Report from the Timed Practices, Interview with Teemu Leino & Carlos Peracho Report from the Qualifiers, Interview with Jilles Groskamp & Robert Pietch Qualifiers results, comments from Teemu and Jilles, Interview with Juraj Hudy" />
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The Nitro Touring Cars European Championship is over and Team XRAY's first participation at the European Championship with the NT1 was very successful with the gaining of TQ and title of European Vice-Champion.

During the event XRAY has provided the live reports and you can read the progress of the race here:

Report from the Timed Practices, Interview with Teemu Leino & Carlos Peracho

Report from the Qualifiers, Interview with Jilles Groskamp & Robert Pietch

Qualifiers results, comments from Teemu and Jilles, Interview with Juraj Hudy

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XRAY finalists - Martin Hudy, Jilles Groskamp, Teemu Leino, Martin Christensen, Niki Duina (missing
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Sub-finals:
Sunday's sub-finals started very well for Team XRAY. In the quarter final A it was Mark Gilliland who won with a clean style, moving him into the semi-final. In the quarter final B the fight for the win was between both XRAY drivers Basile Concialdi and Robert Pietch who was super fast; starting from 10th position he moved to the front in a few laps and with a few laps to go Robert took the lead with Basile finishing second. Also with good results were Martin Hudy, Martin Christensen, Niki Duina, Mark Gilliland, Helge Johanessen, Basile Concialdi and Robert Pietch who fought for the first positions so as to bump into the main final. Unfortunately, Robert did not pass technical inspection due to a too-wide tire and so his chances for getting into the semi-final were gone.

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Team XRAY was the strongest team at the race with most of cars from all brands
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Semi-final B:
The semi-final B was very thrilling to watch. Martin Hudy hit the curb just after the start and rolled over, dropping to the back of the crowd. During the 20min battle it was Balestri and Bertin who were in the lead with Martin working his way slowly to the top. With just a few minutes to go, Martin closed the gap on the two leaders and these three were the only ones to make the 68 laps with Martin Christensen finishing 4th, Basile Concialdi 5th and Helge Johanessen 6th.

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The starting grid for all the finals
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Semi-final A:
The semi-final A was a slower final but for the public and spectators definitely more enjoyable with plenty of crashes, stop-and-goes, and many cars retiring from the race. After the start it was again Mark Gilliand who was driving very well at a good pace, but unfortunately he became involved in a crash when two cars right ahead of him collided and Mark being too close behind could do nothing to avoid becoming entangled in the crash. After that Mark had troubles and had no chance to recover.

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The start of the sub-finals
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Italian XRAY driver Niki Duina was on pace after several minutes and despite being under pressure from the 2nd place car for over half of the race, he was still able to finish with a win. Since this final was slower and only two first cars achieved 67 laps (1 lap less than the winners of semi-final B) it was great news for Martin Christensen who, despite finishing 4th in the semi-final B but with a better finishing time, got a starting position in the main final.

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Martin Hudy taking his way to the main final
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Standings for the main final:
After both semi-finals finished it was great to have the whole Team XRAY place all 5 cars in the main final: Teemu Leino (TQ) starting in 1st, Jilles Groskamp 3rd, Martin Hudy 7th, Martin Christensen 8th, and Niki Duina starting in 9th.

After a short break and preparation for the main final everybody was nervous about the 45min long final where not only would the performance of the car matter, but also of course engine reliability and luck would play important factors. With a lot of discussions about tire strategy it was at the end decided to race with softer tires but to start with larger diameter and not to change the tires during the final.

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All the main finalists
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The main final of European Championship 2007
After the presentation of the drivers, the adrenaline got really levels started to spike and the show was ready to start! The first bad luck came even before the race started. During the one trial lap just before the start, on the main straight Martin lost complete control over his car which started to spin and was crashing into all the barriers. It took a while for the marshals to catch the out-of-control car. The race director would not allow him to take time out to give Martin a chance to exchange radio equipment and so they started the race. Fortunately Martin was using the same radio as Juraj and this radio was still on the shelf so it took few minutes to exchange the equipment and Martin could start with a loss of over 3 laps. With all this bad luck it was at least very positive that despite such huge crashes into the steel bariers when the car was with no control and nothing broke on the NT1.

