August 21, 2016

New in the Pits – Xenon & Sanwa


Xenon Racing have shown off their new VSS front end shock conversion which is compatible with the Associated car which means it also works on the Roche and Morotech amongst others. Best suited to bumpy tracks it is the only 1/12th front end with a damper that is compatible with all these cars and has a better leverage ratio compared to all the others available, meaning the shock absorber functions more effectively. Adjustable through greasing the damper tube it makes the car less twitchy over bumps and makes it turn in smoother at high speed, as well as giving more traction. Available as a set with just the top plastic parts shown in the assembly or as part of the new soon to be released Destiny VD12 chassis.


New from Sanwa, comes their second generation Super Vortex 1S & 2S electronic speed controller. Featuring an all aluminium casing it has a unique air duct cooling system to channel air from the on board fan to the bottom of the ESC where the CPU and regulator are positioned. Another neat feature is that as normal you can set the speedo through a program box as well as update the firmware using the same box and connecting it via your PC but if you have the M12S or Exces ZZ and use the latest receiver you can update the settings through your transmitter while on the track. Through the radio you can change the rpm for the boost, turbo percentage and neutral dead points plus more. The Gen2 can also handle 35% more current than its predecessor and can be used with 4.5T using 2 cells and 3.5T with 1 cell. Supplied with fan, duct, wires, sensor cable, 2 capacitors and shrink sleeving.

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August 21, 2016

Kitazawa 3rd different driver to post TQ at 1:12 Worlds


Hideo Kitazawa became the third different driver to post a TQ run at the 1:12 World Championships in Beijing, China, the 2014 podium finisher topping Q3 ahead of the pace setters of the opening two qualifiers.  The Morotech driver snatched the qualifier after a late mistake from Q1 winner Akio Sobue with Q2 topping Naoto Matsukura completing the Top 3 despite his car falling apart over the 8-minutes.  With earlier mistakes from Matsukura and Sobue handing Hayato Ishioka the lead for a time until he too became a victim of the difficult track to eventually finish 4th.  After run time issues in both opening qualifiers, Jilles Groskamp would be the only non Japanese driver in the Top 8, the Dutchman getting a sixth while the top European of the first two qualifiers Marc Rheinard retired after damaging his car.  With two P2 runs to his credit, the reigning World Champion was less then complimentary of the driving standards of Matsukura who he felt should have opened for Sobue but instead caused ‘a mess’.


Having failed to finish Q1 after a ‘big crash’ but showing good with a P4 in Q2, Kitazawa was pleased that his day was getting better.  Feeling he has been able to improve his car a little each run he put his TQ run down to improving his car.  Improving his time by more than 6-seconds but missing out on Matsukura’s 39-lap pace of Q2, the Futaba employee said the track changed a lot for Q3 adding that the traction for the round was at the highest its been so far.  Describing track conditions as ‘not stable’, he put the higher traction down to an increased humidity in the hall.  Feeling conditions for the day’s final qualifier should be cooler he will adjust the on his prototype 12WX to account for this.


Losing out to Kitazawa by just 0.43 of a second, Sobue said he was ‘unlucky’ to miss a second TQ run.  Having retired from Q2 with a broken diff in his CRC, he said with a freshly built diff in the car for Q3 the overall performance of the car ‘was better’ as a result.  Touching the pipe put his car out in the dust, he said the car was then loose and this was what cost him the time.  With the overall TQ set to be decided over tomorrow’s final two qualifiers, three rounds from the six to count, Sobue still needs another result after his Q2 retirement and planning to leave his car unchanged is focused on ending the day with a run that locks him in the A-Main.


‘A beginner’ was Matsukura’s reaction after Q3, the Roche driver lucky to get P3 as both trail links came undone from the rear pod due to loose screws.  Suffering a huge off in the sweeper off the main straight, the 22-year-old said that was caused by the first screw coming out but was less certain about when the second come off adding he was ‘lucky’ to finish with a third for the round.


