|Timed practice and opening ceremonies|
Its 8am here in Pattaya as everyone is walking the track to see the maintenance performed last night. What was assumed to be concrete patches on the track look like a mixture of sand and oil. Almost all of the off camber corners have a fresh coat of this concoction and the rest of the track looks like it has a new coat of oil. Most drivers are happy to see the ruts smoothed over but I see a lot of people scratching their heads wondering if this is going to last.
Race format update: Each driver will run two 10 minute practice heats. Each heat will have a 3 minute warmup. The best 3 consecutive laps will combine to seed the driver for tomorrow’s qualifying events.
After the first 5 heats of practice, once again, Jared Tebo is setting the pace with a blistering 44.8 second lap. Other notable heat winners from round 1 are Ryan Maifield, Travis Amezcua, and Cody King. The track is holding up rather well so far but the corners are looking more like oil slicks than dirt.
Few choice tires: Proline M3 Snipers, Jconcepts Green Sub-Cultures
Top overall times:
|The track is looking fast and got a few much needed cement patches last night. The dirt doesn’t look like it got anymore oil but isnt super dry quite yet. Traction is really good and I would guess drivers will start going to harder compound tires for tomorrow as the track will most likely dry out. |
After the first 5 heats of round 1:
1 Ryan Maifield 14/10:37.89
Day 2 in Pattaya was not off to a good start for many of the drivers.
The scene outside the Zign Hotel was a mob of drivers and mechanics waiting for the already late shuttle to transport them to the track. What was supposed to be a 25 minute ride turned into an 1:25 scenic drive since the driver made a few wrong turns. Many of the racers arrived a matter of minutes before their races and scrambled to grab their cars in a rush to the staging areas.
Track conditions started off well oiled but quickly deteriorated to dry and rutted. Pot holes and ruts became more and more prevalent throughout the day. Faces of jumps became rough and it showed as cars were flying in every which direction and car chassis were wearing thin. Saying this track is difficult is definitely an understatement. The giant double in the back right corner of the track was always a spectacle to watch.
Jared Tebo threw done some unsurprisingly fast laps throughout practice and looks great going around the track. Frenchman Jarome Aigion set the fastest pace in today’s practice but many drivers are still trying out different tires an setups and not running the entire ten minute runs. Ryan Maifield, Atsushi Hara, Reno Savoya and Ryan Cavalieri were also throwing down some blistering fast laps in practice.
After watching many rounds of practice today, I must say that this is truly anyone’s championship. The only prediction that I’m going to make now is the winner isn’t going to be the fastest around the track. They will be the one who crashes the least and car stays in one piece. The track is absolutely brutal on both the drivers and the cars!
Tomorrow has another 2 rounds of practice in store for us. These will be timed rounds and determine seeding for the qualifiers. The track will be getting some much-needed maintenance tonight. Once the racing starts tomorrow, the track will have to remain as-is for the rest of racing. This is getting good…
On the agenda today: registration, tech inspection, setup pits and walk the track.
There are two different pit areas. Tables setup outdoors underneath easy-ups or the air-conditioned storage containers adjacent to the track. The weather in Pattaya is in the high 80’s and very humid. The teams setting up shop in the climate controlled containers definitely had the upper hand.
|All of the drivers were required to check in and have their cars go through technical inspection. The IFMAR officials would test the overall dimensions of the car and wing in a custom-built stainless steel box, then it would be off to the next official to check the weight and fuel tank capacity. The last inspection would be to make sure all of the parts on the car follow under IFMAR guidelines and the pipe, manifold and chassis would be marked with paint or engravings after they passed. Once the drivers completed this task it was off to prep the car for tomorrows practice runs.|
|The track layout remains the same as the warm ups with a few exceptions. Most noticeably the dirt has been coated with a layer of oil. Many of the drivers were relieved to see this as tire wear should be greatly reduced. One other noticeable feature of the track that has been changed is the absence of carpet. All of the carpeted jumps have now been capped with a layer of concrete. After walking around the track with some of the Team Associated drivers, I had a feeling chassis wear may be more of an issue than tire wear. When speaking with Team Associated’s Richard Saxton and Kyosho’s Lanis Thern (both whom did not attend the warm up), Lanis said “I just hope I don’t break on my first lap.” Im sure this will be a thought going through many of the driver’s minds as they fly over many of the new concrete capped jumps.|
|>After making my rounds in the pits, I noticed a few new products being brought out today for the first time. Ryan Maifield and JR Mitch both are sporting the new JConcepts “Punisher” modular wing. I must say, this is a pretty cool new and innovative part. The center of the wing is a flat, lower down-force style wing with removable sides. They had three different choices of sides, one standard side, a vented side and one set that was bent in towards the center of the car on the bottom half. Also creeping its way around Ryan Maifield’s pit was two new sets of Jconcepts tires, the “IFMAR 3D” and “Hybrid.” Proline had a new version the Revolver out dubbed “Revolver 2.0” which had slightly more squared pins and looks like the spacing has been changed up a bit. All of which look like they can be very promising on the hard packed, fast track here in Thailand.|
|I caught up with Jared Tebo while walking the track and asked him what his thoughts were with being favored to win from the online crowd. After a slight chuckle, replied, “It doesn’t get to me. I’m here to have fun. I can tell you this though, I’m going to give it my best shot.” Jared also mentioned how well his car worked during practice and seems pretty confident in himself for the race to come.|