Stringer podium at FEMCA 2015
It seemed like only yesterday when we last faced the 6 hour flight to Perth for the Australian Nationals, but here we were again for another 6 hour transit out of Brisbane Tuesday night to Perth for FEMCA 2015. We arrived to a wet Perth Airport and wondered what tomorrow would hold.
We arrived at the track early Wednesday morning to find they had in fact received quite a bit of rain and a delayed start to midday had been set by the organisers. This allowed us time to catch with old and new friends from last yearsFEMCA and of course quite a few hours to pick the new layout apart and decide on the right lines for the new layout which much more technical then the Nationals track from a few months ago.
The organisers had allowed for 6 practice rounds (4 x 7 min rounds and 2 x 10 min rounds), the 4 x 7 min rounds would be used to reseed (best 3 consecutive laps over the first 4 practice rounds) for the 2 x 10 min rounds of practice and the 6 official qualifiers. Everyone seem to struggle with the new layout for the first couple of practice rounds as they came to grips with the new layout. However, by the 3 rd and 4th round of practice all the fast guys had the tracked sorted and the times really started to drop!!!!
In the end Aaron set an amazing 3 lap run setting the fastest time for the event so far.
There was to be 2 rounds of practice and 1 round of qualifying. With no rain forecast we looked forward to a improving track. the 2 practice rounds gave everyone an idea of the times to beat, however, many of the fast guys were testing with fuel runs and different set ups as the track grooved up.
Started late on Wednesday and ran into the night, the fast heats (6 and 7) we on early due tot eh rotation of the races each round. The organisers had decided to split the top 30 drivers over 2 heats, this meant there was some significant differences in speed resulting in some traffic issues. It was obvious very quickly that if you wanted to challenge for TQ you would need to be on 16 lap pace for the 10 min run. In the end we took 2nd overall finishing up about 9 seconds off TQ.
There were to be 3 rounds of qualifying today and by now the track was developing a very strong blue groove
Once again a 16 lapper was needed to make the top of the list. Unfortunately we were the first race out in the morning on a very cold track and morning. Aaron took the heat win, however missing a 16 lap run by just 1 second. We had to wait another 90 mins for heat 6 to run. The last of the fast guys went out but many had traffic issues and we still manged to take 2nd overall for the round.
We knew if we wanted a chance at TQ we need to make this one count. Aaron and the REDS R7 hooked up perfectly to take the TQ for this round.
By now the track was producing awesome grip, we made a few changes to the car and Aaron took another TQ. So at the end of day 2 we had taken the lead in the overall points position, however, we knew with 2 rounds to go tomorrow we still needed one more TQ!!
We arrived to find a very wet track from over night rain and a delayed start. Once racing commenced the showers started again and it was touch and go as to whether we continued to race or not.
We decided we had to go out if we wanted a chance at TQ . Unfortunately we went with the wrong tire and finished up second for the round.
We knew this was our last chance at TQ, however it would be our turn to run foul of some back markers and loose any chance of TQ. We had discussed that if we fell outside the lap times needed to take TQ we would pull out as the track was still very wet and sticky, so we pulled to preserve the car from any more mud damage.
Overall we finished 2nd and while we were rapted with this we felt with a dry track we might've had a chance at overall TQ
We arrived to a fine sunny day. Our semi practice was up early on and while it allowed us to test a few things we felt it would be a totally different track for the semi in nearly 2 hours time.
I would say that most top racers find this the most stressful race out of the whole weekend, you can go from 1st to 30th if you crash out in the first coupe of laps. Aaron drove a great race to the win and now all it remained to be seen was where we would line up in the A-Main. By the time the other semi had started the track had evolved again and the top 2 went quicker than us which meant we would be starting the A-Main in 3rd position.
60 mins is a long time, however, as with so many of these races the result can often be decided in the first 5 mins and so it was here. Kyle got off to a awesome start with everyone else caught up behind Losi driver Craig Laughton. The battle for second place turned into a 5 way battle with Kyle just disappearing into the distance. The track by this stage was just off the scale for grip and caught many drivers out. In the end though we came home 3rd. A great result
Overall we were completely stoked as to how well the REDS R7 Evoke performed, we made great run time and awesome power and we couldn't be happier.
We are now preparing for the QLD titles on our home track.
Mark and Aaron Stringer