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Friday has 3 qualifiers on schedule and the first one is over. There was fairly cold in the morning but the track conditions were perfect so plenty of the drivers improved their lap times significantly. The XRAY team did very well with Teemu Leino setting the best result and currently leading the qualifiers. Martin Hudy and Jilles Groskamp did a wrong tire choice for the track condition in the morning which was noticable in the first few seconds when the front of their cars had very low traction and as such they had to drive very carefully and of course slowly as the car was slower in the chicanes. But despite this disadvantage Martin had a very nice run without any mistake and finished at 4th position with Jilles at 7th position.

The surprise of the first qualifiers were however plenty of other XRAY drivers who set their result within the first top 20. Nice surprise of the day is definitely Mr. Juraj Hudy who despite being the senior driver set out of the 150 cars at a very nice 31st position missing just 0.5 sec to break into the 18 laps.

Another very nice result was achieved by the only 13 years old XRAY driver from Austria - Manuel Singer who was able to break into the 18 laps also and finished at a very nice 23th position.

With the increasing temperatures team will now change slightly the set-up and for sure those who run with harder tires will change for softer tires. As the temperature is around the noon very high the conditions will be worse and maybe again in the evening the track conditions will get similar to the morning. The very big chances however will be for everybody tomorrow morning when the last 4th qualifier will take place.

Results of the Nitro Touring Car championship 1st qualifiers:

1. Teemu Leino - XRAY NT1

2. Alessio Mazzeo
3. Francesco Tironi
4. Martin Hudy - XRAY NT1
5. Niki Duina - XRAY NT1
6. Helge Johannessen - XRAY NT1
7. Jilles Groskamp - XRAY NT1
8. Mark Gilliland - XRAY NT1
9. Andreas Myrberg - XRAY NT1

10. Rick Vrielijnck

11. Beat Walti - XRAY NT1
12. Martin christensen - XRAY NT1
13. Basile Concialdi - XRAY NT1

23. Manuel Singer - XRAY NT1
24. Robert Pietch - XRAY NT1
31. Juraj Hudy - XRAY NT1

Update after the 2nd qualifiers
The second qualifier was as expected slower for most of the drivers as the track got really hot. From the top drivers it was Teemu Leino who was on the leading position when he got out of the fuel in the last lap. At the end it was Jilles Groskamp who won the second qualifiers round with 18laps and 5.12.685 but as this time was slower than in the first qualifiers so it did not move Jilles up.

Provisional result of the Nitro Touring Car European Championship after 2nd qualifiers:

1. Teemu Leino - XRAY NT1

2. Alessio Mazzeo
3. Francesco Tironi
4. Martin Hudy - XRAY NT1
5. Niki Duina - XRAY NT1
6. Helge Johannessen - XRAY NT1
7. Jilles Groskamp - XRAY NT1
8. Mark Gilliland - XRAY NT1

9. Adrian Bertin
10. Andreas Myrberg - XRAY NT1

12. Beat Walti - XRAY NT1
13. Martin christensen - XRAY NT1
14. Basile Concialdi - XRAY NT1

25. Manuel Singer - XRAY NT1
26. Robert Pietch - XRAY NT1
32. Juraj Hudy - XRAY NT1

The third qualifier should be faster again but probably not as fast as the conditions in the morning.


3 Questions on Robert Pietch from Team XRAY Germany:

This is the first race main championship for you with XRAY. How do you evaluate the car and team support?

Robert Pietch: The car is really very good. I had some problems like lost screws but that was actually my fault. I do race with touring cars very rarely as I am busy with the 1/8 on-road but comparing the other cars I have used to drive the XRAY is definitely much better car for me. The car is every time good and with the basic set-up it works everywhere very good so I do not need to spend so much time on the set-up in most cases. The work on the car is also very easy, so I am very pleased with the car.

The team support is the very best I have ever experienced, really. The communication and the work within the team is very good, the XRAY drivers are very nice persons and the atmosphere in the team is very friendly and supportive which I am very pleased with.

How is your car doing until now and what changes did you make?

Robert Pietch: I began with two differentials with 80K in front and in the first days it was good but as the grip increased I changed to the one-way which suits my driving style better. The one-way gives me better handling in corners and more steering. I have also changed the springs from pink to the standard kit springs and from 650 shock oil I went to 500 which helped with the roll over. The problem for me is the changing track but I am working on improving and hope to get some good results in the later qualifiers.

What is your main challenge at the track and what is your expectation for the race?

Robert Pietch: I think the track is not difficult to drive. The biggest issue is the very big difference of the track conditions from morning to noon to evening and before I hit the track I do not know what to change as I do not know what will be the current track conditions. In the timed practice my set-up was perfect and I had some of the best lap times but today the conditions are again different and I need still to work on the set-up to find the small thing that will improve my lap times. Also hopefully I will get more luck with the traffic as in the first qualifier I had big problems with slower cars. As this is racing I will need also a bit of good luck.


Update after 3rd qualifiers:
The track conditions have improved comparing to the hot conditions in the second qualifiers but still the conditions were not as good as in the first one so there were just few changes in the top positions. The biggest changes was Adrien Bertin, Michal Salven and local driver Oscar Cabezas who moved into the top 10 but it is still XRAY's driver Teemu Leino holding the TQ.

From the Team XRAY it was Martin Christensen who set his best result and moved up into the top 10. Jilles had an engine stop and did not finish his run, so at the end it was again Teemu Leino who was fastest in the 3rd qualifier run and won it.

