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Race Report by Teemu Leino
Our first round of buggy nationals were held in Kauhava on May 23rd. The track was really nice clay with few jumps, one bridge, and one big wall corner made from wood where it was a 180° turn in the middle. The wall corner was really tricky as it was made from really slippery material and many racers found it hard to get it right every lap. The track was new and there has not been a single race before, so no one knew which type of tires would work and whether or not it would get very bumpy.

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We arrived at the trackon Friday afternoon; some people were already practicing and we got our stuff ready. The moment I got my engine running it started to rain... . We waited for a few hours for the track to get dry enough to run again and we then ran through a few tanks of fuel. Almost everybody came away from the track with a smile as it was really flat and you could push as hard as you wanted without rolling over. Then we got another shower and so we packed up our stuff as it was raining too much.

The weather on Saturday was sunny and it all looked good weather*wise. We had two runs of controlled practice, and after that there were three qualification rounds (with best 2 counted). The track was a little wet during the practice runs, but cars didn‘t get dirty so it was great. It was hard to test tires and set-ups with the track changing so fast but thankfully it was drying out fairly quickly.

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Qualification

The track was dry in the first round and I had a good run going on, but got into a collision with a car I was lapping and somehow wasn‘t very lucky as a stone hit my fly wheel and my engine stopped. Other XRAY driver Ari Heinonen took the win in this round.

The second round was good until the last lap where I made mistake in one jump and that cost me TQ-ing this round and race. Instead, Ari won again and got TQ in that round and overall TQ.

Third round I got clean run and TQed that round. I qualified 2nd overall.

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Semi-finals
In the 20min semi-final A, Ari took an easy win. I had same story in my semi-final B.


Final
For the 45min final I choose a 9min pitstop strategy and that worked well for me. Right from the start I was able to pull ahead into a small lead and extended that later on. I had one big trouble in my final when my car dropped off the bridge and went under the bridge... and of course the marshalls didn‘t see that. In the end I took the win in the final and Ari took 2nd place. Arto Heinonen had bad luck as he flamed out when he was running in 3rd, so we might have gotten all three XRAYs on the podium, Ahhhh... such is racing! In total we got four XRAY cars into the final.

Second round is in a few weeks.

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Final results:

1. Teemu Leino XRAY XB808
2. Ari Heinonen XRAY XB808

3. Petri Mylläri
4. Markku Honkanen
5. Arto Heinonen XRAY XB808
6. Tomi Salonen
7. Jouni-Pekka Hiltunen
8. Mikko Mäkinen XRAY XB808
9. Jussi Torkkola
10. Tuomas Lintula

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XRAY drivers (from left): Arto Heinonen, Teemu Leino, Ari Heinonen, Mikko Makinen
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XRAY driver Teemu Leino
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XRAY driver Ari Heinonen
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Teemu Leino's Set-up sheet.