New from Gimar is the latest version of their RACE engine tuned by Max Fantini. The unit features a DLC treated crankshaft and updated timing on both the shaft and the cylinder, in addition to a long life conrod and a rear ceramic bearing. The front ceramic bearing is available upon request. The engine will be available in the 25 and 16% Nitro configuration and also in a pre-run version.
Naoto Matsukura will feature in the final of the 1:8 Onroad World Championships in Monteux, France tomorrow after the Infinity driver won the Super Pole shoot out to directly join Top Qualifier Dario Balestri on the grid. The first time Super Pole has been used at the 1:8 World Championships, having been introduced at last year’s 1:10 Worlds in Italy, Matsukura would come out best of the four drivers setting the fastest lap from reigning World Champion Simon Kurzbuch who was last to run his 6-laps. Also taking part, Super Pole open to the drivers who qualify 2nd through 5th, Bruno Coelho would set the third fastest single lap ahead of Jesse Davis who was first to go and set a time.
‘Super happy, amazing’, was Matsukura’s reaction, the result meaning this will be the fourth different disciplines in which the Japanese driver has been a World finalist. Asked about his laps, driver’s getting a 3-minute warm-up before commencing their six timed laps, the single fastest to count, he replied, ‘I don’t remember. I just make full power and I don’t crash’. Posting a best a winning time of 15.715 he added ‘It was almost 100% but I’m lucky because it was close with Simon’. Looking to the final, the reigning 1:12 and former Electric Touring Car World Champion said, ‘This is the first time I race a 1-hour final so I don’t have experience of what to expect but I am going for the win’. He continued, ‘Dario is fast so for the start I will keep with him and try not to crash’.
‘What should I say’ was Kurzbuch’s reaction after his run, the Shepherd driver making mistakes on two of his laps. Like Matsukura he said, ‘I can’t remember every lap, some below 16, some .8 and then the .7’. With the Swiss driver having a 15.728 from his third lap a mistake on lap four & five put the pressure on for the perfect final lap. Looking to have strung another quick one together it wasn’t enough, the 15.812 sending Matsukura jumping for joy in the pitlane. Now having to work his way to the final through the 30-minute Semis, he said, ‘we have to look forward now on our job for the Semi. It’s 30-minute practice more so maybe it will be an advantage for the final. I start from pole and have the best crew in my father & brother so we are ready to make it through and then attack for the final’.
Commenting on his Super Pole attempt, Coelho said, ‘I was not the stronger one for the best lap as has been the case all week but if you check my total 6 laps I was fastest’. He continued, ‘when I finished my run I joked with them (the officials) that they should count the time of the 6 laps’. The Xray driver, who will start the Semi B Final from pole, added, ‘now we will work on things for tomorrow’s Semi. The car is not perfect but it is almost there so we will try find this’.
With a combined 5-minute Warm-up time, a tweak made to the Super Pole for its 1:8 debut so as no driver would have the advantage of a cleaner track, Jesse Davis would spend most of that time visiting the pits trying to figure out why his Infinity didn’t feel right. Luckily for the Aussie, the problem of a loose screw in the rear right shock surfaced when it finally fell out and dropped the shock just as the cars came into pitlane for the start of actual Super Pole. With some quick repair work, with Matsukura’s pit crew also joining in, he would make the start. Setting his best lap of 15.903 on his second lap and attempting to better it on his final go, a mistake would see his car get airborne just before the loop. Commenting on his laps, Davis said, ‘The first 2 were not so good and then I had a mistake and another mistake but the last one was for sure .7. It was a really good lap but I crashed and now I have to rebuild it because I broke it again but I’m happy Naoto won it’.
In a showdown between the reigning World Champion and the one driver probably most deserving of the sport’s great title, it was the latter, Dario Balestri, who delivered in a thrilling qualifying showdown at the 1:8 Onroad World Championships in France.Having made his mark on the first day of qualifying with two TQs and a P2 run, the Infinity driver came under pressure today from defending Champion Simon Kurzbuch as the Shepherd driver took the opening two qualifiers of the second day.Setting up a winner-takes-all situation between the two great rivals, the rescheduled rain interrupted fifth round of qualifying would go down to the wire, Balestri and Kurzbuch throwing everything at it with Balestri coming out the victor.In the end a late mistake from Kurzbuch would leave him with a P3, a great 27-lap run from reigning 1:10 World Champion Dominic Greiner netting him a P2 but just not enough to make the Super Pole as he secured 6th in the final ranking.With Kurzbuch now aiming to secure his direct place in the final through tomorrow’s Super Pole his opposition will come from Naoto Matsukura, Bruno Coelho and Jesse Davis.
‘As they say in life nothing is easy but when you go up against Simon and his Dad it is even more hard’, was how Balestri summed up his TQ achievement.He continued, ‘You need more than 100% going up against them and in this I made 110%, the car and engine were amazing. I am super happy’.Completing the set of World Championship TQs having taking the top spot in 1:10 in Italy last year, the 2017 Infinity signing said, ‘I want to thank all the team and the boss, I made the promise to give all of myself for this race.I thank Nikiado san for the car, Massimo for the engine and my mechanic. For Antonio it is a big responsibility to fight with the best pitman in the world’.Asked about Saturday’s 1-hour final, Balestri feels tyre strategy will be the same for all drivers, the track having little wear but he thinks tyre stop could influence the race. ’The rims are very hard to put on so the race could be decided in the pitlane. So we must look at this but for now I just want to get some rest.’
