Syoki Takahata took a surprise TQ in the fourth round of qualifying at Worlds in Italy. Running in the fourth fastest heat, the KM Racing driver would set the fastest time ahead of Dominic Greiner who looked set to take the round as his rivals self destructed in the top heat. Coming to the line on the TQ pace, Greiner would launch his car across the loop believing it would be his finishing time but he got there 0.002 too early. Spinning in his attempt to get the best possible finish time, once he discovered he was still on the clock and recovered he ended the qualifier with 24-second lap time around the 16-second Miniautodromo Internazionale M.Rosati track. With Greiner 8-seconds off Takahata, the pair the only drivers to run 19-laps, best of the rest on 18 would be Greiner’s Serpent team-mate Tadahiko Sahashi who completed the Top 3. Unfortunately a partly stripped rear belt which occurred in the warm-up would leave Q3 Top Qualifier Alessio Mazzeo to struggle around for a P4 for the round.
After a torrid opening day of qualifying in which he suffered two engine failures in his opening two heats, after starting out the day with his first complete 5-minute run, claiming P13 in Q3, Takahata was understandably pleased with his TQ run. Having to start the day out with ‘a safe run’, claiming a P13 for his efforts, the reigning Japanese National Champion said, he could ‘push harder’ in Q4. Making an ackermann change on his OS powered HK1, the 21-year-old said this gave him a ‘better feeling’ with the car, him highlighting his reduced track time due to yesterday’s issues. For Q5 he will leave the car unchanged saying ‘I still need one more time’.
‘Super close, just bad luck’, was Greiner’s reaction after the qualifier. Happy with his Novarossi powered 748 after struggling with a lack of feeling in Q3, the 2014 Top Qualifier was less impressed by the driving of Luca Redaelli. The Capricorn driver would get a P8 for the round but towards the end of the qualifier the German got stuck behind the Italian. The German said, ‘Luca blocked me for two laps. Four or five times the referee called him to open’. On his set-up changes he continued, ‘I’m happy the car is fast again, it’s nearly back to where I want it to be’.
Q4 would prove a good round for newcomers Team Infinity as they got 4 of the prototype cars into the Top 10. Heading that challenge would be Jesse Davis who posted the fourth fastest time. The Australian National Champion said the time was ‘all driving’. Having had a good car for Q3, after crashing in the warm-up he would again crash early on in the actual qualifier badly damaging a tyre. For Q4 he said, ‘I knew I had a good car so I left it and just drove’. Looking for ‘another good result to make the Semis’, he will leave the car ‘exactly the same’. Asked about track conditions he said, ‘You can do two good laps and then the next lap you get hit by the wind. You can see through the field, a driver does a fast lap and then the next one is shit. It’s only when you are going left but its making it difficult’.
Posting the fifth fastest time, Team Shepherd’s Simon Kurzbuch said, ‘the car is fast for one lap and after the first minute or 2 gets hard to drive’. He continued, ‘I think it’s just the wind that is making the car do somethings strange’. For the next qualifier, which is set to be the running of Q2 for the top heat, he will change his Velox V10 to get ‘more rear traction for the fast corners’.
Completing the Top 6 ahead of Infinity team-mate and 2012 Top Qualifier Teemu Leino, Jilles Groskamp said, ‘I was lucky with all the carnage in the round’. With an error by Robert Pietsch ending his own and Mugen team-mate Takaaki Shimo’s race instantly as well as ruining Q1 winner Dario Balestri’s run, the Italian pulling off, and Bruno Coelho making a mistake of his own, the reigning Euro Nitro Series Champion said, ‘we closed the gap a little but I still feel I am missing steering’. On actual pace he felt he should have been 12th or 13th. ‘Lacking .1 or .2 (seconds) a lap’ he also feels he could do with a little more power, his engine set too rich. The 2012 Electric Touring Car World Champion said ‘it’s critical to tune (the engine) for the conditions of the run’. Describing conditions as ‘very tough today (as) the wind is super strong’ he said he will revert to the set-up he ran in the earlier days of practice which he hopes will make the car more stable which he added should suit the conditions.