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Race report by Dirk Wischnewski:
The 1/10 Nitro Touring Car 2010 European Championship took place at the L.Collari track in Cassino,
Italy. The facility is one of the best in Europe and everything was perfectly prepared by the RME staff near Gianluca.

Weather conditions were super hot with temperatures up to 38°C in the shade and almost no clouds for the whole week. In the pits it was even warmer.

Team XRAY was very well represented at the race, with the Xray NT1 accounting for approximately 45% of the field of 102 drivers.

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Traction was super high right from the start of practice on Monday morning, due to the allowable use of tire additives. Even in the early practice runs, cars were already traction rolling.

This proved to be a difficult situation to find the right balance between steering and traction roll. The front tires proved to be the main factor, with some manufacturers having brought special front tires to the race which made it easier to find a balanced setup. Unfortunately, I did not have access to these tires, which made it more difficult to find the perfect setup.

Qualifying started on Friday afternoon with 2 rounds of 7min runs. It was clear to everybody that the 2nd run would be the fastest run as the temperatures dropped significantly. My car felt overly aggressive during the warm up laps, so I decided to drive conservatively to help keep the car planted. At the end I qualified in 9th position after this careful run. The two qualifying runs on Friday morning brought almost no changes in the semifinal positions as the temperatures were too high for time improvements.

Top 14 after Qualifying

1. Mazzeo Alessio
2. Balestri Dario
3. Groskamp Jilles
4. Loppini David Xray NT1
5. Green Mark
6. Ielasi Daniele
7. Forte Alessio Xray NT1
8. D'angelo Giuseppe Xray NT1
9. Wischnewski Dirk Xray NT1
10. Redaelli Luca Xray NT1
11. Huber Manuel Xray NT1
12. Giacalone Dino Xray NT1
13. Culoma Claudio Xray NT1

14. De Felici Giorgio

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Due to the very extreme conditions many top drivers in the lower finals failed to bump-up to the semis. My semi-final run started rough as I got hit by several cars and was almost last after the first lap. I managed to recover to 4th place, securing my position in main final, however, as only one driver from the B semi was faster I would start from 5th position.

For the main final I decide to make no tire changes so I started with very big tires. After a strong start
I found myself in 3rd position after 2 laps. Unfortunately, I pushed too hard and flipped the car in the sweeper. After this incident my car was handling erratically, making it clear that I had a broken rear tire. After we changed the tires the handling returned to normal, however, I had already lost almost 5 laps. I drove hard for the remainder of the race and was able to work my way back up to 5th position.

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At the front of the pack, Manuel Huber drove a controlled and faultless race to give Xray their 2nd European Championship title, Congratulations.

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Final Results:
1. Huber Manuel Xray NT1
2. Spiniello Mario Xray NT1

3. Groskamp Jilles
4. Mazzeo Alessio
5. Wischnewski Dirk Xray NT1
6. Krober Rico Xray NT1
7. Hudy Martin Xray NT1
8. Giacalone Dino Xray NT1
9. D'angelo Giuseppe Xray NT1

10. Ielasi Daniele

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Race report by Manuel Huber:
Free Practice

It was no secret that I had been training at the race track in Cassino even before the E/C. During this time, the track had been sprayed with bonding agent (a major difference, as no bonding agent was used for the race E/C). This change made the hard-earned setups largely useless.

We tried different various combinations of tires, absorber, etc., but nevertheless I had less steering compared to some of the other competitors.

Everything changed as Martin HUDY gave the team an important recommendation: to use multi compound front tires, drastically improving our grip.

From this moment on I was able to come within reach of the world best top drivers.

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Qualifying
In my group, 3 of the 4 qualification runs were held during very high temperatures (up to 41 degrees).
The 3rd run at 8pm had vital importance due to the slightly cooler temperatures - everything had to be perfect in order to qualify myself directly into the "Semi - Final".

At the end of the qualification runs I was sitting in 11th place and achieved my goal to qualify directly for the "Semi - Final A". This way we were able to use the 4th run as preparation for the "Semi Final" (tire size, fuel consumption, etc.)

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Semi Final
The semi final run was nearly disastrous for me. During the warm up, a mechanical issue in the rear end made my car nearly impossible to control. I requested a time-out from the race organizer, which allowed my service crew to fix the problem in record time and get me back out on the track.

