Race Recap: UF1 Summer Series 2013 – Race 3 – Japanese GP
Post Race Analysis
Race 3 of the 2013 Summer Series saw the UF1 crew hit the infamous Tamiya track in Aliso Viejo. A typical California day greeted the 33 participants, all battling it out to inch their way closer to the final Championship podium.
For the first time in the UF1, we had a tie for the TQ spot. This is something that I would imagine happening when we count by the single fast lap, but when you calculate the laps by an average of your best 5, this just seems impossible! Independent (and Tamiya-track fast guy) Rod Canare threw down 5 laps with an average of 16.157…matching UF1 Series leader Lee Passehl’s 5-lap average of 16.157! My initial thought was to let the two of them run another 3-minute qualifier to duke it out (as sort of a fun thing), but because we weren’t sure about time we decided to call it according to each driver’s actual fast lap. Lee would run a 16.018 to Rod’s 16.020, giving the Patron Honda driver the TQ and the +2 points.
With the TQ out of the way, the rest of the Top 10 looked like this: P2 Rod Canare, P3 Craig Hammon, P4 Anthony Fung, P5 Tony Phalen, P6 Aaron Lane, P7 Fred Medel, P8 Mike Rydwell, P9 Rob King, P10 Todd Marshall.
During all three main events, it was basically the Rod and Lee show (or Lee and Rod show, depending who you are). These guys put on a clinic, racing toe-to-toe for 15 minutes x3. Rod would lead, then Lee would lead, for a brief moment, someone else might lead, but that would occured when Rod or Lee took their pit stops. In the end, however, Lee would prevail with a win in each round. He would take home the maximum points for the day, or 302 points. This also allowed Passehl to take the Series lead away from Team Lotus Driver Tony Phalen, putting a slight 4 point lead between them (figuring in the throwouts).
What to say about Mr. Tamiya himself, Rod Canare. They guy throws down in his first UF1 outing, taking 2nd overall for the day with 297 points. Our format is set up to be challenging…short qualifier following by a trio of lengthy 15 minute mains. Rod stepped up, however, and not only finished well but put some major pressure on Passehl, something Lee hasn’t really seen in awhile. Canare showing his face at another UF1 race has yet to be seen, but this guy has talent enough to vie for a Top 10 finish for sure…maybe even take down Lee.
Caterham driver Craig Hammon came out of nowhere and wow’ed the crowd with his stellar performance. We all know this guy has skills, but we haven’t seen him much the first two races. Put this guy on the Tamiya track and he’s a monster. Craig qualified 3rd overall, threw down the event’s fastest lap with a 15.430 and, at the end of the day, finished 3rd overall with 294 points. Excellent day for him, and I’m sure this lit a fire under his tush…look for him to bring it at the next race!
Independent driver Anthony Fung is another one of those sleeper guys that will show up and lay the smack down. Qualifying 4th, he just eeked out this starting spot over Lotus driver Tony Phalen by 1/1000th of a second! He drove a great race and finished 4th overall with 287 points…
But that story doesn’t stop there. Repsol driver Fred Medel put his Tamiya ride 7th on the starting grid for qualifying. Three great rounds later he also finished off the day with 287 points. Looking at their finishing times, the first and second races were a wash (Anthony finished almost exactly 1 lap ahead of Fred in R1, Fred finishing almost 1 full lap ahead of Anthony in R2). However the final race put Anthony 1 full lap ahead of Fred, giving fred the 5th place finish overall. And, if you haven’t heard, Dave Berger has left Team Repsol Honda, leaving an open seat for the rest of the Season…
Independent driver Jason Huang picks up the 6th place overall finish for the day. Even though Jason qualified in the B-Group, he proved that it is possible to put in a A-Group finish. Jason had a great day, finishing 7th, 7th and 4th fastest for his 3 runs. Here’s another guy that could certainly put in a Top 10 finish in the Series if he continues to show up.
Taking home the 7th place overall for the day is Lotus driver Tony Phalen with 284 points. Qualifying 5th, he struggled a bit in Round 1, doing alot of testing to get his new Speed Passion F1 up to speed. Round 2 and 3 saw better results, but this change of chassis hurt his Championship lead, falling back 4 points to Passehl. He still holds on to 2nd place by 1 point over Patron’s new driver, Bill Jeric. Look for this chassis to excel in the near future.
Qualifying 8th, Independent driver Mike Rydwell put in three consistent runs to take an 8th place overall with 275 points. This was a great showing for Mike as he doesn’t get to the track as much as he’d like to. Mike also loves the Tamiya track as it’s a great place to test his new (and prototype) Exotek parts.
Tamiya’s F1 guru, Brian Matteson, came out to play with us and finished the day with an outstanding 9th overall with 273 points. This is Brian’s first UF1 outing and, by the look on his face, had a great time! Brian is another one of those guys that qualified in the B-Main but put in the work to finish in the Top 10. Great drive Brian!
Rounding out the Top 10 was Jagermeister Racing’s Erick Shauver. This is Erick’s rookie year in the UF1 and has been doing great so far. Three consistent rounds and the guy sits 5th overall in the Series (with throwouts). Looking foward to see how he fairs at some of the upcoming tracks…
While Passehl had a great weekend, Team Patron Honda teammate Bill Jeric took a bit of a hit at the Tamiya Track. Jeric would finish 14th overall for the day (definitely a throwout round for him), but would lose some valuable points for the Patron Honda Team…or would it? Team Patron Honda still has a dominate lead in the Constructor’s Championship, keeping ahead of 2nd place Caterham by 133 points. That’s a pretty big margin only 3 races into the Series. Unless something catastrophic happens, Patron Honda appears to be on their way to another Constructor’s Championship.
Caterham F1 team gets a nice boost thanks to driver Craig Hammon’s great day. He and Goldwater need to keep this pace if they want to make the podium at the end of the season. This boost for Hammon may be all it takes to get the Caterham boys on track.
Moving up to 3rd place is Team Lotus. This could have been a great time for Phalen and Lane to make some ground up on Caterham and Patron Honda (seeing Jeric finish in 14th), but Lane had a major issue in R3, dropping him to 31st overall in that round. They are only 42 points behind Caterham and pushing hard for 2nd place. It’s still early in the season…
Slotting into 4th in the Constructor’s is Red Bull Racing 1. Lightfoot and Rebal were both running their trick belt-drive FGX cars. While not as fast on the straights (or so they say), they do have a definite advantage in the corners. I think, in all honesty, they were doing a little testing for some of the upcoming races where the FGX is dominate. Either way, they site comfortably in 4th, only 7 points behind Team Lotus.
Finishing up the Top 5 in the Constructor’s is Escuderia Ferrari. Marcos and Levinson have been settling in with their Ferraris, working every race to better their performance. This Top 5 showing is proof that their work is, well, working. Good job, boys. Keep it up.
The Tamiya track is just dialed…that’s really all I can say. The F1 cars look awesome flowing around the track, the layout benefits both RPM and torque setups, and there is always some exciting racing action. This is one of my favorite tracks to run on, and I’m glad it’s UF1 friendly. Thanks everyone for the awesome support, especially all those that donated to the raffle. A big shout out to them:
Some of the fastest driver’s don’t always stick to ‘what works’. That being said, one thing you should always have in your F1 arsenal is a good variety of tires. A quick change of the front tire (let’s say, from a soft to a medium) could make the difference between finishing Top 3 or out of the Top 10. Don’t be shy to try…and certainly don’t be scared to throw on a mixed set of tires (for instance, Pit Shimizu rears and Tamiya or Pardus fronts). You might just hit on the winning combination!