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Automation Rallycross League, Season One (South Africa Final Results Up!)


#142

We caught up to Pekka Heikkinen regarding the performance of the PepperBOMB XT the last few rounds.

“OK, it has been bit of struggle. We have maybe the most power and close to the least weight so car is a handful and that showed in bad weather. In England we had good run and were looking to podium but crash in the race … what can you do? I want to thank team Red Cock Energy Liquid - and am required to say that prolonged exposure can cause contact dermatitis.”


#143

Team Staboil RallyX Norway, Day One - Qualifying

Q1

Crowds were large and condtions fair for the beginning of Round 5 of the ARX League Championship here at Hell Circuit in Norway. The teams were excited to put on a show for the fans, and they did not disappoint. The first heat began with a strong race indeed, with Craig March in the #95 Astelli Racing machine taking the top spot, just pipping Ashlynn Morganstern in the Ars Eligos just one second behind the Brit. Sparks flew behind the Canadian, as JHW Racing’s Marika Kazan pushed her way past Pablo Sanchez’s Shromet on the third lap, just barely hanging on for third place in the heat. Behind Sanchez was Quentin LeTheou of Flamers Racing, who overcame a very rough start with three excellent laps to slot into fifth place in the heat. Struggling for grip all race long, Bandit Borgwarnerson found himself a distant sixth behind LeTheou, the Flamarbol Beryl struggling to make its way around this challenging, hilly circuit.

Mason Olsen blitzed the start in the second heat, launching hard and finding all the traction he needed to put the NPV into the lead, then never looked back for the rest of the heat, despite the valiant efforts of Maria Ramirez to try and catch the speedy New Zealander. Declan Slater’s terrible start in the #11 Antti ARXL Special couldn’t stop the Brit from posting four excellent laps after that, overtaking Alexander-John Sierra’s Merciel on the final lap to take third, the bold overtake leaving the #8 Pixi on the defensive from Kevin Michaels, the KMC driver right on the back bumper of Sierra as they crossed the finish line.

Pekka Heikkinen, fresh off a strong result at Silverstone, carried his momentum through his heat, monstering the field for the best time in Q1, finishing a full ten seconds ahead of Miguel Gonzalez’s NEMW Nashoba. Einar Poogen ran a clean but uneventful heat, finishing third and well ahead of SBA Boonigan Racing’s Phornsawan Sirisuk, who was engaged in a pitched battle with Oblong Wheels Racing’s Robert Field for the first three laps, though a big mistake by the South African driver sent the #66 car skidding off the track and into the runoff area, spoiling an otherwise excellent run.

Sylvester Landon in the #21 Isami Vireo took the top finish in the fourth heat, the car looking very strong indeed, as he was able to easily hold off Hammond Hunter’s Deer and Hunt the whole race. Championship leader Hsiu-Yinn Lim had an uncharacteristically poor start, and found herself being held up at every step of the way by Tom Powell’s Seydel-GNG, seemingly without anywhere to overtake the German hatchback.

Timo Virtanen took the top spot in the final heat, the LATOY able to hold off a last-minute charge by Eric Meistermann in the Team NARUTO Selestat FAAL to seal what was an excellent drive, by all accounts. Maki Taninawa finished third in the heat, a very poor start and a costly avoidance maneuver denying the Japanese driver a better finish in this first round.

Q2

As is often the case, the fickle weather in this part of Norway started to show itself as being anything but co-operative, with a cool mist rolling through the valley and enveloping Hell Circuit. Some of the teams gave thanks that no precipitation came down in Q2, but were not optimistic for the final two rounds of the race. Robert Field was the the class of the first heat, his freshly-repaired TCC 1450 RS taking an easy victory over Alexander Krebs’ Likar. William Cunningham chipped away at Jaimz Scooby’s lead, following an excellent start by the #6 FMR Stadia, finally making his way past on an absolutely stonking joker lap. Jorg Ambuhl and Rudolfs Jansons tangled on the third lap, sending the Abula R4 off into the runoff area surrounding the track and damaging the car’s suspension, with credit to Ambuhl for getting the car to the end of the race in the hope of continuing their campaign.

Eino Vatanen of Delta Motorsport pulled a simply incredible performance in the second heat, the Finn putting together what might very well be the drive of his career to take the top spot in the heat, putting the car fourth overall in the standings. Kevin Michaels finished a distant second place, in what would have been called an excellent drive were it not for Vatanen’s stunning performance, and Joey Rogers in the Albatross rounding out the top three in the heat. Yuki Fujishima and Alexander-John Sierra tangled on the starting lap, with both cars taking damage and limping home well back from the rest of the field, but optimistic that they could yet right their weekends and continue.

Heat three featured a marquee matchup between Bandit Borgwarnerson, Hsiu-Yinn Lim and Phornsawan Sirisuk. Sirisuk got off to an excellent start, with Lim right behind, and the Flamarbol of Borgwarnerson characteristically struggling off the line. Sirisuk opted for the joker on their first lap, which is where the controversy began; Borgwarnerson caught up fairly quickly to Lim, but the Chinese driver began a very aggressive defense of their position, making moves right up to the ragged edge of what is allowed in the rules. Borgwarnerson was justifiably upset at this, though nobody was perhaps more upset about this than Tom Powell, who got squeezed hard between the Flamarbol and the Armada on the second lap, and had nowhere to go but into the wall. Damaged and angry, the Seydel-GNG driver limped his car home dead last, while Borgwarnerson opened up the taps on Lap 3 and 4 to slot in ahead of Lim for first place in the heat.

The fourth heat mercifully went without the controversy of the previous session, with Sylvester Landon finding open track to truly demonstrate the Isami’s pace, finishing four seconds ahead of Maria Ramirez’s Geschenk. Pablo Sanchez finished third, within sight of Ramirez ahead, and Marika Kazan stole an opportunity from Einar Poogen, the Estonian driver running wide in a moment of inattention on their last-lap joker.

