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Race report by Robin Frischkopf
Round 2 of the Swiss Championship was held on the weekend of May 22/23 in the beautiful town of Rolle at Lake Geneva. This track is purpose-built each year for this race only, and is on the grounds of Castle Rolle. Contrary to the many weeks before, the sun was shining all weekend and we enjoyed the nice weather. There were 56 expert drivers present and 68 in the amateur category.

The track was very technical with a very long straight and only one tabletop jump, but lots of holes in the grass from last year's races. There were also elevation changes at Rolle, with sloping uphill and downhill corners making it very challenging and fun to drive. A highlight of these races is that being in the middle of town it always draws a large crowd of sometimes hundreds of spectators. Driving in front of them is a great feeling!

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On Saturday there were two practice rounds and four qualifying rounds. It was all about getting the setup and the tyres right. I started with the setup that I had had 3 weeks before at the first round of the championship, where I had TQ and Pole but sadly suffered bad luck in the finale with two flameouts due to an empty tank and then a collision with a wooden curb landing from a jump resulting in a broken rear hub and only 10th place.

The setup worked very well, I only played around with different tyres and rear anti-roll-bars for most of the day. For the last qualifying round I maximized the kick-up (because the holes had gotten larger), and changed the rear pistons from 1.3 to 1.5 to have less pack in the rear over the holes. As a result my car flew mostly straight through the holes, when all others lifted the rear end.

Of the four qualifying runs I didn't manage a clean run without mistakes since there was always a lot of traffic. The last one went very well and I almost TQ’d it, but then due to a mistake I missed it by only 1 second. In the end I managed a 5th place overall on Saturday, but was very confident for Sunday because while all other drivers gradually slowed down through the day because of the changing track, I got faster with every round and now had a car that was well set up for Sunday which would be even bumpier.

On Sunday afternoon after a long wait my semi-final finally came. I started from 3rd place and soon had a very nice battle with Jeremy Pittet for the lead. After some hot laps together he let me go since I was clearly faster. Even before the first pit-stop I had almost a 10-second lead. The car worked brilliantly. But then just before the first pit stop I made a mistake. Maybe it was due to a hole or I just miscalculated the corner, but at the fastest corner of the track, I hit the track tubing at full throttle. The car flew in the air violently and spun around about 5 times; I must have hit the nail that secured the tube to the ground. When I tried to drive on I saw that the front left wheel was hanging off the car. While my pitman Etienne went to get the car I thought "not again!". Once more I had a quick car but seemingly threw it away.

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When the car was back in the pits I saw that the front left upper arm had popped off the ball. It looked okay but I knew it must have cracked somewhere or it would not have come off, and indeed it had a large crack on one side but somehow still held together. I told Etienne to snap it back on, which he did after making sure the driveshaft was in the outdrive. They refueled and sent the car back out again. The engine was very rich exiting the pits since it was on idle for about half a minute, but it kept running.

I made a few laps and suddenly had hope again. It seemed that the car would hold together. I knew though, that with any small mistake, the upper arm would pop out of its socket again. Also I was back in 9th position, having lost a lap and another 30 seconds in the pits, so I still had to drive fast. I managed to drive the remaining 13 minutes with no mistakes or any contact and even got back up to 4th place and, after unlapping myself, into the same lap as the leader Jeremy. What a semi-final !

Before the final I replaced the broken link but I also had to replace the left front lower arm and 4mm pin because both were bent. It really had been a very hard crash, any other car would have been completely pulverized I think.

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I started the 30-minute final from 7th place. I was able to keep out of trouble at first but then on the tabletop jump two cars landed on mine but I was able to shake them off. I was up into 4th position very quickly and then after a few laps was up into 3rd position. Up front, Jeremy took the lead from Didier, who fell back a little. For the first 15 minutes of my final I was busy catching up to Didier in 2nd and after a 5-lap battle I overtook him and gained some ground. My B10 engine ran perfectly so 7:30min pit stops were no problem even though I was on full throttle a lot. With only 10 minutes before the end of the final I was 10 seconds behind the leader Jeremy. I knew I was faster so I made no mistakes and with about 5 minutes to go I was right behind him.

When a lapped car was in the way and Jeremy slowed down a little, I passed him. There were 4 minutes to go and Jeremy was close behind making his fastest laps but also some tumbles. When time was up I managed to take the lead over the finish line by a bit more than a second. I was very happy to win my second Championship race on a grass track. I'd always felt that I lacked some performance on these types of tracks, and made too many mistakes because of the high grip. This race has given me a lot of confidence. I'm looking forward to the three remaining SC races on dirt tracks which should suit me even more.

I'd like to thank XRAY, RB and Power-Save-Racing for the continued support and also my pit crew Etienne Kaser and Robin Minkler. Also a big thanks goes to my club BCZ with whose members the races are always a lot of fun.

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Final results:
1. Robin Frischkopf XRAY XB808
2. Jeremy Pittet
3. Didier Perrin
4. Patrick Hofer
5. Dirk Stammler

Set-up sheet
Robin Frischkopf

Youtube video