Volker TQ’s second qualifier

Ronald Volker

Ronald Volker got Day 3 of the Touring Car World Championships underway with a TQ run, the second round of qualifying again producing a Yokomo 1-2 with yesterday’s Q1 pace setter Naoto Matuskura second fastest. Tamiya’s Marc Rheinard would again complete the Top 3 with the surprise of the event Bruno Coelho posting an impressive fourth for Team Xray.

Volker

The pre-event favourite coming into the Florida event, Volker said he was ‘very happy to get his first TQ run’. Seeing team-mate Matsukura have issues in front of him and seeing he was pulling clear of Rheinard behind him, Volker said instead of pushing and taking any risks he just worked on maintaining his rhythm. Having made a very slight change to the set-up of his BD7 2015, the 4-time ETS Champion said the car didn’t feel any better or any worse than in Q1. Looking to get more confidence with the car, the German will again make further tweaks as they ‘work on getting a better feeling’.

Matsukura

Posting the fastest lap of the round, Matsukura said his car was fast, had a ‘good feeling’ and has the pace for another TQ. Unfortunately for the 3-time 1:12 World Champion the right side of his bodyshell tucked distracting him and causing him to get out of shape. While it would pop back out, he said it took him about two more laps after that to get back into his rhythm.

Rheinard

Making contact with the wall coming onto the main straight and then having a huge slide some laps later at the end of the straight, Rheinard said this cost him time. Describing the run as ‘OK’ he said he is not so far off but did concede the battle for the TQ is between the Yokomo drivers. Aiming for a Top 3 starting position in the A-Main, the 3-time Touring Car World Champion said he should be good to bring that battle from there.

Coelho

With his luggage, which got lost in London on the trip over from Portugal, finally turning up, Coelho was able to sport his colour scheme in Q2 with a freshly painted Protoform LTC-R bodyshell. The European Championship Top Qualifier, who lost out on taking the European title win due to a speedo issue, said his T4 felt a little strange at the start of the run but after a few laps started to run real well. Only 45th in Q1 after a last lap crash, he plans to leave his car as is and focus on a repeat run, driver needing 3 good run from the six qualifiers.

Viktor Wilck

Fifth for the round, Viktor Wilck said his run ‘was OK’ and he just drove to get points. Putting in a ‘really safe drive’, the Swede said his Tamiya is not fast enough for much more as its too easy to drive. He plans to try a number of changes for Q3 as he looks to made his TRF419 more aggressive.

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World Champion Jilles Groskamp took his example of the new TRF419 to the sixth fastest time. Describing the car as ‘a little better than before’ he said he had a few small driver errors over the 5-minutes but even without they wouldn’t have affected the ranking for the round. More consistent over the second half of the run he will make a small diff oil change for the next one.

Hagberg

‘Better, at least the car was drivable’, was how Alexander Hagberg summed up his run to the seventh fastest time. Having to let team mate Coelho through in the heat, he said this cost him a little time but he was happy to get a solid run under him. Planning set-up changes for Q3, he said while it was going to be hard to fight for a top result he hoped to be able to at least push the pace more next time out.

LemieuxCar

Behind Hagberg was his team-mate Paul Lemieux. The American said his T4 was ‘really pushing’ but he was ‘happy to get a clean run finally’. Considering a number of changes to try and improve the car he said he is not yet sure whether to change his rear wing, toe, and raise the car all at once or just pick out one change.

Hara

Describing the pace as ‘so close’, Hara said you don’t even need to crash to lose time but just run a slightly bad racing line. Declaring 9th as ‘not too bad for sure’, the 2000 Champion said there are two groups in the Top 10 and he is in the second one. Hoping to break the Top 5 he will try less rear toe-in on his Yokomo for Q3 as the car is currently too easy to drive and not able to carry enough corner speed. Behind Hara fellow countryman & team-mate Hayato Matsuzaki completed the Top 10 followed by Yannic Prumper and Akio Sobue.

