Teemu Leino has surprised his rivals in Thailand by recording the fastest time in controlled practice as day one of the 1:12 scale World Championships comes to a close. The flying Finn is debuting Xray’s new XII and was the only driver to record 39 laps over 8 minutes with his closest rival being Speed Passion driver Jilles Groskamp who just missed out on 39 laps recording 38 in a time of 8:00.644.
Commenting on his day’s performance Leino, who took 1:12 victory at this year’s Snowbirds, said he was really surprised himself at how the day had gone. Asked what changes he had made to the car the Xray factory driver said other than changing the bodyshell earlier in the day, he had done little to the car saying the track conditions were coming to the car. He feels it is not super fast but is very consistent over the entire run. In terms of lap times Leino managed a best time of 12.227 which was the third fastest lap time of day so the package is proving itself to be a force to be reckoned with here in Bangkok.
Marc Rheinard ends the day with the third fastest run despite breaking the rear motor pod on his Hot Bodies after jumping the chicane. Behind the German ace are two more Hot Bodies with Shin Adachi pulling off a great final run for the day to go 4th fastest. Adachi, who last raced a 1:12th scale six years ago, said both himself and the car were improving as the day progressed and he was happy with his Day 1 performance. For Andy Moore the last run was a little better than earlier but the Englishman says the car is still not right. Very nervous to drive he unable to get in a good rythm. Hupo Honigl rounded out the Top 6 with his LRP powered CRC Gen X Black Art edition.
Atsushi Hara made radical changes to his Cyclone 12X for the second controlled practice to try and make the car smoother to drive but it had the opposite effect. Although the 1:8 Off Road World Champion managed a new fastest lap for the event, setting a time of 12.136, for the final controllled practice tomorrow morning he will revert to his old set up. One of the pre-event favourite for 1:12 honours, Hara admitted to being surprised by Leino’s strong pace in 1:12 but believes tomorrow his Hot Bodies team mates, who have not enjoyed as much testing as him with the 1:12 scale will be a stronger force. Sandwiched between Hara and Leino in terms of lap times is Yokomo hot property Naoto Matsukura, the 14-year-old clocking a 12:216 but the Japanese driver failed to finish the final practice. Another driver to put in a quick lap time to make it four different manufacturers in the Top 4 of the official ranking issued by race officials, which is based on fastest lap times, is Team Associated’s Juho Levanen. Although the Finn suffered a problem with run time after trying a different motor set-up he was happier with the consistency of car and feels tomorrow will be better.
So Day 1 of the 2008 IFMAR Onroad World Championships has been completed here at the RCS in Bangkok and we have seen a number of surprise but its tomorrow when all the times really start to count as we have the first four of six qualifiers that will decide the starting positions for Tuesday’s finals. Our live coverage, which is supported by Speed Passion and LRP, continues tomorrow morning.
The first controlled practice has been completed and heading the times over 8 minutes is Atsushi Hara. The Japanese driver turned in 38 laps in a time of 8:02.962 which was over 5 seconds clear of second placed Jilles Groskamp. Hideo Kitazawa completed the Top 3 as the only other driver to record 38 laps. In terms of lap times we saw the fastest lap yet of the championships with young Japanese ace Naoto Matsukura stoping the clocks with a blistering 12.246 at the controls of his Associated.
Daisuke Yoshioka was fastest of those on 37 laps with an 8:02.868 followed by IIC Champion Hupo Honigl and Touring Car Pre Worlds winner Viktor Wilck who completed the Top 6. Marc Rheinard had his time disallowed after being disqualified for running unmarked batteries but reported his Cyclone as working better. Teemu Leino also ran practice batteries resulting in him too loosing his time. Free Practice pace setter Juho Levanen was unable to improve his time after suffering a suspected diff failure on his Associated RC12R5.
Juho Levanen pulled off a big surprise in the final free practice for the 1:12 Worlds here in Thailand when he recorded a blistering fastest lap time of 12.347 at the controls of his Associated RC12R5. The Finn has been running in the Top 10 all morning in terms of lap times and seemed to surprise himself in the third as he became the first driver to top title favourite Hara who produced a 12.470 lap.
