The final grid for the 1 hour SIGP Nitro A-main has been decided following both Semi Finals in Xiamen this afternoon. The first semi to get underway would see a fairly straight forward race for the top two on the grid, Takashiro Wataru and Chen Guanxian, the former taking the win by 5 seconds in what was the slower of the two semis meaning the Japanese Kyosho driver will line up 4th on the grid with Agama driver Chen on 5th. S-Workz boss Scotty Yang would be the biggest mover in the race, quickly moving up to 3rd, where he would stay to book his place in the main show with the final bump up spot from the first semi and 10th on the grid going to Zhan Wei.
In the second and quicker of the two semi finals, Yusuke Suguira was the clear winner, crossing the line almost 27 seconds clear of second placed Kaja Novotny and will start the main final in 2nd behind pole sitter and direct qualifier Ryan Lutz. Hong Kong Tekno driver Jonathan Yeung put in a steady final to claim 3rd and will take his place on the grid in 6th. The final guaranteed bump up was set to go to Jade Lim, but an official protest against him from the Korean team for cutting the track meant he had 10 seconds added to his time, and so while he still qualified due to his faster time it was Jeon Hanyoung from Korea that took 4th.
With Ryan Lutz wrapping up the TQ early after round 2 of qualifying it took Q3 to finalize the rest of the grid for tomorrow’s triple A-mains. Taking the round again, behind Lutz it was Kaja Novotny who took second for the round, the much improved Sunpadow backed Xray driver knocking 9 seconds off his time to end up 3rd overall, behind Yusukue Sugiura who will start the final in 2nd. Chen Guanxian will set off from the grid in 4th while Jonathan Yeung broke into the 9 laps when it mattered to move up to 5th, his 5th for the round combined with his 4th from round 1.
Confirming what everyone suspected following Rd1 of Practice, Ryan Lutz has taken the top qualifying spot in Nitro Buggy in Xiamen, China. Despite not improving on his Q1 time the Tekno driver continued to better his best lap time each round to end with a 33.542. Yusuke Sugiura would take the final round just ahead of Lutz but a number of mistakes meant he also didn’t improve his result. Wataru Takashiro ended in 3rd overall with his Q2 time, having a difficult time with traction rolling in the final round. The biggest improvement for the round came from both Kaja Novotny, who secured himself 4th overall, and Chen Guanxian who took 5th, both drivers have 12 plus second gain.
Ryan said that his car was now too soft or more the balance was not right following a rear anti-roll bar change that saw him go up in hardness making the difference between front and rear 5/10ths which maybe caused the issue. As the only direct qualifier into the 1 hour main final tomorrow he will have his own 10 minute practice in which he plans to try some things, suggesting he move the setup over from his EP buggy with the biggest difference between the two cars being the shock package.
Sugiura was on a very good pace in Q3, set to take a 5:12 which was within 2 seconds of Lutz’s Q1 time but made two mistakes on the last two laps when the announcer called the pace. With the surface quite abrasive, especially for the hour final, the Japanese Kyosho driver tried a harder compound, which while slower was more consistent so he will try a few more things to find pace, planning to use the semi final as testing for the main.
Taking 3rd on the spot and pole for the first of the semi finals Wataru Takashiro said ‘car was amazing but made a mistake with the tire’, the Kyosho driver trying a softer compound of Blockade on his MP9 for the cooler conditions. The result was too much grip which saw him struggle with traction rolling, so for tomorrow he will revert to X3 and work on some other small changes to the car.
Finding nearly 14 seconds in Q3, Xray driver Kaja Novotny has been tweaking his setup to gradually get more traction in the car, using his EP buggy to back-to-back test the changes. The run was clean, despite some traffic on the last lap, but without needing to be marshalled he managed a 9 lap run.
Another driver to find a big chunk of time, Taiwanese Agama driver Chen Guanxian put his improvement purely down to the traction and track conditions improving. Also having a clean run, the owner of James tires has not made any changes to his car all qualifying, just deciding to focus on his driving, and for the final may consider a harder compound of Revenge tire should he make the main final, positions 2-17 making the semi final, with the top 4 finishers from each, along with the next fastest driver, joining Lutz to battle it out for the championship.
Ryan Lutz is the top qualifier of EP Buggy at the 2018 SIGP in Xiamen, China having taken Q2 which along with taking Q1 locks in pole position for Sunday’s triple A-mains. Putting in a blistering run on the ARC International Raceway, the Tekno driver took 4 seconds off his Q1 time and set the outright track record with a 32.904 second lap, the only driver to drop below 34 seconds in qualifying. It was a familiar order behind with Kyosho driver Yusuke Sugiura taking 2nd place, with Kaja Novotny a further 11 seconds back in 3rd with Chen Guanxian and Shin Dongcheol completing the top 5.
In round 2 of Nitro Buggy qualifying the top 3 drivers remained the same, however the order was reversed with Kyosho driver Wataru Takashiro taking the round but remains in 3rd overall with a time that is still 14 seconds off TQ Ryan Lutz. Japanese team mate Yusuke Sugiura was second, just 1 second back with Lutz having a difficult start to his qualifier with a number of mistakes dropping him way back. Zhan Wei would take 4th while Kaja Novotny finally starting to come to terms with the low grip surface to round out the top 5.
‘My fastest lap was slower but safe’ was Wataru’s reaction to taking the round. Switching to a bigger pin tire to handle the dust better, it made the car easier to drive but was not faster. Not wanting to switch tire he will instead work on the car’s setup and cut out the mistakes, having made only one big mistake this round. While fastest this round, with the best time counting from the 3 qualifiers, Wataru sits 3rd with one round left to be run this afternoon.
Yusuke Sugiura ended up 2nd for the round and stays in 2nd overall but said he was a little disappointed with his run as his car was feeling better but had two large mistakes on one lap which lost him a lot of time. The first mistake was due to a marshal blocking his view of a crashed car while the 2nd also involved a marshal. Feeling the car is much better now, backed up by him setting his fastest lap, his plan now is only minor tweaks to the car and to cut out the small mistakes.
Having a bad start to the qualifier, Ryan Lutz losing 18 seconds on the first 2 laps of the run, the first of which was caused by a mistake in the middle S section was he was trying a harder compound and a different pattern which pushed more than he expected. Once going again the American was able to get his head down and go about catching the drivers ahead of him, laying down his best lap of the weekend so far with a 33.668. Lutz still heads the qualifying standings with his Q1 time.
Chinese Kyosho driver Zhan Wei went one better this run to take 4th, and keeping out the mistakes shaved 10 seconds off his best time. Admitting that he is not a setup guy, with two good results on the board now, he doesn’t plan to make any changes to the car itself but does plan to try a harder compound James tire with a view to the 1 hour final tomorrow.
Finally starting to come to terms with the low grip track, having raced exclusively on carpet tracks all winter, Kaja Novotny says he is now missing the practice with was rained out earlier in the week but admits it is getting better. His first outdoor race with new sponsor JConcepts, the Czech teenager is still working on finding the best tire for the conditions, currently using JC Detox in green compound.
Tekno driver Ryan Lutz has carried his form through from controlled practice in EP Buggy, once again dominating proceedings with Yusuke Sugiura the only driver close to the American in Q1. Over 6 seconds clear at the top of the times, his fastest lap was also over 1.2 seconds faster than his Japanese rival. In 3rd place was Czech Sunpadow backed Xray driver Kaja Novotny, with Jonathan Yeung, who struggled with engine problems in Nitro Q1, ending up 4th a further 4 seconds back with Chen Guanxian from Taiwan completing the top 5.