R2tW WINNER KEVIN PIGNOTTI DELIVERS AT IFMAR WORLDS
The 2012 IFMAR Worlds are over with Dutch Jilles Groskamp taking victory over Atsushi Hara with just a few tenths in the end, but the other star of the show was undoubtedly Race2theWorlds winner Kevin Pignotti from Italy. Arriving at the Worlds track with just 2 years of r/c racing experience, 2 years of VRC experience and zero 1:10 electric touring car experience the 16 year old Italian was placed for an almost impossible task to perform on the very highest level of r/c racing.
IFMAR had denied our request to grant him some pre-race practice on the track, just using the left side of the track and in opposite direction, as they felt they could not make an exception to the strict rule that no WC participant may practice on the WC track within 2 weeks prior to the event itself. That being decided we knew Kevin would have just 4 5-minute practice rounds and 2 timed practice rounds to familiarize himself with this class. The first session was a shakedown of the Serpent S-411 chassis and LRP electronics, but with too much distance between the body and the front bumper he was hampered by the body catching the asphalt under braking causing massive understeer. The next sessions worked out a lot better and Kevin immediately showed how talented he really is. In the first controlled practice Kevin’s 17.4 second lap stood as the fastest official lap of the day until heat 10 of 14 total….
After controlled practice Kevin was reseeded 3 heats up, placing him in the upper half of the field already. The very first qualifier was the ultimate test for Kevin, having to do a typical ‘cold’ 1:10 electric start without any warm-up. The car was on new tires but going into the second corner trying to avoid a crashed car he crashed his own, losing 9 seconds. In total he lost 10 seconds in that very first heat to finish in 17 laps in 5:13 for 54th position, a clean run would have placed him at an amazing 27th position, so the raw speed was surely there. Keep in mind that the top-20 drivers are all full paid professional racers, and 20 to 50 heavily sponsored 1:10 electric specialists.
The second run was better already moving him to 37th overall. 3rd and 4th qualifiers did not go well with the set-up of the car going in the wrong direction, dropping him to 70th overall with best 3 out of 4. The 5th round pace was very good, going out on new tires, but 1 minute before the end the rain came in and the whole round was canceled. The 6th qualifying round was kind of a joke, starting wet, drying up to an extend that heats 12 and 13 could even run on dry tires, and heat 14 in the full wet again. How IFMAR could decide that round 6 would count as a full round I will probably never understand, it made Atsushi Hara top qualifier and Ronald Volker second, with a major impact on the outcome of the Worlds. Kevin ended up 63rd overall and was placed in the G-final.
The first final was again a learning experience for Kevin, a final is something completely different from a qualifier. The Race2theWorlds winner lost a few places costing him 3 seconds but fought back hard to finish 3rd in 18 laps in 5:11. To put things in perspective again, the fastest time produced in the finals was by later World Champion Jilles Groskamp, 18 laps in 5:00.2… Just 8 seconds net, a remarkable pace for someone with zero experience in this class, running more or less a stock box car and set-up and 50 grams overweight…. In the 2nd final a heavy crash pushed him back to last so the 3rd final would have to be better to maintain 63rd position. Kevin lost again 2 places in the beginning but came back strong but a crash in the pre-ultimate lap placed him back from 2nd to 4th with another strong 18-lapper final. A 4th place in the G-final and a 64th place is a very good result but with a bit of luck that could have easily been a top-50 or even a top-40 finish.
16 Year old Kevin started r/c racing 2 years ago in 1:8 nitro 2WD Classic, this is a very small class with pan-type cars. He also started with VRC around that time, and continued in VRC Pro from day one, he was in the first group of VRC Pro beta testers. Kevin practices 1 to 2 hours on VRC Pro every day. He is the current 2011 VRC Pro World Champion 1:8 Nitro on-road and lead the rankings in all classes end of 2011. He won the Race2theWorlds contest from start to finish over more than 1000 other competitors. No doubt that he is a very talented r/c racer. But without VRC Pro Kevin would not have been able to turn his extraordinary talent into such phenomenal racing pace in just 2 years. He has proved once more what a useful training tool VRC Pro is. The standing ovation by all the WC racers during the official Awards Ceremony on Saturday evening said it all. Congratulations to Kevin for an outstanding performance at the IFMAR Worlds!
Not a single part was changed on the Serpent S-411 chassis after all these runs (and some serious crashes as well…), in fact the car received no maintenance at all. LRP’s Reto König gave him all the power he could handle at every stage of the championship. We like to thank our sponsors Serpent, LRP Electronics and KO Propo for their equipment and their support to the Race2theWorlds winner. Without that support Kevin would not have been able to perform on such a high level.