Finals day at the 2017 Guan Kou Sunpadow Offroad GP in Xiamen China and the threat of rain, forecast for Sunday, never materialised and in fact saw the warmest but also most humid conditions of the event. The schedule was to see triple A-mains for EP buggy as well aslower finals for both classes, with the 1-hour Championship A-main ending the day’s on track action.
The first of the 3 electric A-mains saw Neumann put on a masterclass on what was again a difficult track to run consistent lap, the higher temperatures not helping tire choice. But still the Serpent driver took a clear win in the 6 minute race beating out Korean Kyosho driver Dani Choi, with Paphon Chanyasak taking 3rd, less than a second back. Atsushi Hara’s race fell apart early on with a number of big mistakes, with his run continuing to get worse eventually coming home a very disappointed 9th.
Having topped qualifying, Jorn Neumann was locked into the A-main but for the others they had to battle their way into the main event for a chance to win some of the prize money on offer. The top 5 from each final and the fastest 6th placed finisher would claim a spot in the final. In the first semi final it looked as though Dani Choi would take a clear and easy win but a costly flameout saw him lose a lot of time allowing Thai Maxima driver Paphon to take the win for the odd semi with Choi in 2nd. In the 2nd semi final it was Hara, who having chosen a softer compound Pro-line Fugitive was able to dominate the race and take the win from Shin Adachi. The Japanese Serpent driver the only one able to go over 10 minutes on a single tank, a massive advantage looking to the hour long final.
The second EP buggy A-main was a reversal of fortunes for the main contenders as the former World Champion Hara bounced back to take the win in A2. This was partly due to a new focus from Hara, having won his Nitro Semi in style, but helped greatly by a wrong tire selection by Neumann. Causing a number of crashes for the Serpent driver, such was his pace that even with a mistake ridden final he still came home in 2nd with Dani Choi once again in the top 3 with Taiwanese Champion Chen Guanxian a close 4th.
With all the lower finals complete, the final and deciding A-main for EP Buggy took place just prior to the Nitro A-main and the race lived up to expectations with Neumann and Hara once again in a league of their own and putting on a master class. Neumann would lead throughout but Hara pushed him hard the whole 6 minutes even closing near the finish to come home in 2nd, less than two seconds behind the new Champion Neumann. Shin Adachi took 3rd for the leg but it was to be 4th placed finisher Dani Choi that took the final overall podium step.
Onto the main event, the hour long Main final, and Jorn Neumann left the grid on a mission, pulling out a large gap early on over the chasing pack, headed by Hara, Choi and Chanyasak. While the most consistent of the racers throughout the main, some mistakes started to show mid race, a few costly crashes saw him lose some time but as his competition crashed more he still was able to keep his advantage, eventually going a lap up on the entire field about 45 minutes into the race.
On the right tires and focussed following a good showing in the EP finals, Hara was able to keep Neumann on his toes throughout the race and brought his OS powered HB home in a clear 2nd. The most exciting battle was at the end of the race as Adachi’s pit strategy came into play, putting him in contention for a podium spot. A very late mistake by 3rd placed Chanyasak saw him drop to 4th, putting Shin in a podium spot but with still a handful of laps left the Thai driver was able to close the deficit, just falling short at the end as they crossed the line less than a second apart.
And so that was the event for another year, as winner of both classes Neumann took home 40K RMB and the top 10 in both classes also walked away with cash prizes, courtesy of main event sponsors and track owners 3-circles, who also provided the handout batteries for the EP class through their Sunpadow brand.
View our complete event coverage (in Chinese) here & event image gallery here.