Pekka Heikkinen once again topped the charts in the final heat, through not without the looming presence of Eric Meistermann’s FAAL in his mirrors, two seconds behind the Unflappable Finn in second place. Craig March drove a cool and competent race for third, while Timo Virtanen made a couple of critical mistakes on Lap 2 and also on the final lap, denying LATOY a potential top-ten finish in Q2.

Q3

As the morning turned to afternoon, a very light drizzle began to fall on the track, dampening the surface but not the spirit of the crowds, the iron spirit of Norwegian rally fans on full display as the weather closed in. Tom Powell and Yuki Fujishima were the class of the first heat, finishing first and second easily in their freshly repaired cars, far ahead of third-place Alexander-John Sierra, still struggling with some residual damage to his Merciel. Jorg Ambuhl crashed again on the start, though this time only affecting himself, though he was able to limp the stricken Abula R4 home to finish, to his credit.

Joey Rogers put the #37 Albatross on the top of the timesheets in the second heat, nearly two full seconds ahead of Clive Baker’s Westward El Verano. Baker had his hands full behind him, with both Declan Slater and Alexander Krebs challenging to take second place away from Baker, though in the end Baker’s choice to run the joker lap earlier proved to be the correct decision, affording him clear track to gain as much ground as possible. Laurent Faust had a difficult race in the Zenshi Nimessa, crashing hard on the starting lap, relegating the Frenchman to the back of the field in this session, and with considerable damage to repair before the final qualifying session.

The third heat saw Einar Poogen take the top spot overall, with a decisive finish over Quentin LeTheou and Mason Olsen, the likes of which fought and traded places cleanly - for the most part - all race long in a pitched battle for second and third in the heat. Hammond Hunter overcame a couple of mistakes on his first lap, and with a strong showing in his final two laps, likely would have been a threat to both Olsen and LeTheou ahead of him.

Tsiu-Yinn Lim put on a clinic of consistency in the fourth heat, running a very clean and consistent race to take the top spot, good enough for P3 in the session. Pablo Sanchez slotted into second place, a second and a bit ahead of the LATOY, who enjoyed yet another top-ten finish in this qualifying session. Behind Virtanen’s LATOY, an absolute dogfight ensued between the JHW, Geschenk and NEMW entries, with Maria Ramirez somehow managing to stay ahead of both Miguel Gonzalez and Marika Kazan on her final lap, the Geschenk barely four-tenths ahead of Gonzalez at the line.

In what was probably the cleanest racing of the weekend thus far, Pekka Heikkinen made it three for three with yet another heat win and session P1, though once again being challenged by Eric Meistermann every step of the way. Sylvester Landon came third, holding off Craig March’s Leopard with ease, and Bandit Borgwarnerson once again showing a bit of his human side, finishing fifth in the heat, only three tenths up on Eino Vatanen in the Delta Motorsport machine.

Q4

The mist continued into the final qualifying round, though the rain that threatened did not appear until after the final heat had concluded, preventing a repeat of the chaos that gripped the field back in Portugal and Belgium. Takumi Fujiwara took his first heat victory of the season, capitalising on an inconsistent showing by Maki Taninawa to win the first heat easily. Rudolfs Jansons came third, with Jaimz Scooby managing to put up a rather strong offense against the Latvian driver in the Schwarzburg ahead of him, though to ultimately to no avail, as Scooby had his hands just as full defending against William Cunningham behind him.

Alexander-John Sierra took the easy victory in the second heat, his Merciel finally fully repaired and quick, taking P7 overall on what will likely be a weekend to forget for Team HallFords Merciel. Ashlynn Morganstern found her way out of a couple of rather dreary performances to finish second in the heat, and with her finish in P13 for this session, was just enough to get ARxT into their first semi-final of the season. Clive Baker had a rough race, a hard knock on his second lap damaging the #47 Team WRT car and sending it to the back of the field, putting a difficult weekend for the team to an end.

Marika Kazan held on to the top time in the third heat, just barely holding out against Quentin LeTheou’s Flamers Iliythia, with both drivers punching their tickets to the semi-finals tomorrow. Phornsawan Sirisuk damaged his car trying to overtake Mason Olsen on the second lap, nearly jeopardising SBA Boonigan’s trip to the semi-finals, though in the end their P9 finish in Q2 was enough to put them ahead of Flamers in the intermediate classifications. Hammond Hunter and Joey Rogers both suffered from poor from in the heat, finsihing just ahead of Sirisuk and out of semi-final contention.

Bandit Borgwarnerson finally gathered it all together in the fourth heat, storming to the top time of the heat easily, six seconds ahead of Delta Motorsport’s Eino Vatanen. Maria Ramirez was charging hard behind Vatanen, making up time at seemingly every corner, though with only four laps the race just wasn’t long enough for the Geschenk to be able to be any real threat to Vatanen ahead. Tom Powell stole a place off of Einar Poogen, holding the spot for the last lap in spite of a desperate attack by the Ohul, the margin between the two cars a scarcely-believable sixteen thousandths of a second. Timo Vertanen damaged his LATOY battling with Miguel Gonzalez on Lap 2, the Finn falling back slowly to fifth place in the heat and P19 in the session, though still good enough to mark the team’s first entry to the semi-finals.

Pekka Heikkinen showed himself to be the class of the field once again, taking the top finish in the final heat and the top time once again in Q4, seven seconds ahead of Sylvester Landon’s Isami. Eric Meistermann finished third after a smooth and uncomplicated race, with Craig March and Pablo Sanchez more concerned with each other than trying to mount any kind of an attack on the Frenchman ahead of them. Tsiu-Yinn Lim finished last in the session, after some sort of mechanical trouble slowed the Armada Pint down right off the start line, the car seemingly down on power the whole race. Not that it mattered much in the end, with the Armada guaranteed a place in the semi-finals so long as they finished the session.