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Chassis Focus – Freddy Sudhoff

Sat-SudhoffA700-7

Chassis – Awesomatix A700 Evo
Motor – LRP X20 4.5T
ESC – LRP Flow
Battery – LRP 6000mAh
Radio/Servos – Sanwa
Body – Protoform Speed 6
Remarks – Freddy Sudhoff is running some prototype parts on his A700 Evo from Awesomatix here in Florida. The car features new 3d printed front and rear c-hubs which feature a pin in the bottom compared to a pivot ball so when used with the car’s new arm sweep option means the uprights will not remain in their set position under suspension compression but instead also change with the arm sweep while on the front it will now have bump steer. There are also new shorter aluminium A-arms, a thicker main shaft for less vibrations and a bigger centre line stiffener for more flex options. There is also a new floating motor mount which brings it in line for the other cars on the market, something that is harder to achieve with an inline motor. In terms of setup Freddy is trying to find more mid corner steering and has changed to a stiffer shock setting and flex setting as well as going for heavier diff oil.

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Matsukura takes first qualifier at Touring Car Worlds

LRFri-NaotoRd1

Naoto Matsukura headed a Yokomo 1-2 in the opening round of qualifying at the Touring Car World Championships in Kissimmee, the Japanese driver 1.2 seconds faster than team-mate Ronald Volker over 5-minutes. The only other driver to run 18-laps of the Full Throttle RC Raceway track, Tamiya’s Marc Rheinard completed the Top 3, finishing just 1/10th of a second off Volker. Having some issues with traffic and suffering a crash reigning champion Jilles Groskamp got his title defence underway with an 8th for Q1.

LRFri-NaotoCar-2

Happy to get qualifying underway with a TQ run, Matsukura said nerves got the better of him on the opening lap as he led away the field and if it wasn’t for Volker making a crash himself his team-mate would have easily topped the times. Having to push to make up for his first lap error, he said with a TQ run now in hand he should be more relaxed for tomorrow morning’s Q2 and happy with his BD7 2015 he will run the same set-up.

Volker

Setting the fastest lap of the round, Volker said he struggled with the corner at the timing loop. Hitting the paint there twice, this caused his LRP powered BD7 to get twitchy and he missed his line for the next corner resulting in his LRP powered BD7 jumping over the curb. Sticking with the same set-up as he ran in the final practice but with a new servo fitted after noticing the casing was cracked after contact with boards, he said with ‘Naoto gone’ he just focused on keeping the rest of the run clean. Having dropped to fourth he said a lack of communication there after from race control left him unaware as to how hard he needed to push but ‘luckily’ he did enough to get second ahead of Rheinard. ‘Still not 100% with the car’, Volker said while it is fast and on pace, he would like to find a little extra to make it more ‘comfortable’ to him.

Rheinard

Rheinard was frustrated at how close he was to Volker, but said as an opening qualifier it was a ‘good safe run’. Suffering a bad 3-laps in CP3 which determined the standing order of the reseeded heats, the newly crowned 1:12 World Champion said starting 8th and having to pass cars made it a little hard to get into his rhythm. Reverting to his CP2 set-up, he said his Muchmore powered TRF419 was better but after his contact with the boards coming onto the straight in the final practice he ‘took it easy’ adding he can find time there tomorrow.

Meen Vejrak

1:10 Nitro Touring Car World Champion Meen Vejrak claimed fourth for Q1. Running in the second fastest heat, the Yokomo driver reverted to the set-up he ran in the morning’s opening controlled practice saying it gave the car good feeling again. In the last minute of the run, the Thai driver would struggle with a lack of braking resulting in a number of mistakes. The problem appears to have been caused by his motor getting too hot with Hobby Wing recommending he move his cooling fan from in front of the motor, where it is picking up the heat of the speedo, to behind it.

Akio Sobue

Setting the fifth fastest time Akio Sobue felt his Tamiya suffered from an imbalanced set of tyres. With the centre line of the tyres also different on each tyre, drivers not being permitted to trim it in anyway, the 20-year-old said this resulting in him having two mistakes. Hopeful of a better set of tyres for Q2, he is confident both he and his TRF419 can run better tomorrow.

Hara

‘Not too bad’ was how Atsushi Hara summed up his run to 6th in the first qualifier. Electric Touring Cars first World Champion, the Yokomo driver said he ws struggling with consistency through some of the corners. While overall his ‘car felt ok to drive’, the traction was very sensitive to both the position on the line and the throttle input. Having watched team-mate Matsukura’s qualifier he will try his younger fellow countryman’s set-up for Q2.

