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Race report by Vesa Yli click to enlarge
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The first round of the FinTrack Series took place on January 28/29 in Kuusankoski. The race was expected to be very thrilling, and was also the biggest race in Finland for many years with a total of 130 drivers: 33 in Prostock, 26 in 1/12th, 25 in Touring Stock, and 45 in Modified Touring. The Modified Touring class included all top drivers including 4 European Champions and several Worlds and Euros A-finalists attending the same race in Finland for the first time since many years.

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The race venue was the same as previous years, being held in a large sports hall with plenty of seats for spectators and a pit area right beside the track. The track was very big and had high grip, with a more technical layout than seen in previous years. Once again, professional work was done by KyPAK, the organizing club.

Saturday – 1/12 and Touring Stock
On Saturday was held the 1/12 Modified class and Touring Stock class. As I was racing and pitting my 1/12 car all day, I wasn’t able to see every heat in Touring Stock. The A-final looked very good with Jaakko Sernola, Vertti Aito and Jussi Neirola who took their XRAY rides to the top 10!

Final Results in Stock Touring

1. Joonas Holsti
2. Matias Kuusinen
3. Harri Lukkari
4. Jaakko Sernola XRAY FK05
5. Vertti Aito XRAY FK05

6. Otto Laurila
7. Jussi Neirola XRAY T2
8. Niko Sinervo
9. Tommi Himanen
10. Toni Niinivirta

Sunday – Prostock and Modifed
Sunday started with 2 rounds of organized practice. In Prostock (17-turn), Jarkko Mustonen gave a stunning performance right from the morning - becoming the fastest driver in Prostock with his FK04. A few other XRAY drivers had their rides flying at the track right from the morning and it was expected to see a very good race later in the evening in the finals. In modified I had gotten my T2 dialed to the track and put in one of the fastest lap times in practice. With Pauli Helin also making top lap times in timed practice, it looked good for XRAY.

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Pauli's car
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Qualifying was 2 of 3 rounds, so there was no time to make mistakes if someone wanted to compete in the A-final. In the first qualifying round I was on pace with Pauli in my heat; Teemu Leino won the first qualifying round. I was putting myself into 4th position in the first round until the 4-minute mark, but was slowed up by slower car in front of me. I lost only about 1 second but that cost me 4th position in first round; however, I still managed to finish 6th only 0.2sec behind Pauli who finished 5th. Very close! Pekka put himself in the top 10 in the first round by taking 9th place in that round. Well done!

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Pekka's car
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In the second round we once again made the top 10 with me, Pauli, and Pekka, so it looked good for us for the finals.

With only one round to go, Pauli and I had already secured A-final positions so there was a chance to try some more changes in the last round. The top 10 in the last round were the XRAYs of Teppo Kauppinen, myself, and Pekka Koivula.

With 2 of 3 rounds counting to the points A-final standings were:

Standings after qualifying in Prostock:

1. TQ Jarkko Mustonen XRAY

Standings after qualifying in Modified:

1. Teemu Leino
2. Juho Levänen
3. Christer Andersson
4. Simo Ahoniemi
5. Pauli Helin XRAY T2
6. Sakke Ahoniemi
7. Panu Vehniäinen
8. Vesa Yli XRAY T2
9. Jouko Termonen
10. Pekka Koivula XRAY T2

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With 4 Euro Champs and a few Finnish Champs in the A-final, it was going to be the race of the year for drivers and also for spectators!

In the first A-final in Modified, Teemu took the win with Juho finishing second. Other positions were changing all the time during the final. Pauli finished well and took 4th place for XRAY. Pekka finished 6th and I finished 8th.

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Vesa's car
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In the second A-final, I got a good, clean start and after a few laps I was in 2nd position behind Teemu! After a few more laps I made small mistake which allowed Juho and Sakke to pass me. After being in 4th position for some time, somebody hit me and I got put back to the back of the pack. I managed to pick up a few positions, but finished only 7th with Pauli finishing 6th and Pekka finishing 9th. After final I was very disappointed as I was driving a good race but got taken out by others and lost my position. Teemu won also the second final so the race victory went to him.

In the third A-final racing was once again very close. I managed to get a good start again and got into 3rd place from an 8th place start on the grid after few laps. After a few laps I got overdriven very rudely by a car coming full speed into the back of my car in a slow corner. I dropped to 5th position but managed to get myself to 3rd again. With only 3 laps to go it looked good for me but… once again I got overdriven and went from 3rd place to dead last with only 40sec to go. Pauli finished 6th and Pekka took 7th place. After the race everybody talked a lot about the “bad-driving” as there was some very rude driving in A-final. I was very disappointed to my final positions as I was doing a lot better before the crashes. But more races will come…

A-final results in Modified

1. Teemu Leino
2. Juho Levänen
3. Christer Andersson
4. Sakke Ahoniemi
5. Panu Vehniäinen
6. Pauli Helin XRAY T2
7. Jouko Termonen
8. Simo Ahoniemi
9. Pekka Koivula XRAY T2
10. Vesa Yli XRAY T2

Being certainly one of the most competitive race in Finland ever, it was a good result with three T2’s in the A- final. If you got lapped compared to the TQ in qualifying, you found yourself in the middle of C-final! That is just how close the race was! But being able to get a better finish in finals without being overdriven results would have been better for me. But on other hand, all T2’s at the race were working very well so we can expect to see some top positions in future. In Modified we still had five(5) T2’s in the top 20 with 2 cars in B-final by A-P Kyykkä who did well and Teppo Kauppinen who found his speed a bit too late this time. All the guys who have hit the track with their T2’s have got the same thoughts….Best.Car.Ever!

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Jaakko Sernola
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In Prostock, Jarkko Mustonen killed the competition by dominating the race by winning all three qualifying rounds and a-mains! Awesome, Jarkko!

A-final results in Prostock

1. + TQ Jarkko Mustonen XRAY T1'FK04

2. Mika Silvasti
3. Kenneth Södergård
4. Vitaly Karpov
5. Jyri Konoila
6. Ari Lappi
7. Björn Södergård
8. Henry Salmén XRAY T1'FK05
9. Jukka-Pekka Huhtala XRAY T1'FK05

10. Harri Nyman

The FinTrack Series continues on February 24-25 at the Ylistaro racetrack. It is expected to be a very competitive race again with most of the top drivers attending the race. We are hoping to see more XRAY domination there.

Photos by Timo Levänen and Veli Haapaharju

Vesa Yli Set-up sheet.

Pauli Helin Set-up sheet.

Teppo Kauppinen Set-up sheet.