June 5, 2009

Pietsch & Groskamp set pace in Turkey

Official timed practice has ended on the second day of the Bumod Grand Prix with Robert Pietsch and Jilles Groskamp topping the time sheets here in Turkey. Over the seven 30 minutes session each driver had today Mugen’s Pietsch showed he has the edge over his rivals setting a best lap time of 17.216 which is .185 up on second fastest man Patrick Shaefer who inturn is just 4/1000ths up on Michael Salven. In 1:10 things are closer with only 7/100th seperating Groskamp, who posted a 19.617, from Dirk Wischewski.

Pietsch declared himself as ‘pretty happy’ with his days work and has decided to call it a day as others continue to run here at Bumod in untimed practice. The German is instead giving his MRX4-X a full rebuild ahead of tomorrow when drivers will run four 10 minute qualifiers.  His closet rival Schaefer was also satisfied with his day.  Having run the same shock set-up as used in Lostallo the German will change shock oil and springs on his Velox which should suit the lower traction levels here and allow him to close the gap to his former team-mate.  Early practice pace setter Michael Salven said he lost his way in the later part of the day. Having to oversee the two prototype 7XXs running in 1:10 here, the multiple European Champion feels he missed out on track time and this has resulted in him being almost 2/10th off Pietsch.  Salven will revert to his usual base set-up and fine tune it from there. DJ Apolaro who is running closely on the pace of Schaefer and Salven was full of praise for the Serpent designer who helped him finally get the clutch, gearing and gearbox right on his 966. ‘Michael helped me out and in 5 minutes he had the thing running perfectly. I’m happy with my pace however Pietsch does have the edge but I have been watching him and I’m going to try change my driving style.’ Asked about his touring car the American replied ‘Awesome’. 

Having added an extra shim to the head of her new Max engine for the evening sessions, Serpent backed driver Sabrina Lechner was very happy with her pace. With the engine stabilised and a good balance on her 966 the 19-year-old was able to record the fifth fastest lap of the day. 

Showing the potential of Serpent’s latest touring car creation Groskamp was really positive about his pace and how consistent he can run the Max powered prototype. After further investigation of the two high speed offs he had earlier today the Serpent team found the problem to be the new body shell which due to its forward mounting position was flexing at the front lifting the front tyres off the ground at the fastest part of the track.  Modifications to support the front of the body have now been made and Groskamp will continue to put mileage on the new car this evening but has taken out his good Max XXL3 to save it for qualifying.

For Wischnewski he suffered a massive off at the end of the straight resulting in both the front and rear shock towers breaking on his Xray. The German’s NT1 was launched it into the air before crashing heavily into the track’s perimeter fence after catching debris. Despite the incident the Team Xray driver said it was a productive day and he was pleased with his pace. Making it two Xray’s in the top three Surikarn C. posted a 19.818 lap.  The 2002 Electric Touring car World Champion said everything on the car was working fine but in terms of engines he planned to continue in untimed practice so as to put more mileage on his Max.

Heading the local challenge with the fourth fastest time is Serdar Sakallioglu at the controls of a Serpent 720.  One of the two men responsible for building the superb Bumod facility, the other being Yusuf Ekinci who is racing in 1:8, Sakallioglu is the 2008 Turkish National Champion and is keen to prove his abilities here this weekend among the international field. While the track is still live here it is in the morning when things really start to count as we have the opening qualifier for Turkey’s first ever international nitro race.  The first heat gets underway at 10:00 local time. 

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June 5, 2009

Practice Update

Jilles Groskamp has had two heart stopping moments when his prototype Serpent 7XX went straight on at the end of the main straight as he tried to turn in for the flat out sweeper.  Having set his fastest lap time of 19.6 seconds in the session Groskamp thinks the offs were caused by a radio glitch. After the second off he retired from the session as any serious damage to the prototype car could end his weekend as the Serpent Motorsport team only have limited spares. The Dutch driver, who is also on a deal to race the 7XX at the European Championship in Italy next month, will change frequency for his next run. In terms of the car’s performance switching to a new bodyshell, featuring his distinctive colour scheme, which is mounted more forward on the chassis gave more steering over the orange shell used in earlier practice.

Also running the prototype 1:10 200mm car from Serpent, US nitro sedan star DJ Apolaro said the change of gearing was a huge improvement but now the gearbox needed resetting. Having changed the gearing also on his 1:8 car the factory Novarossi driver said that did not work out as well and he plans another change of pinions.

In the Xray camp Surikarn C. had a rear belt break but the Thai driver is much happier with the steering on his NT1.  Having again tried both his OS and Max engines he said both feel good and he is undecided on which to run tomorrow. Gerhard Kandelhardt tried a very small set of GQs on his NT1 but said it did not feel good and it would be impossible to make 5 minutes on such small tyres.

