Rheinard leads at RROC after ‘almost perfect day’

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Marc Rheinard leads the way at the end of the first day of racing at the Reedy International Touring Car Race of Champions. An ‘almost perfect day’, the Tamiya driver capped off a run of three wins with a third in the day’s final round.  Chasing a record 5th title at the World famous event that now honours the memory of rc industry pioneer Mike Reedy, Rheinard holds a two points advantage over defending champion Ronald Volker as Meen Vejrak holds third with two more days of racing to come.  The fourth round of racing would see Christopher Krapp becoming the third multiple winner as he backed up his Round 2 victory with a win over Volker.  Pulling off the pass of the day to get by fellow Swede Alexander Hagberg, Viktor Wilck notched up his first win as did Akio Sobue when he led home Keven Hebert and Rheinard.

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A two time winner of the event at Tamiya Raceway, 2006 & 2007, Rheinard said to end the first day at the top of the points is always a great way to start off but cautioned ‘there is still a long way to go’.  Set to start the opening race of Day 2 from pole position, the 4-time World Champion hoped he could keep his points tally low with another win. Commenting on his Round 4 race, the German said his TRF419 was good and he felt he could have challenged for the win until when running side by side with JJ Wang the HB driver got out of shape and they collided.  Pointing out the contact was not Wang’s fault and was just ‘an unlucky moment’ that was enough to deny him a chance of a ‘perfect day’.

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Volker described his day’s performances of a win, 2 seconds and a third as ‘solid but only average’.  Adding that while the results give him a chance of a podium finish he added if he is to fight for the overall win he ‘need(s) a way better day’ tomorrow. Challenging Nicholas Lee for the lead of his race in Round 4 after pole starter Charlie Phutiyotin made a mistake on lap 6, Volker would make contact with the Singaporean driver through the sweeper. Having to wait to give back position this allowed Krapp’s Tamiya through for the win.

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After a ‘rough start’ that left him last, Krapp said despite being very frustrated he just kept it rolling and it paid off.  Having had a huge off at the end of the straight on lap 3 of Round 3, the multiple World’s finalist said with the benefit of his tyre being almost new he was able to close a little on the leaders as he posted the fastest lap of the round. Thanking his mechanic Takayuki Kono for ‘a good job’ in getting his car ready after his earlier crash, Round 4 being brought forward by almost an hour in the schedule, he said once he got into the lead he was able to cruise to the finish.  His first visit to the Tamiya track, he said he was happy for his team as his win made them the most winning manufacturer of Day 1 while also putting him 5th in the points overnight.

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Starting from 7th on the grid in the round’s opening race Sobue, who kicked off the day with a pair of second places, said his win brought a good finish to the day.  The 20-year-old who was star of the recent fourth round of the ETS in Austria when he mixed with Volker for the win, said his retirement in the previous round gave him the benefit of new tyres. With the fastest lap time of that heat, the World Championship finalist would also benefit from Freddy Sudhoff making contact with long time race leader Juho Levanen’s Associated and the earlier Wang and Rheinard moment.

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‘Finally’ was Wilck’s reaction to winning what was the best of the day’s 12 encounters.  The sole Serpent driver in attendance at the Californian event in the invite class, he said after ‘unlucky heats and shit starts’ it was nice to end the day with a win even though it came the hard way. Contact with front row starter Meen Vejrak in the first corner caused both to spin, he said he then just went for it to try and get back as many of the positions lost as possible. Tagging Hagberg a number of times, he said when he finally pulled off the pass it ‘felt good’.  Elaborating on the pass he said with this year’s traction the hairpin after the sweeper was the only place on the track a pass could be executed highlighting the many attempted passes through the sweeper that went awry. Feeling ‘it’s pretty much over for the win’ as his former TRF team-mate Rheinard already has three wins, 10 of the 12 rounds to count, he said he will ‘still keep at it’ as over the remaining two days ‘anything can happen’.

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Rheinard continues winning way at RROC

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Marc Rheinard’s winning run continued at the Reedy Race of Champions as the Tamiya driver took a third consecutive victory despite starting his 3rd race of the event from last on the grid.  Giving the German a perfect score so far, the round would see Meen Vejrak become the only other multiple winner as the Thai driver held off the challenge of reigning champion Ronald Volker.  In a re-run of Heat 1, Japan’s Naoki Akiyama notched up a first win with a tone to tone victory over Andrew Hardman.  The same heat would see Round 2 winner Christopher Krapp suffer a huge off at end of the straight heavily damaging his Tamiya.  For World Champion Naoto Matsukura the day didn’t improve with Freddy Sudhoff making contact with the Tamiya driver in the sweeper on lap 12, the impact forcing the Japanese ace to retire 3-laps later.

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‘Not so bad, not so bad’, was Rheinard’s reaction to his win which was impressive considering drivers complaints about the narrow line making it difficult to overtake and the fact that Rheinard started the race 10th.  The first race up after a break from racing, he said there was ‘no grip’ making his Much More powered TRF419 ‘not so easy to drive’.  With a ‘good start’, he ‘just waited to see how the battle out front worked out’ knowing that Matsukura was slower than Sudhoff.  After the pair crashed he said he was able to take it easy and save his tyres for the day’s final encounter.  Starting 6th in Round 4, the German said it would be great to do a clean sweep but with team-mate Akio Sobue retiring at the start he should have the advantage of almost new tyres.  He also said with JJ Wang and Sudhoff proving very fast it was going to be a competitive heat.

