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Race report by Robin Frischkopf
Round 3 of the Swiss Championship took place on June 23-24 at Gland at Lake Geneva. (This could also be counted as the 4th round if you count the canceled 1st race.)

About 140 drivers had registered for the event on one of the most beautiful and challenging tracks in Switzerland. This track is very strongly influenced by US tracks due to the fact that it was designed by the Zurflüh brothers who do a lot of international racing. One lap takes around 46 seconds and leads over many strongly-banked sections, elevation changes, an over-under, and a lot of jumps.

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The weather was fine and for the first time this year we were able to enjoy an entirely dry weekend with high temperatures. Thankfully the paddock area was right inside a small forest and there was a lot of shade.

On Saturday we started with two practice sessions. The XB9 went very well right from the beginning and I didn’t make any mistakes during the first session and so I could attack the track. It was a true pleasure to drive on this track again and I was looking forward to the qualifying rounds.

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After an abysmal home Euro B where – after leading the quarter final for the first stint – I just missed the bump-up to the semi-final by mere seconds due to one mistake too many, everything was alright again and things seemed to go well. I had made some set-up changes, mainly shocks and rear geometry, and was immediately very happy.

In the afternoon I TQ’d two heats which was enough to get the overall TQ. In the latter two heats I made some little mistakes but was still very quick. During the entire day I didn’t change anything on the set-up except the ride height and tyres. In the last heat I tried different tyres and managed to bring the lap record down by a bit more! Those fine pin tyres (GQ Mattock) were quicker but very difficult to drive off the racing line where it was very dusty, so for Sunday I would go back to my trusted GQ Spades.

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On Sunday after a long wait for all the lower finals, I drove my semi-final. The track had become a little more rutted now but it wasn’t too bad. Swiss Champion and European-B Vice Champion Jeremy Pittet, who’d not had a ood qualifying on Saturday, started from 4th and immediately came to the front and was pressuring me. We had a great battle and a lot of fun together, swapping positions several times, but then I made a mistake and a marshal who was sleeping almost ruined my race. I lost about 15 seconds and was very glad that my engine didn’t cut out due to lack of fuel. However, Jeremy and the pole were gone and I finished 2nd.

I started the final from 3rd position as Yaël Zurflüh had posted a semi-final time 1 second quicker than I had. However after a few laps it was between me and Jeremy again. Once again we had a great battle for the lead and we both drove sub-45-second laps, even though the track was not getting any better. I had also changed from soft to medium compound tyres since I needed more tyre life for the long final, and this made the car even easier to drive quickly.

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After the first pit stop we continued to battle and exchanged the lead almost every lap. Then I had a few terrible laps and put the car on the roof two or three times, and Jeremy was suddenly ahead by about 15 seconds. However I didn’t give up and tried to drive consistently. It took about 10 minutes and some mistakes from Jeremy, and we were neck-and-neck again. At that point though I’d found my rhythm and hardly made any mistakes anymore. I was able to get in front and extend my lead with every lap, eventually able to turn one more lap than Jeremy as the bell rang after 45 minutes.

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I’d like to thank my sponsors XRAY, RB, Power-Save-Racing, my mechanics Björn and Andy and the BCLC Gland for putting on this great race on what I think may be Switzerland’s best 1/8th track. The Swiss Championship remains exciting with 3 races to go!

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Expert Final Classification:
1. Robin Frischkopf XRAY XB9
2. Jeremy Pittet
3. Yaël Zurflüh

Set-up sheet:
Robin Frischkopf

 
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