Moore takes final ‘Rocket Round’ qualifier

Team CRC driver Andy Moore set a new outright fastest run time in this morning’s final qualifier for the 1:12 World Championships in the Netherlands, the sixth round turning out to be the ‘rocket’ round. Knocking 2-seconds off the previous fastest time held by defending World Champion Naoto Matsukura, the former European Champion ran 39 laps in 8:06.635 to top Q6 by just 6/10th ahead of Ronald Volker as 5 drivers finally broke past 38 laps runs something only Matsukura had achieved yesterday to secure him honour of being Top Qualifier for a third consecutive Worlds.

Moore said he knew after last night’s penultimate round of qualifying, in which he set a new lap record, he had the pace & car to TQ the round and it was down to him just keeping the 8-minute run free of mistakes which is exactly what he did.  Sitting 7th at the end of Day 1 of qualifying, the British driver’s Q6 run moves him to fourth on the grid for the Main event but he said the layout of the track is going to make passing very difficult.  Moore said he hopes he can pick up the bits & pieces if those starting ahead of him make mistakes which as Matsukura showed in the final qualifier can happen very easily.  Really comfortable with his Hobby Wing powered CRC he said he wont be changing anything for the first of the three legs of the final.

After a tough day in yesterday’s qualifying, having been the closest to Matsukura on the opening day of the event, Volker was very happy to secure second on the grid.  The German said he made a slow start to the final qualifier but was able to recover and run at the lead pace.  Having done his calculations prior to the run he said his main focus was on trying to run at least one second faster than Marc Rheinard as he knew if all the drivers ran 39 laps it would be enough to secure him a top 3 grid position.  In the end he outpaced his touring car rival by just over the second to take the No.2 spot on the grid by .5 sec from the Touring Car World Champion who will start third.  The biggest loser of the final qualifier was Onpoint Racing’s Jilles Groskamp who failed to make 39 laps and dropped from holding P2 last night to lining up 7th on the final grid.

Although the round was not going to change anything in terms of his grid position, Matsukura didn’t let up on his pace but maybe the Team Yokomo driver found his limit.  Crashing a number of times he still produced his fastest time of the weekend also setting a new lap record of 12.083 in the process.  Afterwards Matsukura said he changed his tyre set-up for the final qualifier which felt very good and that the mistakes where just ‘stupid’ mistakes by him.  Admitting that his rivals have closed the gap in terms of pace he said with no mistakes the win should still be easy.

The biggest surprise of the final round of qualifying came from factory Team Associated driver Rick Hohwart.  Running in the second highest of the heats, the American looked set to line-up in the B Final but pulling off a 39 lap run, despite his battery dumping on his last lap, he shot up the ranking list to secure 6th on the grid.  Having last made the A-Main at the 1:12 World Championships 20-years-ago Hohwart said copying the set-up team-mate Keven Hebert tried in the mornings 3-minute practice, his car was the best it has been since the event started with it being real easy to drive.  Asked about his battery problem, which resulted in a 22-second last lap, he said he had no issues previously and is confident that with a little more charge he should be fine for the finals.

A-Main Grid
1. Naoto Matsukura (JP) – Yokomo – 78/16:16.396
2. Ronald Völker (DE) – Associated – 77/16:09.122
3. Marc Rheinard (DE) – CRC – 77/16:09.656
4. Andy Moore (GB) – CRC – 77/16:10.829
5. Elliot Harper (GB) – CRC – 77/16:16.357
6. Rick Hohwart (US) – Associated – 77/16:33.857
7. Jilles Groskamp (NL) – Onpoint – 76/16:02.125
8. Alexander Hagberg (SE) – Xray – 76/16:02.707
9. Simo Ahoniemi (FI) – CRC – 76/16:04.752
10.Hideo Kitazawa (JP) – Corally – 76/16:12.860

