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Race report by Alexander Hagberg
The second race of the Pilot series of the European Nitro Series was held at the beautiful Stöhr-Ring track, located in Kirchberg, Austria. Most of the XRAY team drivers were in attendance at this race, in the 1/10 category in particular, as the hosting club of this race, will also stand as the host of the upcoming European Championships in this category later in the year. Thus, it was an golden opportunity to practice and prepare for that race. We arrived at the track on Friday morning. Some other teams had arrived even earlier to get some valuable track time. We started to fine tune our set-ups to find the best possible handling for the controlled tires. Controlled tires is a new phenomenon in nitro classes this year, and the rule has been working very well so far. At least it make the job a lot easier, as there are less variables in terms of setting the car - we don't have to test many different tire or traction compounds.

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The track doesn't have that high grip anymore, as some work done to the asphalt surface earlier in the year, dramatically lowered the laptimes. We were looking for overall traction most of the time. In the end, we focused on flex and shock settings as a lot could be found only from those sections of the set-up. As qualifying was soon starting, we were fairly content with our set-ups. Last but not least, we were testing different engine, gearing and muffler combinations to find the best possible solution for the Euros. As always, it would be a compromise between power and runtime - as we have to be able to get 5 minutes out of a tank for the qualifying runs.

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At the end of qualifying, I had to settle for 6th position on the grid. I was struggling with the carburator settings all throughout the weekend due to a mysterious error which we did not sort out until after the race - it made the engine setting very difficult, and it was changing all the time. I still managed to post some decent runs in the points qualifying system that was used. I qualified directly for the main final together with Dirk Wichnewski, who would start from the 5th position. Our team leader Martin Hudy bumped up from the B-final, to start the final from 12th on the grid.

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The main final started on the early Sunday afternoon. The tone went off, and drama unfolded immediately as cars were flaming out all throughout the field. After 20 minutes I found myself on 2nd position as I was running a steady pace, only a few seconds behind the leaders. As I came in for the planned tire change, changing all four tires, I lost some valuable time, both from the change, and from a mistake a few laps later. I was down in 5th position as I struggled to find a good pace on the big tires. After some time, the car felt alright again but I had lost too much time. I improved to 4th overall, and that's where I would finish in the end. Without the carburator problems and some other small problems, I think my chance for a higher finishing position would be much better. Dirk Wichnewski finished 3rd overall, however, after running with a loose wheelnut for most of the time following his tire change. Martin Hudy improved to 6th place in the end, after a quick and consistent drive in the final. In the end the luck was not on our side this weekend, but we have a good feeling with our NT1 2013 cars for the upcoming EC event.

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The concept of the ENS series is the same as that of the very successful ETS series - the organizers are focusing on the fun and social part of the racing. Let's hope that this series will have the same popularity - it would mean a lot for the nitro racing categories, who have shown a bit of a decline in the last few years.

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In the 1/8 category, Jernej Vuga, Christofer Hedlund, and Torsten Müller represented our team in the main final. Vuga was on a good pace all week and would only finish 1 lap down to the winner Robert Pietsch. His RX8, of the 2013 version, certainly looked well balanced on the track. Hedlund too showed great pace from time to time but unfortunately suffered from a lower starting position, and had to deal with a lot of traffic in the opening stages of the final.

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1:10 A-Main Result
1. Jilles Groskamp
2. Eric Dankel
3. Dirk Wischnewski - XRAY NT1 2013
4. Alexander Hagberg - XRAY NT1 2013

5. Leo Arnold
6. Martin Hudy - XRAY NT1 2013
7. Francesco Tironi
8. Robert Pietsch
9. Patrick Nähr
10. Dominic Greiner
11. Patrick Schäfer
12. Gerhard Kandelhart

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1:8 A-Main Result
1. Robert Pietsch
2. Jernej Vuga - XRAY RX8 2013
3. Michael Klausner
4. Daniel Sieber
5. Toni Gruber
6. Maximilian Vogl
7. Christofer Hedlund - XRAY RX8 2013
8. Torsten Müller - XRAY RX8 2013

9. Bernd Koller
10. Alain Levy
11. Erich Scharler
12. Christian Rosler

Set-up sheets
Alexander Hagberg

Gallery:

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