The second qualifier for the faster group of drivers has been run but it made little change to the top of the timesheets. Dario Balestri was biggest benefactor of Round 4 climbing four places in the overall qualification standings after producing the fifth fastest run. The Team Magic driver said he had the right tyres this time and his car felt really good although a slight error by his pit woman cost him a possible TQ run. Fastest for the round was Martin Lissau who produced an almost identical time to his current FTQ time from Heat 3 finishing just 3/1000th slower!!
The other big movers from the fourth round where American pairing Ralph Burch and Paul Lemieux who move into 10th and 11th repectively. Burch has been fast, holding the current fastest lap time for qualifying, but the RC America driver has been short on luck however on this occassion he came close to a clean run. Just missing the finish line after running out of fuel, the Xray/Max driver just missed out on a 32 lap which could have put him in the Top 6 but he was still pleased to get a decent time saying afterwards ‘At least we are in contention now’. Burch said his car was not perfect although the steering was better now but he needs to find a little more traction.
Lemieux was happy to finally finish a run. Changes made to his Xray for the heat weren’t so good but other than that he described it as a good clean run and something to build on.
For current TQ holder Taakaki Shimo heat four didn’t far well as he ran out of fuel before his pit stop. On set up the Japanese driver had the totally opposite problem to heat 3 with his car now nervous for the first half of the run and really good for the last part. The Kyosho driver will try to find a compromise set up to make the car more feel more consistent through the entire run.
Chris Tosolini reckoned he was on for taking back the TQ from Shimo but his engine was too rich and he ran out of fuel before his pit stop. Team mate Jilles Groskamp, who was the pace setter here in controlled practice, continued to have engine/fuel issues also running too rich, causing him too to run out of fuel. Adrien Bertin is complaining of the same fuel problems only his engine ran too lean causing a plug to go.
Peter Jovanovic’s woes continued when 10 laps into his run the rear belt stripped on his Xray. For defending World Champion Keisuke Fukuda things are also not improving. The Japanese ace said, ‘It was supposed to get better today but it didn’t’. The Mugen/Ninja driver is happy with the set-up of his car but continues to struggle with his engine.
Unnofficial top 10 after 4 rounds
1. Takaaki Shimo (JPN) – 32 Laps in 10:16.393 [Kyosho/OS]
2. Martin Lissau (DNK) – 32 Laps in 10:16.700 [Xray/GRP]
3. Martin Christensen (DNK) – 32 Laps in 10:16.776 [Xray/Sirio]
4. Chris Tosolini (USA) – 32 Laps in 10:18.325 [Kyosho/Sirio]
5. Balestri Dario (IT) – 32 Laps in 10:18.473 [TM/NR]
6. Peter Jovanovic (AUS) – 32 Laps in 10:18.893 [Xray/NR]
7. Martin Hudy (SK) – 32 Laps in 10:19.360 [Xray/Max]
8. Adrien Bertin (LUX) – 32 Laps in 10:19.465 [Kyosho/Orion]
9. Mazzeo Alessio (IT) – 31 Laps in 09:58.271 [Serpent/Max]
10.Ralph Burch (USA) – 31 Laps in 09:59.355 [Xray/Max]
Takaaki Shimo got his day off to a great start by setting a new TQ time in the third round of qualifying. The Kyosho/OS team driver recorded 32 laps in 10:16.393 and now sits at the top of the time sheets ahead of fast Danish pairing Martin Lissau and Martin Christensen.
Shimo was modest about his run describing it as ‘So So’. The Japanese driver said his car was excellent in the first half of the heat but in the last five minutes it became very nervous. Not a big fan of the track here in Monsanto he plans to make set-up changes for the second of today’s heats but is unsure of what he can adjust to cure the problem he is experiencing in the second part of the run.
Current 1:5 scale World Champion Lissau said he drove a safe run as he experienced problems with shadows on the track from the trees but it was good enough for the second fastest time. The Xray driver said his NT1 is really good and his GRP engine is now making the 5-minutes with fuel to spare. Changes for Round 4 include heavier shock oil, as the track will be hotter for the run, along with a pair of sunglasses!!
Pitting next to Lissau is the third fastest man Christensen. Using the same chassis as his countryman Christensen’s NT1 is being powered by Sirio engines and the Dane feels he could have TQ’d the round if he had not been delayed by Robert Pietsch & Basile Concialdi in the last minute which cost him a second. He says if he can get a clean heat he is confident he has the pace to TQ.
