V is for victory, Meen is World Champion

KM Racing’s Meen Vejrak, or as he is more commonly referred to as Meen V, is the 1:10 Nitro Touring Car World Champion, the Thai driving becoming the country’s second ever IFMAR World Champion after a stunning performance at the RC Addict track in Bangkok saw him win the rain shortened race from HB’s Atsushi Hara and Capricorns’s Francesco Tironi.  For Top Qualifier Teemu Leino engine issues ended what was looking like a dominant run for the rapid Finn who would eventually crash out 7-minutes before the race ended 56 minutes into the scheduled 1-hour distance.

Having been disappointed at missing out on securing the overall TQ honours in the final round of qualifying 2-days ago, today the 27-year-old was clearly elated by what he had just achieved, the moment being made all the more special by the huge crowd of locals who were on hand to witness the biggest moment of a career that has always shown great promise & potential for the multi discipline international racer.  Choosing to only change the left tyres on his Novarossi powered H-K1 Vejrak said this was the right call and it was thanks to his pitman, who was clearly one of the fastest refuellers in the pitlane, that made the result possible.  Falling behind Hara after his tyre stop but moving back to the front once the Japanese driver made his tyre stop, Vejrak said he knew at this point that the win was possible adding he felt relaxed and in control from that point on.  Not taking any unnecessary risks, on a umber of occasions the factory KM Racing driver pulled up or moved aside to allow recovering drivers to pass rather than jeopardize his lead, as one incident would have been enough to allow Hara close to within striking distance.  Having went out of the last 1:10 World Championship in the Semi while holding a bump up position to the Main after his then prototype KM Racing lost second gear, Vejrak said it was a huge testament to company owner Kenny Ng and the staff for the development they have done in the two years since.

The third World Championship that Hara has finished runner-up since winning his 1:8 Offroad World Championship title in 2008, the legend of the sport was clearly disappointed at having come so close to what would have been his third World title in three different disciplines.  Runner-up to Jilles Groskamp at the electric Touring Car World Championships in the Netherlands earlier this year, Hara said everything in the race was perfect for the win but a late gamble to try and run one extra lap so as they could do one less stop than Vejrak did not pay off with the OS Speed powered R10 flaming out.  Based on his experience from the KM Cup at the track last month, Hara said his tyre strategy of running 40 minutes, for which he had set a target lap time of 15.4 as any faster would have created too much wear, and then only changing the left side also played out perfectly.

Joined in the final by the only other 2 R10′s in the event Hara’s HB team-mates Leino and Andy Moore had contrasting races.  Starting from pole Leino was a DNF but starting from the 10th  & final spot on the grid Moore, who has only raced nitro once before at this year’s European Championship, finished fourth.  Able to build up a massive early lead, Leino’s race took a turn in the second five minutes of the race as he needed to make an unscheduled stop as his LRP engine had gone lean.  Suffering a flame out on the track and a further two more in the pitlane Leino said his car felt really good and while he was able to recover well from the lost time they cost him any chance of the win.  Such was Leino’s pace he was planning on two stops, the first for a full change of tyres and a second with 10-minutes to go for just the left tyres.  While they made the first stop his pit crew opted against the second but with the tyres having worn too low the car eventually bottomed out causing Leino to crash and retire.  Moore said he while he never had the pace to win he feels he could have been third had his engine not flamed out during his tyre stop.  Just a two tyre stop the engine stopping added a further 10 seconds to time he was in the pitlane.

Although one of the best known international drivers in 1:10 Nitro Touring Car, Tironi’s 3rd place today is his best result in a World Championships. Having started out the day in the first of the 1/8 Finals from where he progressed to the 1/4 Final the Italian’s path to finishing on the podium was and will be at a major talking point of the event.  Having been classified 5th in the 1/4 Final, a result they protested, the popular character was allowed progress to the Semi Final as the 11th car on what the rules state will be a 10 car grid.  From there the 2008 World’s finalist finished second to Alexander Hagberg to secure 8th on the grid for the Main.  Tironi said he was ‘very happy’ with the result as having to ‘start the day racing at 9 o’clock’ he never expected to end up on the podium.  Only changing left tyres on his factory LAB-C02 he said his race plan was consistency rather than speed and in the end this helped him to a ‘great result’.

