Xray Asia Challenge – report
The Xray Asia Challenge 2012 was held at the RC Addict track in Bangkok, Thailand. This was the first time in many years that Xray arranged this kind of event in Asia and thus it was expected to become a great success. More than 100 entries in 1:10 electric and 1:10 nitro touring car classes was a strong field with lots of local and international talent. As the 2012 IFMAR World Championships will be held at this same track, it was also a great opportunity to get some track time and prepare for that important race. Most of the Xray factory team were in attendance with their NT1 cars. Some of the European team drivers even joined both categories.
The electric category was run with the most popular rules as per the Thai racing scene, which meant 13.5T stock motors and open speedos. It was soon evident that many of the local drivers used their experience and track knowledge to go really fast, which meant that competition was high. The fastest qualifying run over 5 minutes was used to determine the starting positions for the finals. In the end it was the Xray factory driver Meen V. who resides in Bangkok, that put in a very quick run to take the overall TQ position in front of Alexander Hagberg and an other local, Trin, in 3rd. The result stayed consistent for the finals as Meen and Alexander battled out for the win, with Meen taking a rather easy victory in front of Alexander and Surikarn C., who improved from his 6th starting position. All the Xray factory drivers used the all new Xray T4 chassis which already showed its great performance by winning all the podium positions.
On Saturday evening, Martin held a much appreciated presentation of the new T4 platform, which also served as the official public release of this new car, with detailled pictures and explanations of all the new features. The presentation was followed by a lucky draw event where the winners could be awarded many Xray and HUDY products including some NT1, M18 and even one T4 kit! This part of the race was much appreciated by all drivers. Congratulations to the winners!
In the 1/10 nitro class, a very close qualifying saw Alexander Hagberg take the TQ with a very fast evening run on Saturday night, and being the only one to run 39 laps as Dirk Wichnewski had to retire in his quickest run. After those two drivers followed Paphon C. from Thailand, and Martin Hudy. The fastest qualifier was used to determine the A, B, C and D main finals. The track, which is rather small to what we are used to in Europe, made car set-up quite tricky as you would always want the maximum amount of steering without having too much tire wear. The use of bi-compound front tires have made the cars very fast but difficult to control.
The main 60 minute final, which was run just before dawn on Sunday afternoon, would prove to be an exciting end of the 2012 Xray Asia Challenge. The tone went off with Alexander Hagberg in the lead. After a few laps he dropped down to the 3rd position following a mistake. Dirk then took over the lead followed by Martin Hudy. A fast charging Surikarn C. would also be a strong challenger for the win, however, suffering from high tire wear, he would have to settle for 2nd place overall after some close fights with Dirk. Alexander had one flameout at the 10 minute mark which made him loose valuable time. In the end he recovered to 3rd place overall after driving at a very fast pace for many laps. Dirk would drive a perfect final also strategy wise, which saw him take a deserved victory in front of Surikarn C. and Alexander Hagberg. As could be seen already at this race, tires strategies are going to play an important role at the Worlds event in November as drivers will have to pay close attention to their tire wear.
The Xray Asia Challenge 2012 was an memorable event in many ways. Not many times before in my racing career have I witnessed such a great atmosphere. The Thai R/C scene is not only competitive but super friendly.
Final results 1/10 nitro:
1. Dirk Wischnewski
2. Surikarn C.
3. Alexander Hagberg
4. Paphon Benz
5. Martin Hudy
7. Mongkolpan L.
8. Daniel F.
9. Tanit K.
10. Charvit S.
Source: Xray [teamxray.com]