Hayato Matsuzaki

2010 World Championship runner-up Hayato Matsuzaki claimed a seventh for the first of the six qualifiers. The former 2WD Buggy World Champion, said the run was ‘good for me’ with things getting better the whole day. Pointing out he is not fast enough by highlight his fastest lap of 17.616 compared to team-mate Volker’s 17.108, he said his time came from good consistency over the 5-minutes. Reluctant to change his set-up as he feels the track conditions vary every time he goes on track he said for Q2 he will just try to be more aggressive at the start of the run when the tyres are at their best.

Jilles Groskamp

Groskamp said his time ‘should have been a little better’. Having to let Xray’s Bruno Coelho by only for the Portuguese driver to crash and then run behind him again before he himself crashed, he said he considered himself lucky to get 8th as the crash could easily have broken his car. Happy that the pace is there he said he is now a little more confident for tomorrow and hopefully he can open Q2 with a clean run. For Coelho, contact with the boards coming on to the straight on his last lap put his steering servo out of line causing his struggling T4 to drop to 45th.

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Completing the Top 10 behind Singapore TRF driver Nicholas Lee, Kyosho’s Christopher Krapp said his car should have been a lot faster given the cooler conditions. Running behind Matsukura the German said he was losing a lot of time to him at the end of the straight. Talking to Kyosho/Orion team-manager Joe Pillars afterwards, he said they have to up the turbo on his Orion Speedo for Q2. Having ran safe lines, he also hoped to benefit from tightening up his driving for the next one.

JJ Wang

The world debut of HB’s new PRO 5 chassis, JJ Wang just missed out on a Top 10 run posting the 11th fastest time ahead of fellow US racers Paul Lemieux and Rick Hohwart. With team-mate & former World Champion Andy Moore 14th, Wang said he is struggling with the car pushing at the end of the straight but having talked with his team about possible set-up changes he thinks they can improve that for the morning.

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Video – Controlled Practice Rd3

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Matsukura tops final practice

LRFri-NaotoStand

Naoto Matsukura topped the final round of practice at the Touring Car World Championships in Florida recording both the fastest 3-consecutive laps of the day and the first 18-laps run of the Kissimmee track. The Japanese driver headed the third controlled practice from Yokomo team-mate Ronald Volker with Xray’s Paul Lemieux third and defending World Champion Jilles Groskamp fourth. With the heats for qualifying already set after the first two rounds of controlled practice, Volker topping that, by setting the pace in CP3 Matsukura will lead away the top heat in this evenings opening round of qualifying.

LRFri-NaotoSauce

Pleased with the ‘clean’ run, Matsukura said his ‘car was good’ and with the driver ‘feeling good’ he was looking forward to qualifying getting underway. With a car that seems to have an edge over team-mate Volker when the conditions are cooler, the 21-year-old is confident about his chances in the first of the six scheduled qualifiers which will bring Day 2 of the Kissimmee event to a close.

Volker

Volker felt his car was ‘a tiny bit better’ in the previous practice and said only Matsukura was a bit faster the rest of the field was bigger so all was still good. Planning to discuss with his engineer Yukijiro Umino if they can get the car to run as it did in CP2, the European Champion said he ran a clean 5-minutes and he was happy with that. For the opening qualifier he added he would ‘step up things a bit’ in terms of his driving.

LRFri-LemieuxStand

While his three laps improved, Lemieux said he needs to improve for the first qualifier. Really good at the beginning, the RC America driver said he worked his tyres too much and he was struggling by the end. Not sure whether its the set-up or his driving which is at fault, for Q1 he will leave the car as is and try to drive differently with the big focus being to put in a clean 5-minutes so as to try and get a decent first round result.

Jilles

‘Not too bad’ was Groskamp’s summary of the final practice. Suffering one crash that cost him 4-seconds, he said this allowed him to run behind Volker adding it was good to see the lines the German was running. Apart from the crash, he said this was the best he has driven so far in the event and he hopes to carry that through to qualifying.

