Thomas Gisler reports after winning at the recent AMA GP in Brazil with his THEcar White Edition… On the weekend of the 9th of February, the opening race of the season 2014 was held at the AMA track in Rio de Janeiro. The GP AMA is a 4 round event and is held exclusively on the AMA track. Due to the extensive dry and hot period in Brazil, the track was dusty and didn’t have the usual high grip as in last year’s races. Despite watering the track a lot, we decided to cut the A-Main to 30 minutes in order to guarantee visibility and avoid potential damage to the nitro engines.
The race schedule had free practice, 2 qualifying rounds and the finals. During qualify, my car did not have the best setup, forcing me to reduce the pace and go for rather consistent than fastest laps. Despite that, I qualified in 4th position. As acting race director for the other classes, I had only time to change clutch bearings for the A-Main, knowing that the suspension does have an issue somewhere. But I simply didn’t have time to take care of it.
I had a pretty good start in the race and was able to stay in the leading group, but clearly missing the edge whenever I had to do a really fast lap. My fastest lap was up to half a second slower than my direct competitors laps. Again… being consistent and trying not to lose contact with the leading group was that I had to do. I managed to stay in the same lap, never falling out of the top 5 positions, had perfect pit-stops and my engine, despite the heat and dust, worked very very well. Towards the end of the race, the problems on the competitors’ side increased.
Either cars breaking or engines flaming out allowed me to take the lead with only 2 minutes to race. Rodrigo Nakad, Rio de Janeiro State Champion 2013, was chasing me hard and while pushing to stay ahead, I made a small mistake and had to let him pass. I tried everything to stay close to him and who knows, force him to make a mistake. It promptly happened on the big triple, bad landing, car turned over… and died. In the lead again, I basically carried my White Edition around the track for the last lap and was able to take the win home. It was definitely a lucky win, but as I always say, to win a race you have to cross the finish line. And my car, despite the problems in set-up, proved to be an absolutely reliable car and made it to the finishing line without any flaw.
By the way, when I later on finally looked at my car, I discovered two small things that changed my cars behaviour. The front sway bar was completely binded, no movement at all (I am not sure which kid at home I have to punish for that…), and the upper link had some bind on the tower (there I have to punish myself). I knew that there was something wrong, but simply didn’t have the time to investigate. But what I know now, the White Edition, even on a bad day, can win a race. Knowing now what was wrong with the car, I am very confident for the next race!
- Thomas Gisler – JQ/Novarossi/Procircuit
- Leandro Campos – Mugen/Novarossi/AKA
- Rodrigo Nakad – Mugen/Novarossi/Procircuit