Asked where he had found his extra pace from, the Associated factory driver wasn’t sure but admitted the car was only good for four minutes, after which grip became a big problem. The Finn will play around with tire additives for the first of the two controlled practice runs later today.
Completing the Top 3 for free practice was Naoto Matsukura. The young Japanese star, who Hara yesterday told us he rated very highly, has his car dialled in now and is starting to show why he is back to back Japanese Champion. Jilles Groskamp is fourth fastest on lap times and is much happier with his CRC now having tried specially produced CRC tyres in the third run. The Dutch driver is confident that over 8 minutes he is really in good shape. Hideo Kitazawa and Teemu Leino, who failed to improve his lap time in FP3, completed the top 6.
There were some concerns raised about bodyshells and the use of trim strips but after checking the rules race officials here in Bangkok have clarified that they may be used, even if not supplied with body, once they do not exceed the maximum permitted height. Elsewhere emerging young British talent Elliot Harper, who currently leads the BRCA 1:12 National Championship, is finding driving on asphalt a very different experience to carpet. The Xray driver says tyres are critical but he doesn’t have the right one hence he finds himself 25th fastest in terms of lap times, a full second off the pace.
Oscar Jansen from Team Orion showed us some new products coming out from the Swiss company including the new metal geared servo, which we profiled a few weeks ago. Also on display for the first time is the company’s new electronic speed controller, made in close collaboration between Team Orion and Japanese company KO Propo. Suitable for use with 4 turn motors without the heatsink, it can be used with the most powerful types of motors when the heat sink and cooling fan is mounted. Available very soon.
As expected the laps time for the second free practice of the 1:12 World Championship improved but the big surprise was the pace of Teemu Leino and the new Xray XII. Atsushi Hara once again topped the lap charts with an improved time of 12.639 but making a huge leap forward was Leino. Having been 3/10th of a second off the pace of the pre-event favourite, he is now just 4/100th off thanks to a simple change of body.
Hara found 3/10th to remain the fastest of the 58 runners competing here in Thailand for 1:12 scale World Championship honours. The Japanese ace said that track conditions had made it a lot faster and his car now had good traction but the balance still needed fine tuning.
Changing from a Speed 8 to a Speed 12 bodyshell seemed to work well for Leino. The Finn said the car didn’t feel any better but there was a big difference in the end to his lap times. Another Xray driver to find a chunk of time was American ace Paul Lemeiux. The RC America driver pretty much changed everything on his car for run 2 which transformed the XII. A different T-Bar, front springs, tyres and change of additive allowed the US Touring Car Champion to run a 12.899 lap time putting him 6th on the time sheets.
Hideo Kitazawa lost ground to fellow Hot Bodies driver Hara in the second run, producing the third fastest lap time with a 12.759. Marc Rheinard (12.820) managed to go faster than his Tamiya Touring Car team-mate Jilles Groskamp (12.865) in the second practice but the German thinks his Hot Bodies may be tweaked and hopes this might explain his lack of pace compared with Hara. Andy Moore who was expected to be Hara’s toughest challenger for the 1:12 scale title suffered radio interference and so had to pull up during the run.
LRP Electronic are here in force with Reto Koenig and Jurgen Lautenbach on hand to help their team drivers get the best out of their electronics this week. On Friday we had the first exclusive shots of the new Vector X12 brushless motor from LRP and of course that is the motor that the team are using here during the 1/12th scale Worlds.
Also new is the company’s prototype ESC, called the SXX, which is making its race debut here at the RCS. Much smaller than the previously available Sphere TC spec ESC, the new controller uses a metal plate set into a plastic frame, to which a heatsink fan combo can be applied but currently isn’t necessary for the 4 cell 1:12th scale class. The new ESC, which is also here in Nosram colours, features a revolutionary copper core cooling technology to keep the internals at a low temperature, while the controller software now has 10 power profiles to select from for finer adjustment of power delivery. Also new is what the company calls X.Brake which provides stronger braking, and it too has 10 adjustment settings which can be set by the 2 new externally mounted buttons. Expect a March 2009 release.