Intermediate Classification

Pekka Heikkinen lead all four qualifying sessions with ease, and looks very strong going into tomorrow’s semi-finals and finals, but with rain forecast through the evening and overnight, will this cause chaos in the manner it did in the first three rounds of the ARX League Championship? Will Heikkinen be able to maintain his edge, or will Hsiu-Yinn Lim and the others be able to knock off the Unflappable Finn from the top step of the podium?


#144

In reference to my previous post:

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooffffffff that was a tough day at the office don’t you go breaking down on me yet you little fucker


#145

Team Staboil RallyX Norway, Day Two - Semi-Finals and Finals

Semi-Final 1

The rain started to fall at Hell Circuit just after the completion of day one’s events, and did not let up for the whole night. The remaining teams worked through the night to make sure that their cars were ready for the big events today, the weather hardly dampening their spirits.

The first semi-final gridded up in the steady rain, the track looking more like a mud bog than a rallycross circuit, and when the flag dropped, Maria Ramirez’s Geschenk bolted into the lead, with Pekka Heikkinen hot on her heels. The Finn slammed the door in her face coming around to the start/finish line for the first time, causing Ramirez to slide off the track trying to avoid an accident. The damage to her car was minimal, but it still affect the #129 car’s pace, with Marika Kazan slipping past on the final lap to secure second place. Bandit Borgwarnerson struggled in the wet conditions, laying down a very poor starting lap, and generally struggling to put down fast, consistent laps in the wet. Sylvester Landon in the #21 Isami Vireo kept Borgwarnerson on the defensive for the whole race, but especially after Lap 5, where he closed the gap to within a half a second of the Flamarbol.

Timo Virtanen in the LATOY got off to a decent start, but a critical error on the first lap put the #3 car into the runoff area and well back of the field once he recovered. While the car was undamaged, his race was effectively over. Quentin LeTheou had a spectacular accident on the second lap, crashing the #99 Flamers hard going into the amphitheatre section. Heavily damaged, LeTheou limped the car home, dead last.

Semi-Final 2

The rain began to ease up just in time for the second semi-final, where Hsiu-Yinn Lim showed why she is considered one of the best drivers in the ARX League. Lim stormed out to the lead in the #16 Armada right off the line and never looked back, cranking out six absolutely excellent laps in a row to take the easy victory. Eric Meistermann followed in a distant second place, at the front of a roiling battle for the remaining slots in the semi-final. Phornsawan Sirisuk finished a second behind Meistermann in third, and another second behind the SBA Rosales was Miguel Gonzalez in the #82 NEMW, securing that team’s first appearance in the final race.

Though out of contention for a final berth, Mason Olsen, Craig March and Einar Poogen thrilled the crowd with a heart-stopping battle for fifth place, with the final outcome down to a drag race coming out of the final corner. The Okul and the NPV ran wide, allowing March’s Astelli Leopard to catch up and fly past Einar Poogen at the last moment, nearly catching Olsen in the process. Had the track been but fifty metres longer, March would have almost certainly finished fifth.

Final

The sun came out and began drying the track fairly quickly right after the end of Semi-Final 2, with conditions improving even before the end of that race. The flag dropped and Pekka Heikkinen roared off to an early lead, a lead that the Finn would ultimately not relinquish for the rest of the race, finishing a commanding eleven seconds ahead of Bandit Borgwarnerson’s Flamarbol. Phornsawan Sirisuk in the #55 SBA Rosales kept the Flamarbol driver honest the whole time, making a strong late charge on his joker lap to finish a mere twenty-two one-hundreths of a second behind the #100 car. Hsiu-Yinn Lim made an uncharacteristically poor start, slipping back to fifth place by the start of the first lap. Pouring it on after that, Lim made a number of mistakes and miscues which hampered her recovery drive, managing only to pass Maria Ramirez’s Geschenk after that car tangled with Sylvester Landon’s Isami on Lap 4.

Eric Meistermann in the #24 FAAL managed to finish within sight of Lim, three-quarters of a second behind, followed my Ramirez and Landon, and with Marika Kazan’s JHW Lynx breathing down both of their necks. Miguel Gonzalez had an “understanding” with one of the track walls on the start lap, slowing the car considerably for the rest of the race and dampening an otherwise excellent weekend for Dunkin’ Donuts NEMW Rallycross.

Final Classification

With a wire-to-wire victory here in Norway, Pekka Heikkinen continued his meteoric rise up the championship standings; it was only two races ago that the Finn stood in eleventh place, now, he sits third, within striking distance of Hsiu-Yinn Lim and Bandit Borgwarnerson, whose solid weekend saw the New Zealander once again take the lead in the standings, as the series heads to the home of Swedish rallycross, the fast and dangerous Hojesbanan, for the race that marks the end of the first half of the ARX League season.

Championship Standings


#146

Whoa!!! Sirisuk has just made in the 3rd (even for the final), that’s nice!!!
meanwhile back at Thailand, the marketing and SBA motorsport went super crazy


#147

“I would like to thank very much the team Red Cock Energy Liquid for this amazing performance we knew that we had a fast car and have not been hit with rewards weight yet due to one issue or another so we hoped that things would be clear enough to show what we all can do. Thank you again to Red Cock Energy Liquid, now being evaluated for riot control uses.”


#148

RX Sweden Presented by Blotify, Day One - Qualifying

Q1

The damp weather here at the Hojesbanan did not dampen the spirit of the assembled crowd, with many of the spectators making the double after last week’s race in Norway. Excitement has been building around the series for the last couple of races, with New Zealand’s Bandit Borgwarnerson and China’s Hsiu-Yinn Lim in a fevered battle at the top of the standings, there being effectively nothing between the two drivers as we approach the halfway mark of the season.

