Wednesday, February 27, 2013

XRAY/ORCA 1st Runner-Up in Open Brushless 13.5T at TITC 2013

Just this past weekend, Thailand International RC Touring Car Championship (TITC) 2013, an annual event was hosted by RC Addict in Bangkok, Thailand. TITC is considered the biggest RC event in Asia with drivers around the world gathering to compete for the title TITC Champion, in one of the many classes. This year 5 classes are competed in FWD, Non-Boost, Open Brushless, Modified and Formula.

Travelling to this event has always been very interesting and challenging. This year I have decided to take it easy to join the Open Brushless Class of 173 entries with control motor ORCA RX2 13.5T. FWD had 51 entries, Non-Boost 75 entries, Modified 102 entries and Formula 44 entries reaching 445 total entries making this RC event Asia's biggest. I arrived in Bangkok on Sunday to get 4 days of practice. I started with a base setup from Alexander Hagberg as I have not driven the T4 at RC Addict. Last run at this track was on my T3'12 at the XRAY Asia Challenge and I tried to use as much as I can on the knowledge from the previous TITC on the T4.

First few runs were okay at 17.4s but was almost a second off the fastest lap by the local Thai drivers. Track conditions changes a lot during the day and evening time. Being at the event earlier is always an advantage to make your car faster; talking to the drivers, looking at the faster cars, working on my car and testing a lot at different track conditions. After spoken with Alexander, the general direction was to gain more on-power steering and try to make the car less twitchy. That's exactly what I did. I raised a lot of rear roll center relatively to the front. Steering ackerman was reduced, pushing out the shocks and a prototype upper deck made the car relatively a lot faster. By the third day, my T4 was making 16.2s during the evening time which was pretty good. At this point, just more fine tweaking on the T4 and ORCA VX is needed to make the car easy to drive and fast.

Control practice was on the Thursday, just 2 runs for the day. Conservative run was the strategy to make to the top group and I was in 9th position in the top group. 3 Qualifying runs was on the Friday. I did not change anything on my car and esc settings. Q1 strategy again was to be cautious and finishing the run. 3 out of 5 qualifying points will be taken. I was in 8th after Q1 but lacking a bit of pace almost 0.4s of the TQ pace. I changed the ESC settings on Q2 and made the car better. I was in top 3 during the run but I burned my motor at 4:48 mark which could have finished in top 4 or top 5. Q3 again I remained same setup and decided to focus more on driving which I finished 3rd in Q3 and put me in 7th in day 1 of qualifying. I am quite happy at this point considering the T4 was easy to drive and the ORCA electronics are working well.
Nonetheless, I think that at this point, top 3 overall is an easier target for day 2 of qualifying.

I decided to make some minor changes for day 2 qualifying. I raised another 0.25mm rear roll center, make shorter front camber link, lower 1mm shims on the bulkheads and more scrubs on new tires. I was quite surprise that in Q4, my car was on a TQ pace, but unfortunately i started in 7th and the front car was holding me back for about 5-6 laps. Again I did not try to force an overtake as I only had points for 2 rounds yesterday and finished 6th in Q4. Sitting in 5th overall after Q4 and happily securing an A-Main placing. Q5 now I would try to push and the ORCA-powered T4 was amazing and very easy to drive. Maybe I pushed a little too much and also pushing to the edge as I burned the motor at 4:59 at 18 laps, could have made the only 19 laps in Q5. As other cars did not pass the line for 19 laps, I TQ Q5 at 18 laps 4:59! Now I would start 3rd from the grid in tomorrow's finals, and 5 XRAYs and 4 ORCAs in the A-Main!

Top 10 Qualifying Standings (A-Main Open Brushless):
1. Nicholas Lee - Singapore - Tamiya - 18 5:03.463 (Q2), 19 5:16.713 (Q3), 18 5:06.536 (Q4) - 525 pts
2. Natee Tirapipattanakul - Thailand - XRAY T4 - ORCA VX/ORCA INFINITE - 18 5:04.581 (Q1), 18 5:00.090 (Q3), 18 5:01.605 (Q5) - 520 pts
3. P.Y.Tang - Singapore - XRAY T4 - ORCA VX/ORCA INFINITE - 18 5:00.636 (Q3), 18 5:09.300 (Q4), 18 4:59.239 (Q5) - 516 pts
4. Kriengsak S. - Thailand - XRAY T4 - 18 5:05.136 (Q1), 18 5:04.117 (Q3), 18 5:02.399 (Q5) - 513 pts
5. Azri Amri HJ Jalaluddin - Malaysia - Yokomo - ORCA VX/ORCA INFINITE - 18 5:03.309 (Q3), 18 5:07.649 (Q4), 18 5:02.374 (Q5) - 511 pts
6. Kittipong R. - Thailand - XRAY T4 - 18 5:05.461 (Q2), 18 5:07.667 (Q4), 18 5:02.374 (Q5) - 511 pts
7. Araya Ingwethvongsa - Thailand - Yokomo - 18 5:04.449 (Q2), 18 5:04.378 (Q3), 18 5:07.753 (Q5) - 510 pts
8. Sizheng Dong - China - Yokomo - 18 5:07.841 (Q1), 18 5:05.054 (Q2), 18 5:02.572 (Q5) - 509 pts
9. Zhang Fang Zhou - China - Hotbodies - 18 5:09.870 (Q1), 18 5:06.590 (Q2), 18 5:07.223 (Q4) - 506 pts
10. Chan Chau Man - Hong Kong - XRAY T4 - ORCA VX/ORCA INFINITE - 18 5:10.038 (Q1), 18 5:05.300 (Q3), 18 5:10.390 (Q4) - 498 pts

