take the challenge to Balestri will be Top Qualifier in Madrid Teemu Leino and EC Warm Up race winner Guiseppe D’angelo. Other big names on the entry list include former World Champion Adrien Bertin and two time European Champion Michael Salven. In the pits the big story is the debut of the new Velox V10 from Shepherd, with just a single car here for Ielasi, and the new Capricon chassis. Danish ace Martin Christensen, a finalist at both the last Worlds and Euros, will race one of two of the Italian made cars entered.

Drivers have already had two days of free practice and this set to continue until Friday when we will get down to the serious business of qualifying. New for the Euros this year is the 7 minute qualifiers which are set to spice things up, particularly in the pitlane. After a long day of travel we have arrived in Gubbio to glorious 35 degree sunny weather and tomorrow morning our coverage, which is supported by Team Orion, Serpent and Mugen, will kick off in full.

View our event image gallery here.