Due to the time-out, I was starting the semi-final in 11th position. The first 5 minutes saw me jostling for position with other drivers, costing even more time as I tried to move my way through the pack, however, even with the larger tires I chose to run in the semi-final, my NT1 was handling excellent.

After the semi-finals were completed, I found myself slotted into the 6th position for the main final due to the overall speed of my semi-final group.

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Final
The team used the time before the start of the race for preparation and to discuss an appropriate strategy:
Should we run the big risk of 5min refueling stops?
Should we run larger tires with no tire-change or smaller tires with a tire-change after 20 minutes?
Who are the other competitors in the final?
There were many other topics discussed - but I don’t want to bore you with the whole list

Upon the start of the race, I found myself in good position, among the lead-pack after just a few turns. Unfortunately, I got tangled up in a pile up just before the timing loop, which dropped me back to 10th position.
A short while later I managed to work my way back up to the lead duo of D’Angelo and Groskamp. A mistake by Groskamp damaged his car and he was forced to retire from the race.

By this point in the race, it had become obvious that D’Angelo’s engine was consuming more fuel than me ORCAN. My pit crew calculated that we should be able to take the lead and hold the position based on fuel strategy and requiring fewer stops.

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An engine stoppage by D’Angelo allowed me to take the lead, and on the advice of me crew, I eased back after 15 minutes to conserve my tires and car for a potential challenge from my competitors at the end of the race.

This advice left me very relaxed and allowed me to cruise through to victory at the Euro 2012.

I would like to take this opportunity to say "Thank you" to everyone who made my first triumph at the E/C possible.

See you again by no later than the E/C 2013 in Graz/Austria.

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Race report Rico Krober:
This year’s European Championships started on a Monday, with free practice. The set up that I had run earlier in the year on the host track seemed to work well with the low traction conditions of the event. This allowed me to test several different versions of Orcan engine.

On Tuesday I had the chance to test a new prototype front anti-roll bar set. I preferred the feel and feedback with this new piece, so I decided to use it for the rest of the event.

On Wednesday I tested another Matrix front tire for more steering and speed thru the infield sweepers. With these tires I was able to carry more speed in the sweepers and lower my lap times by 0.3 seconds. I decided to once again test the different engine types due to the rapidly climbing temperatures. In the last free practice of this day I tested a larger tire diameter to test the traction levels and prepare for potential traction roll in preparation for the finals. As expected, it would require a smoother, less aggressive line with the larger tires.

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On Thursday, for qualifying, I changed back to the fastest tire diameter and my best engine. This allowed me to, in the second and fastest qualifying round, drive very fast laptimes but unfortunately several small mistakes would cost me 3 seconds during my run. This small amount of time proved very important in the ranking list, with such a talented field!

On Friday, conditions all but eliminated the chances of an improved run, so I would be forced to start Saturday’s mains in the quarter-final grouping.

My Quarter-Final heat on Saturday, may have been the most talented quarter-final ever, with Andy Moore, Ronald Völker, Francesco Tironi, Robert Pietsch, Eric Dankel and Kyle Bransen being the other direct qualified 6 drivers for this final. I started in 4th position and after good start and managed a clean run up to second position. This allowed me to bump up and positioned me to start in 9th position in the semi-final.

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The Semi-Final was also highly competitive, but I was able to continue with the same fast laps I had run in the quarter final. These quick laps and some good luck helped me move on to the main final.

As I would be starting in 9th Position I decided to adopt a different strategy. Most of the drivers chose to use one set of tires without a change in the 45min final. I tested such tires with a bigger diameter in free practice but did not feel comfortable with the consistency and stability of the taller tire, so instead decided to run a smaller diameter tire, and perform one tire change during the race.

The race started out perfectly for me, allowing me to move up to 4th Position in the first lap. After the first fuel stop I was in second position behind the leader, Jilles Groskamp. Jilles was using the larger tire strategy, which may have contributed to him traction rolling on the infield, allowing me to take the lead leading up to the 2nd fuel stop. Due to my strategy of using a smaller tire, I was able to drive fast lap times from the first lap of the race.

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After the 3rd fuel stops I noticed a steering problem. I wasn’t sure where the problem was coming from, so I brought my car intot he bit for my crew to inspect. After a thorough inspection from my crew, we discovered that the car was fine, but that there was a misadjustment on my transmitter. We were able to correct the issue, but I had lost too much time, and with a tire-change still to come, I would not be able to make up for the time lost.

In the end, finishing in 6th position was a great result, especially once you factor in the depth of the field and the transmitter issues.

