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Race Report by Robin Frischkopf
The 2009 Swiss Championship started on the first weekend of May in Morges at Lake Geneva. With over 130 drivers in attendance it was the biggest National event in Switzerland yet, and we were all excited that the season had finally started.

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The track was the usual temporary grass track with a long straight, very fast sections and some good and challenging jumps. All through the weekend there were hundreds of spectators at the track as it was in the middle of town.

The car worked very well from the beginning with the setup I had chosen, and I only made small refinements. The most important thing was the tyre choice. After trying DLD Splinter — which were fast but very difficult to drive — I chose GQ Spades (similar to Bow-Tie) with a medium foam insert. All the tyres with hard or molded inserts had simply too much grip on the grass surface and the car traction-rolled.

I had good qualifying runs and after the four qualifying heats at the end of Saturday I was in 4th place. I was very happy with that, considering the amount of drivers and that the skill level was increasing each year.

On Sunday the semi-final went very well and I got the 4th starting position for the final. I wasn’t sure which tyre to choose for the final. It seemed like it would rain and then the Spades would be useless on the wet grass. So I put on DLD Splinter tyres again for the warm-up. The Splinters seemed okay so I stayed with them. The track had deteriorated a lot and didn’t have the grip as before, so the car didn’t want to traction roll that much it seemed.

After the start I got into a crash and dropped back to 10th place. I tried to make up ground, but when I pushed the car too much it started to traction-roll again. I had to get used to the tyres and made a few mistakes. After a while I was still only in 9th place, so I concentrated really hard to make up for it and drove very consistently. I gained place after place and suddenly I was in 5th. Didier Perrin was 2nd behind Lachat but he suffered a flame-out, so this put me in 4th. All the while I was fighting for position with Patrick Hess and Christophe Plancherel who were also very fast. It was a lot of fun.

Looking back I had clearly chosen the wrong tyres. The best lap was only 0.1sec faster, but I was less consistent because the car was too aggressive. So I was determined to make the best of this race and mentally filed it as a learning experience. That I was back in 4th place again was a miracle to me, and when Patrick Hofer (now 2nd and already a lap ahead), broke his car two minutes before the end of the final, it put me into 3rd place for a podium finish.

I was very happy with this result because for half the final I had thought I had a ruined race. Also, both my car and my RB B9 engine performed flawlessly all weekend. It’s great to be going into the second year with the XB808 as I understand the car a lot better now and have more experience setting it up.

My teammate Marc Heim finished the race in 6th place, starting from 7th position.

In the Amateur category, Daniel Amsler came a very close 2nd place. My younger brother Ben, who drove his first national race, qualified 50th but bumped up all the way from the 16th to the final, finishing 7th. He drove over two hours that day and the car held up very well.

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Final Results

1. Philippe Lachat
2. Jeremy Pittet
3. Robin Frischkopf XRAY XB808
4. Patrick Hess
5. Christophe Plancherel
6. Marc Heim XRAY XB808

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Two weeks later we already had our second race in Montagny. This time there was not as many racers as before, but still about 100 or so. The track was on one side very fast, on the other side very technical with wooden “minigolf” jumps, step-ups, and obstacles. There was also a very bumpy section. On this track the driver would be much more important than the setup, and avoiding mistakes would be crucial. The weather was fine all weekend despite a very bad forecast.

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Once again I qualified in 4th position, but this time it was very close. The first four drivers were only about 4 seconds apart in their fastest run, so on Sunday anything would be possible.

On Sunday the semi-final went well again, with a nice duel with Jeremy Pittet over the whole 20 minutes. In the end we were only a few seconds apart and I got the 3rd starting position for the final. In the Amateur category, XRAY driver Daniel Amsler got Pole Position and also managed to win the final.

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At the start of the Expert final I was overtaken by Didier Perrin who started in 4th position... then also by Jean-Marc Betticher, multiple Electric Touring Swiss Champion. I had a close battle with him and after a few laps managed to overtake him again. Then I got closer to Perrin again and throughout the rest of the final we battled for position and were never more than a few seconds apart. It was very exciting! First we were 1st and 2nd, and I even led the race for a few laps because I refueled later. Jeremy Pittet was also very fast, but had a flameout and lost about a lap.

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Then at about half-time Philippe Lachat, who had some radio problems after the start, caught up with us and first overtook me and then Didier (who also suffered a flameout right before the pits). He did not lose a lot of time though, and didn’t have to pit anymore so I still couldn’t get by him. In the end I didn’t have the nerves anymore and made two mistakes in the last two laps so I settled for 3rd place and drove it home. I was still on the same lap as the leader though and very happy with the car and the result.

After two races in 3rd place I’m now in 2nd place in the championship. There are still four races to go but I look forward to them with my main goal being to qualify and finish consistently.

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Final results:

1. Philippe Lachat
2. Didier Perrin
3. Robin Frischkopf XRAY XB808
4. Jean-Marc Betticher
5. Jeremy Pittet
6. Marc Heim XRAY XB808


Robin's Set-up sheet - Morges.
Robin's Set-up sheet - Montagny.

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