Chris Tosolini, who held the overnight TQ honours, failed to finish his run as his engine went off tune during the run. His Sirio team mate Jilles Groskamp suffered the same problem. Sirio believe that the procedure used for the hand out fuel may be the causing contamination. Both drivers said their Kyosho cars were working really well.
Peter Jovanovic suffered a reciever problem and didn’t get any track time. At the start of the warm-up his car had no steering. His mechanic suspected a battery problem which they changed but still no steering so they changed the servo, still no joy. Further investigations lead them to the receiver which appears to be sending no signal to the steering. A new receiver is being fitted for Round 4.
Martin Hudy jumped into sixth in the current ranking after a adapting his driving style which in turn allowed him to make 5 minutes. The young Slovak driver, who is the son of Xray founder Juraj Hudy, said he drove more smoothly adopting a similar style to how he would drive electric touring cars and it worked. Hudy says he will push harder in the next heat as the electric driving style left him with good fuel.
Adrien Bertin drops to seventh after making a mistake on his run but the French driver was less happy with his Kyosho after making some small changes from yesterday which didn’t work.
Young Italian Alessio Mazzeo produced a good run to head the Serpent challenge here in qualifying with the 8th fastest time. The Max team driver said his 720 was very good and thinks he can push harder put needs to be careful with the fuel run time. Dario Balestri and Groskamp completed the Top 10 both failing to improve their times from yesterday. Balestri said he switched to 37 shore tyres which didn’t give him a good feeling with his Team Magic and as a result he rolled during the run.
Elsewhere Ralph Burch again set the fastest lap improving on his time from yesterday to set a 18.679. Burch was on for a really quick run but first had a coming together with Barry Baker who lost his Team Magic on the back straight and then moments later the Xray driver crashed which broke the rear wing. Baker too was on for a good run but crashed on his way into the pit lane. Paul Lemieux too crashed in his heat which caused his Max engine to flame out while Josh Cyrul managed his best run so far but appears to be struggling for pace.
World Champion Keisuke Fukuda’s defence of his title is not going well. The Japanese driver is struggling with run time and as a result is well down the order.
Day 1 of qualifying is over and it is American ace Chris Tosolini who holds the current TQ honours for the 2008 IFMAR 200mm World Championships here is Lisbon. The Sirio team driver was one of only three drivers to record 32 laps today with a run of 10:18.325 which was half a second clear of the ever impressive Peter Jovanovic with former World Champion Adrien Bertin third a further 7/10th behind.
Tosolini said his engine was too lean for the run and after the pit stop it started to run hot causing it to loose power. The American also felt he lost a lot of time with Adrien Bertin who held him up during the run. Although quickest Tosolini feels much faster times are yet to come and is predicting around 6 seconds will be knocked off his current TQ time.
‘Shit at the Start’ was how Jovanovic described his run to second spot on the time sheets. The young Aussie thinks nerves are getting the better of him in the opening part of the run and says once he makes his pit stop he gets it together. The Xray driver said the track was a little more consistent than the morning run but didn’t feel much quicker.
Adrien Bertin described his run to third as ‘Quite OK’ but said the track conditions were still poor. Running Team Orion engines the French ace said he ran a little too rich and that he is still missing a little with his Kyosho chassis.
Martin Lissau had a potential TQ run on the cards but ran out of fuel due to a experimental fuel stop strategy. Running GRP engines in his Xray NT1 the Dane opted to pit a lap earlier than his rivals feeling an engine cut before the stop would cost him a lap in the final result as the car would need to be restarted. Unfortunately the early stop meant he didn’t have the range to complete the latter 5 minutes but he justified the decision by saying ‘a 31 laps in 9:58 is better than 30 in 10 something’.
Dario Balestri had his first full 10-minute run which was good enough for fifth. The Italian was really happy with his Team Magic and Novarossi engine but said he made a wrong call on tyre shore which he said cost him a 32 lap run.
Having TQ’d the first round Jilles Groskamp was unable to improve his morning time as he was forced to pit on the very first lap with a very lean engine ending his chances of improving.
