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Race report by Mickael Brandt
My first race in Sweden this year took place at the really fast track in Ă–rebro. Since I had to attend a family event on Saturday, I only had time for the practice and 3 of 4 qualification rounds. I felt pretty confident though, since my car was really good last year at this track when it was dry. The practice went well and the car was easy to drive and after the first qualification round I was 3rd. In the second round something went wrong with the engine when the warmup started, and since I only could do one more qualification run I quickly changed the engine to another one. Thanks to the quick-change engine mounting system, I managed to do the engine swap quickly and run a couple of laps and tune the engine for the next qualification round. My final round went fairly well but I did not manage to hold on to my direct qualify final place, instead I ended up starting 2nd in semi-A. In the qualifiers I had used a spool in front and 60000 oil in the rear diff and I felt that I needed more steering into the corners, so I switched to an 80000 diff in the front, and also changed from 2 holes to 1 hole in the rear shocks to get even more steering.

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Those changes seemed to work well because the car felt better in the semi-warmup and when the start signal sounded I easily followed Niclas Nillson’s Serpent… and passed him on the second lap when he went off the track. I was pulling away from the rest of the field and when my pitman called me in for the first pitstop I had a comfortable lead, but when I came around the last corner before the pits I ran out of fuel. Fortunately I could roll the last 10 meters without losing any ground. My pitman Mikael Bengtsson did a super job in refueling me and restarting my engine so that I did not lose my lead position. After that I kept the car on the track… and ended up bumping up to the main final starting in 5th place.

The car had responded well to stiffening up the rear end so for the final I raised the rear shocks to hole #3; this was the only change I made for the final. During the warmup the car felt really good and when the start sounded I could easily keep up and pass two of the cars ahead of me. I then had a good battle with Alexander Andersson for 2nd place and when he went a little wide in a left hand sweeper I passed him with a little touch and started to catch the leader Roland Ström. Going out on the straight at around 3minutes I felt something was wrong with the car; I went in to the pits and found out
that the rear belt didn’t want to move anymore. Since it was so fun to race I changed the rear belt and came back to the track. Everyone knew I could not win so the others left me a clear track when I was catching them which made me the only one making lap times below 17sec. Unfortunately I was more than 10 minutes behind the leader so in the end my finishing position was 8th. I had a fun race despite the result since the car was really great to drive, so I enjoyed the weekend.

Final result of round 1:
1 Ström Roland
2 Hard Per-Ola
3 Andersson Alexander
4 Christopher Södergren
5 Suneson Edwin
6 Castro José
7 Karlsson Staffan
8 Brandt Mickael XRAY NT1
9 Bergfeldt Tommy
10 Runesson Klas

The second race was in Stockholm at one of the most challenging but fun tracks.

The practice started well enough and the car felt alright although not quick enough. I made some changes for the 1st qualifying round and the car was getting better. During the warmup for the second qualifier a car went off on the straight and while trying to avoid it I went off myself and ripped the silencer from the engine so I missed this round. Round three went well but I made some mistakes and I was not in the top 4… so going into the final round I stiffened up the rear end to get some more steering and this help me qualify 4th and go direct into the final. I was quite happy and I was only 2 seconds from the 2nd place car, but not close to the 1st place, so I needed to try something to catch up.

In the final practice I tried different tyres but I still needed to make something to make the car a little bit quicker so I changed the rollcenter in the rear and this made the car a lot more safe but also faster.

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At the start I could follow the 2nd and 3rd place cars and pass them when they had a get-together. I then started to push to try to catch up with Roland, only to mess up the chicane in the middle of the track. That broke one of my rear tyres… I felt so stupid. In a panic I told my pit man to get the wrong tyre which meant I had to stay out on a broken tyre longer than necessary, and when I finally changed the tyre and came out I was last starting to catch up on everyone but the leader. I also ran into trouble with Alexander Andersson and when there was 10 minutes left we had a good battle swapping between 2nd and 3rd place when refueling. Unfortunately for me I had to make one more pit stop than him so the end result was Roland winning with Alexander in 2nd and me in 3rd (down 1.5 laps from the winner). Again the car was really good in the final which showed when I was setting my best lap times for the race in the final. Unfortunately my mistake in the early laps decided my fate so I could not challenge a steady-driving Roland. I’ll just have to wait until next race.

1 Ström Roland
2 Andersson Alexander
3 Brandt Mickael XRAY NT1
4 Bergfeldt Tommy
5 Castro Jose
6 Westholm Ola
7 Suneson Edwin
8 Runesson Klas
9 Karlsen Johnny
10 Hard Per-Ola

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