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Teemu Leino starting from the 1st position
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Just after the start and turning few laps it was obvious that there was something wrong with Teemu's car, particularly with his clutch setting as the second gear shifted very late and for most of the track he had to drive in 1st gear with the 2nd gear always shifting right before corner where he had to brake so it was very visible that the handling was very bad. Teemu had no chance for repairs so he just had to get used to the car and try his very best but it was very obvious he was struggling, and within a few minutes he lost his position and was falling back into the crowd. Jilles starting from 3rd place but his handling also seemed not perfect and being slower than the cars behind him he also lost his position and fell into the middle of the pack. Bad luck continued for Team XRAY throughout the whole final but none of the drivers gave up and everybody was doing their very best.

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Jilles' NT1
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Martin's car and engine power were super good and he was definitely one of the fastest drivers on the track and despite starting over 3 laps behind he was slowly catching the last drivers and closing the gap. After around 10 minutes Martin lost his antenna tube and the wire was just flying around the car which made concentration even more difficult as all the time there was fear that the wire would get tangled in the wheel. During the next pit stop the mechanics wrapped the antenna wire below the rear wing.

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Teemu worked his way back to the top
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With progress of the final Teemu got used to the handling of the car and started to work his way back to the front. Also Jilles seemed to improve and drove very smoothly saving centimeters of every corner and worked his way back to the third position. With a few minutes to go, as one would expect, everything got even more thrilling! During a crash Jilles’ body got stuck on the left side and since Jilles was very close to the car in front mechanics decided that they will not call in the pit to fix the body so Jilles would try to drive with a stuck body which obviously was slowing him down and so he had to drive even MORE carefully. It was simply amazing to see how Jilles switched his racing style and very shortly got used to the new handling of the car and soon was turning laps like before. Fortunately as he continued to race the body returned to the normal itself so Jilles could push a bit more. But that was not end of the strange things to happen yet as later on some tape which got on the track got stick to Jilles tire and this got of course very slippery so actually Jilles was running on three tires only one tire slipping! Again mechanics had a big dilemma whether or not to call Jilles into the pits and fix it or just let him to try to finish the race. Fortunately for Jilles again, after a few laps the tape fell away from his tire and he could again concentrate. With a few minutes to go Jilles got into second position but the first car was 1 lap ahead so there were minimal chances to catch and pass, so it was safer for Jilles to just keep his position until the end.

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Teemu following Jilles
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Another exciting fight was in the middle of the field where Teemu was slowly working his way to the front and got up to 4th position and was slowly closing the gap to the car in 3rd place. With just a few laps to go it was very exciting to watch how Teemu was outperforming the rest, driving the corners to make the shortest way through the track and soon he was on the tail of the 3rd place car. Teemu glued his NT1 to the back of the car in front of him and put pressure on the other driver by being very close behind. Of course Teemu did not want to get into any conflicts and despite being faster and putting pressure on the car in front of him, he drove very safely and cleanly waiting for the car in front of him to make a mistake and to open in a corner to give him a chance to pass. And this almost happened with two laps to go in the returning corner after the main straight; the car in front of him missed the perfect line and Teemu got into the corner and was right next to the other car next but with the next corner fast approaching he would either get into a crash or would have to brake and let the other car to go. With a clean run in mind Teemu pulled back and let the other car go and again got back onto his tail. As the 45min signal sounded, Teemu had the last lap to pass the car but the car in front of him did not make any mistakes so everybody watched the last main straight and the long corner where the timing loop is and both cars passed the line almost parallel, but with a tiny difference which put Teemu in 4th, just missing the podium finish.

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Teemu finishing in 4th just fragment of a second from the 3rd place
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Jilles kept his second position to the very end thus assuring him the title of the European Vice-Champion and the first major achievement for the new XRAY NT1. Martin did his very best during the final, working his way from last position up to a final 7th position. With the performance and lap times Martin turned, it should have definitely been a podium finish for him but as this is racing, there are always many things that can happen.

