JConcepts Take Three In 1:8 Euros A Final
- Event: 2010 EFRA 1:8 Off Road European Championship
- Date: July 6-10 2010
- Location: Just outside Guarda in Portugal
JConcepts opened up their blog of the Euros after day one and unfortunately thereafter got sucked into the hard work and long days of the event, not be able to continue with our daily reports. Having now got home, I am able to reflect on what was a successful event for Team JConceptsâ€¦
After the untimed practice on Tuesday, We then had 2 timed practices on Wednesday, the re- seeding of the heats and then a final practice run in the new re-seeded heat order. The timed practice gave us a change to see who was laying it down together with the target to get in the top 60 and be placed in a qualifying heat with the top drivers. One round of the two was to count toward this, but the most important thing was to learn the track and get the set up right.
For the first run we wanted to test Subcultures in yellow. The yellow compound worked well in untimed practice, we just needed to know if the smaller pin worked better than the blocky Crossbow or Crowbar, as so many other drivers were using a pin type tyre of other brands. As it turned out, the smaller pin did not work out for us, proving that on the dusty sections, it did not cut through and on the smoother sections, the pin rolled over providing less grip. In order to balance this out, other drivers were now looking at softer compounds to get grip. Long term, I saw this as a bad move as the softer tyre would be worn out after 10 minutes and also to start over heating. I needed to get a tyre on Lee’s car that was good for qualifying but also a tyre that we would use for the longer finals. Well at least that was the plan.
For the 2nd timed run, Lee had the great idea of cutting out a centre bar of the Crowbar tyre, in order to open up the block sections of the pattern. We ran this cut with Crowbars all round in the yellow compound and hit the track. Standard yellow inserts were being used for all of our runs as this would help with the bumpy conditions. With Lee still learning the track, a few mistakes were made, but posted some good lap times and an overall 5 minute run that was good enough to be placed 30th after time practice. Although not at the top of the tables, we were now getting pretty confident that we had the right tyre and the set up just needed tweaking a little. Elliot Boots had concluded pretty much the same thing, but had chosen Crossbows instead. Elliot was also placed inside the top 60 and would run in the same heat as Lee.
For the final run of the day, we used the same set of tyres and made some car adjustments. The run was just a quick go, but proved that we now had a race car and Lee was getting pretty hooked up with the now bumpy track. I’m sure most of you would have read about the condition of the track and will get the idea. For me it was not as bad as expected, and Lee’s super smooth driving style was really working out as he could take the shortest distance from corner to corner without getting the car out of shape. Wednesday night was spent watching the Germans get knocked out of the world cupâ€¦. we all got a bit upset about their exit!
For Thursday we had 3 rounds of qualifying. The heats would rotate to give everyone a fair crack within the round. With Lee and Elliot being in heat 5, they kinda got a ruff deal as they would run last of the fast guys in 4 of the 5 rounds, but that’s life. Round 1 went really well and Lee placed 8th with no major problems. Elliot struggled, making a few errors and was in the twenties, but looked fastâ€¦. if anything too fast for the track conditions. Round 2 was quite a wait as heat 5 concluded the round. A new set of yellow Crowbars was fitted to the car and for the first few laps Lee was on TQ pace. Unfortunately a slight miss of line over the final double jump caused a roll over. The car was in no mans land and after what seemed like ages, the marshal got to Lee’s aid. Another mistake a lap later killed what could have been a storming run and had to settle for 22nd in round. Elliot had a servo fail during this run which put him out.
With the temperature now around 34C for the final round of qualifying we chose to run the prototype platinum compound crowbars. The platinum is slightly harder than a yellow and it was hoped they would last longer in the hot conditions. The track was now at the point where you had to hit every right line lap after lap. The jumps had now getting blown out and the driving was now at another level. Lee ran well with one mistake over the 5 minutes which gave 13th for the round and another coulda shouldaâ€¦ a top 5 time was well within Lee and the car and all was good. Lee commented that the platinum’s had less traction than the yellows, but did not get edgy during the end of the run, allowing him to push on for the whole 5 minutes. This was excellent news and looked like the right choice for the finals. At this point of qualifying, we had 2 good scores and one reasonable score (3 out of 5 to count). With a bit of luck we might have done enough to secure a semi final place already and we went to dinner feeling pretty happy with the days work.