The first heat of Q1 went without a hitch, with Alexander Krebs’ Likar Tixref taking the top spot, a full second ahead of Hammond Hunter’s Deer and Hunt Fallow. Craig March in the Astelli Racing Leopard rounded out the top three, with Timo Virtanen’s LATOY well back in fourth place. Norway winner Pekka Heikkinen came together with Joey Rogers’ Albatross on the starting lap, the Finn lucky to get away with a minor amount of damage, but the same could not be said for Rogers, who limped his car around to finish last in the heat.

Clive Baker of Team WRT Racing showed why he is considered one of the best all-weather drivers in the series, with a decisive victory in the second heat, eight seconds up on Geschenk Rennen’s Maria Ramirez. SBA Boonigan’s Phornsawan Sirisuk spent much of the heat unable to thread his Rosales past either Mason Olsen’s NPV or Laurent Faust’s Zenshi, the young Thai driver only just slipping past on the final lap to claim third. Yuki Fujishima’s luck ran out very early, crashing hard with Robert Field on the starting lap, and unfortunately the Kitanishi came out the worst of it, limping home to a last-place finish, both in the heat and for the session as well.

Hsiu-Yinn Lim put her #16 Armada on the top of the third heat, ahead of a thrilling four-way battle between Delta Motorsport’s Eino Vatanen, FMR Stadia Racing’s Jaimz Scooby, Flamarbol’s Bandit Borgwarnerson and NEMW’s Miguel Gonzalez. Only two seconds separated the four drivers from one another, with Borgwarnerson wheel-to-wheel with Scooby at the line. Eric Meistermann and Jorg Ambuhl collided on the starting lap, damaging both cars and relegating the drivers to the back of the pack.

William Cunningham put the Omen RX on the top of the chart in the fourth heat, finishing a full second and a half ahead of Quentin LeTheou’s Flamers Iliythia, the young Brit looking to be in strong fighting form here in Sweden. Declan Slater rounded out the top three well ahead of Seydel-GNG’s Tom Powell while Sylvester Landon crashed his #21 Isami Vireo hard on the starting lap, badly damaging the car and limping home well back of the field.

Maki Taninawa took the top spot in the final heat, and indeed in the entire session as well, finishing three seconds ahead of Schwarzburg’s Rudolfs Jansons, the Latvian driver looking as though he was enjoying the conditions here at the Hojesbanan. The very fast Okul struggled in the hands of Einar Poogen this heat, the Estonian driver struggling to find grip on the slick, muddy surfaces.

Q2

Times tumbled as drivers found their groove in the second qualifying session, though Mother Nature was certainly not a help as the drizzle continued to fall throughout the session. Eric Meistermann’s FAAL took the top spot in the first heat, his freshly-repaired car sailing to an easy victory and into P2 for the session. Robert Field and Joey Rogers battled it out for second and third in the session, though Sylvester Landon still looked a little tentative attacking the track in the Isami.

Pekka Heikkinen’s Pepperbomb was repaired just in time for the second heat, and he used to to good effect, putting the little red hatchback on the top step, both for the heat and the session alike. Mason Olsen finished a fairly distant second, the New Zealander having his own major fight on his hands with both Phornsawan Sirisuk and Marika Kazan virtually wheel-to-wheel with him as they crossed the finish line.

Tom Powell took the top spot in the third heat for Seydel-GNG, with Alexander John Sierra and Miguel Gonzalez in a virtual dead heat behind him. Further back in the field, Timo Virtanen was able to repulse every attack from Bandit Borgwarnerson, taking fourth place in the heat on his way to an encouraging P14 finish overall, as Jaimz Scooby dropped off on the first lap following a hard run off the track, damaging the FMR Stadia’s suspension.

Einar Poogen got an incredible start in the fourth heat, taking the lead right out of the blocks and not looking back, fully three seconds ahead of Hsiu-Yinn Lim in second place. Hot on Lim’s heels was Craig March in the Astelli Leopard, just three seconds behind the Armada in third. Hammond Hunter and Declan Slater came together on Lap 2, with the Antti RX Special coming out worse for wear from the encounter, though both cars struggled to keep up with the blistering pace set by Poogen at the front of the field.

William Cunningham finished top of the heap in the final heat, the Mach Schnell driver seemingly playing a strategic game with his opponents in this heat, though a collision between the Likar of Alexander Krebs and Maki Taninawa’s Sakura blocking much of the track didn’t help the rest of the field keep pace with Cunningham. Rudolfs Jansons was fortunate not to get caught up in any of that, but it took the Schwarzburg driver several precious seconds to thread his way through the mess.

Q3

Joey Rogers clawed his way to the top of the heap in the first heat, taking an easy victory over Laurent Faust’s Zenshi, while also avoiding the carnage after Kevin Michaels’ KMC slammed into Jorg Ambuhl’s Abula. Both drivers remained in the race but finished well back, the Abula taking the worst of the blow. Sylvester Landon managed to make things interesting for Jaimz Scooby, who had to expertly defend his position from the Isami driver’s near-constant attack.

Rudolfs Jansons took the top spot in the second heat, putting together a tremendous drive in the Schwarzburg to finish P6 in the session, the team well on its way to their second semi-final appearance of the season. Alexander Krebs and Declan Slater finished second and third in the heat, after an exciting battle between the two drivers saw them nearly take each other off the course twice on Laps 3 and 4. Maki Taninawa drove a nearly perfect recovery drive in the Sakura after the accident that spoiled her race in Q2.