Summing up the final qualifier Kurzbuch said, ‘It was a real fight to the end. My car and engine were perfect, I had a clean track and I could show what we can do. I was 4/10ths behind Dario so I had to risk all but had a small mistake’.Not dwelling on his defeat, the Swiss driver continued, “I am really confident for Super Pole tomorrow.We will take on the challenge we are given and try our best as always.Making the Super Pole at the 1:10 World last year, his only Super Pole experience, he concluded I am not afraid of it, I am really confident we can do it’.
With this is 1:8 World Championship debut, Matsukura said, ‘It is not so bad for first Worlds’.He continued, ‘I am happy to be in the Super Pole and I will try to make it directly to the final’.Only 15th fastest in the final qualifier, the multiple EP onroad World Champion said, ‘in the last one my car was pretty good but the engine was so so. It had no punch’. A tweak to the Super Pole, originally scheduled for today but moved to midday tomorrow follow today’s rain, will see drivers now get 5-minutes of track time together to ensure equal track conditions and a further 2-minute individual warm-up followed by their 6-timed laps, the fastest single lap time to count.
Ending up fourth overall Coelho said, ‘we will see tomorrow. I am confident in the car but everything can happen’.The Xray driver has one previous experience of Super Pole at the 1:10 European Championships in Turkey an event he went on to win. It was not a strong finish to qualifying today for the Xray driver after a strong Day 1 when he registered a P2 and P3. In Q6, which was the penultimate qualifier for the top drivers due to the weather rescheduling, the Portuguese driver had engine issues failing to make the start.With a different engine fitted for the final round he said the 3-minute warm-up time wasn’t enough to get the engine set and it was ‘too rich all the qualifier’.
‘For sure I’m happy as our aim was to make Super Pole’, was how Jesse Davis summed up claiming 5th in the final classification and the final Super Pole position.The Australian continued, ‘It is only one of six (laps) to count so anything can happen. I’ll go full for it’.Asked about his final qualifier which lasted just under 2-laps, the Infinity driver said, ‘I hit the Picco banner, it was a stupid mistake.The car felt good but I didn’t get to run. Hopefully tomorrow I won’t be hitting the Picco banner’.
The only driver along with Balestri and Kurzbuch to make 27 laps of RC Circuit Jean Nougier, Greiner said, ‘I think we found the problem in the set-up. Our car was much easier and much faster now. Also for long runs the car is very stable’.The German continued, ‘We were only 1-point from Super Pole but my goal coming here was the 1/4 but I am in the Semi so I’m happy’.Asked about the improved set-up, the German said, ‘we changed 3 small things but I think we had been running too much caster. In Q6 the car was horrible to drive so we changed the set-up and I think what we found is really good for long races’.Behind Greiner, Jilles Groskamp would secure 7th ahead of Shoki Takahata and Francesco Tironi with Lars Hoppe completing the Top 10.
It is game on at the 1:8 Onroad World Championships in France as Simon Kurzbuch delivered a second TQ meaning the overall TQ will be decided in the final rescheduled 5th qualifier. During the fifth round of qualifying a short but torrential rain shower halted proceedings leaving drivers to wait for the track to dry. With IFMAR rules permitting a round of qualifying to resume after rain once the track returns to the same condition, the call was made to run Q6 first and afterwards finish out Q5. With reigning champion Kurzbuch clearly fired up it would be his lighting fast pit stop that would force the battle between himself and Dario Balestri to be decided in the final qualifier of the 21st running of the World Championships.
With drivers having little time to prepare their cars for what is officially Q5, with 3 from 6 to count, Kurzbuch reaction on crossing the line summed up the Swiss desire to start his title defence from pole position. In full battle mode the Shepherd driver summed up his Q6 TQ, the first to see 27-laps, with ‘I’m back’. He added, ‘Now I had my run, it was clean and we put in the fastest pitstop of the event. This is how we plan to do it again in the next one’.
Balestri also wasn’t in talkative mood after losing out to Kurzbuch. The Italian said, ‘I have nothing. His pitstop was 19.8’. Also with two TQ’s, both of which he registered on yesterday’s opening day of qualifying, it is only him and Kurzbuch left in contention to be the Top Qualifier, the Infinity driver having looked at one stage as if he would take that honour early when he topped Q4 only for Serpent Yuya Sahashi to post a surprise fastest time from the fourth fastest heat.
Completing the Top 3 for the round but failing to go 27-laps would be Naoto Matsukura. The Top seed said his car was a little nervous and described the run as ‘a safety drive’ because he needed the points. Planning to revert to a set-up from earlier in the event for his final qualifying attempt, the Infinity driver said he will again go for a safe run to improve his points and final ranking. Behind Matsukura, former World Champion Robert Pietsch had his best run setting the fourth fastest time ahead of Jesse Davis, Shoki Takahata and Silvio Hachler. With engine trouble preventing Bruno Coelho from starting the qualifier, there was also bad luck for reigning European 1/10th Champion Toni Gruber as he looked set for a Top 3 run until his WRC flamed out with 30-seconds to go.