Stepanyan Stomps TU! MPTCC Round 4 Willow Springs
MotoIQ Staff Report
Edik Stepanyan who normally runs NASA’s H2 class won both rounds of the MPTCC Liberty Grand Prix on July 2-3. Edik, driving the #78 Acura Integra, won the first round on Saturday after an exciting battle with another NASA star, Andy Hope in the #62 Honda CRX.
|The MPTCC race gets the green. Unfortunately the more exotic TO class cars had a high attrition rate and only Joon Maeng in the Lucas Oil S13 was able to make it to the start. A last minute failure of his motor on the dyno made it so Dai Yoshihara had to take over teamamte Mike Kojima’S B14 Sentra sister car. Dai has driven 3 different cars in the 3 different events he has run in. Development troubles also kept the APD TSX and a few other cars from the event.|
The dusk race had some interesting moments before the start. TU class points leader Dai Yoshihara had electronic problems during qualifying preventing his Team MotoIQ Sentra from doing any better than third on the grid. Dai was driving Mike Kojima’s car after his car had a pre race engine failure the night before on the dyno while Mike sat out this round taking one for the team.
|Joon Maeng leads Andy Hope, Edik Stepanyan, Dai Yoshihara and Rob Fuller.|
During the warm up lap, Rob Fuller in the Robispec RX-8 got in the wrong grid position causing a wave off on the first start. At the restart Pole sitter Andy Hope and #2 qualifier Edik Stepanyan quickly got around the sole TO class car to make the start, Joon Maeng. For some reason the entire TO class except for Joon had mechanical issues before the race and did not make the grid.
|Overheating would soon cause Joon to slow.|
Joon was suffering from heating issues and did not run at his maximum speed but was still fast enough to keep Dai Yoshihara at bay for several laps while the Hope Stepanyan duo took off putting a gap on the rest of the field. Andy would lead most of the race.
|Scott Vanderheide’s turbo Sentra SE-R showed promise but overheating also caused it to slow. Scott eventually retired with a blown turbine seal.|
Scott Vanderheide of the powerful Fontana Nissan team shows a lot of promise. His Turbo Sentra SE-R should be one of the fastest TU cars once its bugs get sorted.
|Edik Stepanyan concentrates on pre grid. Edik is another popular NASA driver who normally drives in H2.|