Bandit Borgwarnerson found himself in familiar territory - at the top of the finishing order - in the third heat, running a flawless, if slightly conservative, race, finishing a two seconds ahead of Clive Baker’s Westward El Verano. Eino Vatanen finished third, avoiding trouble when Pablo Sanchez’s Shromet crashed hard on the starting lap, and also avoiding Hammond Hunter’s stricken Deer and Hunt, which ground to a halt after losing all drive on Lap 2.

Phornsawan Sirisuk took the chequered flag in the fourth heat, running a nearly perfect race all around to finish second in Q3, and far ahead of Mason Olsen and Maria Ramirez, who once again raced each other to a virtual dead heat, with Ramirez taking second place by a nose. William Cunningham’s pace fell off considerably, that driver dealing with an unspecified mechanical problem right off the line, but he was still able to keep ahead of Marika Kazan, who stalled the JHW Lynx on the start line and never really recovered from there.

Craig March took the top spot in the final heat of Q3, sliding the Astelli Leopard into the top spot in the session as well with a brilliant drive. Einar Poogen and Tom Powell rounded out the top three, with Hsiu-Yinn Lim a couple of seconds back in fourth place. Pekka Heikkinen stalled on the start line, leaving Eric Meistermann nowhere to go but into the wall as he tried to avoid the stricken Pepperbomb, and while Heikkinen recovered brilliantly, Meistermann was not so lucky, limping his stricken car back to the line far behind.

Q4

The drizzle continued unabated in Q4, the track conditions still very tricky as the first heat began, with Yuki Fujishima’s Kitanishi Develo finally showing its true pace, taking the top spot very easily over Kevin Michaels and Marika Kazan. Robert Field managed to hold off Eric Meistermann and his damaged FAAL, while Pablo Sanchez and Jorg Ambuhl rounded out the session.

Quentin LeTheou took the top spot in the second heat, finishing easily ahead of Miguel Gonzalez and the NEMW Nashoba. Takumi Fujiwara, though looking lost on the muddy, slippery surface, manged to finish third in the heat, beating out the likes of William Cunningham, Laurent Faust and Jaimz Scooby. Sylvester Landon was crashed hard after being bumped off the track by William Cunningham, a diasterous end to what must have already been a totally forgettable weekend for Team IRD Rally.

Maki Taninawa picked up where she left off in Q3, pushing the #545 Sakura Ronin to the best finish inthe third heat, and to a P3 in the last qualifying session. Alexander John Sierra fought off a hard challenge from Alexander Krebs on the final lap, with Ashlynn Morganstern finishing on top of a pitched three-way battle between her, Declan Slater and Timo Virtanen. Pekka Heikkinen struggled once again off the start line, and made a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes on his way to finish last in the heat.

Einar Poogen’s Okul found the top of the timesheets in the fourth heat, able to pull away from Maria Ramirez and Hsiu-Yinn Lim behind him, the two women more concerned with battling each other than trying to catch the Estonian ahead of them. Tom Powell pipped Eino Vatanen for fourth place, while Mason Olsen ran wide on the starting lap, losing several seconds extracting the NPV from the runoff area to finish last in the heat.

Bandit Borgwarnerson found himself at the top of the timesheets, both for the final heat and for the session, just pipping Poogen’s fourth-heat effort by three-tenths of a second for the top overall time. Craig March finished an uneventful second place, while Joey Rogers managed to see off Phornsawan Sirisuk after the Thai driver made a blunder on his joker lap, losing time to the American. Clive Baker rounded out the field in the final heat, the Team WRT driver securing the team’s second semi-final appearance of the season.

Intermediate Classification

The wet and challenging conditions here at the Hojesbanan mixed up the field considerably, with championship contenders looking decidedly average, and average teams looking absolutely stellar. Will Pekka Heikkinen recover from his rather mediocre showings tomorrow, under the warm summer sun, or will his recovery in the standings be blocked by any of the fourteen drivers ahead of him in the intermediate classification?


#149

Einar Poogen is wonderful in wet.
Did not expect to find Ökul NH RX from the very top. Probably has something to do with consistency. Tomorrow will be lot harder, as outright pace of the car is not there. Also if track is dry I think more than P15 is not possible.


#150

Darn it Pekka, launch the car better!


#151

RX Sweden Presented by Blotify, Day Two - Semi-Finals and Final

Semi-Final 1

As forecast, the weather cleared here at the Hojesbanan late yesterday, and the semi-finals began under sunny and warm skies. The crowds were large and buzzing with excitement as the cars gridded up for the first semi-final race. Maki Taninawa burst off the line and set the pace through the starting lap, starting her first lap just ahead of a hard-charging Pekka Heikkinen. Behind Heikkinen, the rest of the pack tussled for position, sometimes rather violently; Miguel Gonzalez fell victim to this on the second lap, getting punted off the track and into the wall, spoiling his race. Einar Poogen got strong-armed off at the start, damaging the Okul and spoiling his otherwise excellent weekend.

Heikkinen took the lead after the first lap, and never relinquished it for the rest of the race, finishing seven seconds ahead of Borgwarnerson. Maki Taninawa fell off after damaging her car running wide on the first lap, having opted to take the joker, but still finishing two seconds ahead of Clive Baker in the Westward El Verano for the last final berth. Alexander Krebs stalled out on the start line and limped the car through three laps before parking on Lap 4 with mechanical trouble.

Semi-Final 2

Eino Vatanen jumped out to a great start in the second semi-final leading the field through the starting lap as well as the first lap, though with Hsiu-Yinn Lim right on the bumper of the Delta Motorsports machine. Vatanen opted for the joker on Lap 2, giving Lim license to fully uncork the Armada Pint and set some absolutely blistering lap times, building up a seven second margin to second-place Alexander John Sierra’s Merciel at the finish line. Sierra finished on top of an absolutely epic battle for second through fifth place. Sierra slipped into the joker on Lap 4, giving him some free track to set a couple of quick laps free of traffic; this proved to be what put him into second place behind Lim.