Posting his first Top 10 run, with P6 just behind Toto Ebukuro, Groskamp said a change to the boost and timing on his speedo had finally allowed him to run the full 8-minutes.  ‘Surprised’ to find himself having run time issues, he said while the set-up changes have left him ‘lacking power a little’, they had left him with a ‘more stable’ car.  Admitting he is ‘still not close to the fast guys’ as he ‘can’t put in super fast lap times’, he also feels they might have an issue with his tyre truing. Running a Roche chassis, the Team Infinity driver said at the start of the race the car feels like it is floating on the track and its only late in the run that the tyres come in.


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August 21, 2016

Matsukura gets it done in Q2


Having faded badly after a blistering start to Q1, Naoto Matsukura was able to go the full 8-minutes in the second qualifier at the 1:12 World Championships to TQ the round ahead of Marc Rheinard.  The Roche driver would be the only one to run 39-laps of the tricky Chinese track with Rheinard losing out on the extra lap as he failed to complete the full distance as his car dumped and came to a halt as he tried to complete the 39th lap. Having taken the opening qualifier, Akio Sobue would retire with a broken diff just before the 6-minute mark with Keven Hebert making up for his Q1 retirement to complete the Top 3.  Just 0.056 behind Morotech’s Hideo Kitazawa who would enjoy a P4 run with Juho Levanen again getting securing a fifth for the round.


Despite posting a marginally quicker fastest lap than that of Q1, Matsukura said his ‘car was not perfect’, adding ‘after my crashes in Q1 the rear of the car needs more maintenance’.  Planning to ‘check it over’ ahead of Q3, the 3-time Champion said even with his car not 100% he felt both ‘Akio and Marc were closer’ to him on pace than in the first qualifier.  With run time an issue for Rheinard and both drivers running the same electrics when asked about his run time Matsukura replied he had ‘no problem’ in that department.


Surprised by his car dumping, Rheinard said, ‘I don’t know what caused it, everything was the same as in Q1 other than using just a different battery’.  With Matsukura running no fan on his speedo, Muchmore’s Mr. Jang will remove the fan from Rheinard’s car for Q3.  Running a larger tyre for Q2, the defending World Champion said his Yokomo ‘felt more safe’ but the car is ‘still missing everything’ in terms of grip and traction. Feeling he can better manage his tyres than his Tamiya touring car team-mate Matsukura, the German feels he has a chance now at matching the Japanese driver over the 8-minutes if he said ‘I don’t dump’.


After crashes led to his retirement in Q1, Hebert summed up the second qualifier with, ‘that was better’.  The Team Associated driver said ‘the car had loads of rear traction but now its loose and I have to wait for it to come in but that was a safe run’.  The Canadian added, ‘I lost a lot of time early on trying to find my groove so for the next one I will sauce a little longer in the rear’.


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August 21, 2016

Sobue takes opening qualifier in China


Akio Sobue has taken the opening round of qualifying at the 1:12 World Championships in China.  The CRC driver topped the first of the six scheduled qualifiers after a blistering fast run from Naoto Matsukura came undone in the final two minutes as the former champion ran out of tyres.  The top seed for qualifying, Matsukura quickly pulled clear of his rivals building up an advantage of over 6-seconds, but with a lap time that was 3/10th faster than anyone else his pace took its toll on the Roche drivers tyres leading to a the first of a number of huge crashes coming off the main straight. With the crashes leading him to finish almost a lap down on Sobue in P8, it was reigning champion Marc Rheinard who would be closest to Sobue’s time with JJ Wang, who is running in the second fastest heat, completing the Top 3.


Having dominated both free and controlled practice, when the order was determined by 3-consecutive laps, Matsukura’s first qualifying attempt came undone as his body shell start to rub the carpet as a result of the reducing tyre diameter.  Eventually the body would leave the reigning Touring Car World Champion with no steering leading to the first of a number of spectacular off, Wang who was marshalling the corner after the straight saying afterwards he ‘almost died marshalling’ such was the force of one of Matsukura’s offs.  With tyre wear a problem for all drivers due to the track’s low traction, Matsukura was confident that raising the ride height and trimming his body would prevent the problems happening again in Q2.


