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The 2008 European Championship 1/10 Nitro Touring Car "B" was held at the beautiful Ampuis track in France. The track is 306m long with quite a long straight and lot of small corners on the left side. The asphalt provided very good grip. Drivers from around Europe gathered together for the first week of May to battle for the prestigious European title and of course all the major brands were represented in the pits.

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The XRAY NT1 - despite being the newest entrant in the exciting world of 1/10 nitro touring car racing - was the most frequently-used car. The XRAY Factory Team prepared special support, service, and of course gifts to all XRAY drivers. The French RB distributor was at the event to provide help and support as well. The often-seen XRAY Service Van (arranged by well-known Gerhard Binder) was parked at the track for the entire event, giving exceptional service and support to all XRAY drivers from team drivers to private customers.

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XRAY V.I.P. service and treatment was very well accepted, no wonder when XRAY had specially-prepared newly-improved and reinforced suspension parts for the NT1; those were delivered completely FREE with other nice gifts including stickers, T-shirt, pit towels, and more. Local XRAY team drivers did a fantastic job of testing the car prior to the event, working on proper set-ups from which all XRAY drivers could benefit. The XRAY team drivers made up a recommended basic set-up sheet which was handed out to all the XRAY drivers and of course was available at the XRAY Virtual Set-up Sheet Database for download prior to the event. The basic set-up sheet greatly helped all XRAY drivers, making most of the them very fast right from the first practice. The team worked very effectively together, fine-tuning the set-up sheet to improved lap times and drivability of the car. It was obvious that Team XRAY and the NT1 car were the pair to beat.

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In qualifications, Team XRAY leapt to the front and were battling for the top positions. At the end of the qualifiers, out of the 4 drivers who qualified directly into the A main. 2 of those spots were filled by XRAY drivers: Thomas Eytard (France) and Guido Barbera (Italy). The talented young German XRAY drivers Dirk Wischnewski and Thomas Günsel were doing very well and had improved from qualifier-to-qualifier. Considering that both are electric touring car experts and this was their first big international nitro touring car race, they were doing fabulously in the qualifiers and qualified into the semi-final. Both Dirk and Thomas worked a bit on their set-ups and after changing the diff to a spool, both dominated and won their respective semi-finals and both bumped into the final in 5th and 6th places.

Qualification results after the semi-finals:

1. Derderian Michael - France
2. Spiniello Mario - Italy
3. Eytard Thomas - XRAY NT1 - France
4. Barbera Guido - XRAY NT1 - Italy
5 .Wischnewski Dirk - XRAY NT1 - Germany
6. Günsel Thomas - XRAY NT1 - Germany

7. Giacalone Dino - Italy
8. Pelaez Victor - XRAY NT1 - Spain
9. Bougnoteau Nicolas - France
10. Defie Joffrey - France

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The final race was expected to be thrilling, with Team XRAY putting 5 cars on the starting grid was ready to battle for podium finishes. Right from the start, Mario Spinello jumped into the lead but dropped back after some issues. Thomas Eyard (NT1) was fastest and set a new track record, but after serious interference problems his chances for the title disappeared. Bad luck continued to hit Team XRAY when German XRAY driver Dirk was crashed by another car and lost 1 lap on the leader. In the middle of the race, Thomas sneaked up into 2nd place but had a few problems in two pit stops and so he dropped back to the middle of the pack. In long races - such as European Championships where the drivers are running for 45 minutes - calm and error-free racing plays an important role as well as tire strategy. Despite the not-so-good start for Team XRAY, good luck returned in the middle of the race when both German XRAY drivers - having done their homework and driving calmly and error-free - worked their way back to the top! After a phenomenal show by Dirk, despite not being the fastest but making no mistakes, he got into the lead while Thomas was still fighting with Bougnoteau for 2nd place. When the chequered flag dropped it was Dirk in the lead by a 1-lap margin taking the victory and the first European Champion title for the XRAY NT1. Bougnoteau finished in 2nd place, and Thomas came in 3rd place with his NT1 only 6 seconds behind Bougnoteau, making it podium finish for him and making it the second podium finish for the XRAY NT1. A perfect job and result by a perfect team.

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After the great debut of the XRAY NT1 last year when Team XRAY took TQ and Vice-Champion title at the 2007 European Championship "A," the XRAY NT1 continued its great success by dominating at the US Winternats 2008 and winning the US National Championship. Now in the 2008 season it has captured the first European Champion "B" title. With the upcoming World Championship 2008 which will take place in Portugal, Team XRAY will continue their dedicated work, give the very best representation, and definitely try to repeat the great achievements the NT1 with a continued winning streak. Whether you are a top driver or a private driver, experience the winning excitement of Team XRAY and enjoy the highest-performance nitro touring car and premium service and support. Only from XRAY.


