The cars have finally hit the track here in Thailand marking the start of the 2008 IFMAR World Championships and as predicted it was Atsushi Hara and his Hot Bodies that posted the fastest lap time from fellow Cyclone 12X driver Hideo Kitazawa. Hara produced a best lap time of 12.931 compared with Kitazawa’s 12.964 despite reporting his car as being a little twitchy. Planning some small changes for the next outing, the Japanese ace said track conditions this morning were not very good, as a result of yesterday’s rain, but that it should improve during the day.
Running a new prototype speedo from Futaba, set for a release early next year, Kitazawa said his car was lacking a little on rear grip but was confident he could match the pace of Hara. Jilles Groskamp was the only other driver to break in to the 12 second lap times despite not finishing his run after a problem with his front steering which was caused by a loose screw. Having spent all day yesterday building a brand new CRC chassis for the event the Dutch driver was surprised at how good the car felt first time out.
Fourth fastest in terms of lap times, with a 13.118, was young Yokomo star Naoto Matsukura followed by Marc Rheinard and Andy Moore. European 1:12 Champion Rheinard (13.125) is suffering with an understeering which is resulting in it being ‘edgy’ to drive. The German will soften the front springs in an attempt to improve the feel of the car but will also change the T-Bar on his Cyclone 12X. Moore (13.194) also suffered similar handling finding his car very aggressive on turn in. The current Touring Car World Champion, who chunked a tyre during the run, will run a softer front end which should settle the car.
1:12 scale debutants Xray had a promising first run with flying Finn Teemu Leino producing the seventh fastest lap time (13.270) at the controls of the prototype XII. Leino reported the run as being OK but said on asphalt the key factor was going to be having the right tyres. Completing the Top 10 it was Surikan, Hupo Honigl and Juho Levanan.
As mentioned yesterday on our news page as well as in our 1:12th scale introduction piece, Xray are the latest manufacturer to enter the market, with the XII. We were able to get up close and personal with the LRP X12 powered example belonging to Factory Xray driver Alexander Hagberg from Sweden. Already in it’s second version, following feedback from the team after a recent test at the RCS track, the car is in appearance at least very similar to other brands on the market. Chief designer Juraj Hudy, who has limited experience of the class, says that while the car may be similar in appearance to others out there, that is more a reflection of the state of development of the class which has seen chassis design developed to a point where extra performance can only be found in small refinements. Featuring a T-bar, which some believe would be more suited to a lower traction surface, as opposed to the trailing link design seen on the CRC and Associated cars, the cars debut later today will be closely watched by all racers and manufacturers present.
More images of the XII can be found in our event gallery here.
So the stage is set for the 2008 IFMAR Electric Onroad World Championship here at the Radio Control Speedway in Bangkok, Thailand where there is great anticipation for what should be two thrilling World title battles. The first title up for grabs is 1:12th which kicks off tomorrow (Sunday) with free practice. One thing for certain is no matter what the outcome there will be a brand new champion of the world as defending Champion David Spashett has not made the trip to Asia to defend his title and although five times World Champion Masami Hirosaka is here, he will not race, opting to fully focus his attention on trying to lift his first ever 1:10 Touring Car title later in the week.
Despite two of the greats of 1:12 scale racing missing from the entry, the battle will be no less intensive with some of the sports biggest names out to add the 1:12 title to their CV. Defending touring car champion Andy Moore, Atsushi Hara & Marc Rheinard head a very strong Hot Bodies team. Hara, who proved himself as one of the sports great all round drivers when he lifted 1:8 Off Road World title earlier this year, has conducted hours of testing here at the RCS track, mainly focusing on finding the perfect tyre. Yesterday the team spent the day at the track gluing that ‘perfect’ tyre which many say is going to make it just a matter of whether it is Hara or Moore that takes the title come Tuesday.
While Hot Bodies are confident, the line-up from their rivals cannot be overlooked. Back to back Japanese National Champion Naoto Matsukura is certain to be a force with his Associated with Hara rating his 14-year-old fellow countyman very highly. CRC have a capable line-up in current IIC Champion Hupo Honigl and Jilles Groskamp, while former two time European Champion Simo Ahoniemi heads the hopes of defending World Champion manufacturer Corally. Associated have a mixture of experience and youth with top US racer Rick Hohwart joined by young Finnish hopefuls Juho Levänen and Christer Andersson, the latter making his 1:12 debut here.
New to the 1:12 ranks, Xray are an unknown but the Slovak company doesn’t do things by half and with the likes of Teemu Leino, Paul Lemeiux and Alex Hagberg driving the new XII they could pose a threat. The team have conducted pre event testing of the prototype car at the RCS, after which it is understood a number of design changes had to be made. We will have to wait till tomorrow to get an early indication of how the newcomer stacks up.