On arrival to the track on Friday, we were welcomed with foggy/cloudy weather and a slightly repaired track. The cooler conditions was welcome but this meant that the yellows needed to go back on. Other racers where still running softer M3/blue/soft type compounds after trying M2/yellow/medium compounds. This did make me think we either are doing something wrong or our tyres are really good Round 4 and again had it not been for traffic, top 5 would have been possible, however 11th was a welcome reward and now a semi final position was in the bag. Changing nothing for round 5, 7th in the round was to be our best result and an overall placing of 9th was very satisfying. Elliot again struggled in rounds 3 and 4 leaving himself without a shot at a direct semi final place. For round 5 his team made lots of changes to his set up and to the type of engine. This gave Elliot lots more control and still on the Crossbow’s, placed 5th in the round and in the quarter finals. The final round was great for the team, as both guys had finished qualifying on a high.
Team JConcepts Qualifying Results
- 9th Lee Martin
- 19th Jorn Neumann
- 27th Elliot Boots
- 36th Luis Rodrigo
- 95th Jamie Booth
For finals day all we needed to work out was whether to run yellow’s or platinum’s. After rounds 4 & 5 the pace of the track had slowed some what and I was starting to feel that the tyres were not getting as warm as in rounds 1 & 2. Going for the platinum’s just might be the wrong move as more control was needed and the softer side wall would help the car’s suspension. We had the semi practice to test out our set up and get used to the track conditions, but before that the lower finals had to run. From the 1/8th final Luis Rodrigo bumped up and would now race in the other 1/4 to Elliot and Jorn. Although I didn’t seen the race Luis then successfully bumped to the semi’s. In the other 1/4 Elliot cruised to 2nd place behind fellow Brit Bloomfield and Jorn placed 4th, so we now had 4 of the team in the semi finalsâ€¦result.
Practice went well and we settled to run yellow Crowbars, with Elliot on yellow Crossbows. On to the first semi, which would feature Lee, Elliot and Jorn. Lee did not get the best of starts and by lap 1 was around 10th, but in touch with the pack. Up front the Aigoin brothers had escaped and Elliot was running well in 4th. Lee was to have 2 fuel stops over the 20 minutes which put him at a disadvantage with a few mid pack runners who were one stopping, so after our first stop Lee was still no further forward in 9th, but again not far behind the pack. Elliot had now got into 3rd with his one stop helping out, and Jorn was having a ruff time at the back of the race. With the second stop done, Lee was now in a fight with Miguel Matias and Linus Thern for 5th, 6th and 7th. Top 6 would be prompted to the main and I have to admit everything was crossed in the pit lane. With 2 laps to go Matais had edged out a few seconds in 5th and Lee had somehow to get past Thern. After the back roller, Lee made what was the pass of the event by getting good drive off the roller and making a move around the outside of the net corner to now hold 6th. Lee landed every jump perfectly to cross the finish line in 6th and with it, a place in the main final. Funny enough, Lee thought he still needed to get Matias and was still pushing on that last lap. As he crossed the line he looked down at us for conformation, only to see us jumping up and down with joy. That moment really was electric and such a rush for us in the pit lane. Elliot had held onto 3rd in what was a fantastic drive for him.
Whilst we prepped for the main, the other semi final was on. Luis finished 5th which made 3 of the JConcept drivers in the Euro main final. This was equal to AKA and one below Pro-Line showing what great products JConcepts have. For the main final Elliot would line up 5th, Luis 9th and Lee 11th. Places are decided on semi final times, but to be honest it did not matter, being in the main was the weeks target and now we could relax and enjoy the main event.
Before the main final there was the normal 40+ race for the old men. Second on the grid was legend Jamie Booth. Jamie was running the same tyre combination as Lee, and Jamie went on to win the EFRA 40+ final. JConcepts was again EFRA champions, we just hoped that we could do it again in the big one.
The main was 45 minutes long and with Lee commenting that the car got better during the semi, we stuck with the same tyre set up. At the start Lee had a great start getting up to 4th after several laps. The chasing pack was snapping at Lee’s heals and it was not long before they got in the way and messed up Lee’s pace. Following a number of mistakes, Lee had drop down the order and was running with Elliot in 8th or 9th. Mid race Luis had a problem with a broken rear suspension and this proved to be the only failure of the main. Elliot had dropped way back from Lee, but was now in the groove and catching up. At around 30 minutes Lee’s car was starting to look difficult to drive, and it appeared the shocks had all gone soft. Elliot soon caught Lee and the boys now ran 8th and 9th. This is how they finished and at the time is way disappointing to not have finished higher, but that’s racers for you!
So as the dust settled we came away very happy with the teams and the tyres performance. From qualifying, Lee ran the same tyre pattern, the same insert and same wheel in all qualifiers and finals. This was something that very few racers managed to do and made our life so much easier by being able to concentrate on the car set up and track lines. Thanks JCâ€¦..
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