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The 2009 Nitro Touring Cars European Championship "B" was held at a very nice track the first weekend of May in Aigen which is in northern Austria. Following the XRAY NT1's success at last year's championship and a stellar performance this racing season there were high expectations for the XRAY team to do well at the 2009 Euros as well.

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Start up
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The 2009 Euros started on Monday but the rainy weather prevented meant the real practice and racing did not actually start until Thursday. With almost 120 racers from 17 countries the XRAY NT1 was the most popular and preferred touring car since almost half of the drivers had an NT1. Given the number of talented drivers, it was clear the competition would be at a very high level even during the early qualifiers.

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XRAY driver Dirk Wischnewski
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XRAY set the pace and led early in the first qualifiers and the NT1 was the car to beat. With the new 7 minute rule the engine and setup strategy of many drivers was to try to drive the whole 7 minutes without a pit stop which several were able to achieve.

After the qualifiers it was Gerhard Kandelhart who set the TQ with the XRAY NT1 followed by teammate Freddy Sudhoff with NT1. The first four positions automatically qualify for the A main final and XRAY got a third NT1 in thanks to the young Dutch driver Daan Jacobs.

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Getting ready
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Sunday was loaded with all the lower and main finals and thanks to the nice weather the public and spectators could enjoy some great racing and thrilling moves. The XRAY team did a great job in the lower finals as well as grabbing a few bump-ups in the upper finals. In the semi-final it was Francesco Martini (XRAY Italy), Jerome Renaux (XRAY Belgium) and Maarten Van Lierop (XRAY Netherlands) who finished in the top 3 and secured starting positions in the main final.

Unfortunately, technical inspection found the capacity of Maarten's fuel tank was just above the limit and as such was disqualified so he lost his chance to fight in the final. In the other semi-final it was Benjamin Schumann (XRAY Germany) who pulled the maximum out of his NT1 and bumped up to the main final as well, making it in total 6 XRAY NT1 cars in the main final - a satisfying result and achievement.

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Race action
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Just before the final the sky got a bit dark and brought a very short shower. This gave all of the finalists a little scare but fortunately the shower did not last and soon the sun dried the track just before the start.

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Finalists
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The finals were fairly thrilling with some exciting and controversal moments. From the early start the top qualifier Gerhard Kandelhart took a comfortable lead followed by Freddy in second. In third place there was a great battle between Daan Jacob and Rico Krober who were changing positions often. At the halfway point, Freddy took over the lead with Gerhard following in second. Both of them build a comfortable one lap lead over the rest of the field. Freddy, Gerhard, Rico and Daan held the top four positions in the latter half of the race. Just few laps to go Rico was able to get close to Gerhard in second position and put some pressure on him. For several laps Gerhard kept the line close and did not allow any small space for take over and there were just few moments for the final race to finish and if Gerhard held his tight lines he could defend the second spot.

The controversy occurred in the 180 degree corner just after the main straight. The car in third position hit the rear of Gerhard's body, his car turned and then got hit again on the side of the car. What looked to be a small crash was an unfortunate turn for Gerhard because his engine shut off. After the marshall took the car to the mechanics' station for a restart the car it was a lap down which allowed the car in the third to move onto second place and Daan with his NT1 cruising in the fourth position moved to the third place. With the last lap to go there were no more events and Freddy who took the European Champion victory with his NT1. Daan Jacob landed in the third while the unfortunate Gerhard retained fourth position.

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EU Championship '09 podium
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2009 Nitro Touring Cars European Championship "B" final results:

1. Freddy Sudhoff XRAY NT1
2. Rico Krober
3. Daan Jacob XRAY NT1
4. Gerhard Kandelhart XRAY NT1

5. Mathias Kalaris
6. Benjamin Schumann XRAY NT1
7. Rene Pupke
8. Martini Francesco XRAY NT1
9. Stefan Mayrhofer
10. Jérôme Renaux XRAY NT1

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Surprising award
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The 2009 European Champinoship "B" was another great success for XRAY and the NT1 which continues to collect awards, trophies and popularity. The 2009 Euros will add to the extensive list of achievements - TQ + WIN, 2 podium finishes and 6 spots in the main final.

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European Junior Champion Biagio Spataro
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XRAY would like to thank all the XRAY racers and team drivers for the excellent work and awesome results. A huge thanks goes to the XRAY support team and distributors who provided perfect support and service. As usual, XRAY provided V.I.P. service to all the XRAY drivers with the free support package including team wear and ever important spare parts. All the racers were very happy and satisfied with the service and support provided. The Austrian XRAY distributor was available with the XRAY service van during the whole event fully loaded with all the parts and technical service was arranged by several XRAY distributors and factory team drivers who helped all the other XRAY racers.

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XRAY finalists
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Freddy Südhoff's Set-up sheet.

More photos

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Eric Aita from RB Products
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True Italians
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XRAY driver Maarten van Lierop
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2nd runner up XRAY driver Daan Jacob
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From left: Bertram Kessler, Freddy Sudhoff, Mario Hudy, Dirk Wischnewski
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