The second round of the Spanish Championship took place in Zaragoza. With over 80 drivers and unstable weather, drivers started to test their cars on Friday after the track dried out. Like always, Friday was open practice and few conclusions could be taken.
Qualification took place on Saturday. XRAY drivers Edu Escandon, Mikel Angulo, Victor PelaÃ©z, Jonny Pastor and Inaki Pahissa looked very fast, especially Edu Escandon who set the fastest lap time, although he ran out of fuel in the first round.
In the second round, Edu was able to finish and he put himself in TQ and would not leave that position until the last round. Despite the fact that Edu and Inaki did 18 laps, being 1st and 2nd, Josue Artiles managed to improve their time by 0.4sec.
After the qualifying rounds, the standings were as follows:
1. Josue Artiles
2. Edu Escandon XRAY NT1
3. Inaki Pahissa XRAY NT1
4. Javier Alonso
5. Jonny Pastor XRAY NT1
6. Victor Pelaez XRAY NT1
7. Rodrigo Pahissa
8. Mikel Angulo XRAY NT1
9. Xabier Arana XRAY NT1
10. Javier Hidalgo
The final saw Josue Artiles, Edu Escandon, Inaki Pahissa and Victor Pelaez run away. Right at the start Inaki overtook Edu, although Edu managed to retain 2nd place until he had engine problems. This left Inaki and Josue fighting for the victory with very close racing, making pit stops crucial for both drivers. Josue did an additional pit-stop and had problems with tire wear, which left him without any option, leaving Inaki to claim 1st place and bring his XRAY to victory. Victor (who ran in 3rd place for the whole final) jumped into 2nd place due to the problems that Josue had with his car, and Mikel Angulo went up to 3rd place by virtue of an error-free run. A whole podium of XRAY!
Carlos Aguero and Toni Mateo (both XRAY NT1 drivers) finished in 4th and 6th place, respectively.
Finally, Edu Escandon, who had the fastest lap of the final, finished in 9th position due to engine problems and some driving errors.
1. Inaki Pahissa XRAY NT1
2. Victor Pelaez XRAY NT1
3. Mikel Angulo XRAY NT1
4. Carlos Aguero XRAY NT1
5. Javier Alonso
6. Toni Mateo XRAY NT1
7. Cayetano Martinez
8. Marc Moix
9. Edu Escandon XRAY NT1
10. Josue Artiles
InakiÂ´s personal comments
The track was very smooth and with a mixed layout, there were two very fast corners and a fast chicane, as well as very tight corners in which the car needed lots of steering at corner entry.
This made it very hard to find the correct set-up for the track. The problem I found was that if the car had too much grip in the front end it was too difficult to drive, plus the lap times where not as fast. Therefore I had to find a way to make the car easy to drive but without losing too much steering as this would penalize me in the slow sector of the track.
What I did was to harden the suspension. Usually I drive with very soft oil, but in this track that was impossible. I increased to 600 in both front and rear, and harden the springs to violet. Once I made these changes the car improved a lot, so I continued to harden the suspension. I closed holes in the pistons until I was left with just 1 open, but at this point the car lost steering and it was not as fast as the other drivers.
I thought that if I harden just the rear a bit that this would give me some extra steering in the slow corners. I increased the rear oil to 700, plus I put 80K in front and 80K in rear. This gave me enough steering and the car was pretty fast at that moment. To go even further I used 38 shore tires in front and 43 shore tires in the rear. With this change the car was perfect, despite the fact that with the 43 shore tires the car slipped a bit, but adding more toe-in made it perfect.
Additional I mounted the 4mm chassis due to the conditions of the track (it was very smooth) and the car handled much better.
Unfortunately all these changes where done on Sunday during the qualifying since on Friday I could not test much things due to the weather conditions, so the only real good round in which I could make an effort to get TQ was in the last qualifier. The car was perfect and I managed to get into 2nd place with a qualifying time that assured me a place in the final.
In terms of engine and clutch, they both worked very well. The Mega MF had very good speed and the clutch helped to improve the bottom-end power of the engine. As far as tires were concerned, I used Xceed just like Iâ€™ve been doing all year. They have very good grip, plus the tire wear is superior to other brands. This characteristic was very useful in the final since I managed to end the final with enough tire so that the car could be fast and easy to drive.
On Sunday in the 10-minute practice session for the finalists, I tried a new change. I raised the front roll center to make the car feel more direct and it should improve the car in the fast chicane and two other corners of the track. Plus the grip was much better on Sunday than on Saturday. The change worked very well and the car was even faster than yesterday, so I used the 10-minute practice to check tire wear in order to select the diameter for the final. The wear was high so I had to run with 65mm in the rear and 63 in front. This made the car very sluggish at the beginning of the final, but hopefully all drivers had the same problem. As the tires wore out, the car felt faster.
In the final I had a very tough battle with Josue Artiles, overtaking each other in the pit stops in which (thanks to my mechanic) we were able to gain a few seconds, which made it easier later on on the track. Things began to be easier when Josue had to do an extra pit-stop. This left me ahead in the race with a comfortable gap between me and 2nd place, allowing me to bring the car home for the first victory in the National Championship.
Source : XRAY