Chassis – Xray X12’15 Motor – Reedy Sonic 3.5T ESC – LRP Flow Battery – Reedy 7000mAh Tires – CRC Green rear Magenta front Radio/Servos – Sanwa Body – Protoform AMR 12 Remarks – British National Champion Olly Jefferies is used to running his X12 on high grip surfaces back in the UK and so has had to adapt the setup of his new 2015 Xray for the low grip conditions. The changes include using the centre shock extension and a stiffer centre spring, stiffer side tubes and giving the car more tube droop. With the conditions on track changing every run, Olly says he has to continually fine tune the car prior to going out for each run.
Chassis – Morotech Corally Motor – Trinity D3 3.5T ESC – Advanced Competition Battery – Trinity 7000mAh Tires – Ulti 35 front & rear Radio/Servos – Futaba Body – Protoform AMR 12 Remarks – Japanese racer Hideo Kitizawa has been trying a lot of setup changes on his Morotech Corally chassis. Upon arriving in Florida, his car was very twitchy and has been trying to make it easier to drive by reducing the front camber and make the oil in the centre damper harder. Playing with his tire prep he is leaving the additive on his Ulti tires for an hour on the rear and 30 minutes on the front.
The penultimate round of qualifying produced the first change at the top of the qualifying time-sheets at the 1:12 Worlds as Marc Rheinard set a new outright fastest pace with his CRC. With the overall TQ decided in the previous round after Naoto Matsukura completed a clean sweep of the opening four qualifiers, Round 5 would see the Yokomo driver retire after contact with team-mate Masatsugu Ido. Despite this Rheinard, who himself retired from Q4 with a broken car, found new form to better Matsukura’s best round by an impressive 6-seconds. Also finding form in Day 2’s closing round of action was Alexander Hagberg, the Xray driver also putting in a 53 lap run that bettered that of the defending champion. Impressing in Q4 with second, Donny Lia backed that up with third as he too broke into the 53 laps.
Having suffered a power drop off on his way to second in Q2 but only going half distance in Q3, Rheinard attributed his new speed to his second charge battery providing him with ‘punch’ for the entire 8-minutes. Also his cleanest round in terms of driving, the 3-time Touring Car World Champion, who holds provisional second on the grid, said for the final qualifier he will just try to repeat the same thing in the morning. Happy with how the car ran, the only change the German is planning is to fit a new Protoform AMR12 bodyshell, the front of his current one starting to be a bit shabby from some heavy contact with the boards over the day.
After a frustrating day having been unable to match the impressive pace he laid down in practice yesterday, Hagberg was finally able to break a smile with his Q5 run. Having ran the rear hub brace loose on his X12 yesterday when securing the top seeding position for qualifying, the Swede said he believed that in his struggle today tightening it would have compounded the issue but giving in to tightening it he said it returned the car to how it felt yesterday. Setting a new outright fastest lap, with a time of 8.699, he said with his confidence restored he hoped to be able to end qualifying with similar run which would help greatly in improving on his current provisional 7th in the qualification ranking.
Describing his first World Championship appearance as being ‘surreal’, local racer Lia said he is ‘thrilled’ to be in the A-Main and running with ‘World class’ drivers. Commenting on his Q5 performance, the TOP sponsored driver felt he drove too conservatively for the first few minutes leaving him to play catch up to Hagberg, the pair running in the second fastest heat following a re-sort after Q3. Really confident in his car he will try to run a faster pace from the start of the final qualifier.
Behind Kitazawa who posted the fourth fastest time, Q5 would see the best run from Team Associated with Keven Hebert and Juho Levanen both making the Top 6. Elsewhere unfortunately for Jilles Groskamp he had a repeat of the electrical issue he suffered in Q3. Sitting 21st in the overnight ranking, the pressure is now on for the 2010 runner-up to get a result in Q6 in order to make the A-Main. It was also a bad round for 2012 Runner-up Andy Moore who failed to complete the round and now has no chance of making the A-Main.
