September 12, 2017

Davis fastest in opening controlled practice

Jesse Davis has set the fastest time in the opening round of controlled practice at the 1:8 Onroad World championships in France.  The Infinity driver set the fastest 3-consecutive laps in difficult windy conditions ahead of team-mate Naoto Matsukura.  Continuing to be the main challenger to the Infinity team reigning champion Simon Kurzbuch would take his Shepherd to the third fastest time ahead of free practice pace setter Dario Balestri.  Two improvements for the round would be Francesco Tironi and Robert Pietsch who having been seeded in the second fastest group based on free practice times set the 5th & 6th times respectively.

‘I didn’t expect that’, was Davis reaction after topping the first of the days four controlled practice rounds which on points will determine the heat order for qualifying.  The Aussie continued, ‘I was struggling a little after we adjusted the brake set-up last night.  One click (on the radio) and I had too much break and it was locking up and one click the way I didn’t have enough so we will need to fix that for the next one’.  A driver who made his mark on the international stage at last year’s 1:10 World Championship with a number of strong showings in qualifying, when asked about the wind that has again picked up he said Infinity’s pre-event testing at the RC Circuit Jean Nougier had highlighted this as a potential issue.  Describing the wind as ‘more normal for us’ he added ‘a lot of drivers are struggling with the wind’.  In terms of his chassis set-up Davis said despite the winds he will leave it unchanged for CP2.

Maintaining his strong free practice pace, Matsukura said, ‘It is very difficult to drive with the wind but my car was OK’.  The 1:8 class newcomer continued, ‘My engine was my main problem because it is a new one and is still not fully broken in but it will get more speed as it gets more time on it’.  Asked if he would change his car set-up account of the wind, the multiple electric onroad World Champion said he would leave it the same for now.

Pleased to have closed the gap to Balestri in the 10th, quick 4-minute, round of free practice this morning, ending up second fastest, Kurzbuch said he struggled a little with the wind.  The Swiss ace said, ‘the wind started to get stronger and it caused the rear of the car to be loose.  Some laps it was ok but then other it would catch you especially at the 180 degree hairpin where the rear would just snap away’.  He added, ‘it was still good run because the time was there but now we will make some changes to make it more safe to drive in the wind’.  He said, ‘we need more grip in the rear which will be a bit slower than the perfect set-up but it will make it more safe for a 7-minute run’.

Having been the clear bench marker over the opening two days of free practice, Balestri was not too concerned about not topping the first controlled round.  The Italian said, ‘it was ok, just the wind is really dangerous’ joking ‘you need to have bolts to keep the car on the track’.  Suffering one mistake as a result of the wind, he concluded, ‘we will change something to make the car more stable for these conditions’.

‘That was good’, was Tironi’s reaction to making a step forward in his performance.  The Italian continued, ‘we brought all the set-up ideas we gathered over the previous days together and found a good compromise.  For sure this is the best set-up of the week’.  The Infinity driver added, ‘it slides a little in the rear, maybe too much, so we need to think about a solution for that’.

‘I would say medium’, was how Pietsch summed up his P6 time.  The Mugen designer continued, ‘we have had many problems.  We got a new servo for the race which is programmable so you can adjust the torque but I am not used to what setting to use and I find the setting too nervous so I will go back to my old servos. I need to test the new one back home and get used to it’.  Asked about his car set-up, the former World Champion said, ‘I think the servo has been effecting everything so far but I copied Takahata’s set-up yesterday because I was lost. It was better but doesn’t suit my driving but I am confident that the servo change will help us going forward’.

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