March 17, 2018

Q1 in Xiamen goes to Ryan Lutz

Ryan Lutz has continued on in qualifying from where he left off in practice by taking the opening round of Nitro Buggy qualifying by 6 seconds with a consistent run under overcast skies. It was a familiar story in 2nd and 3rd with the Japanese Kyosho pairing of Yusuke Sugiura and Wataru Takashiro, the latter some 25 seconds back after making too many mistakes with what was a difficult to drive car. Felix Law, who is back racing 1/8th offroad after a 12 month break would end up 4th just ahead of Kyosho returnee Zhan Wei in 5th.

Lutz had a clean and consistent run, having only one small moment with traffic where he lost less than a second, he used Q1 to get a better feel for the car’s setup of his Tekno buggy. Having switched to a lighter rear diff and more rear pack for the rest of qualifying he will leave the setup as is and go up in oil in the shocks a quarter each run as he tries to find the best balance between being good over the bumps and on the big jumps. With a view to the one hour final he will also switch to a harder tire as he found the super soft version he was using was starting to tear.

Getting stuck in traffic on his opening two laps of qualifying because of where he started the session, once passed Sugiura said the run was ‘OK’. For the next round the Kyosho driver will change to a harder tire saying with the weather more overcast the track surface is less glossy and so not as loose as yesterday and the soft tire he went with was the wrong choice. Not sure of what else to change for Q2, he will use the opening qualifier for EP Buggy to confirm his tire choice.

Wataru felt that his car was not so good, despite being able to make the second fastest lap of the round, only a tenth off Lutz, it was not safe to drive. For the next run he will work on making his Kyosho easier to drive and work on tire selection, feeling he still has not got the right compound for the conditions. Also making too many mistakes he thinks he is still getting used to the track and said ‘qualifying is practice for me for the final’.

Making a comeback to 1/8th nitro, having last driven at this event last year, Felix Law was pretty pleased to be in 4th. For the run he took it safe and easy to get a good time and will now push a little harder in the remaining 2 rounds, the fastest round from 3 counting. In constant contact with Paul Ciccarello back in the US regarding setup, Law says the car is getting better each run, helped also by the fact that his brand new Reds engine is now run in and it can be leaned out.

Completing the top 5 for Q1 was Chinese driver Zhan Wei who is having his first event back with Kyosho. His run saw him flip over 3 times so the time was not so good and for the next round will not change anything on the car and simply focus on his driving.

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March 16, 2018

Ryan Lutz completes perfect day at SIGP

Completing the perfect day at ARC International Raceway Ryan Lutz has also topped controlled practice in EP buggy with the fastest run of the day in the 3rd round along with the fastest lap of the track with a 33.438. Yusuke Sugiura would end the day in 2nd, two seconds adrift of the American driver, with fellow Kyosho racer Hu Weiping in 3rd, while Jonathan Yeung and Serpent driver Felix ‘More Powaaa’ Law would complete the Top 5.

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March 16, 2018

Lutz is top seed going into Nitro qualifying in Xiamen

Ryan Lutz is the Nitro buggy top seed for Qualifying at the 2018 SIGP as he put in a blistering time to go nearly 2 seconds faster over 3 consecutive laps than 2nd placed Yusuke Sugiura. The US driver putting his time down to tweaks made to the car’s setup to make it harder, having felt that the setup he copied from Jonathan Yeung for Rd2 was too soft. Behind Sugiura in 2nd was fellow Japanese Kyosho driver Wataru Takashiro who finally found his rhythm to demote Hu Weiping who will rely on his CP1 time to seed 4th with Chen Guanxian, Jonathan Yeung and Kaja Novotny all improving in the 3rd round to complete the top 6.

Very impressed with the setup he has copied from Hong Kong team mate Yeung, especially how it handles the bumps, Lutz made his dampers harder for the final round of practice and also applied a rear linkage change from the setup that he hadn’t yet put on his car. Now much happier with his car he plans to go slightly harder in the rear shocks for the 1st qualifier tomorrow morning to make the car better on landings off the bigger jumps and plans to use one of the qualifiers to try a harder tire, switching from super soft to soft AKA Impacts.

Japanese driver Yusuke Sugiura felt his car was quick but not stable enough to be consistent over 5 minutes due to the many bumps on the track. For the opening qualifier the Kyosho driver plans to go softer on his damping to cope with the track conditions and make it more stable and consistent but overall he said the car was ‘not bad’.

Kyosho Japan team mate Takashiro said his car was now better than before, continuing the learn the track as the previous days testing had been rained off. Saying his first round this morning was terrible, it took him a while to figure out how to improve the car but now it was ok. With some ideas on how to further improve the car he said the track is getting slippery but followed that up with ‘but I like low traction’.

Hu Weiping made it three Kyoshos in the top 4 places despite not improving on his CP1 pace. In the final round of practice, the Chinese National Champion admitted to making too many mistakes and with the setup changes he made not working he will now revert back to the setting he started the day with going into Q1, with the exception of the change to harder Sweep Defender tires.