Chassis – On Point OPC12 Motor – Orion VST2 3.5T ESC – Orion Vortex R10 1S Battery – Orion Carbon LiPo 7200mAh Tires – Mobgums Radio/Servos – Sanwa Body – BlackArt 008 Remarks – Reigning Touring car World Champion Jilles Groskamp is running the On Point OPC12 from Markus Mobers. The car is using the German’s basic setup and Jilles has made no setup changes to the car at all instead focussing on tire compounds, diameter and tire prep. Playing around with moving the battery from inline to transverse they found that the transverse configuration gave the car more traction.
Chassis – Team Associated 12R5.2 Motor – Reedy Sonic 3.5T ESC – Reedy Blackbox 410R Battery – Reedy 7000mAh Tires – BSR Green rear, Blue front Radio/Servos – Futaba Body – Protoform AMR 12 Remarks – Canadian Keven Hebert is running his basic setup on his Associated 12R5.2 but it was pushing too much on the low traction so he made a few changes. Adding more front caster and a shorter upper arm he also added more pod droop which help to remove the problem. Changing to a softer rear tire it made the car looser on the rear due to no side bite but it helped improve consistency over the 8 minute runs. Apart from that he was playing around with tire prep and has settled on 40 minute rear and 20 minute front sauce time.
Naoto Matsukura has cruised his way to an unchallenged fourth consecutive 1:12 World Championship TQ wrapping up qualifying in Florida early with another fastest run in the fourth of the six scheduled qualifiers. The Yokomo driver was again the only driver to turn 53 laps of the Minnreg Hall making it four from four by taking Q4 from rapid American Donny Lia who set a new track record with an 8.822 lap time. Matsukura’s Yokomo team-mate Masatsugu Ido would complete the Top 3. Such was Matsukura’s pace that over the 8-minutes he ran a full lap more than that of fourth place finisher Hideo Kitazawa.
Declaring himself ‘happy’ to again be defending his title from pole position, Matsukura said the run was his best yet and it was good to get the first part of his program over with early. Testing extensively in preparation for his going for an unprecedented fourth consecutive IFMAR World title, the 21-year-old wanted to thank the new Change Circuit in Japan for facilitating him in testing on a similar sized track to the Worlds track, his Yokomo team’s Yatabe Arena being too big & open for meaningful testing. With the pressure now off, he will use the final two qualifying runs to test a few things adding he would like to find a little more steering ahead of the tomorrow’s finals.
Lia, a driver who is using every inch of the tight track, said ‘its a tyre game and they are getting close now’. Adding that his clean run so far was a big factor to his second for the round, the TOP Racing driver said while his BSR tyres faded towards the end of the 8-minutes they are working towards a good strategy and he believes in the next one he ‘should hit it on the head’.
Leaving his car unchanged Ido was much happier with his driving declaring the run as his best so far. Set to continue with the same set-up, the 20-year-old hopes to repeat the run in Q5 and added another Top 3 run having also posted the third fastest time in Q1 which should ensure he makes his 1:12 Worlds debut at the sharp end of the A-Main grid.
Behind Kitzawa, Jilles Groskamp finally registered a Top 5 run. Running for the On-point team, the 2010 Runner-up said his run was ‘not so fast but stable’ but while he can’t say he took it easy he was able to drive it around for the 8-minutes. Struggling with overall grip from the start with it getting particularly bad towards the end of the run he said he knows he is not competitive but he still wants to do the best he can and the aim now is for clean runs to at least try and give himself the best possible starting spot for the final.
Another driver recording his best round so far was Alexander Hagberg. Having failed to make the Top 10 in the opening three qualifiers the Swede took a similar approach to that of Groskamp. Setting the 6th fastest time, the European Champion was happy to at least finish a run with no major dramas. Going for a clean run he said his Xray is nowhere near the pace it had yesterday with the set-up used then just not working today. While they are still trying to find a good set-up he said he is conscious of the fact he needs to finish off qualifying with two good runs if he is even to make the A-Main.
Japanese National Champion Hayato Ishioka took his CRC to the 7th fastest time with the honour of top Team Associated falling to Juho Levanen in 8th. Separated by just 0.002 of a second Markus Mobers and Paul Lemieux completed the Top 10. Elsewhere Marc Rheinard’s improving runs came to an end as he suffered two heavy crashes, the second of which caused the centre shock on his CRC to pop off. Another non finisher of the round was Q3 fourth place finisher Alexandre Laurent who pulled up after just the 1-minute mark.