June 6, 2009

No change after Round 3

There was no change at the top of qualifying here for the inaugural Bumod Grand Prix with Robert Pietsch and Jilles Groskamp remaining in the TQ spots. Biggest mover for the round in 1:8 was Patrick Schaefer who finally completed the distance to record 32 laps and move into 3rd with his Novarossi powered Shepherd. Sabrina Lechner also had a good run posting 32 laps and now lies 5th. Having redeemed himself in the second qualifier Robert Pietsch let himself down again making a driver error which ended his run.  Michael Salven’s run was ended suddenly when a stone locked up his 966. In 1:10 Groskamp was fastest for the round but the Dutch ace was unable to match the pace he set this morning despite running his Max leaner to make just one fuel stop over the 10 minute heat. DJ Apolaro made it a 1-2 in the round for the new Serpent touring car while third went to Surikarn C. who had the fastest lap of the third qualifier.  Dirk Wischnewski’s run came to a halt when the brake on his Xray locked up.

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June 6, 2009

Pietsch takes control

Robert Pietsch has made up for his rather embarrasing incident before the start of the first qualifier here at the Bumod GP to set the new benchmark with a provisional TQ run of 33 laps in 10:08.106.  The German laid down some super fast laps finishing well clear of his international rivals with DJ Apolaro being the best of the rest.  After a terrible opening round the American was really happy with his 966 having switched to a larger diameter tyre to combat the high tyre wear.

Michael Salven described his run as ‘terrible’, but it was enough to move him up to third.  Having badly damaged his new bodyshell in the warm-up for his opening heat, he ran an old body in the second qualifier but the much heavier shell made the car totally different to drive.  Making a number of mistakes the German finished the heat but with a broken wheel on one side of his 966 and a chuncked tyre on the other. Still managing a 32 lap run, Salven has repaired his lighter shell with Shoe Goo which is now drying in the very hot Turkish sunshine.

Once again Patrick Schaefer was enjoying a good running but exiting the pitlane after his fuel stop he hit the pitwall catching his front wheel in one of the bolts used to join the lengths of delrin.  This resulted in him breaking his second servo saver of the day but as Schaefer put it himself ‘it is better than being down to servos’. The German said the car was running well but it may have been difficult over the second part of the race as he had started on smaller diameter used tyres so as to save his new tyres for this evenings cooler runs.

Having held the TQ after the opening round Sabrina Lechner had a troublesome second heat. As she was in the pitlane waiting for the track to open the receiver battery in her Serpent went dead.  Missing the start as they changed the pack she then ran out of fuel as she entered the pitlane for her first pit stop.

In 1:10 Austrian Xray driver Gerhard Kandelhardt topped the round with a 30 lap run that moves him up to 4th. ‘Kandi’ said his GQ shod NT1 was working well but felt his Orcan engine was lacking in power.  Second fastest for the round was Dirk Stammler with America Scott Rister third fastest with his Xray/Max combination.  The fastest three from the first round, times which were not beaten in the second, all made mistakes.  Provisional TQ holder Jilles Groskamp started off his heat running a faster pace but after hitting a car he was lapping he then started to make mistakes on his own.  Eventually he had a big off which broke both front wheels on his Serpent.  Having switched to harder tyres Dirk Wischnewski said his car was better but driver error ended his run.  Surikarn C. made two mistakes on his run. Having switched to the OS, having found the Max to run very hot in the opening heat, he said the car was running much faster now.  Apolaro, who is driving the new Serpent 7XX, had a wheel come off which incidently was put on by the car’s creator Michael Salven!  The 200mm Winternats Champion said he not getting enough time to work on the car and this is being compounded by his lack of knowlegde of the new model.

Round 3 will see the 1:8 drivers reseeded which should allow the top drivers to push harder however the high temperatures will most likely mean a slower track.

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June 6, 2009

Lechner & Groskamp TQ first qualifier

After a rather incident packed opening round of qualifying at the Bumod Grand Prix it is Sabrina Lechner and Jilles Groskamp who have laid down the benchmark times. First up were the 1:10 runners with Groskamp surprising even himself with a very fast run of 31 laps in 10:19.181. Having set the pace in practice yesterday, the World class driver from the Netherlands went even quicker this morning knocking 4/10th off his best lap time. Running a two stop strategy over the 10 minute heat with his Max powered prototype Serpent he believes faster times can come but in the final round today when conditions should be at their coolest.

Second fastest for the round was a rather bemused Dirk Wischnewski. The Xray team driver said, ‘My car felt good but time is too slow. I only made one stop, Jilles made two. I really have to push much harder’. His Orcan powered NT1 set a time of 30 laps in 10:04.510.

Also managing a 30 lap run, Surikarn C. said his run was fine.  Using a Max engine in the rear of his Xray, the Thai driver will try his OS for the second round of qualifying as he continues to back to back the two engines.  Dirk Stammler completed the top 4 for the round despite coming in too early for his pit stop which cost him some time. Driving an OS powered Serpent 720 the German will try a different bodyshell next time out to try and reduce understeer.

Sabrina Lechner, who managed to fit in a quick TV interview with Turkish television just before the run, was happy to TQ the opening 1:8 round in Turkey laughing at the fact she did it having done three pit stops.  Her Serpent 966 ran well in the hot conditions but after the first fuel stop her engine went off tune something she feels is being caused by the different fuel she is running here this weekend.  The time of 30 laps in 10:02.648 was slower than that of Groskamp’s 1:10 and Lechner is fully aware that will thumble in the next round. Making it a Serpent 1-2 for the round Austrian Michael Meisinger at the controls of a Picco powered 960 said he drove a safe run.  Completing the Top 3 was local driver Alparslan Ozanturk using a Mugen/JP combination.

He was the clear pace setter in practice yesterday but this morning got off to a bad start for factory Mugen driver Robert Pietsch.  Just as the cars were called to the pitlane following their warm up he ran off the track rolling his car in the process.  A chunked rear tyre meant he would miss the start of the heat leaving him to sit out the round. Afterwards he commented ‘It was a frequency problem in the brain’. Michael Salven was another to hit trouble before the start of his heat. Having lost his way with set-up yesterday he had his 966 back working again but in the warm-up he collected a car sitting on its roof in the middle of track resulting in a broken front wishbone on the former European Champion’s car.

Managing to make the start of the heat, Shepherd front man Patrick Schaefer was looking good but as he came into the pits for his first fuel stop he made contact with another car which broke the servo saver on his Velox.  American ace DJ Apolaro had a morning to forget.  In 1:8 he fell foul of the big difference in the level of drivers running in the heats.  Three laps in he had an off on the main straight trying to avoid a slower car. No damage was done to his 966 but he opted to come in. Race organisers have, after discussions with the drivers, now decided to do a reseed after the second round of today’s five qualifiers – the addition of a fifth round being announced late last night.  In 1:10 Apolaro lost a plug on the startline.  Getting going again to record 29 laps he said afterwards the engine is done.

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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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