November 15, 2014

Hagberg claims first World title in Bangkok


Their leading onroad driver since turning pro with the Slovakian manufacturer three years ago, Alexander Hagberg finally rewarded Team Xray by taking his first World title at the 200mm World Championships in Bangkok, Thailand, this evening.  Starting from third on the grid, the Swede would drive an impressive 1-hour race to see off strong challenges from both Jilles Groskamp and Top Qualifier Dominic Greiner to win Xray’s second 200mm World title.  Starting from 10th on the grid, it was Serpent’s Yuya Sahashi who would finish second 1-lap down with Greiner completing the podium at the Huge RC Circuit.


Taking up competitive racing at the control of an Xray back in 2003, Hagberg described the final 10-minutes of the Main as ‘the longest 10-minutes of (his) life’. Running back over his race, the 25-year-old said having changed his NT1’s set-up following the Semi Final in which he got ‘twitchy’ he initially thought he ‘had over done it’.  With the car understeering more than expected at the start he said once he got used to it this worked in his favour as he was able to push harder without having any concerns of traction rolling on the track’s unique & not very popular levels of traction.  Describing his car and engine as ‘perfect’, he said he couldn’t have asked for more from his equipment and his pitman & Orcan owner Bertram Kessler.  While his rivals hit problems Hagberg said his only moment of the race was when his car got stepped on in the pitlane during his fuel stop just before he came up on half distance.  Having just made a stop ahead of Hagberg, JJ Wang’s Mugen would suffer a body tuck on being released with it stuck in the pitlane as his mechanic went to fix it his foot made contact with the Xray but luckily Hagberg didn’t suffer more than a slight break in concentration. Aware that Groskamp was on a longer fuel strategy, Hagberg unable to match the Dutch driver’s 6-minute run time and opting for 5:20 so as to end up having to do just one more stop, he said throughout the race he never really knew the exact order and even after Groskamp’s late flameout he didn’t relax too much although he did give Sahashi plenty of space to unlap himself in the closing laps.


Despite ending up fourth having swapped the lead back & forth with Hagberg, Groskamp was pleased with his pace in the race saying ‘we battled for the win and entertained the crowd’.  The former Electric Touring Car World Champion complimented Hagberg on his drive admitting that even had he ran a faultless race himself he thinks his rival would have had just enough to still take his ‘well deserved’ win as towards the end his Velox V10 ‘got loose’.  Just as the race entered the second half, the Team Shepherd driver would clip the curbing and roll as he was about to pit.  Losing the advantage he had gained from having to do one less stop than his rivals, he said his challenge ultimately ended with a flame out on the straight with 13 minutes to go.  Declaring that he ‘can be happy’ with the performance of his Maxima engine & fuel, only Maxima team-mate Lomrose Mongkolplan also stretching 6-minutes between stops, it was his 3rd last stop when ‘things went wrong’.  A slow out-lap after contact with the pitlane he said in the same stop they also didn’t get a full fill of the tank and that this would catch up with them just ahead of his next scheduled stop with him running out of fuel.


Starting from pole position, Serpent’s Dominic Greiner had mixed emotions after the race.  The only direct qualifier for the Main, the German made a strong start to his first ever World Championship appearance with his 748 pulling clear of the field over the opening 5-minutes.  A slow first fuel stop at 5-minutes, the 22-year-old describing as ‘awesome’ the run time Groskamp & Hagberg were able to get, he would rejoin in the lead pack but on six & a half minutes he would hit the curb coming off the straight and roll.  Damaging the rear right tyre he said this left him with a difficult car for the rest of the race.  Setting the fastest lap of the race, Greiner said while his Max engine was fast it was a little rich leading to his flame out on 10-minutes just as he passed the pitlane before his crew were set to call him in next time round.  ‘Disappointed’ on one side at not being able to battle through the race for the win, he said he had to be happy with taking ‘TQ, finishing on the podium and setting the fastest lap’ on his first time attending the World Championships.


Through his limited english, Sahashi said he was ‘very happy’ to finish runner-up adding that starting from the back of the grid the result exceeded his best expectations. Pitting his Picco powered 748 on 5-minutes, the Japanese ace said the car was very consistent over the entire race as was the engine with the race throwing up no dramas.


Starting from 5th on the grid, JJ Wang would end the race in that position as the top Mugen finisher. Declaring himself happy with the result of his first World Championship Main appearance, the Chinese-American said his Novarossi powered MTX-6 was good until he rolled it just before his first fuel stop. Leaving him with a chunked tyre and twisted bodyshell, the 16-year-old said while now more difficult to drive he just pushed on to the finish making his way back up from 9th to 5th. Having got his first taste of a World Championship Main he said he already ready looking forward to next year’s 1:8 Onroad World Championships in Brazil.


Completing the Top 6, Francesco Tironi described his race as ‘really difficult’.  A podium finish at the last World Championships, the factory Shepherd driver said changing the ride height of his Velox V10 to protect the chassis plate for the longer race left it ‘hard to push’ and he just ‘ran around and around for the 1-hour’.  Suffering one flame out, he said overall this had no effect on his final position.


Finishing out his reign as World Champion with 7th, Meen Vejrak said his race was going pretty much to plan until he lost second gear.  Starting from 4th on the grid, the factory KM Racing driver ran in the Top 3 but having gone a lap down on the leaders his challenge for a podium would end at 45-minutes as he pitted for almost two & a half minutes to have a new gear fitted.  Elsewhere after an impressive run up through four finals from the 1/16th to make the Main, Capricorn driver Peter Jovanovic would retire from the race after 15-minutes.  Starting seventh the Australian was up to fourth before a broken fuel tank lid which jammed open would force him to call an end to his busy day.

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