Now I prepare my NT1 for the German Championship next week.

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Race report by Martin Hudy:
As I did not drive NT1 this year, except one race at Xray challenge at our track, I knew that to achieve good result at this European Championship would be very difficult task. After spending the year focusing on 1/10 electric, I was not truly prepared for the different strategies required for running this class. Additionally, the European Championship was held in Italy which is home to some of the world’s best on road nitro drivers. This class is very popular in Italy and I knew that there will be many local competitors who are familiar with the track or local conditions and would be super fast.

Due to the reasons above, I decided to go to Fiorano for some practice with the car and engines. After I came home from the 1/8 on road EC in Portugal on Sunday evening, I stayed in office on Monday to quickly check my emails, I packed on Tuesday and on Wednesday I was on way to Fiorano. My good friend and great test driver Francesco Martini joined me, along with Fabio and Massimo Fantini to help me with my Max engines. Massimo had already prepared many engines for me, so my goal was to find the best ones. On Sunday morning I moved from Fiorano to Cassino, where the race would be held, with 5 very good engines and feeling confident, as my car was working really good. I was really impressed by the facility of Cassino track. This was my first trip to this facility, but I was amazed by how perfect everything was! The track layout was very good and I really enjoyed driving at this track.

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I was also impressed how the car and engine worked right from the beginning as I was one of the fastest cars on the track early in practice after having to quickly learn the track layout. During the whole week I was right on the pace and I was looking forward to the race, however, on Thursday morning during the first timed practice my best engine developed an issue, so I was forced to change to my second best engine for timed practice number 2 and it felt strangely weak. I was really shocked and kind of desperate as I had been working the whole week on every detail to get as much power as possible and suddenly I had no power. This was a disappointing situation to be in to start the qualifiers.

As the rule in this category state that you use your fastest qualifier of your four runs, and after looking at time schedule, I knew that actually it is going to be even more limited as the second round was scheduled late in the evening, and at that time, the track was 0.3 sec per lap faster than during the day.

My first qualifier did not go well, as I was still searching for the power that had been strangely lost. Massimo Fantini, then took my engine to inspect and modify. In warm up time before the start of the 2nd qualifier my engine felt incredibly strong. I felt that perhaps my engine was too lean, with it creating so much power so soon after starting. As a precaution, I instructed my mechanic to richen the engine, however, after refueling and starting the qualifier, I knew that I had made a mistake as I had lost a lot of power compared to the warm-up laps.

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Even though I made perfect run without any mistakes, I had lost at least 3 seconds due to lack of power and I qualified 16th, missing the semifinal by less than 1 second, and placing me in the first spot in the quarter-final.

The finals day was one of the hottest days on record, with temperatures reaching 42 degrees in the pits. I knew that to not overheat the engine would be most important but I was quite confident that with my driving style I could do well if I had enough luck to carry me through my mains without incident.

After missing the main final in the 2 previous EC, I wanted to be in the final this year and I promised myself that I will do everything I could to achieve my goal.

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I knew that it was crucial to have safe but fast start, therefore, I fully concentrated to get out clean and fast from the start. After 2 laps I was leading by more than 2 seconds which allowed me to relax slightly and just drive safe for the rest of the final to save tires and fuel. Unfortunately, my bad luck in the EC would strike again. 9 minutes into the race, while leading by ? lap, I got tangled up on the straightaway by a car coming out of the pits. I felt a shiver of panic ripple through me and my adrenaline kicked in as I was scared that I had broken my car as I could feel that something was wrong. The car was able to continue, but there was definitely something that had been tweaked, as the car felt super loose while turning to the left and had hardly and steering to the right. Additionally, it would not go straight on straightaway so I had to carefully trim the car every lap.

It was one of the longest 12 minutes in my life when I had focus with 100% concentration on every corner as the car was unpredictable. Even though the others started to catch me, I was thankfully able to finish 2nd and bump up to the semifinals.

Semifinals went very well for me, as I drove without any mistakes and was able to stay very calm. I was able to slowly work my way through the field, improving my position, right up until the end when I finished 2nd behind Giuseppe D`Angelo.

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Before the start of the 45 minute main final, we knew that the race was going to be about the right tire strategy and luck. I decided to go without a tire change and use very large tires as I was scared that I would run out of tires after seeing how much tire wear I had during the semifinals.