Round 6 Qualification – Top 10 times
1. Andy Moore (GB) – CRC – 39/8:06.635
2. Ronald Völker (DE) – Associated – 39/8:07.236
3. Naoto Matsukura (JP) – Yokomo – 39/8:07.702
4. Marc Rheinard (DE) – CRC – 39/8:08.798
5. Elliot Harper (GB) – CRC – 39/8:12.049
6. Rick Hohwart (US) – Associated – 39/8:22.134
7. Alexander Hagberg (SE) – Xray – 38/8:00.478
8. Jilles Groskamp (NL) – Onpoint – 38/8:00.571
9. Simo Ahoniemi (FI) – CRC – 38/8:00.755
10.Jan Asmer (DE) – Serpent – 38/8:05.203

View complete live results here.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Matsukura is Top Qualifier at 1:12 Worlds

Naoto Matsukura will for the third 1:12 World Championships in succession start from pole position after his rivals failed to run the magical 39-laps in the penultimate qualifier this evening in the Netherlands. With three 39-lap heats to his credit and two rounds counting towards the grid, the young Japanese star’s combined time can’t now be beaten despite one round of qualifying remaining in the morning. Like in Q4, when Rheinard was challenging Matsukura TQ pace, Q5 saw the Yokomo driver face another strong and more surprising challenge from factory Serpent driver Marc Fisher.  Unfortunately for the German as the heat came up on 5-minutes his electrics overheated causing the car to shut down.

Fastest in all four previous qualifiers, four laps after Fisher’s demise Matsukura also hit trouble but it was of his own making as he made a big driver error.  Pulling up after the heavy contact he rejoined to finish the run once his mechanic looked over the car but back in the pits the 18-year-old who has little english said his prototype R12 was ‘broke’.  With his mechanic rebuilding the car for tomorrow’s finals day Matsukura wasn’t phased

A round that saw a lot of the big names crash, there was drama before the top heat and last action of the day got underway as Rheinard’s CRC failed the pre race minimum 3mm ride height inspection.  Mechanic Thomas Pumpler returned to the pits to change front tyre but again the car failed.  Using some brute force on the front end of the car they got the prototype to pass but the heat was already underway.  Taking to the track with front tyres that hadn’t been treated with additive Rheinard said afterwards that his crash in Q5 must have tweaked the car and this was the cause of his ride height problem.

In the end it was a ‘safe drive’ that helped Jilles Groskamp to top the round with a time of 38/8:02.479 which was quick enough to move his Onpoint Racing chassis ahead of Rheinard’s CRC and into second in the provisional qualification ranking list.  Groskamp said while he could have possibly ran a slightly faster time he said a 39-lap run was never on the cards.  Behind the Dutchman Ronald Volker set the second fastest time with Simo Ahoniemi third, both drivers failing to better the previous two best run times.

Setting the fourth fastest time in Q5 was Team Associated’s Olly Jefferies but he too failed to improve his time.  The British Champion said his R5 feels pretty good on the track but that is not reflected in his times.  Currently holding onto the final spot on the grid for the A-Main and the only factory AE in the Top 10, he has a 4 second cushion over German Marcus Mobers and is hoping the morning’s sixth & final qualifier proves to be a slow round.

Team-mate Keven Hebert who made the final at the last World Championships needs all but a miracle tomorrow if he is to make the 2012 line-up.  The US Champion said his Reedy powered R5 feels broken in the first half of the run and if he could only start his runs with the car feeling like it does in the final 4-minutes he would be OK.  Sitting 12th in the overnight ranking, the Canadian will re-run his tyres for a second time along with changing his side springs which he hopes will give him some chance of a quick run should the 6th qualifier prove to be the rocket round.

Elsewhere having been 2nd & 3rd fastest respectively in Q4 CRC pairing & fellow Brits Andy Moore and Elliot Harper both had big crashes.  Moore pulled up after his early crash but rejoined to set a new lap record of 12.094 and said afterwards that the change to softer tyres had made his car ‘pretty awesome’.  Harper said an early off tweaked his car and having to use full trim to get it to go down the straight he caught a dot coming off the straight which launched he car into the sponsor boards.  The impact broke the steering servo along with a number of parts on the car with his mechanic Brian Wynn saying all but the chassis plate, which IFMAR marked ahead of controlled practice, will be new on the car tomorrow.