Patrick Schaefer’s Novarossi powered Velox has a lot more top speed following a change of gearing and the man behind Shepherd Micro Racing is also happier now with the tyre wear.  The German said the improved traction on the freshly laid asphalt here at Bumod along with a few changes to his set-up have made his car more stable putting less stress on his Ennetis.

Factory Mugen driver Robert Pietsch is also much happier with track conditions but still feels tyre wear is high.  Having switched engine his second Novarossi is work better on the fuel supplied by the race organisers.  With the track having a similar flow to the Swiss Lostallo track which hosts this year’s 1:8 World, Pietsch will test a modified CPD in his next session to see how it effects run time.  The German said he will air on the side of caution for tomorrow’s qualifiers and refuel twice over the ten minutes.

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June 5, 2009

Sunny start to Day 2 of Bumod GP

After rain dampened the opening day of the Bumod Grand Prix, competitors woke up this morning to glorious sunshine for the second official practice day here in Bursa, Turkey. With two 30 minute sessions under their belts the drivers can now get down to some productive testing.  In 1:10, Dutch international electric touring car star Jilles Groskamp is setting the early pace with his prototype Serpent 7XX running as he predicted last night some 19 second laps.  The 2008 Worlds Top Qualifier, who said traction is still quite low, has started to play around with different set-ups with the car responding postively to the changes.

During one of his runs Groskamp had a good battle with the Xray of Surikarn C., a man he is more used to mixing it with in electric Touring Cars. Surikarn has spent the morning trying different tyre compunds and is now focusing on getting more steering on his NT1.  Fellow Xray driver Dirk Wischnewski found a softer tyre more to his liking this morning but he hasn’t changed his set-up yet preferring to wait for the traction to come up before making any adjustments. High temperatures appear to be Austrian Gerhard Kandelhardt’s biggest concern which he said could make it difficult to make 5 minutes. The format here this weekend will see qualifying run IFMAR style meaning 10 minute heats. Having run his Max practice engine in the two 30 minute sessions this morning ‘Kandi’ will now switch to his ORCAN Novarossi.

DJ Apolaro, who is racing outside of the US for the very first time, is competing in both 1:10 and 1:8 but has found both his cars are geared too short. The Serpent America team driver is used to super high traction back home and is spinning up tyres out of the corners here.  Unfortunately Apolaro’s shipment of tyres for the race have been seized by local customs and dispite many phone calls will not be released until Monday!! For Michael Salven the morning went off without any major drama and he is pleased with his 966.  The German plans to focus on engines for the next session with run time set to be a big factor come qualifying tomorrow.

Robert Pietsch is finding it not so easy to tune his factory Novarossi engines this morning due to the high oil content of the fuel provided by the race organisers. The German National Champion plans to try a second engine and will also switch to a softer rear anti roll bar on his Mugen.  Pietsch said the high speed layout of the track makes it critical to get a good set-up because if the back is sliding you can loss a lot of time as the car scrubs off speed.

Factory Shepherd driver Patrick Shaefer said his Velox is feeling quite good but he was running too short a gearing. The German is a little concerned about tyre wear which he said is pretty high and he hopes he has enough sets of Ennetis to see him through the rest of the event.  Fast female Sabrina Lechner is pleased with her Serpent 966 but is going to adjust the shims on the head of her Max which is running inconsistent.

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June 4, 2009

Rain returns and calls end to Day 1

The flood lights have been turned on at Bumod but unfortunately the pits are empty after the rain returned to Bursa bringing to an end the opening day of Turkey’s inaugural international nitro event.  With the track wet the drivers have called it a day and made their way to what has to be the most plush r/c restaurant in the world, for dinner compliments of the race organisers. Drivers did however manage to get some partially dry running on the track, with two corners falling to develop a dry line.

The big interest here is the new prototype Serpent 7XX with two cars present for Jilles Groskamp and DJ Apolaro. Groskamp has been testing the car at the MACH in the Netherlands but Apolaro only saw the car for the first time when it arrived last night with designer Michael Salven.  The American ace was full of praise for the design of the new car saying it was very open and felt like more like working on his 1:8 car. Asked about the handling he said that it was difficult to judge with today’s conditions but the car has lots more steering than the 720.  Groskamp said the track will be totally different tomorrow, if the weather forecast proves correct, and that the track will be more than a second faster than today.  Salven described himself as being quite happy with the first public outing of his latest creation.  The two time 200mm European Champion said finding set-up is not so easy due to their lack of knowledge with the 7XX.  The team are also trying a number of prototype diffs in the car but changing oils is proving a messy affair as no seals have being produced yet and they are having to use silicone sealant. Commenting on his own 966 which he is racing here this weekend, Salven said the car is good and feels when the track fully dries it will be faster than Lostallo.

