August 21, 2016

Kitazawa 3rd different driver to post TQ at 1:12 Worlds


Hideo Kitazawa became the third different driver to post a TQ run at the 1:12 World Championships in Beijing, China, the 2014 podium finisher topping Q3 ahead of the pace setters of the opening two qualifiers.  The Morotech driver snatched the qualifier after a late mistake from Q1 winner Akio Sobue with Q2 topping Naoto Matsukura completing the Top 3 despite his car falling apart over the 8-minutes.  With earlier mistakes from Matsukura and Sobue handing Hayato Ishioka the lead for a time until he too became a victim of the difficult track to eventually finish 4th.  After run time issues in both opening qualifiers, Jilles Groskamp would be the only non Japanese driver in the Top 8, the Dutchman getting a sixth while the top European of the first two qualifiers Marc Rheinard retired after damaging his car.  With two P2 runs to his credit, the reigning World Champion was less then complimentary of the driving standards of Matsukura who he felt should have opened for Sobue but instead caused ‘a mess’.


Having failed to finish Q1 after a ‘big crash’ but showing good with a P4 in Q2, Kitazawa was pleased that his day was getting better.  Feeling he has been able to improve his car a little each run he put his TQ run down to improving his car.  Improving his time by more than 6-seconds but missing out on Matsukura’s 39-lap pace of Q2, the Futaba employee said the track changed a lot for Q3 adding that the traction for the round was at the highest its been so far.  Describing track conditions as ‘not stable’, he put the higher traction down to an increased humidity in the hall.  Feeling conditions for the day’s final qualifier should be cooler he will adjust the on his prototype 12WX to account for this.


Losing out to Kitazawa by just 0.43 of a second, Sobue said he was ‘unlucky’ to miss a second TQ run.  Having retired from Q2 with a broken diff in his CRC, he said with a freshly built diff in the car for Q3 the overall performance of the car ‘was better’ as a result.  Touching the pipe put his car out in the dust, he said the car was then loose and this was what cost him the time.  With the overall TQ set to be decided over tomorrow’s final two qualifiers, three rounds from the six to count, Sobue still needs another result after his Q2 retirement and planning to leave his car unchanged is focused on ending the day with a run that locks him in the A-Main.


‘A beginner’ was Matsukura’s reaction after Q3, the Roche driver lucky to get P3 as both trail links came undone from the rear pod due to loose screws.  Suffering a huge off in the sweeper off the main straight, the 22-year-old said that was caused by the first screw coming out but was less certain about when the second come off adding he was ‘lucky’ to finish with a third for the round.


Posting his first Top 10 run, with P6 just behind Toto Ebukuro, Groskamp said a change to the boost and timing on his speedo had finally allowed him to run the full 8-minutes.  ‘Surprised’ to find himself having run time issues, he said while the set-up changes have left him ‘lacking power a little’, they had left him with a ‘more stable’ car.  Admitting he is ‘still not close to the fast guys’ as he ‘can’t put in super fast lap times’, he also feels they might have an issue with his tyre truing. Running a Roche chassis, the Team Infinity driver said at the start of the race the car feels like it is floating on the track and its only late in the run that the tyres come in.


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