2008 European Championship "B" final results:

1 .Wischnewski Dirk - XRAY NT1 - Germany
2. Bougnoteau Nicolas - France
3. Günsel Thomas - XRAY NT1 - Germany
4. Pelaez Victor - XRAY NT1 - Spain

5. Derderian Michael - France
6. Barbera Guido - XRAY NT1 - Italy
7. Giacalone Dino - Italy
8. Spiniello Mario - Italy
9. Defie Joffrey - France
10. Eytard Thomas - XRAY NT1 - France

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Dirk Wischnewski, 2008 European Champion:

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I am very happy to win the European Championship. The race was difficult because we had some rain during the early practice. The car worked very well in practice right from the beginning, and I was one of the fastest cars on the track. As the traction built up I struggled a little bit with setup as the rear of the car got very loose. When qualifying started I was not 100% happy with my car setup but I managed to finish 2nd in the first qualifying round. I decided to change my setup for the next rounds but the track conditions changed again and it was not possible to improve my time from the first round. At the end of qualifying I was in 6th place. For the finals the next day we decided to take a chance and change the setup dramatically. I switched from a front diff to a front spool. The semi-final was very easy for me because now the setup was perfect for my driving style. I bumped up to the main final starting from 5th position. I had a great start in the main final and I overtook 2 cars in the first few laps. I was crashed out by another car, putting me 1 lap back from the leader. Thanks to the very fast pit stops of my pit crew Karsten and Betram, I was able to strike back and after 30 minutes I was back in the lead. I cruised easily to the end of the race. I would like to thank all my sponsors: XRAY, Hudy, SMI, GP Speedtires, Novarossi, Orcan, and ATS.

Best Regards Dirk Wischnewski
Team XRAY Germany

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2008 European Championship by Thomas Günsel, the smiling guy:

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After packing our mobile home, Dirk Wischnewski, Bertram Kessler, my pitman Johann and I started the long trip to the Euro B in Ampuis near Lyon. We arrived on Tuesday at the nice track in Ampuis and had 2 practice runs on that day. Dirk and I started with the same basic setup and both of our NT1 cars worked really well right from the beginning. We had a few minor engine problems to solve, but were not worried. We concentrated hard on learning the very technical track. Wednesday started with heavy rain so everybody had to start again with their setup when it became dry again. I chose softer tires for the conditions and we changed the rear anti-roll bar from 2.4mm to 2.6mm to minimize understeering.

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Thursday was the day of timed practice. Unfortunately I had some problems, but we knew that we would achieve the necessary pace if we found solutions for the problems because the car worked really well, and in dry conditions the grip increased to a good level. We limited the downstops a little bit in front and rear and then the car was perfect. In the first two qualifiers, unfortunately I ended my runs with dead engines and so I found myself at the end of the field. After that we changed the engine and such was the beginning of the "perfect weekend." I tried to make a clean run to get a good result and ended up in 12th place at the end of the day. On Saturday morning I had perfect conditions for a fast run but a small driving mistake made me miss 3rd place. So I ended up in 15th going into the semi-final. The rest of the day we prepared the cars for the final day. I completely rebuilt the car but there were no damaged parts and I had no parts to exchange - all this after an entire week of racing. XRAY quality and reliability is what helps to keep me safe. After preparing the tires, we were ready for the semi-final where I started in 6th place. After only 2 minutes of the 20min final I was in the lead and pulled away from the rest of the field winning my semi-final by 1 lap.

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I was happy that I made it into the final, and despite having worked very hard the entire week and just having finished a gruelling semi-final, I was ready to concentrate and give it my all for the final. Thanks to winning my semi-final, I was to start in 6th place on the starting grid right behind my team mate Dirk (who also won his semi-final). In the hour-long break beforehand, I relaxed and we prepared the car again and before I knew it it was time for the final!

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We had a clean start in the final and after 4 minutes I was in 2nd place. We had a few small problems in the first two pit stops, so I lost some time and fell back to 6th place. Dirk and I tried to run the 45min final with one set of tires, and that turned out to be the right strategy. With minimal errors we worked our way to the top. After 25 minutes, Dirk took over the lead with me close behind in 2nd place. After 30 minutes, I had a small crash with another car in the pit lane, which again cost me some time and so I found myself in 5th place. Now I pushed really hard, passing car-after-car, and in the end I finished in 3rd place only 1 lap behind Dirk who became European Champion "B" 2008 with his perfect NT1.

I would like to thank my pit crew, Mario and Juraj from XRAY, Novarossi and Bertram Kessler (SMI Motorsport).

Regards Thomas Günsel
Team XRAY Germany

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Dirk Wischnewski Winning Set-up sheet.

Thomas Günsel Set-up sheet.

 
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