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After an exhausting, exciting, and extremely hot week at the beautiful track in Gubbio (Italy), XRAY brings for incredible and record-setting results from the 2009 European Championship 1/10 Nitro Touring. XRAY swept the European Championship by taking the whole podium, placing 8 cars in the main final, and winning title of European Champion as well Junior European Champion.

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The race started with free practice on Monday, June 20th and continued until the first scheduled heats on Friday. With 111 drivers from all around Europe and all factory teams represented, the competition level was set high early on and as track condition improved the lap times were getting lower and lower. With all the best European drivers (with a very strong Italian presence) the competition level was like at the World Championship, with all the recent European Champions and two World Champions making the race very challenging.

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The XRAY NT1 was the most popular and frequently used car, and among the 111 drivers present it was used by 59 drivers to make XRAY the most represented brand. From very early practice, Team XRAY was on pace setting the best lap times. Not surprisingly, the top XRAY drivers were Martin Hudy (XRAY Slovakia), Niki Duina (XRAY Italy), Dirk Wischnewski (XRAY Germany), Teemu Leino (XRAY Finland), Jerome Renaux (XRAY Belgium)… along with young drivers making with their premiere at an EC: Alex Hagberg (XRAY Sweden) and Biagio Spataro (XRAY Italy).

For Alex Hagberg — who is well known from the electric touring car racing scene — this was the first serious nitro touring car race and right from the very beginning he showed his talent and very smooth electric touring car style racing. Despite not being fastest, his lap times were very consistent. The other big surprise was 15years old Italian racer Biagio Spataro who already shined at the recent Euros B in Austria where he won the Junior Champion title.

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This year 2009 is the first year that INS-box filters are required as mandatory. Using these induction noise suppression filter boxes have brought a lot of troubles and headaches with respect to finding proper engine adjustments; many drivers even experienced engine shut-offs and the engine manufacturers had to do a lot of work on the engine settings. With the new rule of 7 minutes qualifying heats with mandatory pit stop added another strain to the drivers and their crews. Teamwork between driver and mechanic was crucial right from the qualifiers, and spectators could enjoy a lot of pit action, crashes, and breakages.

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The XRAY factory support team was at the track from the first day of practice until the last minute of the race, helping out with technical issues and with set-up advice for all XRAY drivers. The service was arranged by the Italian distributor (who had their local shop available at the track); the XRAY service van (supported by Austrian distributor Gerhard Binder) was fully loaded with all the spare parts and everything else necessary to service XRAY cars. As usual, all XRAY drivers received a free support package with the most important spare parts, free T-shirts, towels, lanyard, stickers and plenty of other useful parts. Premium service and support is also the reason why XRAY is the #1 choice. Martin Hudy and Juraj Hudy were constantly walking around the pits to chat with drivers, helping out with set-up wherever possible, giving the best XRAY experience to the drivers.

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The adrenaline and excitement kicked into high gear on Friday with the qualifiers. With two qualifiers on schedule for Friday and two qualifiers on Saturday (and with one best result counting), it was clear that the most important run would be the final run on Friday and the first on Saturday when track conditions were the best. In all qualifiers the strong performance of Team XRAY was confirmed, and the NT1 was constantly represented by several drivers in the top 10 positions. With four drivers to qualify directly into the main final and the remaining 14 drivers qualifying into semi-finals, everybody was trying to nail down their lap times to achieve at least 18th place. Those drivers who achieved 26 laps were fairly secure and as such everybody was pushing their limits to achieve 26 laps.

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After the last qualifier on Saturday it was clear that XRAY would have 2 cars qualify directly into the main final, with another 8 cars going directly into the semi-finals. The two directly qualified drivers included young gun Biago Sparato, who despite running in lower heats with more traffic still achieved 26 laps and 11 seconds finish time. The second driver was incredibly fast Jerome Renaux from Belgium who achieved the same result, with slightly better lap time by just few fractions of a second. These two drivers were followed in the qualifiers by Dirk Wischnewski (Germany), Giorgio De Felici (Italy), Teemu Leino (Finland), Manuel Huber (Austria), Martin Hudy (Slovakia), Niki Duina (XRAY), Gerhard Kandelhardt (Austria), and Guido Barbera (Italy).

