Brazil’s Elias tops first controlled practice
Seven time Brazilian National Champion Flavio Elias was the surprise name at the top of the time sheets in the first controlled practice for the 2011 IFMAR 1:8 Onroad World Championships. The 25-year-old Mugen driver topped the 10 minute run from factory Motonica driver Walter Salemi and former 200mm World Champion Keisuke Fukuda. Elias was delighted to top the run but was quick to point out that tomorrow when qualifying gets underway and the times count for something it will be a very different game. Running Max Power engines, he said his MRX-5 was very stable and other than running a different engine he plans to leave the car the same for this afternoon’s final practice run. A finalist at the 2007 Worlds in Argentina, Salemi had little to report as did Fukada who were both happy with their set-ups.
Team Shepherd’s Daniele Ielasi was fourth fastest ahead of fellow Italian Dario Balestri. The former 200mm World Champion ran a harder 37 shore tyre on the rear of his Velox V8 but said it didn’t suit the conditions as he had expected and will revert back to 35 shore for his next run. The Italian, who was only 1/1000th off Fukuda’s time, will try another engine in the final practice after which all drivers must nominate three engines for the remainder of the event.
Setting the fastest lap time and 6th overall for the round, Serpent’s Mark Green was happy with his Novarossi powered 966 but said ‘mental issues’ meant he was slow at the start but once he woke up everything was really good. Team-mate, and designer of the 966, Michael Salven changed his car for the run but it wasn’t as good as yesterday. Not sure if it was down to a change in the track conditions, which he said are about a lap slower than when they tested here, he will revert back to the earlier set-up. The German used the run to try a 5-minute engine but admitted it was really on the edge to go the distance. He will run a qualifying engine next time out. Paolo Morganti and Andrea Cristani made it three Serpents in the Top 10 with the 7th and 9 fastest times respectively.
Making his 1:8 Worlds debut Atsushi Hara took his OS powered Mugen to the 8th fastest time. Saving his race engines, which he ran yesterday, the Japanese ace said of all the classes he has raced 1:8 is just down to one thing, engines. The former Touring Car and 1:8 Off Road World Champion said he was told prior to the event about the importance of engines, ‘Now I know, engine changes everything, not just speed but the better the engine the more steering, everything is effected by the engine.’
Fastest in the reseed Robert Pietsch used the first run in the new heat order to try a different manifold and working on his refueling. Top Qualifier at the last Worlds the German ace felt the traction was not as good today as yesterday. He also urged race officials to extend the warm-up now that they are spraying alcohol on the tyres prior to the run to deter the use of tyre additive. Running Contact tyres Pietesch said it took 3 or 4 laps before his tyres came in after the treatment.
Vice World Champion Mike Swauger, who was second fastest yesterday, tried a different clutch set-up on his new Xray RX8 but said it ‘didn’t work’ forcing him to pull up after 4-minutes. The American said the composition of the springs, shoes and flyweights on the Xray are new to him and they are currently lacking the knowledge to get the right combination.
Top 10 times – Controlled Practice 1
1. Flavio Elias (BR) – Mugen/Max – 36 laps in 10:05.081
2. Walter Salemi (IT) – Motonica/Max – 36 laps in 10:06.401
3. Keisuke Fukuda (JP) – Mugen/Novarossi – 36 laps in 10:07.088
4. Daniele Ielasi (IT) – Shepherd/Picco – 36 laps in 10:07.089
5. Dario Balestri (IT) – Capricorn/Novarossi – 36 laps in 10:07.669
6. Mark Green (GB) – Serpent/Novarossi – 36 laps in 10:07.905
7. Paolo Morganti (US) – Serpent/Novarossi – 36 laps in 10:08.345
8. Atsushi Hara (JP) – Mugen/OS – 36 laps in 10:09.379
9. Andrea Cristiani (IT) – Serpent/Max – 36 laps in 10:13.801
10.DJ Apolaro (US) – Capricorn/Novarossi – 36 laps in 10:14.131
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