Bruno

Raising a few eyebrows with his P2 pace in the second controlled practice, Bruno Coelho backed it up with a 5th in the final practice. The Portuguese driver described the round as ‘so so’. A good first half the sun then started to effect his view causing his eyes to water up. Behind Coelho Tamiya’s Akio Sobue completed the Top 6 followed by team-mate Viktor Wilck.

Rheinard

Tamiya’s 3-time Touring Car World Champion Marc Rheinard would post the 10th fastest time. Mistakes on the entry to the main straight on the opening two laps ruined a good 3-lap time but the German said changes to his set-up for the run left the car not as good. While his driving improved for the rest of the run, his engineer Kiyo Suzuki will change the TRF419 back to the set-up used in CP2.

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Coelho stars in slower CP2

Bruno Coelho

European Championship Top Qualifier Bruno Coelho caused a bit of a surprise in the second round of controlled practice with the Xray driver setting the second fastest time behind Ronald Volker. In general a slower practice, due to it taking place during the hottest time of the day, the Portuguese driver’s time was good enough to put him third overall in the reseed for qualifying. Topping the time sheets, Volker couldn’t improve on his CP1 pace due to the hotter conditions but also compounded by an issue of his opening lap starting early due to position of his car on the start line. Race officials have since moved and marked out a new starting line further back around the corner on which the loop is positioned.

Bruno Coelho

Having not contested the last World Championships, Coelho found himself in Heat 1 of 12. Putting him at a disadvantage in CP1 this morning, it would play to his advantage in CP2 as he was able to run in slightly cooler conditions that those in the top two heats. None the less as very impressive drive from the 21-year-old, for whom this is his first every time to run at Full Throttle RC Raceway, he said his T4 has been good from the first time he put it on the track with learning the track being his biggest focus. Now set to run in the top heat he said running with cars all of a similar speed should help him further improve on his driving of the track.

Ronald Volker

Volker said while he had some issues with the loop on his first lap his goal for CP2 was always on running a 5-minute time. Running just 1-second slower than his morning total time, the 4-time Euro Touring Series Champion said he could feel the track was not as fast but still his lap time average was ‘good’.

Naoto Matsukura

Setting the fastest lap of the round with a 17.420, Naoto Matsukura would post the 3rd fastest time of the round which claim 5th overall in the seeding. Managing only 2-laps in CP1 due to making contact with the boards, the Yokomo driver would have a ‘spin out’ on his opening lap. Unlike team-mate Volker, Matsukura’s BD7 seems to be at it best in cooler conditions with the 21-year-old saying the track was too hot for his car this time round.

Groskamp

Tamiya filled fourth through to sixth for the round. Fourth and sixth respectively Viktor Wilck and Marc Rheinard failed to improve on their morning times but World Champion Jilles Groskamp was able to find over 3/10ths over his best 3-laps to book his spot in the top heat for qualifying. Reducing the turbo delay on his Orion speedo, he said this cut out the corner overshoots he suffered in the first round. Happy with the car’s improvement, the Dutch ace was also encouraged by the fact while others went slower he improved.

Olly Jefferies

Another improver in CP2 was British National Champion Olly Jefferies. Only 22nd in the morning, the Xray driver posted the 7th fastest time of the second run. Copying the set-up of team-mate Alexander Hagberg, Jefferies switched over to Xray’s ARS (Active Rear Suspension) set-up which gave his T4 more steering. Pleased to have made a big step forward for the final practice he will make some small tweaks to get the set-up better suited to his driving.

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Introduction

Red RC are in Florida, USA for the 2014 IFMAR onroad World Championships. Starting with 1/12th scale in Tampa, can anyone stop 3-time back to back to back World Champion Naoto Matsukura from securing his 4th title. Our coverage starts from Tuesday morning (7th) through to the end of finals day on Wednesday. Then its on to Kissimmee for Touring car where Jilles Groskamp will be looking to defend his World title from a stacked field of some of the best TC drivers in the World. Red RC's coverage of the TC portion of the event begins in full on Thursday morning (9th) and for both events we will be trackside bringing you reports, insights, videos and photos directly from the track throughout the week.

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