Driving for outgoing champions Xray, Alexander Hagberg was unlucky not to come away with at least a podium finish.  Having put in a great performance to win his Semi and secure his first nitro Worlds Main, the Swede once again had a really good pace, battling with and passing Hara.  Unfortunately during his tyre stop when his pit crew were changing the right hand tyres on his Orcan powered NT1 they blocked the exhaust causing the engine to stop.  Requiring a new glowplug before it could be started, the incident was costly and left the sole Xray to finish 7th ahead of Jilles Groskamp who also lost time after needing a plug change.

One of the pre-event favourites along with Hara, Groskamp’s race went wrong at the first corner.  With Leino running wide in the sweeper at the end of the main straight, the Dutch ace said he had to back off in the corner and this caused him to clip the kerb flipping his Maxima powered Capricorn.  Leaving him last, the incident chunked a rear tyre and while he tried his best to keep up it was difficult but his race was to get worse. While running behind Moore, the HB driver spun in the corner leading onto the straight which Groskamp couldn’t avoid sending him crashing to the outside of the main straight and into the trees where it flamed out.  Back in the pits the engine needed a new plug further adding to the amount of time lost.  Changing tyres on 35 minutes Groskamp, who set the fastest lap of the race, said his LAB-C02 felt really good and he thinks the pace was there to match Meen but the race just wasn’t to be.

After 8 days of competition the fifth running of the Nitro Touring Car World Championships has been completed with Meen V becoming its fifth different World Champion. Red RC would like to thank new world champion manufacturer KM Racing and Matrix tyres, who finished on the podium with Tironi, for making our coverage from Thailand possible. We would also like to thank Jarb Ratanarat and the crew at RC Addict for all their hospitality during our stay in Bangkok.

Final Result
1.(4) Meen Vejrak – KM Racing/Novarossi – 208/56:35.312
2.(3) Atsushi Hara – HB/OS Speed – 207/56:30.902
3.(8) Francesco Tironi – Capricorn/Capricorn – 204/56:33.302
4.(10)Andy Moore – HB/Maxima – 203/56:26.846
5.(7) Chavit Sirigupta – Mugen/Maxima – 202/56:26.715
6.(6) Keisuke Fukuda – Mugen/Picco – 202/56:32.394
7.(5) Alexander Hagberg – Xray/Orcan – 202/56:33.002
8.(2) Jilles Groskamp – Capricorn/Maxima – 201/56:30.134
9.(9) Cheung Hang Hung – KM Racing/Murnan – 196/56:17.902
10.(1)Teemu Leino – HB/LRP – 181/49:57.460

View our event image gallery here.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Meen V World Champion

KM Racing’s Meen V is the 2012 1:10 Nitro Touring Car World Champion, the Thai driver winning a rain shortened race from HB’s Atsushi Hara and Capricorn’s Francesco Tironi.  Having built a huge early lead over the pack and looked like he was going to dominate the race, Top Qualifier Teemu Leino was to hit problems eventually retiring his HB.

Final Result
1.(4) Meen Vejrak – KM Racing/Novarossi – 208/56:35.312
2.(3) Atsushi Hara – HB/OS Speed – 207/56:30.902
3.(8) Francesco Tironi – Capricorn/Capricorn – 204/56:33.302
4.(10)Andy Moore – HB/Maxima – 203/56:26.846
5.(7) Chavit Sirigupta – Mugen/Maxima – 202/56:26.715
6.(6) Keisuke Fukuda – Mugen/Picco – 202/56:32.394
7.(5) Alexander Hagberg – Xray/Orcan – 202/56:33.002
8.(2) Jilles Groskamp – Capricorn/Maxima – 201/56:30.134
9.(9) Cheung Hang Hung – KM Racing/Murnan – 196/56:17.902
10.(1)Teemu Leino – HB/LRP – 181/49:57.460

Full report to follow shortly.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

2012 World final grid complete

The grid for the 1-hour Main that will decide who will be crowned the 5th 1:10 Nitro Touring Car World Champion in Bangkok, Thailand later this evening has been finalised with two drivers progressing from the first of the Semi’s and the other 4 who join the Top 4 direct qualifiers coming from the second Semi.  Following a lengthy protest over the results of the 1/4 B final officials made the unusual decision to allow Francesco Tironi, who protested that the timing had missed his second lap, start as an additional 11th car on the grid for the 30-minute encounter.

