Thunder Tiger Cup – Round 4 Update
The fourth round of the Thunder Tiger Cup was held over the weekend of the 1st and 2nd of October in Senai just outside of Joho Bahru in Malaysia. The event run by the Niko Club is hosted at a facility which houses both an on-road an off-road track for the RC enthusiast. For this round of the Cup there were in excess of 80 drivers attending all vying for the win. With this many entries most drivers took the opportunity to hit the track on Saturday to practice and dial their cars in for the race on Sunday. Track conditions for practice on Saturday were excellent with the weather playing its part and only some misty rain arriving in the afternoon. The feeling from most drivers was that racing would be close as the track is on the smaller side for 1/8th with lap times down in the 28 second range. With plenty of short corner to corner racing there was going to be plenty of emphasis placed on clean passing and running tight lines – this would be the way to quick consistent laps.
JConcepts/Novarossi team driver Ben Panic headed up from Singapore on Sunday morning to race and was greeted with a wet track for the first outing. The format for the race would be three 7 minute qualifiers with the best single run to count. Finals would be 20 minutes for mains B through F and 40 minutes for the A Main. Top 3 drivers would bump up.
The track condition in the morning it was really damp but with the sun breaking through the clouds there was every chance the surface would get a lot better as the day progressed and cars ran on it. The surface was really smooth and it looked like it would provide a good opportunity for a quick run in the first round. This proved true as local Malaysian driver David Lim layed down a superb 15 lapper. Ben had a solid 8th for the round which left him feeling like if he could find a bit more pace he could put in a top 5 run.
The next 2 rounds were completed in similar fashion, David showing plenty of pace and Singaporean drivers Roy JJ and Joe Hwee also putting in some fast runs which would place them 2nd and 3rd on the grid for the main. Ben finished out round 2 and 3 with similar runs, 8th and 9th which would have him start the main from 9th position. More pace was needed for the JConcepts/Novarossi driver and a better run through the back markers as constant passing was present during most laps in qualifying.
As the day had progressed the track had changed dramatically. The smooth surface from the morning was gone and there were plenty of large stones protruding thought the dirt catching cars mid corner and causing them to roll. This along with the need for more pace was the reason enough for some major pre-final set up changes for Ben. His Novarossi powered Mugen was just too edgy so with some camber, spring and castor changes he dialed in a bench setup that hopefully would provide the stability and pace required to move up the field in the final.
The start of the mains proved hectic on the small track and there were plenty of crashes, with this noted Ben decided to opt for a cautious start and try and get the first few laps in clean. The warm-up had given Ben confidence in the car as the bench setup was much better than what had been on the car in qualifying. When the buzzer sounded the inevitable crash occurred and from 9th Ben navigated his way through to 3rd position. David was in the lead and the pack was chasing hard. With 10 min fuel stops Ben moved in to second at the first stop as other drivers pitted. David still held the lead by around 15 seconds and it would stay that way for much of the race. Ben pushed hard and at one point got to within 3 seconds of David but could not catch him. It was an exciting race for these two drivers as they drove at the limit for the whole race trying to stay ahead. At the sound of the tone Ben just crossed the line and missed out on the extra lap by .12 second thus giving David a deserved victory in a hard fought race. Vincent Yong placed 3rd with a consistent fast drive just behind David and Ben.
Ben Panic Used
JConcepts Subcultures (Blue Compound)
JConcepts Inverse wheel
JConcepts Punisher Body
JConcepts wheel nuts