Another Dane enjoying a good run was Martin Christensen who posted the seventh fastest time just ahead of Daniele Ielasi. The Italian, who was excluded from the first round of qualifying for a fuel tank irregularity, said all is OK now and other than a mistake during the run which cost him around 4 seconds it was fine. Completing the Top 10 was quick Spanish Mugen driver Josue Artiles and Italy’s Niki Duina.
Ralph Burch, who again set the fastest lap time for the round with an 18.784, hit trouble in the warm-up when the power switch on his car broke. Frantic repairs got him out for the heat but again the American was to run out of fuel. Setting the second fastest lap time for the round was his RC America team-mate Paul Lemieux who was on for a good time but six and half minutes in he stripped second gear on his Max powered Xray.
For defending champion Keisuke Fukuda fuel run time is hampering his progress. The Mugen/Ninja driver said he is really happy with the handling of his MTX-4R and the performance from his JX12 T01 Ninja engine but he just needs to find that very fine line to get the setting right for making 5 minutes. Top Japanese driver at the moment is Kyosho/OS driver Takaaki Shimo who doesn’t like the track here but still sits in 13th.
Fastest Serpent to date is former World Championship Finalist Mark Green who sits just outside the Top 10 in 11th position. Marc Rheinard continues to endure a difficult nitro touring car debut managing only 16 laps in his first run today and 4 in the second after suffering a radio glitch.
Top 10 after 10 rounds
1. Chris Tosolini (USA) – 32 Laps in 10:18.325 [Kyosho/Sirio]
2. Peter Jovanovic (AUS) – 32 Laps in 10:18.893 [Xray/NR]
3. Adrien Bertin (LUX) – 32 Laps in 10:19.465 [Kyosho/Orion]
4. Martin Lissau (DNK) – 31 Laps in 09:58.772 [Xray/GRP]
5. Balesti Dario (IT) – 31 Laps in 10:01.994 [Team Magic/NR]
6. Jilles Groskamp (NL) – 31 Laps in 10:02.708 [Kyosho/Sirio]
7. Martin Christensen (DNK) – 31 Laps in 10:03.001 [Xray/Sirio]
8. Daniele Ielasi (IT) – 31 Laps in 10:04.547 [Kyosho/IDM]
9. Josue Artiles Santana (ES) – 31 Laps in 10:05.678 [Mugen/Ninja]
10.Duina Niki (IT) – 31 Laps in 10:06.599 [Xray/Max]
Jilles Groskamp is the pace setter after the first round of qualifying here in Portugal but the Dutch driver was not the fastest in the run, that honour going to Daniele Ielasi but in post race scrutiny the Italian’s fuel tank was deemed to be to big. It was very close at the top with Ielasi posting a run of 31 laps in 10:02.628 with Groskamp just 8/100th behind.
Overall the times where much slower than what we saw in the final controlled practice yesterday due to the overnight rain with Ralph Burch, who recorded the fastest lap for the round, summing it up perfectly with ‘The track was junk’.
Groskamp said his car was perfectly balanced and his Sirio engine was spot on but the track just didn’t have any traction. The Sirio team driver had one moment during the run when he had had a half spin which lost him time but added that it was important to start with a decent run. For the second qualifier Groskamp will leave his car exactly the same as the traction should be back.
With Ielasi loosing his time it is a Team Sirio 1-2 at the top of the time sheets with Chris Tosolini officially second fastest. A much happier looking Tosolini said he was really pleased to finally get a full run in and also said he could run pretty consistent. For his second heat the American will run a softer rear sway bar to improve rear traction.
Peter Jovanovic is showing it wasn’t home advantage at the last World Championship but emerging talent and the young Aussie sits in third position. Early in the run his car was very taily but after his pit stop it got better while adapting his driving style to the lower grip conditions also helped.
Fourth fastest was Japanese driver Takaaki Shimo followed by Teemu Leino. The Finn switched to a stiffer set-up after yesterday’s final practice to combat traction roll but when he had his run today there was no traction. The Xray driver will now switch to an in between setup for Heat 2.
Elsewhere Ralph Burch was on for a really quick run but ran out of fuel. The US driver is not sure why but will lean out his Max engine for the second qualifier. Also in the American camp Josh Cyrul ran out of fuel too but thinks his tank may not have been entirely filled during his pit stop. Cyrul also lost time when he caught a kerb and then got hit from behind by Shimo which caused his body to tuck under. Barry Baker who appeared to be having a lot of engine problems was straight to the point when asked what happened simple saying ‘I sucked’.