Completing the top 5, Chen Guanxian said the set-up changes he is making to the car were improving his Agama each run but also feels he is getting used to the track. For the first of 3 rounds of qualifying tomorrow morning the Taiwanese driver doesn’t plan any changes, instead focussing on just driving the car.

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March 16, 2018

Ryan Lutz tops EP Buggy practice after 2 rounds

Ryan Lutz continues to lead EP Buggy here in Xiamen at the SIGP, once again topping the times in CP2 with a faster lap time than in the opening round, however failing to improve his consecutive 3 lap time. Stopping the clock with a 33.618 his fastest lap was some 2 seconds quicker than that of 2nd placed Hu Weiping but over 3 consecutive laps the Kyosho driver was only 1 tenth of a second behind in Rd2, though with his first round time 3 seconds quicker the US Tekno driver currently tops the overall seeding. Jonathan Yeung was 3rd with a solid practice, finding a lot of time between rounds, with Czech Sunpadow supported Xray racer Kaja Novotny getting on the board with P4 following a problematic first practice, just in front of Yusuke Sugiura in 5th.

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March 16, 2018

Sugiura heads Controlled Practice at 2018 SIGP

Controlled Practice is in full swing here in Xiamen, China and it is Japanese Kyosho driver Yusuke Sugiura who heads the Nitro times with an impressive 2nd round run that saw him move to the top of the times, leapfrogging Ryan Lutz, the American failing to improve after trying a complete setup change. Chinese National Champion Hu Weiping would remain in 3rd, who along with young Hong Kong driver Jonathan Yeung, failed to improve in the 2nd round as track conditions changed and the surface got more dusty.

Kyosho team driver Sugiura is a fan of the track but feels the surface has changed a lot since the first practice run, saying it was wet and loose in the morning and now it is very dusty and loose. Setting the fastest lap of the event so far with a 34.596, set on the last lap of CP2, he is still getting used to the track and puts his improvement down to that as well as a change from Proline Blockade M3 to AKA Impact Soft long life tires. For the final practice to be run later this afternoon he plans to try a damper change, going to harder oil because of the warmer conditions.

Fastest in the first practice this morning, for CP2 Tekno star Ryan Lutz made the decision to completely copy the setup of team mate Jonathan Yeung having ‘watched his car and it looked good, how it absorbed the bumps was amazing’. Feeling the setup he ended up was too soft for his liking, rolling too much in the corners, he now has a good base and will tweak it to get it to his liking.

Top Chinese driver Hu Weiping would end up in 3rd, some 4 seconds back over 3 laps, the Kyosho racer going the wrong direction in tires for CP2, switching from Sweep’s Defender to Pixel tires but ending up with no traction as the track started to break up in the sections that were damp this morning. For the final round of practice today Ping will go back to the Defender but choose for a harder compound.

Hong Kong Tekno racer Yeung was 4th fastest following the two round of controlled practice having made lots of changes to his car to improve stability and make it land better. Enjoying the dusty conditions and the track layout, his main problem is with traffic as he was placed in the 3rd fastest heat and in the challenging S-section is running into a lot of crashed traffic which is hampering his pace.

Rounding out the top 5 after 2 rounds is reigning Taiwanese Champion Chen Guanxian driving the Agama car and chasing setup with him feeling his car was too stable in the opening round this morning but becoming too aggressive in the 2nd round, something he puts down to the damp track in the morning and the higher temperatures in the afternoon.

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March 16, 2018

Track Focus – Xiamen ARC International Raceway

Track Name – Xiamen ARC International Raceway
Host – 3-Circles
Country – China
Location – Xiamen
Direction – Clockwise
Surface – Sugared and glued dirt

Host of the most recent IFMAR EP Offroad World Championships, ARC International Raceway are hosting their annual big money offroad race at their impressive facility situated in the grounds of the 3-Circles battery factory in Xiamen, China. The second time running the event, which also has an onroad variant run on the large tarmac track that is set next to the dirt track, this year’s SIGP has attracted a large entry with close to 200 entries spread across both 1/8th nitro and EP Offroad.

In terms of the track itself, its has been made bigger again to fill the full 75m x 40m track area having been reduced for the 1/10th scale Worlds back in November. Designed once more by Lung Chuan Lee from Taiwan, the building process started 3 weeks ago and was only completed last Saturday after which it was treated with glue and sugar and covered in tarpaulins having rained since.

With the sun now out it means most drivers are only getting their first taste of the track this morning, one of those being visiting US Tekno driver Ryan Lutz. Asked for his thoughts on the track he really liked the size and layout, saying the jumps were pretty straight forward with the main challenge in the first of 3 controlled practice sessions being the damp mud patches on some of the corners which are very sticky. When the track dries however he feels the right side S section coming off the back straight is the most technical, needing to ensure you don’t carry too much speed off the back straight to be sure you are lined up perfectly.

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