Round 5 Qualification – Top 10 times
1. Jilles Groskamp (NL) – Onpoint – 38/8:02.479
2. Ronald Völker (DE) – Associated – 38/8:07.280
3. Simo Ahoniemi (FI) – CRC – 38/8:07.732
4. Keven Hebert (CA) – Associated – 38/8:09.472
5. Olly Jeffries (GB) – Associated – 38/8:09.839
6. Hideo Kitazawa (JP) – Corally – 38/8:10.448
7. Rick Hohwart (US) – Associated – 38/8:12.620
8. Toshiki Kunitomo (JP) – CRC – 38/8:12.802
9. Hayato Ishioka (JP) – CRC – 37/8:00.589
10.Yugo Nagashima (JP) – Yokomo – 37/8:05.397

Overall Qualification Ranking List
(after Round 5 of 6)
1. Naoto Matsukura (JP) – Yokomo – 78/16:18.266
2. Jilles Groskamp (NL) – Onpoint – 76/16:04.032
3. Marc Rheinard (DE) – CRC – 76/16:04.118
4. Alexander Hagberg (SE) – Xray – 76/16:05.174
5. Ronald Völker (DE) – Associated – 76/16:07.339
6. Simo Ahoniemi (FI) – CRC – 76/16:08.417
7. Andy Moore (GB) – CRC – 76/16:10.904
8. Elliot Harper (GB) – CRC – 76/16:12.531
9. Hideo Kitazawa (JP) – Corally – 76/16:12.860
10.Olly Jefferies (GB) – Associated – 76/16:13.853

View complete live results here.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Rheinard comes close in Q4

For the first time at the 2012 1:12 World Championships Naoto Matsukura’s dominance came under threat with Marc Rheinard on target to outpace the young Japanese star in the fourth round of qualifying before, as the German put it himself, made a ‘stupid mistake’ half way into the 8-minute run. As a result Matsukura once again topped the time sheets with another 39-lap run, the defending World Champion still the only driver to break pass 38 laps.

While Rheinard’s crash was a big disappointment for his CRC team the round did produce strong runs from the teams other drivers Andy Moore and Elliot Harper who set the 2nd & 3rd fastest time respectively.  Running the American manufacturer’s standard car, Moore knocked over 2 seconds off his previous best despite contact with the fourth member of the team Simo Ahoniemi who is also running the standard chassis.  Planning to switch to the same softer compound of CRC tyre as used by Rheinard & Harper, the former European Champion hopes this will give him better overall traction for the remaining two rounds.

With all four team drivers currently holding an A-Main qualifying position, 19-year-old Harper improved his pace by almost 4-seconds after a front roll centre change made his new prototype narrow chassis easier and more consistent to drive.  Having not raced much 1:12 recently due to touring car and University commitments, the 2010 World Finalist said since handing over his car preparation to Brian Wynn, after changes he made himself to the car in yesterday’s practice made it almost undriveable, things have started to improve each run.

Elsewhere Team Xray’s Alexander Hagberg, who ran three clean opening qualifiers and sits 4th in the ranking list, took a more aggressive approach in the fourth round resulting in a big mistake on lap 30 that cost him a massive 11-seconds.