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Jilles kept his second position to the very end
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In the end, considering that this has been the first European Championship for Team XRAY, the results have been very satisfactory: TQ + Vice-Champion title + 5-out-of-10 cars in the main final. It was definitely an astonishing result for Team XRAY. For the whole crowd it was really surprising to see during the whole week the top performance of electric touring car experts Jilles, Teemu and Martin who had very limited track time and experience with nitro touring cars and still being able to showcase their racing skills and the performance of the NT1.

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Jilles Groskamp gaining the trophy and title of European Vice-Champion
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Final results of the 2007 Nitro Touring Cars European Championship:
1. Dario Balestri
2. Jilles Groskamp - XRAY NT1
3. Alessio Mazzeo
4. Teemu Leino + TQ - XRAY NT1
5. Giuseppe D'Angelo
6. Oscar Cabezas
7. Martin Hudy - XRAY NT1
8. Niki Duina - XRAY NT1
9. Martin Christensen - XRAY NT1

10. Adrien Bertin

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5 XRAY drivers in the main final Martin Hudy (7th), Jilles (2nd), Teemu (4th), Christensen (8th), Ni
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Jilles Groskamp Set-up sheet.

Teemu Leino Set-up sheet.

Martin Hudy Set-up sheet.

Helge Johannessen Set-up sheet.

Basile Concialdi Set-up sheet.

Mark Gilliland Set-up sheet.

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Jilles was very happy for the title of European Vice-Champion
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Jilles Groskamp after the prize ceremony:
"I am very happy with my results. Claiming the title of European Vice-Champion really means a lot to me. Right after the start I knew that this final is going to be very tough as I did not have the same speed as I did in the qualifiers but we set the engine to have a safer run (to avoid any engine stoppages) so I knew I would have to drive very smooth and consistently. I also used larger-diameter tires so I was waiting to have the tires settle down a bit and later on during the race the car improved and I could fight back for lost positions. The 45 minute final was very long for me and I think the bloodflow to my hands was being cut off during the middle of the race… I had to remind myself to keep stretching my hands on the straight! My mechanics did a super job and despite my struggling with the stuck body and tape on the tire - which slowed me down for many laps - we still had a very good result.

I want to thank Juraj for the best nitro touring car and all his technical, mental, and emotional support and his help with the set-up. Thanks to my mechanics for a great job and thanks to my engine support. Thanks to the XRAY Support Team who was there the entire week at the track taking care of me, and thanks to everybody for a nice race!"



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Teemu still happy for the TQ title despite missing the podium finish
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Teemu Leino commenting on his performance in the final:
"Though it was a very good team effort and result at this major race, I was a bit disappointed with my result and the mistakes that I made. After practice for final where all worked well for me, I again checked my car and I had a feeling that the two-speed had a bit too much play so I tighten it a bit and this was the source of my problems in the final. Right after hitting the track I realized that 2nd gear was shifting very late but there was nothing I could do and so I just tried my best. The handling was very difficult as most of the track I drove in first gear and I had to change my driving style completely. By the end of the race it was a bit better which allowed me to try to fight back and I did my very best in a few laps to catch 3rd position but since I did not want to crash Alessio I let him go and passed the finish line just right behind him. Not to make excuses or theorize “what if” but considering my performance in the qualifiers I know if I had the proper setting I would have done much better. With the limited amount of nitro touring racing I have had, I am still happy to have gotten TQ and secure in the knowledge that I did my very best. Next time hopefully better luck will be with me, and rest assure I will be doing my absolute best again.

In the end I want to thank XRAY (and of course Juraj) for everything… the fantastic car and the help and support. Thanks to Oscar for being a superb mechanic to me and thanks my engine sponsor. Also thanks to all drivers and a hearty “congratulations” to the winner and Jilles for their well-earned titles."



