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The weather was shaky since the night before the race and there was some concern that rain could make an appearance. Grey sky with heavy clouds kept everybody ready for the moment where waterproofing the cars would be necessary. However, it was not necessary; rain only started after the prizes were awarded.

This race was open to all XRAY chassis and the motors were provided by the organization. They were the surprising Reedy 17x1 motor with ball bearings, marked for fixed timing.

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David Lopes
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The first contact with the track showed immediately that the fight was going to be fierce and more related to setup and driving than with power, batteries, or acceleration.

An absolute beginner with XRAY (although an experienced Mod driver), David Lopes was trying an EVO2 chassis prepared the night before with some final details on the morning of the race. It showed right from the first moment that he would be a candidate for final victory. The car was dialed and he adapted very quickly to the new chassis.

David won the 2nd final with excellent driving and a very cool head. According to David it was very easy to adapt to a completely new chassis, and the behaviour on the track was very docile whlie at the same time very fast.

On the first run, some evident setup problems were affecting a few cars, but since all were willing to help, a touch in the setup of the cars made a huge difference. This was no more evident with José Soares, who was initially fighting his car, and in end end was a contender for victory before the last final.

Ana Filipa improved during the day shattering her own best times every round of the race.

The Race click to enlarge
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The format - 3 qualifying runs and 3 finals - helped to keep the race on time and in the end the driving time was even higher than the normal format because we were doing 7-minute runs instead of the usual 5 minutes.

Certain details regarding the optimal ratio were solved almost on the first contact with the motors, and by the end of the day no one was dumping batteries or showing lack of speed and acceleration.

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A. Pires Preto
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The first qualifier saw some very good battles since the beginning. The cars were racing at the same top speed and only an error or a bad line would allow drivers to pass each other. This led to fantastic battles among groups of drivers. The rhythm was surprisingly high for the 17x1 motors and no one complained about lack of speed or power. The first qualifier was won by A. Pires Preto, followed by Rodrigo Ferreira and António Saramago - all finishing within a 6-second timeframe.

Between runs, some cars that were showing signs of bad setup were corrected by the more experienced drivers. The advantage of this type of event is the help that the fast drivers provide to the more inexperienced drivers.

The 2nd qualifier saw an improvement in lap times and run times. One more lap for the first two and a narrower margin between first and last. The battles on the track were awesome; correct driving but nonetheless very competitive.

The 3rd qualifier again improved times and the top two drivers made 21 laps, and 5 of 8 drivers were able to lap in 20 seconds. Again the differences were becoming smaller and competitiveness was getting better and better.

António Pires Preto was TQ with a best of 21 laps in 7:17.895 with Rodrigo Ferreira less than 2 seconds away. The scenery was set for a very close race on the finals.

A. Pires Preto 21 7:17.895 XRAY T1FK
Rodrigo Ferreira 21 7:20.550 XRAY T1FK
António Saramago 20 7:06.737 XRAY T1R
David Lopes 19 6:57.725 XRAY EVO2
José Soares 19 7:04.221 XRAY EVO2
Hugo Pereira 18 7:01.953 XRAY T1R
Fernando Sanchez 18 7:00.993 XRAY EVO2
Filipa Coutinho 17 7:04.652 XRAY T1R

The Finals click to enlarge
António Saramago
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After lunch (and after a light drizzle) the finals started. By this time all the cars had adequate setups and the drivers had enough track time to be confident with their abilities. The first final was a very close race (again) with some drivers losing some time in the classic first turn pileup.

António Pires Preto and Rodrigo Ferreira battled from beginning to end with David Lopes getting a well-deserved 3rd place. His adaptation to the car was getting better than ever and his level of confidence was excellent.

António Saramago lost some time in the first pileup and he couldn't catch the guys in front. However he drove fast all the way to the end getting a 5th place.

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José Soares
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The fight between David Lopes and José Soares lasted for several laps. The cars seemed like they were attached by some invisible string and this remained until the end with David getting the 3rd spot. The difference in best laps was minimal. Two drivers doing it on the second 20 and 5 on the second 21. Very close racing indeed. Good driving and perfect lines were the keys to victory in the final.

The second final saw another pileup in the first turn, but this time another group of drivers were harmed by the loss of time. David Lopes took the lead followed by José Soares and A. Pires Preto. After catching the 2nd A. Pires Preto started to pressure David Lopes and with incredible fair play David let him go. He understood that it was only a matter of time until the pass, so he opened the door to let him pass.

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Rodrigo Ferreira
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The lead would be lost just two laps before the final when lapping another driver. The crash wasn't avoided and A. Pires Preto’s car stood on the track – upside down – enough time to lose 3 positions. David Lopes took advantage of this and regained the lead to the end. José Soares followed a couple of seconds behind and the result was the following:

Before the 3rd final, four drivers were in position to win the first round of the trophy: Rodrigo Ferreira, A. Pires Preto, David Lopes, and José Soares. The differences were quite small and a small mistake could cost the victory to any of them. It was going to be very very close.

This was the final result: click to enlarge
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Rodrigo Ferreira
A. Pires Preto
David Lopes
José Soares
António Saramago
Fernando Sanchez
Hugo Pereira
Filipa Coutinho

It was an excellent racing day with very close driving and a very relaxed atmosphere at the pits. It seemed more like a bunch of friends hanging out than a race with all the tensions and adrenaline that's normal in other events.

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We would like to thank to all the guys from CMA (Clube de Modelismo de Albufeira) and especially to Miguel Glória and Sérgio Coelho that came to have a look and ended helping to marshal the event in several occasions.

We hope that the next round gathers more people for close racing and we are sure that it will.