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Race report by Martin Hudy
The LRP Masters is one of the biggest carpet races, and this year the race was held March 26-28 in the sports hall in the small village of Eppelheim. Racers from around the world came to compete in this prestigious race and Team XRAY was there as well. The team was represented by Juraj and Martin Hudy, Alexander Hagberg, Teemu Leino, Freddy Sudhof, Dirk Wischnewski, Adrian Bernsten and Zdeno Kunak … supported by team drivers from Germany, Swiss, and Finland.

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The rules of this event changed a lot this year with the main difference being that on Friday there were 4 rounds of practice in the heats and then 5 rounds of qualifiers on Saturday. Sunday was the Finals day with 2 rounds of lower finals in the morning, and all the A-finals in the afternoon. This year only 9 drivers were directly placed into the Final because the bump-up rule was applied. Whoever in the lower finals and got the fastest result could bump up into the #10 position and drive the Finals in the afternoon. This was a really exciting rule because suddenly the lower finals were more exciting and more spectators followed these finals as well. The main classes at the LRP Masters were Modified, 10.5 Stock, and 17.5 Stock.

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The practice went quite well for the team, mainly for Freddy who was really fast right from the beginning. The track was changing a lot – from no traction at the beginning up to understeer in the evening. The main problem was to find a balanced set-up between a lot of steering (which was needed in the chicanes) and stability and smooth turning (which was needed in the long corners). The main problem was that the car was understeering in the chicanes but oversteering in the long sweepers. However, all cars had this was problem and all cars seemed to be difficult and very edgy to drive. Of course everything was in the set-up and therefore all drivers were changing set-ups from round to round.

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Qualifiers went well for Freddy who qualified 4th overall. Racing was super close and with the rule that the best 2 of 5 runs for qualifiers counted, drivers would need 2 perfect rounds to make the final. Freddy was able to finish in 3rd two times. For the A-final, at least two 5th places were needed. Alex was struggling with his set-up at the beginning but for the last qualifier he found a very good set-up and finished 3rd overall which placed him in 10th position. In standard rules he could be happy because it would be A-final, but with the new rule it was BQ place but he had a great chance to bump up. I had the same problems as Alex that from the beginning my set-up was not really good.

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Even though I was not making mistakes, I was just not fast enough because my car pushed and was stopping in the corners. Firstly I tried to use very soft oil (300) to get steering and traction but then the car felt too twitchy; so then I moved back to 400 oil. I decided to use anti-dive in the front to get less caster for more steering into the corner and kick-up to prevent the car from stopping in the corners. I felt that my car was much better in round 4 but it still pushed a lot. So then I put 2.8 springs into the rear shock and suddenly I got more on-power steering. In the last round I was able to qualify 8th overall but with results of 8th and 13th, I qualified 20th which was 1st place in the C-main.

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I was disappointed with these results because I was in the C-main but on the other hand I had a chance to bump up into the A-Final if I was quicker than the drivers in the B-main. Teemu had a tough weekend.

Even though he was really fast in each run, he was not able to drive without mistakes and because of this he qualified into the B-main. Adrian Bernsten – European Indoor finalist – was extremely fast as well but he had also difficulties in driving without mistakes. (For example, in the last round he was setting the fastest lap times but made 3 mistakes; without those mistakes he could have been in the top 3 positions.)

1. Völker Ronald
2. Rheinard Marc
3. Groskamp Jilles
4. Südhoff Freddy XRAY T3
5. Hara Atsushi
6. Andersson Christer
7. Wilck Viktor
8. Graversen Steen
9. Prümper Yannic
10. Hagberg Alexander XRAY T3

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The 10.5 Stock class with the new speedos is almost as fast as Modified and this was also proven by lap times which did not differ a lot from the Modified times. The fastest XRAY driver in this class was Matthias Lang. Matthias was able to win one qualifier and also set TQ but he was not able to drive without mistakes as well. In total we had three cars in the open stock class final. Teppo – returning to driving after several years away – made a great re-start by putting himself into the main final.

1. Wiebach Tobias
2. Wohlgemuth Daniel
3. Lang Matthias XRAY T3
4. Wahl Tim XRAY T3

5. Streit Tony
6. Madsen Carsten
7. Sobota Peter
8. Kauppinen Teppo XRAY T3
9. Umino Yukijiro

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In the 13.5 stock class it was XRAY driver Bernd Hasselbring who did not give anyone else a chance and set a TQ by winning two rounds of qualifiers and setting the fastest time.

1. Hasselbring Bernd XRAY T3
2. Sobota Anton
3. Hartinger Karsten
4. Wagner Florian XRAY T3

Bernd was able to win also two finals and thanks to that he secure his 1st place at the LRP Masters.

1. Hasselbring Bernd XRAY T3
2. Sobota Anton
3. Wagner Florian XRAY T3

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The 10.5 stock class was very exciting to watch because the order changed in nearly every lap. Drivers were not able to drive without mistakes and therefore the finals were full of crashing but also some nice passing. Matthias was really fast and could win the finals but he tried to move up to front too fast and then he made mistakes. If he was a little more patient, he could win because his car was really good. Matthias was able to win one final and finished 4th overall. Teppo was fast as well, but again mistakes prevented him from finishing better than 6th position.

1. Wohlgemuth Daniel
2. Lang Matthias XRAY T3
3. Streit Tony
4. Wahl Tim XRAY T3
5. Sobota Peter
6. Kauppinen Teppo XRAY T3

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In the Modified class the 10th place was still open and so the top 3 drivers from B and C finals had very good chances. In my first final I used the same set-up as in the last qualifier. My car was okay and I was able to win the final without any mistakes. Alex had a good start in his final as well and he immediately pulled away from the rest of the field. He made a perfect, clean run and was able to finish nearly half a lap up on 2nd position. I knew that I had no chance to beat Alex’s time with the same set-up, but on the other hand I did not want to make many changes to my set-up. I just needed more on-power steering and therefore I changed the rear anti-roll bar from 1.2 to 1.3mm. My car was much better and I was able to pull away from the rest of the field immediately. I drove very consistently without any mistakes and to my surprise I was able to beat Alex’s time by 0.1sec. I was also pleased when I saw how the car was consistent because I was able to drive every single lap within the range of 13.6–13.8sec.

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Alex was really surprised that I beat his time and he knew that HE now had to beat MY time. He again had a great start when he pulled away but in the last minute he made a small error and moved off the ideal line which lead to his losing traction for a couple of corners and that was it, he had no chance of beating my time. On one hand I was really happy that I could bump up into the final, and on the other hand I felt sorry for Alex because he is my friend and teammate. But such is racing, plus it showed how high the level of racing is in this class.

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The finals were not that exciting as the lower finals except in the first final when Ronald made a mistake and Marc passed him. Marc drove without any mistakes and was able to win the first final. Freddy was really fast in the first final and was able to move into 2nd place but then he made a mistake and dropped to 4th position. I expect that there would be some mistakes from the drivers but unfortunately there were almost no mistakes and therefore it was almost impossible to pass someone. Every driver had to wait and follow the drivers in front. All three finals were really close but didn’t have any big crashes or accidents. Therefore almost all drivers finished in their starting positions. What really pleased me was that Marc – who won the first final without any mistake – beat my time by only 0.3sec. This proved that my car was really good in the finals and that I found a very good set-up.

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Final results:
1. Völker Ronald
2. Rheinard Marc
3. Groskamp Jilles
4. Südhoff Freddy XRAY T3
5. Hara Atsushi
6. Andersson Christer
7. Graversen Steen
8. Prümper Yannic
9. Wilck Viktor
10. Hudy Martin XRAY T3

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