Florian Joos EFRA 2018 European championship Report

1/12th scale racing is one of the oldest onroad classes. The European championship for 1/12th scale cars dates back from 1981. The abso...

1/12th scale racing is one of the oldest onroad classes. The European championship for 1/12th scale cars dates back from 1981. The absolute record holder David Spashett with 8 titles. Of the current drivers, the Swede Alexander Hagberg has won 4 titles in a row, which also a record for successive wins.

Florian and I decided to participate at this year’s EFRA European championship in 1/12th scale modified. This class is run with a 1S Lipo battery and a 6.5 turn motor. Contrary to touring cars, these pan cars run on foam tires, which need to be trued down to achieve maximum performance.

The 2018 European championship was held at Racing Arena Limburg in Sittard, the Netherlands. Robert Meulenberg and his crew also hosted the 2017 Euros and they did a stellar job back then. This resulted in a record number of competitors for the 2018 edition, with 100 drivers registered in stock (13,5 turn blinky) and 50 in modified.

The Racing Arena Limburg crew built a new track for this event with brand new carpet. When we entered the hall, you could feel there was a positive vibe. The competition would prove to be very tense, but as 1/12th scale racing is a bit of a niche, most drivers now and respect each other. The live media coverage was covered by RC Racing TV and according to the Efra rules, two referees were present to supervise the races would be clean.

1/12th scale racing is quite difficult as the car setup needs to be spot-on. Any tweak will result in a car that is almost un-driveable. Once the car is on the track, the race is all about rhythm. As the driver needs to race for 8 minutes, he has to concentrate 100% on his car and the traffic. The faster you drive the car, the easier it goes, but driving it hard is, well, quite hard.

The racing format was quite intense, with lot’s of driving to do. There was one round of practice, two rounds of timed practice. In these timed practices, the fastest 3 consecutive laps would be used to reseed the qualifying groups. Things got really serious with the 5 qualifiers (of which the best two would count) and 3 finals.

The weapon of our choice was the Xray X12 2018 USA version. This car has an aluminium chassis and graphite arms. After some tips from reigning champion Alexander Hagberg, we mounted the plastic front suspension to make the car a bit easier to drive.

Things didn’t really start off well for us, as Florian hit a corner marker and crashed out. He damaged his aluminium chassis which had to be replaced. After the timed practice, Florian was in P22 and found himself in the 3rd fastest group.

On Saturday evening there was one round of qualifying, and Florian was eager to put in some fast laps. In order to do so, I let him use a super lightweight body to get some more corner speed. Unfortunately I didn’t cut the body as it should and it touched the bump on the main straight. Florian decided not to damage his car and pulled out.

As the grip wasn’t up to normal standards (some said that it might be due to the fact that two additives –Speedtech and Spidergrip Blue – were used) and that this mixture of additives had a negative effect on the grip. Markus Hellquist, a very fast young fellow Xray driver, gave us the tip to use a different type of tyres. We were running Mobgums Magenta up front and Silver up rear. Markus proposed to go one step softer with Silver up front and Brown up rear. This was what he, Olly Jeffries and Markus Mobers were running as well.

I fitted these tires (41,5 mm in the back and 40,5mm in the front), changed the front droop to 0,4 and rear droop to 0,8 and his car was on rails for Q2. Florian had to start from P10 at the start, but quickly climbed up the tables and he held a solid P1. He was on schedule for a 41 lapper, which would have given him a P11 in qualifying. Unfortunately Florian lost his nerves when a back marker held him up for 3 laps. When he finally let Florian by, my son was out of his rhythm and crashed out.

Florian was absolutely devastated and it took me a while to get him laughing again. When I turned my attention to the car, I saw that it was tweaked in the front. When I checked the ride height, the right side was .4 lower than the left side, which is massive. I checked the springs as I thought they might have collapsed and changed them with new ones just in case. The problem remained. I then measured the lower arms and found the problem. The left side was much higher than the right side. I installed new arms, and finished the car about 15 minutes before the start of Q3. When I double checked the ride height again, I saw the problem remained. My friends Giovanni and Xavier gave me a quick solution by adding shims under the lower right hand side arm, but they said the car would be virtually undriveable.

Before the start of his qualifier, I told Florian the car was badly tweaked and that he will have to use his entire smart to keep it going. He was going to use the dual rate on his transmitter to make it drive-able. When I saw him do his warm up laps, I thought it was game over and went to the toilet because nature was calling :). When I came back, Xavier told me he was doing quite well. In the faster left hand corners, the car had a tendency to spin out, but he drove around the problem and P3 in his heat. His fastest single lap time was however .2 of a second slower than in Q2.

Q4 and Q5 finall went without trouble and he managed to win them with ease. This put him on a great P15 overall after qualifying, and Florian was delighted with it.

In his finals he also did a great job by not putting a wheel wrong in B1 and B3. He finished in P5 in B1 and P3 in B3, which gave him a P14 overall. Florian also became vice European junior champion behind Michal Orlowski who finished in P4 overall.

The newly crowned European champions were Ollie Payne in Stock. Ollie took a popular victory in A1 and A3, but he had to fight extremely hard for it. Michal Orlowski had a bit more speed, but Ollie never made a single mistake and deservedly took the crown.

Everyone expected Alexander Hagberg to take his fifth consecutive mod title, but the Swedish Xray driver had a bit of a roller-coaster of an event. Alex was superfast, and no one could match his pace. Unfortunately Alex had a mechanical failure in A1, which handed the victory to his team mate Olly Jeffries. Alex however did a great job in A2 and A3 to claim his fifth consecutive, title, which is an absolute record.

Thanks to all my sponsors for helping me out with this great hobby

#Hiro Seiko
Xray 8509273248937313022

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