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Top 18 qualifiers of the 2009 European Championship 1/10 Nitro Touring:

1. Dario Balestri
2. Jerome Renaux XRAY NT1
3. Francesco Tironi
4. Biagio Spataro XRAY NT1
5. Michael Salven
6. Dirk Wischnewski XRAY NT1
7. Giuseppe D’angelo
8. Giorgio De Felici XRAY NT1
9. Teemu Leino XRAY NT1
10.Manuel Huber XRAY NT1
11.Martin Hudy XRAY NT1

12.Kyle Branson
13.Jilles Groskamp
14.Niki Duina XRAY NT1
15.Mark Green
16.Robert Pietsch
17.Gerhard Kandelhardt XRAY NT1
18.Guido Barbera XRAY NT1

The weather remained unchanged for the finals on Sunday with a lot of sun and hot track, and the crowd could enjoy very thrilling racing during the day. The two semi-finals were expected to be the most competitive ones, and all drivers in lower finals were trying to bump-up to have a chance to race in the main final. Alex Hagberg was fast enough in a quarter final to bump-up to the semi-final as well as other XRAY drivers Rodrigo Pahisa (Spain), Antonio Pietroforte (Italy) who bumped up from their 1/16 finals. The last XRAY driver to represent in a semi-final was young Belgian driver Maxim Claes who bumped up from his ? final.

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With 12 cars in the A and B semi-finals, Team XRAY was statistically very strong though racing is always racing and until the last second everything could happen.

In the first semi-final, Felici got into the lead followed by Wischnewski, Huber and Hagberg. Niki Duina was doing very well and was on a bump up position when unfortunately during refueling his mechanics shirt got caught in the wheel and his engine died. That was the end of Euros for Niki.

With several position changes in the semi-final, Team XRAY finished with great results by taking the first four positions: Huber, Wischnewski, Hagberg and Felici. As the next semi-final was expected to be the slower one, even Felici on 4th place had a chance to qualify into the main final since only the first two positions from each semi got a secured final placement along with other 2 best-result drivers from any of the semis. With the expected lower lap times due a hotter track, it was necessary for the drivers in the second semi to aim for the first two positions to secure their spot in the final.

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The second semi had to be delayed by 10 minutes, which allowed Teemu Leino to swap out a problematic servo. Unfortunately, even after changing the electronics his car had weird handling and after the start he had to forget about racing. He later found out that his battery connector was damaged and was giving intermittent contact. So… the Euros ended for Teemu even before he could hit the track in the semi. Bad luck also struck Martin Hudy in the semi, as in the opening first lap got into a slide and with traffic behind him got him off of the track; he had to start from the very back almost one lap behind the leader.

During the next 20 minutes Martin showcased why he is one of the world’s best nitro touring drivers. With a repeat strategy from the Worlds last year he drove the entire 20 minutes without a single mistake and extreme consistency, catching and passing drivers ahead of him and working his way through the field from his 10th place position. With many drivers having technical and engine troubles, the positions were swapping around all the time. With a few minutes to go, Martin got into the lead followed by Kandelhardt and Romagnolli. This remained unchanged until the finish, so Martin and Kandelhardt secured another two XRAY cars into the main final!

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2009 European Championship Nitro touring car main final line-up:

1. Dario Balestri
2. Jerome Renaux XRAY NT1
3. Francesco Tironi
4. Biagio Spataro XRAY NT1
5. Manuel Huber XRAY NT1
6. Dirk Wishcnewski XRAY NT1
7. Alexander Hagberg XRAY NT1
8. Martin Hudy XRAY NT1
9. Giorgio de Felici XRAY NT1
10.Gerhard Kandelhardt XRAY NT1

After a break everybody was ready for the main show. Tire strategy would be very important for the 45 minute main and gambling around tire choice was obvious during the break with every driver choosing a different strategy. Team XRAY was statistically very strong for the main final by representing 8 cars out of the 10. However, as experienced in many other races, we knew that anything and everything could happen during a race… so full concentration and maximum performance with no mistakes would be required for good results.