Behind Sierra, Phornsawan Sirisuk, Craig March and Eino Vatanen ran a drag race out of the final corner fighting for the last two final slots, with Vatanen missing out on the finals by a mere twenty-five thousandths of a second.

Final

With the finals set, the cars lined up for what was shaping up to be an absolutely thrilling final race. Pekka Heikkinen, after a string of poor starts yesterday, made an absolutely stonking start, launching the Pepperbomb into the lead immediately; a lead he did not relinquish for the rest of the race, finishing just over two seconds ahead of Phornsawan Sirisuk’s SBA Rosales. Hsiu-Yinn Lim was caught sleeping at the starting lights, crossing the starting line for the first lap in sixth position. However, a string of bold overtakes put the Armada into third place, threatening Sirisuk ahead of her in the closing stages of the race. Alexander John Sierra and Bandit Borgwarnerson engaged in a pitched battle for fourth and fifth place, after the Flamarbol stumbled out of the starting gate, while Sierra got off to an excellent start just behind Pekka Heikkinen.

Quentin LeTheou stalled at the starting line, falling far behind the field by the start of the first lap, though a series of decent laps slotted him ahead of Maki Taninawa’s Sakura Ronin, the #545 driver having made a number of careless errors to bring up the field at the chequered flag.

Final Classification

With her consistency all weekend, Hsiu-Yinn Lim leaves Round 6 of the ARX League with the most points, inching ahead of championship rival Bandit Borgwarnerson by a single point in the standings. Also with his victory today in the final, Pekka Heikkinen takes his second final victory of the season and keeps pace with the two championship leaders, still within striking distance in third place, 57 points back of Lim. With half the season over, it’s become abundantly clear that there is really very little between the top three cars, and beyond that, even more very fast cars lie close enough to the leaders that even a slight misstep might break the championship wide open.

Championship Standings


#152

Apologies for the double post, but I’ve decided to make the weather forecasts public knowledge…as, you know, they probably should have been!

Round 7 - Canada

Day One - Sunny, warm and very unstable, 60 percent probability of precipitation
Day Two - cool, cloudy and very unstable, 100 percent probability of precipitation

Round 8 - France

Day One - Cloudy, cool and stable, 10 percent POP
Day Two - Cloudy, drizzle and very stable, 100 percent POP


#153

“Well, I did not do great starts in qualifying but team manager threatened to make me drink energy liquid if I did not improve results on race day and here we are. Car is running at maximum ballast but I think this is OK for us because we tested and set up car like that. Pace would be faster without ballast still but maybe with ballast we are fastest. Next event should maybe be good because we did much testing there but maybe not because it might rain. I would like to thank Team Red Cock Energy Liquid - now independently verified at over 5 million scoville units.”


#154

The last fortnight was challenging for Armada Racing, yet somehow against expectations we managed to get away with it in Sweden thanks to our driver’s steely constitution. And by “somehow against expectations” I mean we were expecting to finish about ten places down in Sweden, so we’re going to get absolutely blitzed party hard tonight. :beers::beers::beers::beers::beers::beers:

We’re optimistic that even with full ballast that we forgot to account for in testing we’re still sufficiently competitive that as our other close competitors also gradually get weighed down we should still expect to place among the front-runners. Therefore we’ll continue to opt for a moderately aggressive strategy for the rest of the season unless our tight rivalry with Flamarbol happens to open up either way for whatever reason (namely an early retirement)

Canada is Hsiu-Yinn’s favourite track of the season. And our track record for being better in the wet continues. There’s no guarantees in racing, but we’re looking forward to seeing what we can do.

p.s. if Hsiu-Yinn actually wins the driver’s championship we plan to make the entire garage crew drink Red Cock Energy Liquid. Should be a blast


#155

Those poor people.


#156

Oh well. Shame really that Einar Poogen got no chance to show his true pace in semis. I still feel like this was our best result yet, even with the dissapointing second day.

Some mid-season thoughts:
I now think that Ökul truly belongs to the upper midfield. On a good day we might even finish on podium. Maybe. On a normal day our car is extremely midfield. Like bang on middle midfield.
Overall I think it would be great if we finished the year in the top 10. We just need to push on with consistent results.
Also, s**t weather seems to suit us. We don’t lose nearly as much time in the wet as many of our competitors. Could be a sign of decent chassis. Could be a sign that Einar is just so wonderful in these conditions.
BUT, he is always pushing like hell for these results and sooner (or later) this could (more likely will) end with a spectacular accident (hopefully not taking out half of the field in the process). And Ökul has been rather reliable so far but I do expect it blowing up at some point (or multiple points).
So even 10th in overall championship standings is somewhat a stretch.
But let’s see. We’ve got half a season to go. It’s been fun so far.


#157

le me reading the Swedish result…
2nd!!! OMG!!!

Back at Thailand… many people gathered at SBA’s HQ and celebrated like crazy for snatching 2nd place at Sweden by Sirisuk


#158

Tyrelli World RX of Canada, Day One - Qualifying

Q1

The seventh round of the ARX Championship began under the scorching July sun here in Trois-Rivieres, with throngs of spectators packing the stands on this holiday weekend here in Canada. Many drivers were excited for the series’ first non-European stop on the calendar, with of the teams looking to start the second half of the season with a statement race.

The first heat set the tone for the rest of the session, with lots of close, hard-fought racing. Team NARUTO Selestat’s Eric Meistermann took the top time in the first heat, blazing off the start line and not looking back the whole race. Not far behind, though, was Kevin Michaels’ KMC Arrotare RX, only two seconds back of Meistermann, and in something of a battle himself with championship hopeful Bandit Borgwarnerson’s Flamarbol. Phornsawan Sirisuk glanced his SBA Rosales off the inside wall on Lap 2, knocking the car out of alignment, necessitating some repairs in the paddock before Q2 began.