Directing the proceedings for the next eight days here in Thailand is Scotty Ernst who we asked to predict the outcome of the 14th edition of the 1:12 Worlds. The legendary American race announcer thinks Hara and Moore are starting with a distinct advantage thanks to their tyres but believes Matsukura, Hideo Kitazawa and Hagberg could join the Hot Bodies duo on the podium. Having announced at the TITC race here previously, Ernst said the narrow track will produce good racing but feels rain will come into play during the championships. Right now (16:45 local time) we are experiencing very heavy rain at the track!
The first cars are due to hit the track at 09:00 tomorrow (Sunday) morning with three free practice runs of ten minutes followed by two controlled practice sessions. As part of our live coverage, which is supported by Speed Passion and LRP, we will be bringing you regular updates throughout the day with all the news and views of the drivers on Day 1 of the 2008 IFMAR ISTC Electric Onroad World Championships.
At the end of qualifying he was delighted to make his first ever 1:10 200mm World Championship Final but now Daniele Ielasi has gone one better and won a thrilling one hour Main Final here in Portugal to become the 2008 World Champion. Having suffered cruel luck at the 1:8 European Championship last month, Ielasi was clearly emotional after claiming his first ever World title which was greeted by huge applause from the large crowd who witnessed the race.
Starting from 3rd on the grid, Ielasi made the same tactical decision that brought him victory in the World’s Warm Up race, opting to run his own race and conserve his ATS tyres while his rivals drove at 110% up front. The tactic was to play out perfectly for the Picco driver as most of the early pace setters encountered problems along the way. Running at the back of the field for much of the race Ielasi started to shine through in the second half as he caught up to race leader Martin Hudy. Eventually Hudy’s great drive from the final spot on the grid started to take its toll on the Xray driver’s tyres allowing Ielasi to take the lead from where he stretched out a comfort zone for himself.
After the race the new World Champion said, ‘For me this result is most important to end my back luck and for sure it is great to win the World Championship’. He continued, ‘The race is the World Championship and its very hard and for me it was more hard because it was my first 1:10 World final. I started in the 3rd position but after the first lap I prefer to let the others go because I think the life of the tyres for one hour is very hard. I made the same tactical decision in the Warm Up and here in the World Championship it was good too. In the finish I have tyres and car was good allowing me to take Hudy and when I have one lap in front I think this is a good race.’
Finishing second Tosolini was clearly upset with how his race went. The American described the race as ‘the same old shit’ and continued that he was ‘tired of these guys’. The Sirio driver was referring to his team-mate Jilles Groskamp and former double World Champion Adrien Bertin who he felt drove over aggressively. Tosolini said he made a good start but his team-mate ran him off the track on the opening lap. Tosolini spun coming onto the straight on lap one which dropped him back to last. Later in the race as he came back through the field he was to get a Stop & Go penalty for running in to the back of Bertin claiming the Frenchman had brake tested him. Tosolini, who praised the new World Champion after he allowed him to pass the Italian three times during the final, said as always if he had had a clean race he would have finished one place higher! The Kyosho driver who ran out of fuel just before his second pit stop said his car felt really good although on a few occassions when he clipped the curbs his engine momentarily ran rough. Adding to Tosolini’s tough day in the office he dropped and smashed his glass trophy during the podium presentation.
Having originally been classified 4 in the Semi Final B and looking like he would play no further part in the event, Martin Hudy got promoted to the Main Final after an error was discovered in the results and would claim a podium finish. Getting the place of Swede Roland Strom, the Slovak driver was to shine in his first ever World’s Final and only his second nitro race of the year. ‘I didn’t have enough time to prepare everything because it was late when I found out I would be in the final so it was really busy at the beginning. It was a one hour final and starting from 10th I had nothing to lose so I took it easy. Suddenly I heard I was leading. The only problem was that we wanted to make it safe so I refuelled after four and half minutes but Ielasi was running five, so I had to do one more stop. I saw Ielasi was really fast behind me so I didn’t battle with him as I didn’t want to break my car. I am very happy with this result and want to thank my sponsors Xray and Max for a really good engine.”
Unfortunately for Hudy’s Xray/Max team-mate Paul Lemieux an amazing drive in the first half of the race was to be in vain after his engine cut during a scheduled tyre stop costing him around four laps before it would restart. The young American star who started from 8th on the grid was on fire in the race heading the entire field at one point by 2 full laps but it all went wrong at 28 minutes. Rejoining at the back of the pack once his engine kicked back into life, the US Electric Touring Car National Champion put in a stunning recovery drive and such was his pace he was able to claw back an entire lap which he had lost to the field recording the fastest lap of the event in the process.
For Top Qualifier Jilles Groskamp, who led the opening seven minutes of the race, fifth was the best he could achieve. The Dutch racer lost his lead to Lemieux after a small mistake but three engine stops ended any chance of achieving the perfect result. The first engine cut came after Groskamp missed the call from his pit crew and although the car made the extra lap his Sirio ran dry just as he reached his pitman.