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Just a few seconds before the race started, the first bad fortune hit Jerome Renaux and Gerhard Kandelhardt who both had engine troubles and could not restart their cars. As such the 10 cars on the starting grid were reduced to 8 cars. It was very sad that Jerome could not start, since his super fast car would certainly put big pressure on TQ driver Dario Balestri, who after the start got into a secure lead. The battle was going on behind the leader where the positions were mixing up all the time, with several engine stoppages as well as crashes and off-track excursions abound. Fast young Italian Spataro experienced some engine troubles as well which prevented him from making consistent laps.

Then it was only Dirk, Alex, Manuel and Martin who did not experience any engine or technical failures and could concentrate on racing. Running down the race, Dirk was in 2nd place behind the leader with Martin battling with Alex for 3rd place. Manuel was working his way from the back of the pack into 4th place. During a refueling, another car’s engine cut out just before the place where Martin’s mechanic Brano was refueling his car, and after refueling he dropped Martin’s car in front of the dead car in the pit lane. Unfortunately, the referee considered this improper and applied a stop-and-go penalty for Martin which unfortunately resulted in Martin dropping back to 4th place.

The differences between Alex, Manuel and Martin were very close and they were swapping their positions within their refueling pit-stops. After the middle of the race, the leader who had a large gap ahead of Dirk seemed to get slower and slower while Dirk got faster and closed up the gap quickly. It was obvious that those two drivers choose completely different tire strategies.

With 8 minutes to go the leader started to experience some problems with his car which allowed Dirk to close the distance. It seemed obvious already that the real thrill would come in the last few minutes of the racing when Dirk — who drove without any mistakes and was extremely consistent — put pressure on the leader. The real confrontation though did not come since the engine of the leader broke and the top positions again were mixed up with all XRAY cars now in the top 4: Dirk, Alex, Manuel, and Martin.

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In the last few minutes there were no more surprising moments and they crossed the finish line in the same order: Dirk, Alex, Manuel (159 laps) and Martin (158 laps). The lineup of XRAY cars continued with De Felici (153 laps) and Renaux (138 laps) so the top 6 were all XRAY cars.

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2009 European Championship 1/10 Nitro touring cars final results:

1. Dirk Wischnewski XRAY NT1
2. Alexander Hagberg XRAY NT1
3. Manuel Huber XRAY NT1
4. Martin Hudy XRAY NT1
5. De Felici XRAY NT1
6. Jerome Renaux XRAY NT1

7. Dario Balestri
8. Biago Spataro XRAY NT1– European Junior Champion
9. Gerhardt Kandelhart XRAY NT1

10.Franceso Tironi

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The 2009 European Championship 1/10 Nitro touring cars finished with an incredible and record setting result for XRAY, with 8 cars in the main final, all 3 podium finishes, European Champion title and European Junior Champion title, and all the possible best achievements.

XRAY would like to thank and congratulate Dirk Wischnewski, the new 2009 European champion, as well as all the finalists and XRAY racers. A big “thanks” goes to the organizers for a perfectly-organized race both on and off the track, and thanks goes out to all competitors for making this race once again very exciting and unforgettable.

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Dirk Wischnewski, the 2009 European Champion and 2008 European “B” Champion says:

"The whole week went very well for me. In practice I tried some different set-ups and at the beginning of qualification I was very happy with the handling of the car and also the engine worked fine. Unfortunately, I made a small mistake in my qualifier so I missed a top 4 spot and qualified in 6th position. The semi-final went quite well and so I bumped up to the main finale. In the first 5min of the main final I was able to overtake 4 cars and stay in 2nd place. From there on I took it easy to save my tires and engine. As the leader was out of race with 10 min to go I tried to maintain my place to the end to win my first European Championship title. I'm very happy with this win. I would like to thank Betram Kessler for all his help over the last 2 years as my mechanic, Juraj for a perfect car, Novarossi for a very powerful engine, and ATS for the perfect tires."


Dirk Wischnewski's Set-up sheet.
Alexander Hagberg's Set-up sheet.
Jerome Renaux's Set-up sheet.

More Photos

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