This past weekend Mugen racers headed towards the Champagne district of France, arriving at the centrally located race facility in Reims; host of the 2nd annual Mugen Challenge. The event is organised for all Mugen drivers, from factory pros to the first timers. A fun event for all the family with a typically Frenchy relaxed atmosphere, a great track and lots of time to talk to each other about set ups or what delicacies to have for lunch (which is always a treat at Reims, not to mention the champagne).

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For Friday the rain would start to fall in the early hours but the track dried up around lunchtime and the practice would start. Drivers were making the most of the time on the track to test tyres and learn a little about set ups. 2012 World Champ Robert Batlle, Lee Martin, Davide Ongaro, ’98 World Champ Daniel Reckward and 2004 World Champ Guillaume Vray were just a few of the top level drivers that were on hand to help out the drivers at the track and also provide some world class driving standards.

Mugen CHal

After seeded practise it would emerge that 4 guys had adapted to the unique chalk surface of Reims very well, Lee Martin, Robert Batlle, Davide Ongaro and Tom Robin all looking fast with the other drivers not far behind! In electric it was Robert & Davide taking up the helm.

After lunch qualifying would start. The times were very close at the top, separated by only tenths of a second in each of the rounds. The top 3 in Nitro would be Robert Batlle, Lee Martin and Tom Robin. Top 3 Electric were Davide Ongaro, Robert Batlle & Guillaume Vray.

After qualifying Mugen France (GVP/ Christel Vray) would put on a fantastic Aperitif for the drivers and their families, providing a great chance for the whole team to interact with each other. This was great as its something that gets missed a lot in racing. Also it gave the Mugen team an opportunity to say thank you for the support to its customers. A few factory drivers got to give the brand new Mugen GT a run as well, which looked great!

Sunday (finals day)

We would see a christmas tree format used in nitro and 3 legged finals for Electric.

After 2 legs of electric, Robert had already promoted himself to take the win, but the fight for 2nd was still on. Davide would use his outright pace to secure the second overall in leg 3 and Stephane Deroch would claim 3rd overall.

After the semi finals in Nitro, Lee Martin would line up pole, Davide 2nd and Robert 3rd. A clean start for the front two would see them start to pull away as Robert made a mistake. At around the half way point in the 30min long final, Lee Martin would have a comfortable lead back to the battle between Davide and Robert. This battle would go to the end with the young pretender getting 2nd overall and Robert having to settle for 3rd as Lee would keep his nose out of trouble and take victory.

Top 3 – Electric

Robert Batlle – Pro Circuit – LRP – Ultimate Davide Ongaro – Pro Circuit – LRP Stephane Deroch – ???

Top 3 – Nitro

Lee Martin – Proline – Protek
Davide Ongaro – Pro Circuit – LRP
Robert Batlle – Pro Circtuit – Ultimate

Mechanics race: See video here

This was a fun little game to have some fun. Anyone could enter the competition and the idea was that you raced against others to put the wheels on your car and fill the tank as quickly as possible, like a F1 pit stop 😉 Although most were not quite as fast as F1. Robert Batlle showed he has life after being a pro racer with some quick wrenching skills and took the win!

Conclusion – For anyone with a Mugen that is considering doing this event next year, Just do! Its relaxed, a lot of track time and great, family fun. You will learn a lot as well as getting to know the company that you run for, make new friends and see some old ones 🙂