Starting on pole position factory Xray driver Alexander Hagberg drove a faultless race to book his place in the main event ahead of Tironi with Paul Lemieux 3rd but unfortunately for the American the second Semi would, despite a rain shower that delayed the start, be the quicker race.  The top 2 in each Semi progress while the final two places on the grid are awarded to the two drivers with the next fastest race times.  There was cruel luck for KM Racing’s Dario Balestri, the Italian’s first set back came when he spun exiting the pits after his final stop after Peter Jovanovic’s Capricorn poured fuel all over the exit area due to a broken spring on the lid of his fuel tank.  Then in the final minute of the race while running third just ahead of Lemieux he went to pass a back marker who hit the rear of his H-K1 spinning it out and as the Italian tried to spin the car back in the right direction he hit a track barrier knocking off a front wheel.  Another to go out of the race in dramatic circumstances was Marc Rheinard who got fuel in his receiver on his last stop which sent the Capricorn crashing on full throttle into the fencing at the end of the pitlane.

In the second Semi 2006 World Champion Keisuke Fukuda took an easy win ahead of fellow Mugen driver & local hero Chavit Sirigupta with third going to Cheung Hang Hung, who started the day out in the 1/4 Final.  Finishing fourth with his HB, nitro touring car novice Andy Moore secured the final spot on the grid making it a great Worlds debut for the new R10 which has the biggest share of the grid with three cars.

Grid for Main Final
1. Teemu Leino – HB/LRP
2. Jilles Groskamp – Capricorn/Maxima
3. Atsushi Hara – HB/OS Speed
4. Meen Vejrak – KM Racing/Novarossi
5. Alexander Hagberg – Xray/Orcan
6. Keisuke Fukuda – Mugen/Picco
7. Chavit Sirigupta – Mugen/Maxima
8. Francesco Tironi – Capricorn/Capricorn
9. Cheung Hang Hung – KM Racing/Murnan
10.Andy Moore – HB/Maxima

View the complete event results here.

View our event image gallery here.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lemieux, Pietsch & Shimo progress to Semis

US National Champion Paul Lemieux and 2010 World finalists Robert Pietsch & Takaaki Shimo are through to the Semi finals after finishing in the Top 3 of their respective 1/4 Finals.  In the first of the 20-minute encounters Lemieux’s No.2 Xray took the win ahead of Shimo’s Kyosho who started on pole position.  The big battle of the race was for third between the No.4 Kyosho of Sinnosuke Yokoyama and the Xray of Guiseppe D’Angelo who looked on target for his third bump of the event having started out in the 1/16 final yesterday.  With 2-laps to go however the young Japanese talent got passed into third bringing the Italian’s impressive run to an end. The race brought an end to the World Championship campaign of a number of top European drivers.  Despite contesting that the timing computer had missed one of his laps, an issue that has resulted in manual corrections for almost all the finals run so far, Capricorn driver Francesco Tironi was classified 5th.  European Championship runner up Mario Spinello could only managed 8th just ahead of former European Champion Dirk Wischnewski and Serpent designer Michael Salven, who while not having a good race following an early incident with Tironi, retired 1 minute from he end with a broken rear belt on his 747.

In the 1/4 A final Hong Kong KM Racing driver Cheung Hang Hung, who graduated from the 1/8 A final which he won, put in a very impressive performance to beat Mugen designer & 1:8 World Champion Pietsch.  There was heartbreak for his Mugen team-mate JJ Wang who while holding a comfortable third, the final bump up position to the Semis, crashed coming onto the straight in the final two minutes of the race.  Damaging his car being damaged he made his way back to the pits where his mechanic AI fixed it but there was not enough time to recover allowing Kyosho driver Shoki Takahata to progress.  Casualties of the race included Xray designer & 2008 podium finisher Martin Hudy who had the rear belt come off the pulleys, something he said he has never seen happen before, 2010 finalist Takumi Matsuda and 2010 runner-up Takehiro Terauchi.

Grid for Semi Final B
1. Alexander Hagberg – Xray/Orcan
2. Mark Green – Serpent/Novarossi
3. Dario Balestri – KM Racing/Novarossi
4. Peter Jovanovic – Capricorn/Capricorn
5. Daan Jacobs – Serpent/Max
6. Mongkolplan Lomrose – Mugen/Maxima
7. Marc Rheinard – Capricorn/Capricorn
8. Paul Lemieux – Xray/Max
9. Takaaki Shimo – Kyosho/OS Speed
10.Shinnosuke Yokoyama – Kyosho/OS Speed

Grid for Semi Final A
1. Keisuke Fukuda – Mugen/Picco
2. Chavit Sirigupta – Mugen/Maxima
3. Biagio Spataro – Xray/G-Mar
4. Andy Moore – HB/Maxima
5. Kyle Branson – Mugen/Sirio
6. Surikarn C – Xray/Max
7. Paphon Chanyasak – Xray/Maxima
8. Cheung Hang Hung – KM Racing/Murnan
8. Robert Pietsch – Mugen/Novarossi
10.Shoki Takahata – Kyosho/OS Speed

View the complete event results here.