Great boost from Q5, I know I have a good car that can make podium and even fight for the championship. All the cars were at very close pace so it is never easy. A-Main Leg 1 started off good, but backed off for car 2 entering the sweeper to make a clean run but unfortunately contact from the back car at the sweeper dropped me all the way to the back. No way to recover and finished 9th in A-Main Leg 1 to save some tires and easy on the motor. A-Main Leg 1 went to car 1, car 2 in 2nd and car 8 in 3rd.

A-Main Leg 2 was much better, I started off again fast and didn't want to risk contact with car 2 entering the sweeper and backed off a little. Car 2 went wide at the sweeper and I took the chance on the inside line at went into 2nd with a slight side contact. My ORCA-powered T4 handling really well, and was reeling in the leader who gained a lot of space after the first sweeper. I was very close to the lead car but my car had a weird slide at the center chicane on lap 11 and spun out losing about 1.2s. I was able to recover fast from the spin out. Car 1 made similar spin-out at the center chicane on lap 16 which I was then close onto the lead car again. Seems like Hara also made a similar spin-out in the Modified Class final. I was able to get close to car 1 and was trying every direction trying to pass, but unable. In the very last lap on lap 18, I was very close to car 1 on the left corner entering the sweeper, but unfortunately there was a contact entering the long straight, a race incident which was difficult to avoid. However, both of our cars spun out and penalty was given to me. I had to settle 2nd in A-Main Leg 2. Car 1 won Leg 2 and car 7 took 3rd.

A-Main Leg 3 started off clean into the sweeper, but again car 2 went was very loose exiting the sweeper creating a small pile-up. I was lucky to power out of the sweeper cleanly and moved into 2nd. My ORCA-powered XRAY T4 again was feeling very good and way much faster on the long straight setting consistently within the 16s laptimes. I was able to come close to car 1, but decided to retain 2nd as there is already no point trying to force a win in Leg 3 as Car 3 was very close behind. Car 1 took the win in Leg 3 and I finished in 2nd 0.2s behind. Car 7 finished 3rd. I finished 2nd overall, first time podium at TITC since 2009. It was a great result for me and for XRAY in 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th! and ORCA 2nd, 4th, 9th, 10th!

Top 10 Final Standings (A-Main Open Brushless):
1. Nicholas Lee - Singapore - Tamiya - 18 5:15.573 (1), 18 5:20.178 (1), 18 5:13.426 (1) - 2 pts
2. P.Y.Tang - Singapore - XRAY T4 - ORCA VX/ORCA INFINITE - 17 5:07.201 (9), 18 5:21.196 (2), 18 5:13.660 (2) - 4 pts
3. Araya Ingwethvongsa - Thailand - Yokomo - 17 5:08.780 (10), 17 5:00.164 (3), 18 5:14.090 (3) - 6 pts
4. Natee Tirapipattanakul - Thailand - XRAY T4 - ORCA VX/ORCA INFINITE - 18 5:16.608 (2), 17 5:03.815 (5), 16 4:51.109 (9) - 7 pts
5. Sizheng Dong - China - Yokomo - 17 5:00.397 (3), 17 5:02.122 (4), 17 5:04.536 (6) - 7 pts
6. Kriengsak S. - Thailand - XRAY T4 - 17 5:01.969 (4), 17 5:04.313 (6), 17 5:06.822 (7) - 10 pts
7. Zhang Fang Zhou - China - Hotbodies - 17 5:03.589 (6), 17 5:12.471 (9), 17 5:03.329 (5) - 11 pts
8. Kittipong R. - Thailand - XRAY T4 - 17 5:05.012 (8), 17 5:06.740 (8), 17 5:03.007 (4) - 12 pts
9. Azri Amri HJ Jalaluddin - Malaysia - Yokomo - ORCA VX/ORCA INFINITE - 17 5:02.363 (5), 17 5:15.363 (10), 17 5:07.777 (8) - 13 pts
10. Chan Chau Man - Hong Kong - XRAY T4 - ORCA VX/ORCA INFINITE - 17 5:04.096 (7), 17 5:05.436 (7), 1 0:27.280 (10) - 14 pts

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the sponsors: XRAY, ORCA, Blitz, Titan, Dubidesign, Orca Design, Quantum, Acorn Racing, Huge RC, HUDY, TRC, Fuxion and Prospec. Mechanic: Daryl Thong/Chee Lip Keong. And to all the teammates, friends and family supporting throughout the event.

Race report by P.Y.Tang/Soo

Source: Race RC, Raceworks

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