June 29, 2010

World Champion Matsukura to defend title from pole

Masami Hirosaka & Naoto Matsukura

1:12 World Champion Naoto Matsukura is to defend his title from pole position later here today in Burgdorf, Germany despite Marc Rheinard setting the fastest 8-minute run of the event in the final round of qualifying this morning. With drivers best two times being added together to determine the grid, Matsukura, who topped 4 of the 6 qualifiers, took the TQ honours by just over three seconds from Rheinard. For the majority of the front runners this morning’s qualifier was their quickest run of the event with only Matsukura, Ronald Volker and Andy Moore failing to improve.  Matsukura was again the pace setter in terms of outright speed recording the fastest lap but the Japanese youngster made a number of mistakes.

Rheinard said his Associated was easier to drive this morning and second place on the grid was the best he could of hoped for due to Matsukura’s distinct advantage in yesterday’s qualifiers.  The German who missed out on a podium at the last World Championships when he finished fourth, said that without mistakes it is going to be hard to challenge the pole sitter as he is especially fast over the opening minutes of the race.

Jilles Groskamp

Jilles Groskamp will start third on the grid for the final as the lead CRC driver, the American manufacturer getting two cars in the final with Elliot Harper joining him on the grid.  Groskamp said he was surprised to take third and feels it is good having Rheinard starting second as he is the only one who can challenge Matsukura.  If the two battle this should allow the rest of the field to stay in touch.  15th in Thailand, Harper said his aim for 1:12 was just to better that result and he is delighted to have made the big race.  Starting from 9th the English teenager said he can just enjoy the 3-leg final.

Ronald Volker

Matsukura’s team-mate Volker was disappointed to drop from second to fourth on the grid after he really struggled with his car this morning.  The German National Champion hopes he can get it sorted in the practice final and said the important thing in the actual finals will be to come out clean after the first lap.

Making his third 1:12 Worlds Final appearance, factory Corally driver Simo Ahonoemi will line up fifth on the grid. The Finnish National Champion said he was very happy to be in the final but feels starting from the middle of the pack is not the best place to be but he plans to give it his best shot aiming to better his previous best Worlds finish of 7th.  Making it two SPX in the final Marc Fisher had a great final qualifier and will line-up 7th on the grid.  The German switched from a Black Art to a Protoform AMR bodyshell and said it made the car much easy to drive along with giving better rear traction.

Between the two Corally’s is American Josh Cyrul who said it was just luck that got him into 6th on the grid.  Driving his own CEFX creation, the US National Champion said he has been struggling with the car and other were faster but he is quite happy to take the place. A total of three ROAR drivers have made it into the final with Canadian Keven Hebert lining up 8th and Xray’s Paul Lemieux completing that all important Top 10.  For factory Associated driver Hebert this is his first attempt at the 1:12 World’s and he’s in the final. He hopes that if he keeps his head in the race he can come away with a good result. Lemieux was speechless at making the A-main having been classified 19th going into the last qualifier.

Claiming the dreaded BQ honours is 2008 World Championship Runner-up Juho Levanen.  The factory Team Associated driver would have qualified sixth for the A-Main after a strong run this morning but having been late to marshal yesterday he was penalised with the loose of his fastest round and so he ended up 11th.  Another 2008 Finalist joining him in the B Final will be Andy Moore, who starts 2nd, after he crashed out in this mornings rocket round.  The British driver who was on a personal TQ run said he had bigger accidents without doing damage but on this occassion his privately entered Associated broke a side link costing him a place in the big race.

Final qualifiers
1. Matsukura Naoto (Yokomo/Nosram) – 74 16:12.612
2. Rheinard Marc (Associated/Speed Passion) – 74 16:15.874
3. Groskamp Jilles (CRC/Team Orion) – 74 16:21.488
4. Völker Ronald (Associated/LRP) – 74 16:22.734
5. Ahoniemi Simo (Corally/GM) – 73 16:08.781
6. Cyrul Josh (CEFX/Speed Passion) – 73 16:11.950
7. Fischer Marc (Corally/GM) – 73 16:13.015
8. Hebert Keven (Associated/LRP) – 73 16:13.481
9. Harper Elliot (CRC/Speed Passion) – 73 16:15.372
10.Lemieux Paul (Xray/Trinity) – 73 16:21.897

Full results can be found here.

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