The races other direct qualifier Francesco Tironi completed the Top 6 having run as high as fourth. The fourth Sirio powered car in the final which was driven by Dane Martin Christensen ran with the leaders throughout the race but hit trouble when his car came to stop in the last 3 minutes. Making an engine change during the final, Double World Champion Adrien Bertin claimed eigth while Teemu Leino and Dario Balestri finished 9th and 10th respectively after both broke their cars forcing early retirement.
Complete overall standings can be downloaded here.
The curtain has closed on another World Championships which will go down in history maybe not for all the right reasons but Daniele Ielasi’s name will deservedly go into the IFMAR record books as the 2008 Champion. For the rest of the competitors they now have 2 years to reflect on what could have been. Red RC enjoyed bringing you coverage from the Lisbon event and look forward to the next exciting chapter in the 1:10 World Championships which will take competitors to the US in 2010. A special thanks to the race organisers for their assistance and to our sponsors Kyosho, Xceed and Serpent without whom our coverage would not have been possible.
Lap 1 – Groskamp leads from Tironi. Tosolini spins out and last 1 minute – Balestri gets Stop & Go for hitting Leino 2 minutes – Groskamp clear lead from Lemieux 3 minutes – Top 4 – Groskamp, Lemieux, Leino and Tironi. Tosolini up to 6th. 3:30 minutes – Tosolini hits Bertin. Gets Stop & Go. 4:30 minutes – Groskamp still leads from Lemieux. 5:30 minutes – After first Pitstops. Groskamp extends lead. 6 minutes – Balestri out. Front corner off after getting collected following a spin. 7 minutes – Order is Groskamp, Lemieux, Leino, Tironi 7:30 minutes – Groskamp makes mistake, Lemieux leads. 9 minutes – Lemieux has comfortable lead from Groskamp and Leino. 10 minutes – Tosolini and Groskamp run out of fuel. 11 minutes – After second pit stops – Lemieux, Leino, Groskamp and Bertin. Top 8 on lead lap. 12 minutes – Order is Lemieux, Leino, Groskamp, Bertin, Tironi, Hudy, Ielasi, Christensen, Tosolini & Balestri (out). 13:30 minutes – Balestri rejoins race. 15 minutes – Bertin stalls during pitstop 16 minutes – Leino’s car stops on track 17 minutes – Leader Lemieux about to lap Groskamp who is second! 18 minutes – Order is Lemieux, Groskamp, Hudy, Tironi, Ielasi, Christensen, Bertin, Tosolini, Leino & Balestri. 19:30 minutes – Groskamp stalls after his pit stop. 20 minutes – Lemieux has lapped entire field. Hudy second. Groskamp back running – now 6th. 22 minutes – Lemieux about to pass Hudy who is second 2 laps down! 24:30 minutes – Order is Lemieux, Hudy, Ielasi, Tironi, Christensen, Groskamp, Bertin, Tosolini, Leino & Balestri. 26 minutes – Lemieux 2 laps up on the entire field! Balestri crashes again. 27 minutes – Groskamp closing on Tironi for fifth. 28 minutes – Lemieux doing tyre change. 29 minutes – Lemieux’s car stalls – trouble restarting but he is back on track 30 minutes – Half way and Hudy leads from Ielasi and Christensen. Lemieux 9th. 32 minutes – Order Hudy, Ielasi, Christensen, Groskamp, Tironi, Tosolini, Bertin, Leino, Lemieux and Balestri (out). 34 minutes – Groskamp stalls again after pit stop. Pit crew adjust ideal. 35 minutes – Order is Ielasi, Hudy, Christensen, Tironi, Tosolini, Leino, Groskamp, Bertin, Lemieux. 36 minutes – Lemieux running super fast laps but 2 laps down running 8th but he has fresh tyres. 38 minutes – Leino crashes and damages car. 39 minutes – Bertin stops on track. 42 minutes – Bertin changing engine! 44 minutes – Ielasi leading from Hudy and Christensen. Lemieux is 7th now one lap down. 48 minutes – Hudy back in lead from Ielasi. Lemieux storming through the field and 6th. 52 minutes – Hudy leads from Ielasi 53 minutes – Tironi rolls 55 minutes – Tosolini passes Hudy for second 57 minutes – Ielasi leads by almost a full lap 57:30 minutes – Christensen stops on track 58 minutes – Order Ielasi, Tosolini, Hudy, Lemieux, Groskamp, Tironi, Christensen, Bertin 60 minutes – Ielasi is World Champion
The grid for the 2008 1:10 200mm World Championships has been finalised with Swede Roland Strom loosing his place to Slovak driver Martin Hudy after an error in the combined result of the Semi B was discovered.
Final Starting order
1. Jilles Groskamp (NL)
2. Chris Tosolini (USA)
3. Daniele Ielasi (IT)
4. Francesco Tironi (IT)
5. Martin Christensen (DNK)
6. Teemu Leino (FIN)
7. Balestri Dario (IT)
8. Paul Lemieux (USA)
9. Adrien Bertin (LUX)
10. Martin Hudy (SK)