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Race report by Chami Dassanayake
Saturday 17 November 2012, touring car drivers from Switzerland, could have been only in two places ; 1) Swiss Indoor Championships (SIC) or the famous 2) Swiss Indoor Touring Car Championship (SITCC). The SITCC is know for its successful and popular racing format recepie, which attracts approximately 60 pilots, for the unique class of touring car, from all over Switzerland and neighboring France.

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This year I was priviledged enough to drive for Team XRAY Switzerland with the support of T&M Models. Armed and ready to attack the SITCC season with my freshly built bone stock Team XRAY T4 chassis (52mm ECS drive shafts ofcourse !).

After arriving at the Grand Saconnex elementary school gym (the temporary race venue) a little past 8am, about 15 cars were on the track already for free practice. I opted to sit from the free practice as I still wasn’t woken up from the previous nights ‘quasi nuit blache’ as my 1 month daughter was partying all night.

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The race format was reminded at the traditional drivers breifing:

Timed practice in heats
Quali 1
Quali 2
Quali 3

Grids based on FTQ

Final 1 – 5mins. Starting Grid as per Quali results
Final 2 – 2mins Immediately following the 1st final, but in the reversed order of the 1st final results (1st place finnisher of Final 1 starts last on grid for Final 2)
Final 3 – 5mins Starting Grid as per Quali results
Results based on best two Finals with position of 2nd Final counting if egality in points.

More info on rules of SITCC at http://www.ermcgs.com/?page_id=40

Timed practice heat:

Started slightly late for this one due to a silly wiring mistake (lack of sleep) but still managed to clock the fastest time of 11.025 seconds.. Two tenths of a second faster than the second fastest.. Though the track was grooving up my base setup T4 was already on rails and seemed promising !

Quali 1:
Qualifier 1 got under way and though a slow start, by 2 mins into the qualifier the speaker announced that it was a very tight battle between myself Jean-Marc Betticher (JMB) and Walter Pollet-Villard (WPV). After battling it out for the next two minutes with the separation being two tenths of a second apart or so i took the lead and TQ’d by over 5 seconds ! Though not yet advancely experience with the XRAY T4, I already concluded with evidence the easy drivability of the car.

Quali 2:
Having experimented a different drive ratio and slightly lower throttle profile on my speedo, my power package wasn’t optimal and due to this lost the TQ by a little less than 3 seconds, settling 2nd. The chassis still proved to be very regular, and fast, with a best lap and averag lap difference of around three tenths of a second a part !

Quali 3:
Having tightening my rear diff, I was out to TQ the last qualifier, until the last lap where WPV in front of me caught a dot and let me through but hit me from behind ing the next corner, causing a loss of two approx. Seconds and the TQ to my team mate Alexandre Laurent (Team Xray France pilot).

Conclusion I was placed second on the grid of the A Final, sandwiched between WPV on pole and Alexandre Laurent in 3rd. JMB 4th, Bastien DeMarco 5th, Alex Amort 6th, Vincent Cavard 7th, Raffael Tollota 8th.

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Final 1:
At the sound of the tone we were off for our 1st 5 min final. Managing to leave Alexandre Laurent and close in on WPV at the 2 minute mark, a marshall went across the track and blocked my view, throwing my car off trajectory. From there i completely lost my concertration and made a few mistakes allowing Alexandre Laurent to close in on me. A final mistake on the dots and Alexandre passed me. His XRAY T4 proving to be also very fast and consistent denied me 2nd spot for the first main. My car however obtained the fastest time of the day with a lap of 10.459.

Final 2:
After getting the grid sorted out and being 6th on the grid (due to reverse positions sprint for two minutes) I had a very bad start and ended up on the other side of the track. I managed to work my way back to 5th. The duck tape connecting the Prima Track GT carpet was my worst enemy as it started to ‘catch’ my car and un settled it.

Final 3:
Knowing the duck tape was against me I opted to stay ‘inside’ the trajectory to place it safe, knowing that I would lose a little time due to not so optimal lap times but being the safest bet (offroad experience and racing lines comming in handy). The A main train shot off into to the final 5 mins. With WPV coming into contact with a marshall allowed me and Alexandre Laurent to pass through. The strategy of inside lines paid off and I took the last A main as I managed to keep my calm and fend off two of the SITCC’s ‘heavy weights’; on steroids WPV and mutilple French Nationals A finalist Alexandre Laurent.

A Main Podium:
1. Walter Pollet-Villard
2. Alexandre Laurant - XRAY T4
3. Chami Dassanayake - XRAY T4

Race conclusion: First official outing with the Xray T4 was positive. I am happy to finally have a fast car which is easy to drive! With a little more testing and fiddling the setup, my rivals will definately have a tougher time next time around! ;)

Until next time,
Chami Dassanayake