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Taking the lead when Volker got out of shape through the track’s famous kink, Vejrak said his day was ‘going a lot better than last year’, when the Thai driver found himself last in the points ranking at the end of the first day of racing.  Making contact with Volker’s car when he got out of shape, the former 200mm World Champion said the impact popped in the front of his bodyshell causing his BD7 to understeer slightly. Driving it safe he said he just stuck to his lines and this was enough to see off Volker’s challenge to retake the lead.  Starting from 5th on the grid Volker said he ‘got a lucky start (and) came out of the sweeper in first’. With his car loose for the first 2-minutes he said he got out of shape at the kink for a couple of laps before he finally lost it. Although his car was ‘faster’ than Vejrak’s going off line to try and pass saw his tyres pick up dirt and he struggled for the next few corners. With Vejrak making no mistakes he said he had to settle for second.  Disappointed with the result considering arch rival Rheinard got a third win he said at least his Yokomo team managed 1-2 finish in 2 of the 3 races.

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With the Reedy Race his first race in the US, 15-year-old Akiyama was delighted with his win.  The Yokomo supported up & coming Japanese driver said he was under a lot pressure from fellow teenager Hardman towards the end of the race but luckily he was able to control his nerves to the finish.

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Chassis Focus – Alexander Hagberg

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Chassis – Xray T4 2015
Motor – ORCA 4.5
ESC – ORCA
Batteries – Reedy 6200mah
Tires – Sweep (handout)
Radio/Servo – Sanwa
Bodyshell – Protoform LTC-R
Remarks – At his first outing on the World famous Tamiya Raceway, TITC Champion Alexander Hagberg is running a T4 2015 equipped with a number of option parts such as graphite wishbones, steel outdrives and aluminium servo horn and steering arms. The Swede is also using AVID titanium ballstuds & ceramic bearing, Hiro Seiko screws and for the heads up racing format has decided to fit a Protoform’s anti-body tuck stiffener in the back of his LTC-R.

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2 from 2 for Rheinard

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Marc Rheinard has got his Reedy Race of Champions off to the best possible start with the Tamiya driver making it two wins from the first two rounds of racing at Tamiya Raceway.  Starting up front in the same heat as the other two winners from the opening race of the event, Rheinard led from start to finish as Ronald Volker worked his way up to third with Meen Vejrak managing only 6th after a mistake while trying to avoid hitting his Yokomo team-mate.  In the other two races Xray’s Alexander Hagberg and Christopher Krapp capitalised on front row starts to clock up their first wins.

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Commenting on his race, Rheinard said he pushed hard at the beginning to ensure he had a good gap over Volker in case his rival got through the pack early and after that ‘just kept it on the track’.  Set to start Round 3 of 12 from 10th on the grid, the 4-time Reedy Race champion said ‘let’s see what happens’ pointing out the track’s narrow racing line this year is greatly reducing the opportunities to pass.

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Defending Champion Volker said from 7th to 3rd was not a bad result considering normally something happens on the first lap to help you gain a few places.  The ETS champion said because ‘you can’t do different lines like last year’ all he could do was wait for mistakes as he caught each driver ahead of him. Describing his LRP powered BD7 as ‘awesome’ he said by the time he got to third the gap was too much to catch second placed Akio Sobue. Winner of Heat 2 in the opening round, Meen V said his BD7 was good and his mistake was a result of braking too hard to try to avoid contact with the back of Volker’s car on lap 6 of 24.

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In the second encounter it was Naoto Matsukura who would take up the early lead.  The World Champion would come under pressure from a recovering Krapp but on lap 5 a mistake by the Japanese driver would allow his team-mate to go to the front.  Commenting on his win, Krapp said ‘in the end it worked out pretty good’ highlighting his 360 spin at the start that dropped him to third.  Describing his TRF419 as ‘brilliant’ he said he expected to come under pressure from Matsukura once he recovered from his mistake but instead he was able to easily pull away for the win.

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Matsukura said his Tamiya was ‘difficult to drive’ and this led him to catch the curbing.  With his TRF417 ‘too loose’, he said every run they have been forced to make big set-up changes and they will do it again for Round 3.

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Hagberg said his win was helped by starting up front while ‘others got in trouble’.  Describing his Xray as ‘a little better’ he continued he is ‘still struggling with the feeling of the car’.  His first time to race at the Tamiya track, the Swede said with the ‘narrow racing line’ making it ‘so hard to overtake’ starting up front is a big advantage.

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Introduction

Red RC are making our first trip to the Reedy International Touring Car Race of Champions at the Tamiya facility in California. This long standing race with its unique heads up style racing format attracts some of the best drivers from around the World to battle it out for the coveted invite class title. Red RC's coverage begins in full on Thursday afternoon (21st) and we will be trackside bringing you reports, insights, videos and photos directly from the track throughout the week.

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