The second heat saw ARxT’s Ashlynn Morganstern take the top time, the young Canadian fighting off a late charge from Maki Taninawa’s Sakura to hold on to the heat win, thrilling the assembled crowds as their local heroine crossed the line on top. Behind Taninawa, a wild battle ensued between Astelli’s Craig March and Okul’s Einar Poogen, with positions swapping back and forth seemingly every lap between the two, until Poogen ran wide on his joker lap, which allowed March to slip past and hold off Poogen for the last half lap of the heat. Championship leader Hsiu-Yinn Lim too found herself with all she could handle, with LATOY’s Timo Virtanen giving the Armada driver everything he could muster and then some.

Pablo Sanchez romped to victory in the third heat, Keeping Deer and Hunt Racing’s Hammond Hunter in the Shromet’s rear-view mirrors the entire race with ease. Alexander John Sierra struggled with grip on the dusty paved sections, finding himself well back in third place, and needing to race very defensively against Laurent Faust’s Zenshi Nimessa. Marika Kazan started strong in the JHW Lynx, but ran wide and damaged her car on Lap 2, spoiling the handling of her machine and letting a potentially excellent finish slip from her fingers.

The fourth heat saw a wild battle for the win, with Sylvester Landon in the #21 Isami and Yuki Fujishima in the #96 Kitanishi Develo going wheel-to-wheel into the first corner. Landon held on for the win after Fujishima ran wide on the first lap, letting NPV’s Mason Olsen slip past for second place shortly thereafter. Eino Vatanen finished eight-tenths behind in fourth place, holding off a hard-charging Maria Ramirez, who found that her Geschenk did not handle particularly well on the very tight and slippery joker section, to her chagrin.

Miguel Gonzalez of NEMW took the top spot in the final heat, and indeed the best time in the entire session, winning easily over TOBB’s Declan Slater after an accident felled much of the field on Lap 2. Pekka Heikkinen spun his Pepperbomb going into the second sector of the lap, and left Tom Powell and Joey Rogers nowhere to go but into the side of the Finn’s red hatchback. Battered and bruised, all three cars limped around to finish the race, with Heikkinen definitely taking the worst of it. Quentin LeTheou somehow managed to avoid the carnage and slipped past, finishing a cagey third in the heat.

Q2

Team Red Cock Energy wasted no time or effort getting Pekka Heikkinen’s Pepperbomb back into fighting form, the bright red car scarred and battered like an aged boxer as it lined up on the grid for the first heat of Q2. Not that it had any effect on the car’s performance, as Heikkinen put in a dazzling performance to win the heat easily, finishing a full ten seconds ahead of Tom Powell’s still-not-quite-fixed Seydel-GNG. Quentin LeTheou put considerable pressure on Powell ahead of him, though in the end the Flamers just wasn’t quite fast enough to get past the Seydel machine.

Phornsawan Sirisuk blasted out to the lead in the second heat, grabbing the top spot and not relinquishing it for the race, putting Bandit Borgwarnerson to shame nearly four seconds behind in second place. Marika Kazan drove a brilliant recovery race to third place in the heat, the difficulties of Q1 long since forgotten it seems, with a big gap between the JHW and Robert Field in fourth place.

Hsiu-Yinn Lim looked to be in top form finally after a rough Q1, the Chinese driver putting the #16 Armada on the top of the timesheet and absolutely dominating Alexander John Sierra’s Merciel Pixi, who finished second nearly ten seconds down on Lim. The HallFords Merciel driver had his hands more than full holding off Timo Virtanen’s LATOY, the Finn driving to a gutsy third place, a mere three-tenths of a second ahead of Kevin Michaels and Einar Poogen. Michaels and Poogen battled hard, with the KMC driver capitalising on Poogen’s first lap mistake to grab and hold the position for the rest of the heat.

Eric Meistermann built off of his decent Q1 showing, putting the #24 FAAL Coupe on the top of the timesheets for both heat and session, pipping Hsiu-Yinn Lim’s time by a mere two-tenths of a second. Maria Ramirez was grateful for an excellent start in the #129 Geschenk, as it proved to be what kept her out of an absolute dogfight for third place, as Craig March, Eino Vatanen and Hammond Hunter all scrambled to overtake one another from wire to wire.

Pablo Sanchez put the #52 Shromet on the top of the final heat, seven seconds ahead of second-place Sylvester Landon, who in a wild exchange of positions on the final lap, saw the Isami driver lose and then retake second place to NEMW’s Miguel Gonzalez. Mason Olsen, on the other hand, was not so lucky, with a last-minute mistake costing him fourth place as Ashlynn Morganstern sailed past the NPV with only a couple of corners left. Yuki Fujishima had a spectacular crash on Lap 3, spinning off the track while trying to put a move on Sylvester Landon, damaging the car and sending the Kitanishi Develo to the back of the pack.

Q3

Jaimz Scooby took the top spot in the first heat of Q3 easily over Jorg Ambuhl’s Abula R4, while Yuki Fujishima’s Kitanishi struggled with lingering suspension damage right at the back of the pack. Fujishima was disappointed with themselves after the heat, saying they spoiled an otherwise excellent race car by simply by trying to overdrive the car in Q2, and that they would have to think about their choice going forward.

Tom Powell put his battered but otherwise serviceable Seydel-GNG on the top of the second heat, good for P8 in the session in a reasonably competent recovery drive, finishing nearly ten seconds up on Albatross’ Joey Rogers and Oblong Wheels’ Robert Field, who held Rogers behind him all race until overrunning one of his braking points on his joker lap, allowing the American to slip past and take the place.