Due to the large tires my car was rolling a lot and therefore I had to drive slowly and carefully to overcome the lack of stability. After 8 minutes of driving, while in 6th place, I traction rolled and landed on me roof at the beginning of the straight. Another car ran into me while I was on my roof and I suffered a broken rear body post. This would severely effect the handling of the car, so I was forced to come into the pits to have it repaired, costing me a couple laps.

With such a deep, competitive field, it was impossible to make up such a big loss of time, so I had to settle for 7th, however, I did not feel disappointed at all as Team Xray finished 1st and 2nd and I was very happy for Manuel.

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Overall it was very successful event as Xray had the most cars at the race, most cars in the semifinals and the most of the cars in the finals.

Every driver was happy with the cars’ performance and service and this was the most important for me.

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Giuseppe D’Angelo:
The European Championship 1/10 touring in Cassino, Italy, for me, was a very satisfying event.

As early as 1 day of practice (Monday) I was among the fastest on the track, my positions by lap ranging from first to third.

After all of the qualifying rounds, I was sitting in 8th place, and felt confident that if it wasn’t for some small mistakes, I could have been sitting near the top 2 spots.

I went on to win my semi-final heat by a comfortable margin, positioning me in the final behind only Jilles Groskamp.

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I took the lead in the final from the first corner. After leading the race for nearly 9 minutes, I was forved to pit for a minor repair. The 30 second pit stop dropped me back to 10th position. For the next 15 minutes I would work my way back through the pack, until I found myself 5 seconds behind Huber for second position. Unfortunately, a mechanical issue brought my race to an end at the 26th minute.

Despite the disappointment of not finishing the race, I feel very happy with my results, as I was able to show from the very first day that I was competitive with Europe’s best drivers, and if had not been for a minor mechanical issue, I would have had a strong chance to have become the 2012 European champion.

Mario Spiniello:
After several tests carried out during the year, I got ready for this European Championship.

In the early practice, we tried the new front anti-roll bar and got very positive results. Then we focused on testing various setups and engines. Qualifications, unfortunately, did not go as expected, because in my heat (number 6), I raced in extremely hot conditions. In the only heat with lower temperature a few incidents slowed me down and so I qualified 31st and I had to go back from the 1/8 final.

1/8 FINAL
I started with the number 2, the car was fine and after a few corners, I was in the lead. Unfortunately, a mechanical problem caused me to lose more than one minute of repair in the pits. I dropped down to eighth place and to the sound of last lap I was able to recover up to third place and bump up to the quarterfinals.

QUARTER-FINALS
I started 10th and in a few laps make my way up to 4th place. Then I overtake Volker, Pietsch, getting second behind Tironi. After some laps, Tironi had a problem. Therefore, first place in the quarters and ready for the semifinals.

SEMIFINALS
I felt more and more the stability and reliability of the car. I pushed from the start and managed to finish in third place, thus entering into the final.

FINAL
Started with the number 4, I have been involved in an accident which caused me to drop at the end of the pack. I started to push and to recover up to second place. I knew I had to pull even more, because I had to make two extra pits of Manuel Huber. In the last minutes I was earning more than half a second at lap, but the race was over!!!

MY REMARKS
What to say, it was really tough and exciting racing from 1/8-final. I am really pleased and I‘m thankful especially for the reliability of my car, which has raced for more than 2 hours without giving me any problem. I also thank all my sponsors (Team Xray, Sprint RC, Novarossi, HotRace, MLC, Team Models Tech, Abec 35, FVSS, Pink Arrows Additivator) and hope to continue like that!

Dino Giacalone:
On Monday we arrived to Cassino and we had immediately a good feeling being always in the top 5. But next 2 days brought us several engine problems causing us to loose the first 2 qualifying rounds.

We finally solved the engine problems on Friday and despite of really hot weather finished the last two qualifying rounds at 12th place in direct semifinal B.

On the last day we prepared for the semi-final B. Because of some problems I’d been forced to ask for the suspension and started 11th but with a good pace set from the early laps I was able to finish the semi-finals on 3rd place.

The start of the finals was better than expected and soon I was behind the leading couple. Then we started having some problems and got also a penalty that caused me to loose valueable time. Fortunately by the middle of the race we solve the problems and I was able to come back to the race pushing hard and earning the place at the lead of the pack. But at 3 minutes to the finish line the car number 9 stopped in the middle of the lane and hitting it I broke the steering servo. So.. from a sure 2nd place chasing the leader... I found myself ending up 8th.

Gallery:

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Set-up sheets
Rico Kroeber