Round 4 Qualification – Top 10 times
1. Naoto Matsukura (JP) – Yokomo – 39/8:09.572
2. Andy Moore (GB) – CRC – 38/8:04.193
3. Elliot Harper (GB) – CRC – 38/8:04.308
4. Jilles Groskamp (NL) – Onpoint – 38/8:05.026
5. Ronald Völker (DE) – Associated – 38/8:05.451
6. Olly Jeffries (GB) – Associated – 38/8:08.185
7. Simo Ahoniemi (FI) – CRC – 38/8:09.053
8. Markus Mobers (DE) – Onpoint – 38/8:11.287
9. Juho Levänen (FI) – Associated – 37/8:00.318
10.Rick Hohwart (US) – Associated – 37/8:02.195

View complete live results here.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Rheinard just misses 39-lap Q3 run

Marc Rheinard just missed out on becoming the only driver other than defending World Champion Naoto Matsukura to complete a 39-lap run at the 1:12 World Championships in the Netherlands when he took his Speed Passion powered prototype CRC to a 38/8:00.858 run in the third round of qualifying.  While Matsukura produced his third TQ run of the day with a new fastest time and outright fastest lap, all the attention is on the battle behind him which is building up between regular Touring Car rivals Rheinard, Jilles Groskamp, Ronald Volker and Alexander Hagberg.

Having run out of battery in Q2 and afterwards also finding that his car was tweaked, Rheinard reduced the boost on his speedo for the run and had no such problems in his third heat describing his car as being ‘much better’.  The Touring Car World Champion, who hasn’t raced 1:12 since the last World Championships in Germany 2-years ago, lost 1.5 second early in the run when himself & Jilles Groskamp, who set the third fastest run, made contact.  Feeling he reduced the boost too much he will increase it slightly for his next qualifier along with a slight set-up adjustment as he would like to have a little more steering.

Lying last after the opening two rounds of qualifying Ronald Volker finally managed to finish a heat which was good enough for the 4th. Running an Associated, Yokomo’s big hope for the Touring Car World Championships which take place later in the week, Volker said changes to his Associated chassis for Q3 to try and get more steering left him with a very edgy car.  The German lost a lot of time in the opening part of the run as he adapted to the handling and so plans to revert to the set-up he used early.

Despite loosing one of the side springs from his OCRA powered Xray during Q3, Hagberg set the fifth fastest time improving his previous best by 7/10th.  The Swede said his X12 is not the fastest but is very easy to drive allowing him to put in clean runs and this is a huge benefit as others drop time due to mistakes.  With two solid times to his credit, each drivers best two runs from six are added together to determine the grid for the finals,  Hagberg will try some small set-up changes for Q4 to see if he can improve the cars speed.

Behind Hagberg were 2008 World Championship finalists Hideo Kitazawa and Andy Moore.  Moore was on a very fast run with his CRC but on his last lap he got caught up with a moment that Xray’s Paul Lemieux was having which cost the British driver almost 4 seconds and dropped him to 7th fastest.

Round 3 Qualification – Top 10 times
1. Naoto Matsukura (JP) – Yokomo – 39/8:08.694
2. Marc Rheinard (DE) – CRC – 38/8:00.858
3. Jilles Groskamp (NL) – Onpoint – 38/8:01.554
4. Ronald Völker (DE) – Associated – 38/8:01.886
5. Alexander Hagberg (SE) – Xray – 38/8:02.229
6. Hideo Kitazawa (JP) – Corally – 38/8:05.028
7. Andy Moore (GB) – CRC – 38/8:06.710
8. Simo Ahoniemi (FI) – CRC – 38/8:07.696
9. Olly Jeffries (GB) – Associated – 38/8:09.906
10.Markus Mobers (DE) – Onpoint – 38/8:11.417

View complete live results here.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Video – LRP Flow ESC

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Video – Qualifying Rd2 action

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Monday, July 23, 2012

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Red RC are on the island of Sicily, off the coast of Southern Italy, at the Pista Naxos World track for the 2014 IFMAR 1/8th scale gas offroad World Championships. The bi-annual event attracts the best racers from around the World to battle it out for the title which was won 2 years ago by Spaniard Robert Batlle. Red RC's coverage of the event begins in full on Saturday morning (20th) and we will be trackside bringing you reports, insights, videos and photos directly from the track throughout the week long event.

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