View our event image gallery here.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

1/8 Finals Update

The eighth & final day of the 2012 1:10 Nitro Touring Car World Championships has been reached in Bangkok, Thailand, with the 1/8 Finals getting the big day’s action underway.  Overnight rain meant, despite great efforts of the RC Addict staff in drying the track, conditions for the first 5 minutes of the 20-minute encounter were very tricky with most of the cars struggling for traction.  Having bumped up from yesterday’s 1/16 B final it was the No.8 starting Xray of Giuseppe D’Angelo who would go on to take the win ahead of fellow Italian & 2008 World Championship Top 4 direct qualifier Francesco Tironi.  The winner of the Pre Worlds Warm-up race, Tironi started from pole but struggled with his Capricorn early in the race before progressing back towards the front.  Benefiting from the misfortune of Tanit K and European Electric Touring Car Champion Ronald Volker who both suffered flame outs while in contention to bump it, Serpent driver Yuya Sahashi took third to bump up to the 1/4 Finals.

In the 1/8 A Final, Hong Kong driver Cheung Hang Hung took the win from pole position ahead of 2010 Finalist Takumi Matsuda from Japan and yesterday’s 1/16 B final winner Rico Krober.  The same race saw the demise of 2008 World Champion Daniele Ielasi who started & finished 6th after the tyres on his Shepherd got chuncked in an incident with another car.  With Ielasi out this means just one former champion of the class remains in the event with Keisuke Fukuda due up later on today in the second of the Semi finals.

View the complete event results here.

View our event image gallery here.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lower finals complete, 52 drivers remain

The lower finals of the 1:10 Nitro Touring Car World Championships are completed and the six drivers who will progress to the big day here in Bangkok, Thailand, has been decided.  Running up to and including the 1/16th finals, Day 7 of the event has seen the entry whittled down from 122 drivers to 52.  First of the drivers to book his place through to the final day and technically still have a chance at becoming the fifth World Champion of the class was top Italian driver Giuseppe D’Angelo who from pole position won the 20-minute 1/16 B final comfortably from Malaysian driver Shah Mohd and 1:8 World Championship podium finisher Masao Tanaka.  The same race resulted in the demise of two well known drivers with factory Serpent driver Paolo Morganti, who suffered a flame out, and top Brazilian racer Eduardo Dulac who finished 6th & 7th respectively.

In the 1/16 A final, the last race of the day, 2012 European finalist Rico Kober took the win from fifth on the grid well clear of Brazil’s Hennique Winik and driver of the day Ludovic Leflon.  Frenchman Leflon, who is based at the RC Addict track where he works for r/c company Ride, qualified 7th in the 1/32 A final from where he went on to finish 2nd behind German Patrick Nahr to bump up to the 1/16th.

Despite a bad start to his second race of the day, Leflon who had Atsushi Hara and Hot Bodies R10 designer Miyashita as his pit crew, with Hara shouting plenty of encouragement at him, the rest of the race was less eventful and he worked his way up to third to claim a very popular final bump up position to the big day tomorrow and onto the back of the 1/8 A final grid.  Unfortunately for Shepherd team driver Nahr there was hard luck on the second time of asking as another strong performance came undone when he lost second gear.  Continuing with just one gear, he would miss the cut by 3 seconds despite his best efforts.  What has been a tough event for Team Shepherd, who made the podium with Marc Rheinard two years ago, company boss Patrick Schafer’s bad luck continued with an incident on the opening lap of the 1/32 B final that put him out on the spot with a broken car.

View the complete event results here.

View our event image gallery here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Introduction

Red RC are in Chico, California at Outback Raceway for the 2014 JConcepts Summer Indoor Nationals. Some of the best racers from around California (including some World Champions), as well as neighbouring states, will be attending this event to battle it out for victory in this electric offroad event. Red RC's coverage of the event begins in full on Friday morning (11th) and we will be trackside bringing you reports, insights, videos and photos directly from the track throughout the event.

Local time in Chico, USA

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