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The Euros Warm-up was held on April 5-8 on very nice track near Madrid, the capital city of Spain. The weather forecast did not look very promising, however almost all top drivers from Europe participated in the event. Team XRAY was well represented to promote their new nitro on-road car, the XRAY NT1. Jilles, Teemu, Martin Christensen, Martin Lissau, Niklas Hakansson, Manuel Huber, Martin, Juraj Hudy, Carlos Peracho, and a small Spain team were all present.

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track
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The race started on Thursday morning with open practice continuing on Friday. Qualifiers were held on Saturday and continued with finals on Sunday. The weather forecast said that Thursday would be the only dry day, and as such all drivers came to the track very early in order to test as much as possible. Almost all XRAY drivers had a very similar set-up which was used at the Winter Nationals. The cars looked very good right from the start and all drivers were more than happy that only small set-up changes were needed. First the team tested new shock springs, and after a short time of testing all drivers switched to the same springs. The fastest guys on the track were Jilles and all three Martins’.

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Jilles Groskamp in pits
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Teemu did not drive a lot because he had no engine and had to wait for Adrien Bertin to bring him an engine; unfortunately, Adrien had missed his flight. The traction of the track was increasing very quickly and our guys had minor problems with pushing and traction rolling. However, they were able to solve this problem very quickly by decreasing rear toe-in to 2° and laying down the rear shocks more on shock tower in order to decrease rear traction and increase cornering speed. Traction rolling was solved by decreasing the tire diameters and after these small changes the cars were perfect and ready for another open practice day on Friday.

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Teemu Leino in pits
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However, the weather forecast did not lie and the rain started at approximately 11:00AM. We had little chance to drive again because when the rain stopped and the track became dry, the rain would start again. On Saturday the track was still wet, but it was not raining. Qualifiers started at 9:00AM on the wet track. The second qualifying round started on a partially-dry track until heat #8 (heat with Martin and Teemu) when it started to rain again. Because of that, drivers from heats 5-7 (which had better conditions) made very good times and moved to the top of the qualifying ranking. Unfortunately, the rain did not stop and all qualifying rounds were held on the wet track.

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Racing in rain
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Almost all of our drivers who were in the highest heats did not drive at all because in the first qualifiers it was a wet track and then the rain started; therefore, they were at the end of the result sheet. At least one of our drivers was lucky in the qualifiers; Niklas Hakansson from the 5th qualifying heat had a very good run and finished 3rd overall behind two Spanish drivers who unfortunately had more luck and had even drier track than Niklas did. So, after qualifiers our drivers were split almost in all finals. Martin (who made only 4 laps before rain started in the second qualifier) finished in the last final 1/64B together with Italian top driver Francesco Tironi. In the second final 1/64A was Teemu who was in the same qualifier heat and made the same laps as Martin together with Adrien Bertin.

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Niklas Hakansson in pits
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Of course, all these drivers bumped up without any problems to the 1/32 final. Martin met Jilles in this final and both bumped up to the 1/16 final. Martin Lissau was in this final as well and all three guys were in a ‘bump up position’ until someone in the pits did not check Martin’s frequency. Martin’s car immediately went full throttle and crashed to the wall. The person in the pits immediately realized what had happened and switched off his radio so Martin had no interference, but it was already too late for Martin who had broken a steering block after the hard crash. Teemu bumped up as well. However, the rest of the team was lucky and almost all guys bumped up to the semi-final except Martin Christensen who chose the wrong tires and was sliding around on the track. The semi-final was finally held on a dry track. We had Juraj, Jilles, Martin Lissau in one semi-final and Teemu, Manuel, and Carlos in the other semi-final. Semifinal B was very unlucky for us because all three guys were in bump-up position for the final when all of them got engine problems.

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Martin Lissau in pits
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In the semi-final B it was Juraj Hudy who took the lead shortly after the start (starting in 3rd place on the grid), and and after some time Jilles and Martin worked their way through the crowd to 2nd and 3rd places, respectively. Recognizing that Jilles was faster, Juraj let Jilles take the lead while cruising safely in 2nd place. Unfortunately, during the fuel pit stop Juraj’s engine stopped and again later on, ruining Juraj’s chances for a good finish. Jilles was leading the pack but also had engine troubles and had to pit several times, costing him the chance to bump up. So at the end, no XRAY drivers from the semi-final B bumped up to the main final.

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Juraj Hudy in pits
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However, semifinal A was luckier for us when all three XRAY guys bumped up to the main final. It was Carlos Peracho who won the semi-final although his engine stopped after five minutes into the race. Manuel was leading almost the entire final until he was overlapping Darren Johnson; Darren did not get enough space to Manuel and they hit each other. Manuel crashed into the wall before the straight at full throttle. This crash looked very bad because his car was more than one meter above the ground. Although car was OK, the engine stopped and a marshal had to run the car to the pits. However, Manuel had a very good lead so he was able to finish third ahead of Teemu, who had a better time than the driver from the previous semi-final and ended up bumping up as well. Four XRAY NT1 drivers qualified for the main final.

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Manuel Huber in pits
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Before the final, heavy rain started initially followed by a thunderstorm. However, the organizers decided to not postponed the race and the main final started on a completely wet track. Carlos was the first driver, and unfortunately his electronics malfunctioned after only 1 lap. Secondly it was XRAY driver Manuel whose throttle servo malfunctioned. And thirdly it was Niklas whose receiver malfunctions. However, he was able to continue his final after a long pitstop where they changed the receiver. Teemu was luckier than other our drivers and had no electronics problems, but he did not have a clean run because his engine stopped two times and also was took than 1min to change tires. However, Teemu was able to finish 2nd behind Darren who had a clean run without any problems with electronics, engine, or tires. Although Niklas had a long pitstop, he was able to finish in a very good 5th place.

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podium
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All-in-all the Euros warm-up was a great success for Team XRAY with 4 cars in the main final and a podium finish at the end for Teemu Leino, who together with Jilles was the biggest star of the race by bumping up from the lowest finals into the semi and the final race and then taking home the trophy for 2nd place. Despite that the track and weather conditions will be different at the Euros in the summer, it was a great test for the team to ensure that the car works flawlessly without any failures, problems or issues for the whole week. We are already looking forward to the Euros… see you there!

European Championship 2007 Warm-up race final results:

1. Darren Johnson
2. Teemu Leino – XRAY NT1
3. Rafael Ortiz
4. Oscar Cabezase
5. Niklas Hakansson – XRAY NT1
6. Tony Mur
7. Joao Malveiro
8. Viktor Pelaez
9. Manuel Huber – XRAY NT1
10. Carlos Peracho – XRAY NT1

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Team XRAY with 4 cars in the main final
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track
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Racing in rain
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Racing in rain
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Carlos Peracho in pits
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Martin Christensen in pits
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Gerhard Binder with Carlos Peracho's father
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XRAY NT1
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XRAY NT1
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Peracho and Hakansson with XRAY NT1 cars
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