So, it was Euro’s time. This year it would be off to Italy to the Ongaroring, Sacile.
Having already done the warm up meeting earlier in the year, and taking the Win at that we headed to the event with our confidence high.
We arrived at the track, and the surface had been worked on slightly since the warm up, but we looked hoping it would progress the same way it had at that meeting.
We started practice with the car as it had been during the warm up meeting, but on hitting the track it was clear the the track was going to be a different affair to last time here. The grip level was different, with the track very slick and smooth. We used practice to test a few different setups on the car, till we finally found a good balance setup that we felt comfortable with. We aimed to have a consistent car, rather than the ultimate fastest car, as the track would reward consistency.
From practice seeding, which was only based on three laps, rather than the full run (which is what we worked on) we would end up in the 4th heat of the 5 top heats.
Qualifying would be up the next day, but before that, after practice had finished and we were back at the hotel the weather took a turn! A small storm passed through, with high winds, rain and large hail!
We arrived at the track the next morning and were greeted by a slightly different surface due to the rain. Due to this we decided we would run a slightly softer compound for qualifying and settle on Pro-Line Diamond Back in X3 compound, to give a little extra traction.
Hitting the track for the first run, the heats before had seen a few bobbles by cars that cost them time. The plan would be to get a clean, mistake free run. Focusing on keeping it consistent rewarded us with a great time for the round and would give us TQ for the first round! A perfect start.
Round 2 and we kept everything the same just fitting a new set of X3 Diamond Back. Once again setting off with a good clean run, we would end up with traffic that would not yield the position and allow us past, causing us loss of time, and a mistake due to looking for a way past. We would come out with 6th for the round but knew the traffic had been costly, as it had also for some other drivers.
Round 3 keeping the recipe the same once again we hit the track. Suffering once again with a little traffic in the run, we would come out with 2nd for the round. A good score to go with the round 1 TQ.
That marked the end of the second day of running, and heading into the next day we would be holding the overnight TQ!
Arriving at the track the next day we knew that we needed two more good solid runs to guarantee a good Semi final grid position.
Round 4 and the track had caught out a couple of drivers in the heats before, with the track now getting a lot tougher and starting to blow out in some sections. Getting off to a good start sitting on TQ pace, a little traffic would once again cost us time, but we would come out once again with 2nd for the round. With REDS team mate Alex Zanchettin taking TQ for the round.
Heading into the last round and only David would be able to stop us from taking overall TQ. David would be up before us and posted his time which we would need to beat. We hit the track for our run staying safe and not wanting to make a mistake. Finishing the run, we took a look at the time and we had been faster than David meaning we would be TQ for the meeting! We would end up 2nd for the round after the final heats had ran. Proving the consistency we had all qualifying long. We had used qualifying to get a good car for the Mains also, rather than focusing on speed for the short runs.
The next day we arrived at the track feeling confident about the day ahead.
Semi practice and we used it to calculate fuel run time, and to get a feeling for how the track was now after having had many finals ran. The car still felt good and consistent.
The semi final came and we chose to run Pro-Line Diamond Back in X2 due to the track conditions having progressed from qualifying. The semi got underway and everything was feeling good, sitting in a good position. First fuel stop completed fine it was into the second stint of the race, coming in for the second stop with a lead, on filling the car had become very low on fuel due to pushing a little too hard after a few mistakes and we would have a small cut. Started back up fast we hit the track again and would bring the car home in second place. This would allow us to start 3rd on the grid for the main final.
While getting ready for the Main final we decided we would switch to a shorter fuel run time so that we could push as hard as we wanted with no risk of running out. We had been looking at running the same tyres again, but after a short meeting with fellow Pro-Line runners and looking at the change track conditions we decided that the Fugitive would be a better option.
We decided to run the Pro-Line Fugitive in X2 compound.
The main got underway and everyone made a clean start. The order would swap during the first quarter of the race, until we go out front and stayed clean for lap after lap. Building a bigger gap to second place with our tyres stay good for the whole main final when other started to suffer with tyre wear. We would end up getting through for the extra lap, a victory lap! It was on that lap we knew we had done it. EUROPEAN CHAMPION!!!!!!!!
The Pro-Line Fugitive got another major title also! Having now won the Worlds, FEMCA, ROAR Nats and now the European Championship!
A massive thanks to Mick Cradock for building the car for the event and working hard all week to help achieve the result.
A massive thanks also to the whole Rossi family (REDS) for their support and help all event long.
A massive thanks to all our sponsors as without you we wouldn’t be where we are:
Kyosho, Pro-Line, Reds, Tekin, Byron, Sanwa, Bittydesign, Maugraphix, LRP Batteries, SMD, Inside Line Racing, Ghea, Radio Race Car International, RDRP, JC Racing, Racers Design Products, CML Distibution, Muc-Off.
Thanks for reading, till next time!