Sawadee krub ! (*)
Finally, after a quite busy end of 2012 ETS season, I was back to my adoptive home town, Bangkok, Thailand for a while.
After racing in Modified class during the latest ETS rounds, it was time to switch back to Super Stock mode.
This stock class counts the most numerous racers in the EP Touring Car scene in Thailand.
ESC are totally ”boost-turbo-open”, only the 13.5t motors must be in the approved list and must be measured under 3200KV (no final gear ratio limit too).
Car weight must be minimum 1400g and dimensions must comply usual IFMAR rules.
The ORCA Cup is a 5 round local Championship organised by the very dynamic FRC Track owner to promote ORCA products in Thailand.
You must run at least one ORCA product to enter the race + 500 THB registration fee (about 12 Euro) and not less than 50 drivers usually attend the race which is ran on 2 Qualify rounds and 3 Main legs.
Being in the middle of the rainy season, we were quite lucky to race on a hot and sunny Sunday.
Open Practice on Saturday:
I came to FRC on the previous day together with Atsushi Hara to have a bit more stock running time and to get some tire sets broken in to FRC track surface.
Quite bumpy and a bit narrow (with lethal steel rails all over), the track has a very pleasant high bite layout since the track is daily spread with special asphalt chemical (not really “green” to be honest).
I’ve entirely rebuilt my s411 “TE” for the occasion with my now usual ORCA set (Motor and ESC).
Maintenance-wise, the car makes things really easy, I simply rebuilt the shocks, cleaned up the transmission parts and put fresh grease on the CVDs here and there.
I’m still truly happy about the durability of all the rotating components. Really bullet proof.
After a thorough tweak check, the car is “flat” and ready to go.
The first practice run is always a bit “weird” because the trick on this track is to pre-run the oldest possible tires (controlled Ride re36) and make the “track breaking-in” on them. The following runs were fast and consistent with room for improvement, global traction and corner speed.
To sum-up, after changing few roll centres and linkage positions, my biggest change was to run 3000 cSt oil in the rear gear diff due to the high traction.
Tire Tweak sauce directly applied on “non cleaned-up” tires always works fine there.
Still lucky with the weather so far, it was time to start the serious businesses !
Unluckily, I had to compose with a lot of other driver crashes and traffic. I made it through with a single but consequent crash (my own and plain fault) that cost me about 2 seconds. However, I managed to TQ my group but of course, it was before Atsushi Hara and the top of the Thai drivers run their first round…
Anyway, I secured the 6th spot in the A-main and I still had another shot to improve in the 2nd round.
Due to the higher track temperature compared to Saturday’s practice (cloudy most of the time), already used tires would over heart a bit more so I had to re-adjust the shock position and run softer diff oil.
But the changes did pay off. I managed to make a very clean run after driving through others crashes countless times.
I miraculously never touched anyone and improved my previous time by not less than 12 sec !
But it was without counting the fact that the drivers of the group 2 would improve too. And of course, they all did… Atsushi Hara naturally TQed both rounds with such a bottom power that would have made modified drivers almost jealous…
But Mission Complete, I was still in A-main with the same 6th spot on the grid !
Well, 6th is not the best position to start from among these fast and furious Thai drivers but that’s racing. Let’s Tango !
After a clean start with maximum attack, I managed to sneak on the 4th spot at the end of the straight line due to 5th and 4th driver slow start reaction.
But my joy came quickly to an end when a driver literally use my rear bumper to “brake” his own car at the third corner…
I had to start all over again from the 9th spot to finally being hit again. My body shell was stucked with rear wheel and the marshall didn’t see it at the first sight.
Finished at the 8th position: “Game over, same player plays again !”
Almost the same scenario as leg 2 but with different actors!
One more run to let the bad lucky picking up some else. I finished the leg 2 on 8th position again.
Ah, luckier than leg 1 and 2 eventually !
After another nice and fast start, I sneaked on the 5th spot until the 2 minute mark, and due to a little overshoot (on such tiny track, the sanction is quite immediate), my good friend Monchai clean-passed me and we finished the leg together having a great battle til the end.
I finished the leg 3 on the 6th position (my qualify spot), less than 0.4s behind him.
Well, over all 8th position at the end of the race is not quite glorious but once again, my car remained the most consistent and reliable “tool” of this race.
Like most of the previous races I ran with the S411 “TE”, I made my best performance/best-lap-time on the ultimate run.
Working on the car also remains a great pleasure and even unwillingly submitted to some heavy crashes, the car still keeps it “right” and will finish the run every single time.
I will have the chance to practice on this track again some time soon since the 5th and final round of the ORCA Cup will be held on September 2nd.
The car will be great, I’m already pretty sure of it. Let’s hope its driver will have even better fingers and also, a friendlier karma !
I’ll be back for more Thai Serpent related adventures !
I would like to thank Ronald Baar, Michael Salven and Asayoshi Oe respectively from Serpent and Ride.
Last but no least, special thanks to Atsushi Hara for his priceless set-up and driving advices.
Serpent S411 Team Edition – Ride WRX STi Bodyshell lightweight – Ride Re36 tires – Ride S-3 Yellow Springs – ORCA electronics.
(*) “Sawadee krub” is the usual Thai greeting words for both “Hello” and “Good bye”