‘I’m happy’ was Sobue’s reaction to the somewhat surprise TQ run.  Sixth fastest in controlled practice, the Tamiya touring car team-mate of Rheinard said a set-up change for Q1 had caused his car to be ‘a little difficult to drive’ with the Japanese driver complaining of having ‘a little too much steering’.  Putting the problem down to going too far with set-up adjustment, the 22-year-old will ‘take it back a little’, feeling it should make the car both faster and more consistent for Q2.


Rheinard summed up his P2 time with, ‘the result is better than it (the car) drove’.   He continued, his Yokomo ‘just doesn’t feel like a 1:12 to drive. It just slides around and the tyre wear is like we are driving on sand paper’.  Asked about improving the car, the 3-time Touring Car World Champion said, ‘I’ve no idea. Everyone is in the same boat except Naoto, he is on a completely different level although I don’t know why he didn’t back it off for the last 2-minutes.  He had loads of time on everyone and could have easily still TQ’d’.


Describing his first qualifier as ‘a safe run’, Wang said his ‘car is not fast’.  The Xray driver continued, ‘I knew if I got a clean 8-minutes I could do ok and so the plan was to keep it on the racing line.’  While suffering ‘a few bobbles here & there’, the Shanghai based driver had just one mistake and ‘pretty happy’ with the result said  ‘I need two more’.  Planning to leave his X12 unchanged for Q2 he said while ‘the last 2-minutes are most difficult’ he would work around it and adapt his driving to suit.


Describing his car as ‘not super fast’, Masatsugu Ito was pleased to get a P4 for the qualifier.  Having set-up his Yokomo for stability rather than speed, the 22-year-old said the car was ‘easier to drive’ allowing for a safe 8-minute run. Asked about his tyre wear over the last minutes of the qualifier, he replied it was ‘manageable’ and for Q2 he will just try to repeat the run with ‘another safe drive’.


With Associated team-mate Keven Hebert crashing out of Q1 having impressed in CP2 with the second fastest time behind Matsukura, it was Juho Levanen who led the challenge of the American manufacturer.  Posting the 5th fastest time despite dumping on his final lap, the Finn said ‘I don’t think the car is any faster than before’.  He added, ‘its not super fast but it was the consistency that got the result’.  Asked about coming short on run time, the former World’s podium finisher said it was down to ‘too much power and not enough capacity’.  With Jilles Groskamp also dumping in the same heat, Levanen said, ‘we are running a new speedo here and still need to find the right settings.  The track is also bigger than what we are used to for 1:12’.  Along with adjusting the setting on the Reedy speedo he will also ‘gear down’ for Q2.


Completing the Top 6 ahead of Japanese champion Hayato Ishioka, was 17-year-old 1:12 specialist Kousuke Suzuki.  The 17-year-old said ‘the last two minutes were tough to drive’ and he is considering a set-up change on his CRC.   Behind the two Japanese drivers, Xray’s Alexander Hagberg would get ninth with Toto Ebukuro completing the Top 10.


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August 21, 2016

Matsukura top seed for qualifying


Picking up where he left off in free practice yesterday, Naoto Matsukura has topped controlled practice to put himself top seed for qualifying at the 1:12 World Championships in China.  Chasing a fourth World title in the class, the Roche driver was considerably faster than his rivals over 3-consecutive laps, his time a 36.462 compared to the next best of 37.000 set by a much improved Keven Hebert. With Toto Ebukuro completing the Top 3 it wasn’t the best of mornings for reigning World Champion Marc Rheinard.  Having had his time, a P5, for the first of the two controlled practices disallowed for his tyres not being marked, CP2 didn’t start out well as he had to pull off to have his rear tyres tightened.  Rejoining he would eventually get three laps that would leave him 7th quickest one spot ahead of reigning European Champion Alexander Hagberg.


