December 17, 2023

Volker wins hugely successful inaugural FIRC

Mugen Seiki’s Ronald Volker has won the hugely successful inaugural Foshan Invitational RC Championship in China.  One of a number of international drivers to make the trip to the new GDC Indoor track in the central Guangdong Province, Volker completed the perfect weekend taking the TQ honours before converting that in the overall win with victory in A2.  The biggest challenger to the former World Champion would come in the form of Chinese driver Vening Zhuo who was justly rewarded for his impressive showing with second overall. Highly complimentary of Zhuo talents, Volker only discovered during the event that the driver keeping him honest all weekend was the very same person he had been offering racing advice too after he had reached out to the professional racer through social media.   An event created to give Chinese racers experience of international competition, it would be Japanese visitor and Xpress team driver Yugo Nagashima who would complete the podium for what race organiser Gavin Kwok is aiming to establish into one of Asia’s major annual international touring car races.

Reacting to his win, the race bringing a close to his 2023 season, Volker said, ‘I’m very happy to win the inaugural Foshan Invitational Championship.  It is definitely an amazing facility and I am glad to have got the opportunity to come here.  Big thanks to Gavin (Kwok) and Jackie (Shum) who organised the trip and for me to participate.  I’m also very happy with the speed of my LRP powered MTC2R, its a nice way to end the season’.  On the second A-Main the German said, ‘It again started off good.  Vening was really good and followed me for 5 or 6 laps, then he lost some pace however he showed he has a lot of talent and is one to watch for the future.  A funny story about Vening is that he messaged me before looking for some tips on racing and I was happy to help.  I didn’t realise when I got here who he was and when I did discover it was the same guy I had been messaging I thought ‘shit he can drive’.  It’s a pretty cool story.’

Taking the win in A3 just ahead of Marco Ma, Zhuo declared himself, ‘Happy but not super happy’.  He continued, ‘Volker was super fast.  He is one of the top guys and racing him motivates me to want to get quicker and become a better driver.  I am always asking Ronald questions on Facebook and it was nice to get to race against him.  FIRC has been really good event to show the level of driving at the top.’  On his A3 win, he said, ‘the start was perfect but towards the end I was not very focused and made a little mistake but I happy that I could finish second overall behind Ronald’.

Securing the final step on the podium with a trio of third places in the A-Mains, Nagashima said, ‘this track didn’t suit my car so I’m happy to get a podium’.   Also a podium finisher at the recent FEMCA Championships in Thailand, the 28-year-old had started the event as the Top Seed but admitted he struggled to adapt his car to the changing track conditions.  Despite this he said he enjoyed the inaugural event and looks forward to it becoming an annual fixture for touring car racers.

Having targeted a podium finish coming into the event, Ma was disappointed with his 4th place finish.  The Xray driver said, ‘Today was a bad luck day.  In the morning practice the car was hard to drive so we made a set-up change but it was still hard to drive in A1 & 2.  For A3 we decided to go back to the set-up we had in the morning practice because it was good yesterday and it worked’.  Finishing A3 just 0.272 behind Zhuo, it was a somewhat frustrating finish for the third place qualifier but only his third international event he said it was a good experience.

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