Top Qualifier Naoto Matsukura took a straight forward tone to tone victory in the second A-Main of the World Championships with the title set to be decided among four drivers in A3. Setting the fastest lap of the race, the Yokomo driver led home team-mate Ronald Volker and A1 winner Bruno Coehlo, the Top 3 finishing as they started. A much faster encounter, the winning pace a full lap quicker than the opening leg thanks to better track conditions, for defending Champions Tamiya the race saw their main contender Marc Rheinard have a tough race with the 3-time Champion coming together twice with former Champion Atsushi Hara, the pair finish 9th & 10th respectively.
‘Perfect’ was how Matsukura summed up the race. Having spun out on the opening lap of A1 and being collected by Volker, the Japanese driver said with a ‘good track’ this time round he was able to put in a clean 5-minutes. Running his own pace at the start focusing on just keeping the back behind him he said once he got into his rhythm he was able to pull clear adding he ‘just need(s) one more’ such run today.
‘Still in the game’ was Volker’s reaction to his second in A2. The German said he struggled with his driving not putting in a very good first lap and then again towards the end of the run. Catching up to his team-mate, having got on to his ‘tail’, he said he over drove missing his lines and letting Matsukura pull away again. Predicting that, like in qualifying, the overall win could be decided on fastest race time due to a tie break he said his plan for A3 is to ‘just go for the perfect drive’.
Pulling off an impressive move to get by Rheinard who passed him early on, Coelho said had to push hard finding it difficult to keep pace with the Yokomo. The Xray driver said this lead to a moment that let both Rheinard and Hara by but after getting back passed the two World Champions after they got together, he eased off a little deciding to settle for a third rather than take further risks. Mixing it up with the sport’s full time professional drivers and going in A3 with a chance of winning the World title against Matsukura, Volker and Rheinard, the Portuguese talent said he would ‘just see what happens’.
Starting from 8th on the grid, Coelho’s senior team-mate Alexander Hagberg finish 4th. Improving his T4 from A1, the Swede said it was now much easier to drive and while he benefited from other’s mistakes and was able to get around them, he is aiming for a repeat performance in the last A-Main. Behind Hagberg, outgoing World Champion Jilles Groskamp worked his way up from the back of the grid to 5th.
Orca have their new VX3 ESC and RX3 motor making their debut here in Kissimmee. The speedo features new internals and an all metal casing allowing it to run cooler allowing you to run more timing on your motor. The new motor has better throttle feeling and also has improved braking, which stays consistent throughout your run. Both new items we are told will be available soon.
New from Thai company Handy Concept, and seen on the tables of Jilles Groskamp and Atsushi Hara, is the Neo Blaster. Essentially a table fan, it includes 2 built in fans to cool your equipment or yourself or both with one of the fans featuring a handle for adjusting the direction of the airflow. Powered by an 8 to 12V power supply it has an output point to further allow you to power a pit light or tire sander. Available in blue or black.
Bruno Coelho has won the opening A-Main at the World Championships in Florida, an early coming together between the Yokomo’s of Top Qualifier Naoto Matsukura and Ronald Volker handing the Xray driver a lead that would never be challenged. Some distance behind the Portuguese sensation, Tamiya’s Marc Rheinard would finish second from fourth on the grid with Matsukura recovering for third ahead of Volker. The opening final of the 8th running of the IFMAR event, a loose track made for a difficult race with many drivers critical of the decision to run the Main race first rather than at the end of the opening round of lower finals. Just how bad conditions were was highlighted by the fastest lap of the final qualifier and first A-Main, both set by Coelho, with him posting a 17.2 in Q6 and only a best of 18.4 in A1.
‘Fantastic’ was how a very happy Coelho summed up his win. Describing the track conditions as ‘really bad’ while pointing to his 18 second fastest lap, he said off the start he just waited to see what would happen. Able to get around the two Yokomos by the fourth corner as they touched he said he just pushed to build up a gap. Establishing a gap over second very quickly he said he then took it easy not wanting to fall fowl of the conditions. Expecting a faster track for A2, the 21-year-old said his aim is to repeat what he did in A1 and see how it works out.
Describing it as ‘stupid to run a World Champion deciding final first’, Rheinard said with zero grip all he could do in the race was just try to keep his car on track. Unable to get around the leaders crash he dropped back to 7th but said luckily a crash later in the same lap at the chicane pushed him back up to third. Able to catch and pass Volker he said that second was a lucky result adding A2 should be better conditions and allow proper racing.