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Martin was super fast in the main final and if he had good start could easily fight for the pod
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Martin Hudy gave his comments after the race:
"I am very happy for getting into the main final as this is only my third nitro touring race this year. I am very pleased with the performance of my car and also the engine was super good, though I am disappointed about how things worked out right before the start with the radio problems and the decisions of the organizers. I could do nothing else other than to exchange radio gear and start a few laps behind. Mentally I was a bit discouraged after the start, but I concentrated and tried to showcase my very best. The car was unbelievably good and the engine worked very well. I was catching everybody and it was only Dario who was faster than me. I tried my very best during the very tough 45min final, and now that it is over and we’ve had a chance to analyze all that went on, I am still happy and will keep my motivation for the next races.

I want to thank to my father Juraj for everything he did and how he has helped me… thank you. Thanks to Fabio for making a really good engine for me and also thanks to my mechanics for super-fast pit stops. Thanks to all XRAY drivers for doing their very best and for the excellent teamwork during the whole week."


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Juraj Hudy, chief designer of XRAY, with the XRAY finalists
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Final words from Mr. Juraj Hudy, chief designer of XRAY:
"This summer was very demanding, yet exciting and joyful at the same time. After the European Championship in 1/8 off-road and 1/10 electric touring, this was our last Euros and I am leaving it very happy, satisfied and proud. First I am very happy for the very good results of the whole team who did a very good job during the whole event. Everybody was working very hard and I have nothing but positive things to say about the team. I am very happy for the TQ and Vice-Champion title but of course I wished that the team had not faced the various challenges and runs of bad luck that they had in the final. But “racing is racing” and other teams had their bad luck too and there can be only one winner. My hearty congratulations go to Dario for his well-deserved win.

I am very satisfied with the car's performance and handling. During the entire week I was watching the progress of the team and the handling of all the cars on the track. As I expected the first few days we were at a completely different level with performance as the car was super easy to drive and did not require any big changes to the set-up.

In the end I am very proud of the achievements of Team XRAY… from all the drivers, mechanics and the support team. I am very happy to have such a group of very friendly, hard working, and professional people who work together so well, and it makes me feel very good to be among all these great people.

I want to thank all XRAY drivers for participating at this event and for doing their very best. I want to thank all the XRAY fans and customers for their continuous support, I was really surprised to see that XRAY NT1 was the most popular car at this race. Of course I want to thank the XRAY Support Team who provided excellent care during the whole week and thanks to Gerhard Binder for traveling such a long way with the service van to help the Support Team provide world-class service and support and for making the best coffee during the whole week. Thank you to the organizers for a very fine event and thanks to all the other teams for making this event exciting and thrilling.

See you again next time!"



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Photo gallery from the 2007 Nitro Touring Cars European Championship

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Some very close racing in the sub-finals
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Carlos Peracho on the lead of the sub-final
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Juraj Hudy showed some very nice performance as well
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2 wheels racing by Juraj Hudy
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Jilles was super fast in the qualifiers but missed that power in the final
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Teemu being constantly very fast during all qualifiers
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Helge Johannessen finished at respectable 11th place
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Ben Cosgrove's XRAY NT1
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Mark Gilliand won the quarter final and was on the pace in the semi-final until unlucky crash
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The young British driver doing well in lower sub-finals
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The XRAY lady from the France
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Carlos Peracho from the Spanish team
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Andreas Myrberg relaxed during the runs
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Martin Christensen got into the main final
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Robert Pietch had bad luck with the tire width and was disqualified after winning the quarter final
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Drivers waiting for their run
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The HUDY tire truer was the most freuently used tire truer at the event
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Jilles Groskamp was constantly super happy with his car
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Teemu's XRAY NT1
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The very young 13th years old XRAY driver Manuel Singer qualified into the quarter final
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Fabio did an excellent job as the mechanic
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Robert preparing his Nt1
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Martin and Fabio checking the set-up before the main final
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Martin's mechanics for the main final
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Martin Christensen finished at 8th place
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Niki Duina taking home the trophy for 9th position
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After bad luck Martin Hudy finished at 7th position
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Teemu Leino taking home the TQ trophy and trophy for final 4th position
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The podium of 2007 European Championship
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Champagne celebration
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The top 3 cars with trophies
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