Setting his impressive 3-laps in CP1,  Matsukura would make a set-up change for the second but it left him struggling for traction leading to a number of big crashes one which required his car to need running repairs. Declaring the first practice as ‘very good’, him able to post a 12.051 fastest lap of the two rounds, the 22-year-old said he ‘had too much steering and lacked traction’ for CP2 and so he will go back to his early set-up for the first of the 6 scheduled qualifiers – the best three determining the line up for the finals.  With the 2008/10/12 Champion clearly the fastest driver on outright pace, the Japanese driver himself admitted 8-minutes would be a different challenge declaring it will be ‘super difficult’ to go the entire run without crashing on what is a ‘very tricky’ track layout.


Only 7th fastest in the opening seeding round, Hebert would make a big step forward with the performance of his Associated RC12R5.2 for CP2.  Bettering his fastest lap time by over 2/10ths and his 3-consecutive laps by almost 7/1oth, the Canadian said a stiffer centre spring ‘woke the car up’ adding it was ‘much better’ and had more steering.  He also attributed the extra speed to driving ‘more aggressive’ saying his car ‘could take that easy’.  ‘Super happy with (his) overall pace’, the 2014 5th place finisher summed up the car as ‘consistent and easy to drive’ adding ‘that seems to be the ticket’.  Team-mate Juho Levanen would also enjoy a stronger CP2 to post the 10th fastest time but with the low 46 car entry the former podium finisher will run in the second fastest heat.


The leading challenger of multiple champion manufacturer Yokomo, Ebukuro’s P3 time came in the first controlled practice.  Describing the overall feeling of his YRX12 as ‘getting better’, the Japanese National Championship runner-up said while others might be faster over a lap he will focus on consistency for the 8-minutes.


‘Everything OK’ was how Hideo Kitazawa summed his performance of the fourth best time which he set in CP1.  The Morotech driver & 2014 Podium finisher would suffer a broken diff in the final minutes of CP2 putting that down to the track being looser second time round.   Looking to Q1, he said other  than rebuild the diff he will leave his car unchanged adding the plan was to ‘go safe for the 8-minutes’.


Posting the 5th fastest time, reigning Japanese National Champion Hayato Ishioka described his performance as ‘so, so’.  Heading the campaign of reigning champion manufacturer CRC, the 20-year-old used the two controlled practices to back to back different tyre sizes.  Running bigger tyres in CP1, he would set his best three laps with them and trying smaller tyres for CP2 he said afterwards ‘bigger was better’.  Running Kimihiko Yano tyres and with no set-up changes planned, he is targeting ‘a consistent run’ for Q1.


Making it a strong early showing for Japanese drivers in Beijing, Akio Sobue set the 6th fastest time to make it 5 Japanese in the Top 6.  The Tamiya touring car ace who is running for CRC in 1:12 scale, would post his best time in CP2.  Fitting a fresh LRP motor to his car for the first practice, he reverted back to the LRP motor he ran yesterday in free practice saying he thought it was better.  In terms of his car he confident ‘it is good for 8-minutes’ and with it ‘consistent’ he will keep it the same for Q1.


Summing up his performance as ‘consistent but too slow’, Rheinard said qualifying ‘depends on who crashes less’.  The German added, ‘Naoto is fastest but he is crashing a lot’.  Asked about his CP1 DQ, the time a 1/10th faster than his counting CP2 time, the Yokomo driver said, ‘we cut new tyres and forgot to get them marked just trying to be ready in time’.  With only an hour between runs due to the low entry, which is slightly up on that of the last Worlds held in the US, many drivers have complained about the lack of time to get ready between runs, the high tyre wear adding to the work load.  For his opening qualifier, Rheinard will run the car unchanged and just run ‘a little bigger tyre and try not to crash’.

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