Bruno Coelho is the top seed for tomorrow’s qualifying at the TITC at Infinity Addict Circuit, the reigning champion making the most of the cooler conditions of the second & final timed practice to head an Xray 1-2. Improving on his opening time by over 6/10ths of a second, Coelho would end the session 2/10ths up on team-mate Alexander Hagberg who had set the fastest 3-consecutive laps of the first session. Behind the champions of the passed two years, Nicholas Lee would complete the Top 3 for Yokomo ahead of team-mate Ronald Volker. Setting the fifth fastest time, Marc Rheinard would end his first official day as an Infinity driver as the Japanese manufacturer’s quickest driver with P5 ahead of team-mates Jilles Groskamp and Aki Sobue.
‘So so’ was the reaction of a somewhat underwhelmed Coelho who continued, ‘OK I was fastest but my cars were pushing a lot at the end’. Top Qualifier last year he added, ‘the race is not 3-laps but 5-minutes so we need to work on that for tomorrow’ when 3 of the 6-scheduled qualifiers will take place. Again running 2-cars, he said his Hobbywing powered T4 was ‘super stable and had huge steering which was the opposite to how it was a lunch time’ adding ‘the track are like a lottery and we have to find a way to adapt the car for each part of the day’.
Hagberg said, ‘the track was a lot different but my car still pretty good’. Running two cars, the 2015 Champion added, ‘the car that was not so good when the track was hot was now good and I think based on the two set-ups of both cars I have a good idea where I need to be with my set-up over the day’. Looking to the first qualifier, the Swede said, ‘Its going to be really close I guess but I’m pretty confident we’ll be there’.
‘It was really good, we found a god set-up for the night time’, said a rather pleased looking Lee. Feeling they now have ‘a pretty good set-up for all times of the day’, something highlighted by his P4 in the opening practice, the World Champion finalist added, ‘running two cars I still haven’t run 5-minutes and over 3-laps you can’t really tell how it will go’. One thing the Singapore driver pointed out was the handout tyres saying, ‘the Sweep tyres has a lot of drop off making the car push more’ and that is something ‘you need to adjust your driving for’.
Summing up the final practice, Volker said, ‘I was happy with the session, both cars were very good’. He added, ‘even though I am not in the Top 3 for 3-laps I felt I was fastest over longer runs compared to the drivers ahead of me’. Saying he is ‘pretty confident in the colder conditions’, the 2014 TITC Champion continued, ‘we need to rethink set-up for the hotter day time conditions’.
‘Overall not a bad start with the new team’ was Rheinard’s reaction at the end of the time practice day. With a misunderstanding in the first practice meaning he ran just one car, with clarification that seeding was based on 3-laps and not 5-minutes he used the second session to run one of his prototype SMJ chassis’ on new tyres with the other on used. Having ‘messed up the start with both cars’ he said, ‘I was not on point for the first lap each time’. Expecting tyres to be key to qualifying depending on how severe the drop off in performance is with each set, he highlighted Groskamp was the only one to run a single car over the 5-minutes and so no one knows how much it will effect the 5-minute pace.
The only driver in the Top 23 to not produce better time in the cooler conditions of the final practice. Groskamp said, ‘I knew on super high bite, happy hour, track my car was too edgy so I was not crazy fast at the start as I didn’t want to risk smashing into the wall’. He continued, ‘While the time before was faster my 5-minutes was not so bad even though these conditions don’t suit my set-up’. He added, ‘it was on the limit in the last one and a big cause of that is the carbon chassis has more flex’. With only one of the six qualifiers to run in the late evening, the 2012 World Champion said, ‘I’m confident the car will be ok in the day time’.