Yes, we are the 2022 World Champions. We are 4x World Champion 2022 in the all touring car classes. A dream came through.
I would like to thanks from the bottom of my heart to the whole XRAY team that support us and made an amazing job at the World Championship in Gubbio. We are not only back-to-back World Champions in modified class but we are also for the first time World Champion in stock class. XRAY X4 was the most used car at this World Championship, we had 6 cars in the A-main final in the stock class and we had 7 cars in top 20 in the modified class and we also won both junior categories. Amazing result for the XRAY team and the all-new X4´23. I could not wish for more, thank you all.
This amazing result did not come alone and we did not just collect our luck. We have spent together with the team a huge amount of time and resources in preparations for this World Championship race. I can say we have worked almost 2 years to get to this point. After the long Covid break we were extremely motivated to repeat our success from the last Worlds in South Africa and we put all the effort and energy into this one.
Since last year I have started to improve the new X4 platform based on the feedback collected from the team but also from customers and we did a lot of work. In the last months I have incorporated several completely new designs which I was confident will shift the performance of the X4 again a step further.
The whole team spent several months testing various prototypes and designs and we have verified the performance improvements of the new X423 at the Gubbio track several times. The very first tests at the Gubbio track were made already last year which gave us a good idea where we need to move with improvements. This year our first practice was in June at XRS race with the already new X4’´23 that was working great right away. We have learned a lot at this race and Bruno was able at the end to win in front of very fast Akio Sobue.
Despite the great performance of the new X4´23 I had a feeling we could do better. Therefore I have returned back behind the computer and after several weeks of hard work prepared a lot of new stuff to test for the next Race of Champions which was held in August at the same track. To design all these new parts and to produce so many different prototypes on time would not be possible without the in-house manufacturing we have here at XRAY factory in Trencin and of course it would be not be possible without the great help of all our factory staff that has stayed overtime all the time including several weekends. So huge thanks goes to all our internal factory team and all the staff for their help, thank you guys.
The Race of Champions showed up as the best opportunity to make the final tests for the World Championship as we had all the different track conditions we could face. We had a low traction at the beginning of the event, we had high traction during the race and later we had serious thunderstorm that took away all the grip and we had a chance to test also in dusty conditions and wet conditions. This was a great practice race and I was surprised not to see most of the other teams at this race. I believe this race has become the key of our World Championship success. We were really super confident after this event and we were looking forward the Worlds.
When the Worlds started we had an excellent pace from the very first practice. All the hard work from the previous warm-ups has paid off in full and the team with the new X4´23 had a clear dominant performance.
Originally I wanted to focus in this post only on the positive sides and all our success but there has been a lot of trash talk and false statements and as such I decided to share the truth. As we had this superb performance advantage coming from the perfect set-up from previous test sessions the silly hate comments started.
The World Championship has a clear rule that drivers in the first day of Championship pick up their tires from the organizer, check the gluing and balance and then have all the tires marked by tech inspection. All this was done in the closed area under supervision from the organizer and under supervision of the IFMAR officials. All tires were hand out from one big box and only one person, Nicola Marrone from Hot Race, who supports the Championship with the tires, was handing each tire set himself to all the drivers. The hand out of the tires was only in the tech area which was monitored by camera system. All the tires stayed in the boxes in the locked area with no access to anyone and this room was under camera supervision.
During the race the drivers picked their tire boxes from the organizer before the run and they mount the tires in the supervised area only. Drivers were allowed to apply provided spec additive in this area for 5 minutes and no tire warmers were allowed. So again there was not possibility for anyone to cheat at all. Bruno´s mechanic Francesco Martini was many times filmed on the mobile phones from other drivers and mechanics and there were 4 people filming him applying the tire additive for the 2nd A-main. So yes, we were under very close supervision all the time.
With all the security settings and close supervision from everyone it is clear that nobody had any chance to cheat with the tires but this did not stop others to make up false public accuses including accuse of the organizer that they were bribed to cheat in our favor. Yes, I know this sounds silly to everybody but this really happen at a race of this level.
At the end some drivers were demanding to change the rule and that everyone will pick new tires. Obviously this was only psychological game to ruin our mindset and concentration and I could not agree to this psychological game that was supposed to take away our focus. The organizer and officials did the correct decision and did not accept this game because this was not a private race where someone can do whatever they want or dictate and to change the rule in the middle of the race because the result does not suit to some expectations. This is a World Championship that has been run according to the rules equal to everyone and since nobody was breaking any rules there was no reason for any change of the rule. So here I want to thanks to organizer and IFMAR that they did not accept any pressure and games and followed the rules and kept the same correct treatment of everyone.
The fact has been very easy and straightforward. Bruno made the fastest run and fastest lap in every single practice, controlled practice, qualifier and final. He was the fastest when track was dirty in 1st practice, he was the fastest one in high grip conditions and he was fastest also when the track was partially wet. In addition everyone in this sport knows that the tire additive gives you advantage only in the first few laps when the tires are cold. This is also clearly visible in the video when after the start of the A1 and A2 finals, Bruno was sliding the first lap but when the tires warmed up he could utilize and benefit from the performance of the new X4´23 with set-up which we have specially made for this track and also thanks to his skills easily pulled away with a significant gap which some could not understood. The fact is that we did our homework, we worked hard and we were the best prepared team and as such enjoy the best results.
There were also strange theories why the organizer did not run finals on Saturday in rain. The fact is that the weather was very dangerous on Saturday with super high wind and in the city around Gubbio several people were injured and some even fatally because of the high wind weather. So the organizer for safety reasons decided not to run on Saturday and IFMAR in order to give correct racing chances in finals postponed the main finals for Sunday. But despite this still some blamed the organizer being corrupted.
Here I would like to point out that the Gubbio club has organized multiple European and World Championships in multiple classes and have huge amount of experiences with race organization but never had to face so many hates, negative comments and false accuses. I am really sorry and I wish I could apologize to the president of the club Giuseppe Agostinelli for those competitors who were involved.
With all the negative comments, psychological games and all the hates spread by some competitors I would like to stay away and focus only on the real facts and to be always correct, fair and stay always positive. At the end we did our best and won all the touring classes 100% following the rules as confirmed by the IFMAR representatives. It was a well-deserved win for the whole team.
At the end I would like to thanks to Bruno for his amazing performance. Thanks to Alexander Hagberg for great effort qualified 3rd with overall 4th result which was his best Worlds result so far. I would like to thanks to Alexandre Duchet for his amazing performance in stock class. Thanks to our junior World Champions Matus and Filippo. Thanks goes to all XRAY drivers who came to the World Championship and supported us. Thanks to the organizers for the great and hard work especially because of the weather challenges.
A big thanks to my family in supporting me and trusting in me. Thanks to Juraj who has been always my mentor and has helped me greatly with the X4 platform development. A big thanks also to Francesco Martini who is not only my closest friend but also has been my mental supporter also in tough situations under the hate attacks and learns me to always stay focused and positively minded.
Thank you all again and see you at the next race.