Italy’s Francesco Tironi who ended the run in seventh said he made changes to his car that just didn’t work while fellow countryman Dario Balestri was quick to put his hand up and say he made the mistake of setting his engine too rich which caused him to run out of fuel.
The second qualifier is now underway news of which we will bring you later.
This is a World Championships and because of this fact you can expect that all manufacturers will be trying their best to win this title and this means that drivers come equipped with the latest, and in some cases prototype, parts. Seen in some of the fastest cars here this week, including the car of Jilles Groskamp, is the new Sirio XXX .12 engine. Only in prototype phase now, it is a completely new motor with all new internals which boasts more power than the previous model but with the same consumption. It seems to be working and if all goes according to plan, the motor should be available in October.
While the Mugen racers here in Portugal are all running the standard MTX-4R, some of the racers including current World Champion Keisuke Fukuda and Dutch racer Rick V are using optional Kawahara parts for extra strength and preformance. Rick V’s car features a thicker machined chassis plate, while on the rear of the car there is a new thicker rear upper link mounting plate that features some additional mounting holes for extra adjustment. Both drivers are also running the pre production Ninja JX12 T01 engines, and while Fukuda has been running the OS based motor for some time now, Rick V only received his just before coming here and the first taste of the new powerplant came on the first practice day last week.
The Kyosho V-One RRR platform seems to be very popular here, however only a handful of drivers, including Takaaki Shimo, are using the Evo 2 version, the others using the previous version. Non sponsored racers such as Daniele Ielasi has upgraded his car by using Capricorn RC manufactured option parts such as this new radio plate that allows the racer to mount the Xray NT1 fuel tank in the car. Other new parts seen on the car of Ielasi include a new braking system, with lightweight brake disc, as well as a new wider rear body mount for more stable mounting of the body shell of which the Blitz Altis and the Protoform Stratus are the most popular choices.
There is still plenty more to discover here, so stay tuned for more product updates.
Overnight rain here in Lisbon caused a delay to the start of proceedings as race organisers decided to wait an hour to allow the track to dry before starting the first qualifier of the 2008 IFMAR World Championships. Drivers from Groups 1-7 have just finished their two qualifiers for today, and are free to hit the beach, while Groups 8-15 are getting ready to kick start their battle for the Day 1 TQ honours.
Peter Jovanovic, who was one of the stars at the last World Championships for 1:10 200mm in Brisbane where he claimed a podium finish, is loving the track here in Lisbon. The talented young Aussie says his car is working perfectly and he would rate the track as one of the best he has ever driven. Jovanovic says the circuit is a lot more flowing than he is used to back home and learning it has been his biggest obstacle so far. Now that he is mastering the bumps he’s really happy with his progress. The Xray team driver had struggled a little with clutch set-up in practice but believes he has now got that right and this should allow him to get the maximum horsepower from his Novarossi engines.
Marc Rheinard has been using his free morning to practice his tyre truing skills something the electric racer wouldn’t be to used too prefering the less dirty task of applying additive to his rubber tyres. The German has yet to finish any of his runs but is very happy with the handling of his new WC spec Team Magic G4. His debut nitro race, Rheinard is discovering how important the clutch and engine settings are in getting the most from a nitro car. Still adjusting his driving style to suit the different characteristics of nitro over electric he admitted to preferring the later but he is enjoying the experience and hopes if he can finish a run he can put in a decent showing. In his final run yesterday he failed to finish after the lid on his fuel tank failed to seal properly.
Josh Cyrul is struggling with boredom but believes his busy schedule before the race is also catching up with him. The Motonica factory driver is running an Xray, while he waits on Motonica’s much anticipated entry in to 1:10 200mm, and did as much racing as possible with the NT1 prior to the event in order to get used to the car but thinks he may have over done it a little. Very happy with how the car is working, the American said the boredom is knocking the enjoyment out of the event and maybe a new format should be looked at for future World Championships.
The length of the event, most of the drivers are here a week already, and the limited track time is a common complaint among the competitors. A solution to the problem is hard to find as the organisers are hard pushed to fit in an more track time due to the large number of competitors who have travelled the globe to compete in the sports blue ribbon event.