Craig March found himself at the top of the timesheet from the third heat, blowing off Timo Virtanen and Eino Vatanen, the Finnish duo battling hard for second place in the heat, which was won after Vatanen blundered on the final lap, allowing Virtanen’s LATOY to slip past and snatch the spot away from the Delta Motorsports driver. Einar Poogen held off Declan Slater for fourth in the heat, after Slater ran too wide on the final lap and let the Okul driver through.

Maria Ramirez shook off some of the difficulties she had in the first two rounds, putting together an excellent race to win the fourth heat in the Geschenk, five seconds ahead of a pitched battle that saw Alexander John Sierra roar past Sylvester Landon on the final lap to take second place by the narrowest of margins after the Isami driver’s front suspension partially collapse on the third lap. By the final lap, Miguel Gonzalez was challenging Landon ahead of him, and were the race even half a lap longer, the NEMW driver would have taken the spot easily.

Pekka Heikkinen showed why he is considered by many to be the class of the field in the final heat, winning in absolutely dominant fashion over Flamarbol’s Bandit Borgwarnerson, with a margin of nearly eight seconds at the line. Borgwarnerson and Shromet’s Pablo Sanchez thrilled the crowd, as the Flamarbol ran wide out of the second to last corner, and Sanchez got a tremendously good run out of the same corner, the two drivers in a frantic foot race to the finish, with Borgwarnerson holding on by a mere four-thousandths of a second. Hsiu-Yinn Lim slotted into fifth place in the heat, behind Eric Meistermann’s FAAL Coupe by a margin of six-tenths of a second.

Q4

The clouds began to build as the fourth and final session of the first day began, with large anvil clouds looming in the distance, the rumble of thunder competing with the roar of the engines. In what must have been a bittersweet reminder of what should have been today, Yuki Fujishima absolutely monstered the field in the first heat, finishing eleven seconds up on Mason Olsen to take the best time, a time that stood as the best in the session until the final heat. Alexander Krebs found himself second in the Likar Tixref, three seconds ahead of Clive Baker’s Westward in third place.

Robert Field avoided chaos in the second heat, slipping past a stalled-out Quentin LeTheou and a crashing Maki Taninawa to take the win, six seconds ahead of Jorg Ambuhl and good enough for a respectable P15 in the session. Joey Rogers gave chase to Ambhul ahead of him, but a mistake on Lap 3 sealed the spot for Ambuhl, and put the Albatross driver into the sights of Jaimz Scooby and Laurent Faust, who found themselves suddenly within striking distance of the American. Fortunately for Rogers, he put together a solid joker lap and retained his spot in the end.

The third heat saw Eino Vatanen run an absolutely tremendous race, getting out to an excellent start and not looking back for the remainder of the heat, fully eight seconds up on Ashlynn Morganstern’s Ars Eligos. The Canadian driver had a huge battle on her hands, with Kevin Michaels leading Morganstern after a disasterous joker lap on Lap 2, only to give that position back after a couple of inconsistent laps to close the race by the KMC driver. Einar Poogen and Timo Virtanen had a bit of a coming together on the third lap, damaging both cars slightly, in what can only be considered a forgettable weekend for the Okul team, which saw the usually consistent Okul NX fall into the 17th and final berth into the semi-finals tomorrow.

Phornsawan Sirisuk showed the rest of the field their potential in the fourth heat, winning easily over second-place Hsiu-Yinn Lim, the Chinese driver relaxed and largely unconcerned about her seeming lack of pace on the first day of the event. Sylvester Landon made a late charge on the final lap, getting to within half a second of Lim’s Armada, but in the end his car just wasn’t quite fast enough to do much more than that, settling for third place in the heat. Alexander John Sierra took full advantage when Miguel Gonzalez’s NEMW Nashoba ran wide on its joker lap, seemingly steered off the racing line by a tire rut, zipping past on the final lap and taking fourth place from the Puerto Rican driver, much to the chagrin of the hundreds of assembled NEMW employees and supporters.

Pekka Heikkinen made it two in a row, winning the final heat in dominant fashion over Bandit Borgwarnerson by a nearly ten-second margin. Pablo Sanchez’s Shromet matched the Flamarbol blow for blow, finishing only half a second behind the New Zealander in third place, while Eric Meistermann couldn’t put the power down on the final lap well enough to hold off Sanchez as he stormed through to take the spot away from the Frenchman. Craig March lost out on fifth place after a brutal mistake on his joker lap cost the Brit nearly a full second off his expected lap time, allowing Maria Ramirez to glide past with ease, relegating the Astelli Leopard to last place in the heat, but still finishing P10 overall.

Intermediate Classification

Just as the final heat was ending, the skies opened up and absolutely deluged the track with rain, with the teams and fans alike scrambling for cover as a massive thunderstorm rolled through. As with the storm, the constant and remorseless pounding today saw Eric Meistermann take the top spot in the intermediate standings, putting the French driver in excellent stead for tomorrow.

However, a big cold front is forecast to roll through the area overnight, bringing with it cooler temperatures and a considerable amount of rain…and with the FAAL being notoriously tricky to drive in the wet, will Meistermann be able to hold on to win tomorrow, or will Pablo Sanchez take his first win of the season? Will either of the three championship leaders recover from disappointing showings on the first day to stand on the top step of the podium tomorrow afternoon?


#159

Hooray the rain dance worked! Ever since we discovered that I fucked up my stats sheet our driver’s unusual wet weather talents we’ve been hoping and praying for wet wet wet.


#160

“Well I did beep up in first qualifying session but would like to thank crew for fixing the car. We are hoping for good result tomorrow but rain is maybe not best for us but we will see.”


#161

Why couldn’t it start raining before the qualification?