Asked for summary of his race, Matsukura said ‘track no good and I couldn’t control my car’. Recovering to look like he would mount a challenge for second on Rheinard before a mistake coming onto the straight, the Japanese star said after struggling for 4-minutes his car was ‘very good’ in the last minute. Happy he has the car to get the job done he said the track will be better for A2 and he will try to take the battle to A3.
After the final practice, Volker said he made the call himself to go with lighter oil in the rear diff of his BD7 2015 and it was the wrong choice. With ‘zero traction’, he described A1 as a ‘wasted’ round. Commenting on the incident with his team-mate on Lap 1, the German said Matsukura spun out and still on the racing line he had not where to go. Touching he said he still tried to hold the lead but he couldn’t avoid the curb at the next corner with his car jumping it allowing Coelho by. ‘Lucky to hold second’, he said he knew after 1/2 a lap his set-up was wrong and said he knew it was only a matter of time before the others would catch and pass him. Complimenting Coelho on his win saying it was ‘well deserved’, he believes A2 should be better both in terms of his car set-up and the conditions of the track.
Naoto Matsukura is Top Qualifier for the Electric Touring Car World Championships in Florida, the Yokomo driver claiming his second overall TQ off the event having secured pole position for the 1:12 Worlds earlier in the week. With the sixth & final qualifier at the Kissimme track a three way Top Qualifier showdown between Matsukura, Ronald Volker and star of the event Bruno Coelho it was the Xray driver who would top the concluding round as both Yokomo drivers crashed. Making a last lap mistake himself, even without this Coelho’s time would not been quick enough to secure the top spot as all three drivers ended up on 2-points with 2 x TQs and a second as their counting 3 of 6 rounds. Setting the fastest run of qualifying in the opening round of qualifying two days earlier it was this time that would give Matsukura his fourth World Championship TQ, with Volker’s Round 5 pace securing him second ahead of Coelho. For defending champion manufacturer Tamiya, Marc Rheinard will head their challenge from fourth on the grid with Champion Jilles Groskamp taking up the rear of the grid in 10th position.
Pleased to claim his first Touring Car Worlds TQ, Matsukura said he was forced to push hard by Coelho, describing the Portuguese driver as ‘very fast’. Battling with Coelho for the TQ of the round, he would get out of shape coming onto the straight with the time lost putting him out of contention to TQ overall with the perfect score. Having originally expected his greatest challenge to come from team-mate Volker he acknowledged Coelho is a real potential challenger for the finals. Starting out front and looking to achieve something his mentor & RC Legend Masami Hirosaka never did in winning the Touring Car title, he said his approach for the finals would be drive a clean race. Asked about the opportunities for overtaking on the Full Throttle RC Raceway track he said it would not be easy but added there are opportunities there.
Confident the track conditions wouldn’t allow for anyone to better his fastest 5:15 Q5 pace, Volker said the only way he could better his starting position was to take the round. Pushing hard on lap 6 he would turn too early and make contact with the boards popping a shock off his car. Making a set-up change to his BD7 for the final qualifier he said the car didn’t feel as good as previous runs adding this was something they need to work on for the practice final. Changing a number of things the German said they will return some of the adjustments back to how the previously ran them and combined believes his car should improve. Four time consecutive champion of the highly competitive Euro Touring Series, he said Coelho is going to be a factor in the race but said speed is only one thing but making the right judgements would be key.
Impressing the World with his pace on this his Touring Car Worlds debut, Coelho said his last lap discrepancy was caused by nerves. Setting the fastest lap of the round and the only driver to run 18-laps, the 21-year-old said he knows his Nosram powered T4 is fastest enough to take the battle for the win to the two Yokomos starting in front of him. Asked what his approach for the finals would be, the European Championship Top Qualifier said simply ‘Maximum push’.
Having tried a set-up change in the morning’s free practice and liked it, Rheinard said it didn’t work as well in final qualifier as the temperature came up. Despite his TRF419 being loose on power, the German still claimed his best qualifying performance with a second. Planning to try a different set-up in the practice final, he said looking to actual races he thinks crashes are going to be the key to the outcome adding he hopes to be able to get through such crashes that happen ahead of him. Behind Rheinard, team-mate Viktor Wilck will start 5th, the Swede saying for how their car is in the hot conditions this starting position is the best he could have expected.
Posting the third fastest time of the final qualifier, former Champion Atsushi Hara will start sixth on a grid that contains five RC World Champions. The Yokomo driver, who has been running in Heat 9 of 10 with clouds covering the sun having a huge effect on track condition between groups, said he believes on the same track at the same time he has competitive speed for the final. For the practice final he will try a thicker diff to get more traction for the hotter conditions of the actual triple A-Mains.