Results of the Nitro Touring Car championship after 3rd qualifiers:
1. Teemu Leino - XRAY NT1
2. Oscar Cabezas
3. Alessio Mazzeo
4. Adrien Bertin
5. Francesco Tironi
6. Michael Salven
7. Martin Christensen - XRAY NT1
8. Martin Hudy - XRAY NT1
9. Niki Duina - XRAY NT1
10.Helge Johannessen - XRAY NT1

11.Jilles Groskamp - XRAY NT1
12.Mark Gilliland - XRAY NT1
13.Andreas Myrberg - XRAY NT1
14.Darren Johnson
15.Rick Vrielijnck
16.Walti Beat - XRAY NT1
17.Dario Balestri
18.Basile Concialdi - XRAY NT1
19.Teemu Saarinen
20.Giuseppe D’Angelo

At this moment the Team XRAY is still doing very well and out of the 18 drivers which qualify directly into the final and semifinals there are 10 XRAY cars which is an excellent result.

The track conditions tomorrow should be probably the best one and this last qualifier may mix up all the results.


3 Questions on Jilles Groskamp:
This is the first Nitro Touring car Championship for you with the Team XRAY. How are you doing with the nitro touring car and how do enjoy it.

Jilles Groskamp:
I like it actually better than electric at this moment because the car drives always perfect and it is not hassle to find the super good set-up as it is with the electric touring car. To drive with the nitro touring is more easy and you can drive more. The only problem is the engine and clutch for which you need to have the good support. I can do the set-up of the car very easily myself. The basic set-up we have works for me everywhere so I always start with this set-up and just to fine tune it to the particular track conditions.

You are well known as some of the best electric touring car drivers. What is the most demanding and difficult for you with the nitro touring car.

Jilles Groskamp:
It is of course super important to have the good engine and clutch and to have good feeling with the car. Sometimes I feel something is wrong but I can not tell to my mechanic what exactly is wrong and also with all the noise it is difficult to hear the own car so it is difficult to know where the problem may be. In the last practice the shift between the first and second gear was set too fast and since I could not hear the clutch so I thought it was the engine but then I talked with Juraj and my mechanics and we found the gearing is not proper and we changed that.

The nitro touring racing is more relaxed for me because you can warm-up for few laps so you can feel the car and still have some chances to make small changes and then you can go for your best in the 5 minutes run.

How are you doing until now, how satisfied are you with the car and what changes have you made to your set-up?

Jilles Groskamp:
I am pleased with the current set-up and I think I am fairly at the pace. I know what I have to do and I know what I have not to do, the long practice was for this really very good and helped me to improve a lot. The track is changing all the time so it is a bit difficult to know and guess what should be the set-up change for the next run when the track is different from the previous. The tires play also very important role and I am at this moment very satisfied with the XRAY tires and after testing and comparing few brands I am very confident with the XRAY tires. The proper hardness and diameter is also super important so during the practice we did a lot of testing with this too, so I believe I know what to do for the qualifiers and finals.

How is the team support?

Jilles Groskamp:
It is really great as usually. I have been racing for Team XRAY the 6th year and I have visited so many races and honestly I can say that there is no other better service and support than what XRAY provides and that keeps me very confident. It is great that the service van is at this race again and all the spares are available for anybody and I know that people really appreciate this. Also what I really like is the perfect coffee that Gerhard makes in the XRAY service van, it is a small thing but makes a big difference and makes me stronger for the race :o)


Update after 4th qualifiers:
The fourth and last qualifier is over with a fabulous result for the Team XRAY setting the TQ. As expected the track conditions were in the morning the best and most of the drivers improved their best times. In the morning when the track was cold and the grip from yesterday very high so many drivers in the lower heats break into 18 laps and moved up in the ranking list. But as the sun was getting really hot the track temperature was increasing very fast and already around 11AM when the higher heats were on schedule the lap times got again slower so many of the top drivers in the higher heats were in disadvantage and had very low chances to improve.

However despite the track conditions got worse it was Teemu Leino with his XRAY NT1 who was just unbeatable and was turning many of the lap times below the 17 seconds which at the end guaranted him a new improved best result with 5:06 which re-confirmed his previous TQ position. In the last two heats there were still several top drivers who could improve but actually it was only Jilles Groskamp in the last heat who despite the worse qualifying conditions of the day was able to have an excellent run and finished the qualifiers with the time of 5:08 which assured him the 3rd overal qualification position which means a direct start in the final.

The Team XRAY has definitely surpased any expectations and until now was at the pace and was the team to beat. Considering that this is the very first European Championship for the Team XRAY and it is only 4 months since the XRAY NT1 has been introduced to the racing market, the current result is very gratifing and the whole team is very pleased and proud for gaining the TQ position and placing 2 cars directly into the final.

Congratulation to Teemu for the TQ and the whole team for the excellent performance and results up to this moment.

Overall qualification results of European Championship 2007:
1. Teemu Leino - XRAY NT1

2. Oscar Cabezas
3. Jilles Groskamp - XRAY NT1
4. Alessio Mazzeo

5. Darren Johnson
6. Adrien Bertin
7. Giuseppe D Angelo
8. Mark Green
9. Juanito Hidalgo
10. Josue Artiles
11. Daniel Tomaschko
12. Francesco Tironi
13. Michael Salven
14. Martin Christensen - XRAY NT1
15. Javier Hidalgo
16. Martin Hudy - XRAY NT1
17. Niki Duina - XRAY NT1
18. Helge Johannessen - XRAY NT1