On Sunday, June 8th it was time for our second nitro touring car championship race. The race was held at the Hyvinkää track, the largest asphalt track in Finland at 260m long. The track layout was quite easy and fast with medium grip. The weather was great but it was a little windy and dust was the problem during the race; the grip didn't come up because of that.
The race day started with two rounds of practice, followed by four rounds of qualifying. After the four rounds of qualifying it was again Tony Raikas who was on pole position only 0.8sec ahead of Team XRAY's Pekka Koivula. Daniel Kalves was in a solid 3rd place after qualifying. So it was clear that Team XRAY was again very strong and had good chances to do well in the final.
Top four after Qualifyings:
1. Tony Raikas 2. Pekka Koivula XRAY NT1
3. Daniel Kalves XRAY NT1
4. Teemu Saarinen
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After the 1/4 finals and semi-finals, Team XRAY driver Janne Westerlund managed to get in main final. In four fastest 10min practice, I tested some final tires and felt that my car would be very good with harder tires. I also changed my rear anti-roll bar from 2.6mm to 2.4mm and car was turning better in long turns; all of which made me faster.
I had a bad start in the final, rolling my car in a crash in corner 1 and ending up in last place about 7 seconds behind leader Tony Raikas. I started to drive as fast as possible, catching and passing many of the drivers ahead of me. Unfortunately, at the start my mechanic didn't put my car down when the flag was down and I got a drive-through penalty because of that. In the penalty I lost only 1 second, so it wasn't very bad. After about 15min of fast driving and passes I took over the lead. By that time Teemu Saarinen was 2nd and Daniel Kalves was 3rd.
(click to enlarge)
After I took over the lead I pulled out a 4sec lead and started to save my tires. Everything went well and I won the race. I was very happy with the result, especially after the unlucky start.
1. Pekka Koivula XRAY NT1
2. Teemu Saarinen
3. Tony Raikas 4. Daniel Kalves XRAY NT1
5. Antti Ollinmäki 6. Janne Westerlund XRAY NT1
7. Ari Lappi
8. Jomi Pulli
9. Joonas Holsti
10. Sebastian Trzaska
The results in this season have been very good for TEAM XRAY: 2 races, 2 wins!