Surikarn C., who is better known for his electric touring car exploits at which he was the 2002 World Champion, was happier with his Xray after getting some further mileage. The Thai driver is finding the track huge saying it is double the size of what he is used to back home. Surikarn ran both an OS and a Max engine today finding the Japanese unit to have the edge but his Max is still very fresh and needs more running to open it up. Dirk Wischnewski said his Novarossi powered Xray was working OK but the conditions made it hard to really feel how the car is handling. The 2008 European B Champion has Bertram Kessler, the man behind SMI Motorsport, pitting for him this weekend and tried the company’s new Audi A5 bodyshell.  The damp track made it hard to judge the difference between it and his Protoform DNA so he will do a back to back test again tomorrow.  Austrian driver Gerhard Kandlehardt, who is also driving an Xray, but with Max Power, said his combination was running well but feels the track is a little big for 1:10.

Focusing on running in two new engines today, factory Mugen and Novarossi driver Robert Pietsch shares the same view of Salven about the track. The German 1:8 National Champion thinks once dry Bumod will be much faster than Lostallo which in August hosts the 2009 IFMAR 1:8 Onroad World Championship. So one day down and three more to go at the the inaugural Bumod Grand Prix and the drivers are retiring to their hotel with fingers crossed that the sunshine, which makes Turkey a popular holiday spot, will greet them in the morning.

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June 4, 2009

Inaugural Bumod GP is GO!

The early silence caused by rain and a wet Bumod track has been broken with Jilles Goskamp and his Max powered prototype Serpent 7XX taking to the drying track to officially get the inaugural Bumod Grand Prix in Bursa, Turkey underway.  Sliding around for the first few laps, the 2008 World Championship Top Qualifier quickly built up to speed as others joined him on this very fast flowing track.  Running under the watchful eye of the car’s designer Michael Salven, Groskamp looked impressive.  Fresh from victory at last weekend’s Euro Touring Series electric touring car race in Holland the Dutch ace said, ‘The track is still slippy but the initial feeling is the car’s balance is very good’.

Others to join Groskamp early on where 2002 Electric Touring Car World Champion Surikarn C. at the controls of his Xay NT1.  After his run the Thai driver said some of the corners are still slippy but he liked the layout of the track.  As more and more drivers take to the track it shouldn’t be long before we have a fully dry track.

In 1:8 top female racer Sabrina Lechner and factory Mugen driver Robert Pietsch used the slow track to run in new engines.  Lechner has switched to Max Power engines in her Serpent 966 while Pietsch has a fresh Novarossi in for the weekend. After watching his new 1:10 200mm creation go around the track in the hands of Groskamp, Michael Salven made a dash for the rostrum to get his first laps of the Bumod track with his Mega powered 966. Looking fast from the off, the German later commented ‘1:8 is going to be a full throttle festival’.

With more and more drivers taking to the track we should start to see grip levels increase allowing the visiting international drivers to tune in their cars to a track which until now have never driven on before. With flood lights all round the track and no noise restrictions there is a strong possibility that testing will continue well into the night here. We will bring you a final update later with news from some of the other big names making the trip to Turkey including America ace DJ Apolaro, who is also debuting Serpent’s 7XX prototype this weekend, and Shepherd headman Patrick Shafer.

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June 4, 2009

Rain delays start of Bumod GP

Open practice for this weekend’s Bumod GP in Bursa, Turkey is scheduled to get underway today, however wet weather in a part of the World that isn’t really used to it, has stopped all action so far today. Some drivers got laps in last night under flood lights, but today has seen very little cars venture on to the track, with light rain falling almost as soon as the track gets dry enough to run on. This has given drivers present the time to get their cars ready and bodies cut out. The weather is expected to improve later on today and the racers will likely take to the track this evening.

Our hosts for this event have offered a warm welcome to all drivers and the amazing facilities here could stand as an example for tracks around the world, with a large driver stand, well laid out pits, a permanent covered grandstand and a completely newly resurfaced track, not to mention the great restaurant on the opposite side of the track to the pits.

Present at this race are a number of top international racers, with some still having to arrive later today. Serpent are here with 2 of their new 7XX cars driven by Jilles Groskamp and DJ Apolaro, and having had a close look at the new chassis I can tell you it looks awesome, we will see later on in the weekend if it performs as well. While no one is allowed photograph the new car, we have been allowed a sneak shot of the cars radio tray to give everyone an example of the consideration and thought put into this car. Also expect more pictures next week.

Orcan, the brand of SMI Motorsport in Germany are showing off their new prototype Audi A5 shell, which in its 3rd iteration, offers good steering in both fast and slow corners and also looks great. The shell is to be released in about a months time and is expected to be EFRA homologated for the 2010 season.

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