Hobbywing are debuting their new 1S speed controller called the Xr10 Pro 1S, used a number of drivers including Japanese ace Hideo Kitazawa. Taking on baord the advice of their US users they have made the new ESC considerably lighter and lower while still maintaining strength given from the all aluminium case. Perfect for stock 1/12th drivers in its standard form there is an optional case top that integrates a heatsink and fan mount which can be mounted easily to the standard unit giving it the ability to handle modified 1/12th with ease. Featuring integrated capacitor and BEC it also runs the same new software that comes with their recently released 2s speed control that was used by Bruno Coelho with win the ETS title this season. This is still a prototype and no word has been given on the planned release date.
Reigning Champion Marc Rheinard will defend his 1:12 World Championship from the best position possible, the Yokomo driver claiming the honour of Top Qualifier in China this morning. Having kicked off the final day of the 18th running of the championships with a second TQ run in Q5, the German initially looked set to take pole position with the perfect score of 0 points as he set the pace in the sixth & final qualifier. On target for a 40-lap run with 4 of the 8-minutes complete, a mistake in the fast chicane on the right side of the track would put him out on the spot as he popped off a trailing link. With Akio Sobue, the only one who could deny Rheinard the overall TQ, the new pace setter Rheinard would have to watch nervously from the drivers stand as his touring car team-mate looked on target to beat his Q5 which would have given him the overall TQ on the tie break but the CRC driver would make a mistake promoting Naoto Matsukura to the top of the timing screens. Taking the round by 1.6-second from Sobue, Matsukura’s second TQ run would also see the Top Qualifier of the last four World Championship bump his fellow countryman back to third on the grid.
Posting his first fastest lap of a qualifier, Rheinard said of the final qualifier, ‘the car was good, I just made a stupid mistake’. Commenting on Sobue’s pace, he said, ‘I knew it might be close but I knew the pace would drop off over the last two minutes’. Asked about the finals, the 3-time Touring Car World Champion said, ‘We’ll see. I hope I can pull away but a crash behind would help’. He continued, ‘With Naoto starting behind me it is always not easy’. Commenting on ending Matsukura’s run of 4-consecutive pole positions at the Worlds, he said ‘from four TQ’s he won three of four so the odds of the TQ winning are pretty good’ adding with a smile, ‘The only time he didn’t win from TQ was when I beat him’.
Pleased to move a head of Sobue on the starting grid with his Q6 TQ, Matsukura said his Roche prototype is ‘good’ but deciding on what to do with tyres was going to be the big thing for the final. After running a bigger rear tyre in Q5 but traction rolling at the start, he said while the car was difficult for the first 4-minutes it was good for the last 4-minutes. Reverting to a standard size tyre for Q6, he said while it gave him a ‘super easy’ car for the first 3-minutes it ‘then became a little loose’. The 22-year-old said ‘I am still thinking what is the best option but maybe I can try something in between’. A driver famed for his maximum attack racing style, the reigning Touring Car World Champion said, ‘For the first 2-minutes I safety drive. I think me, Marc & Akio have higher pace than rest so we should pull away’. He continued, ‘I will wait for a mistake, not force a pass’, all drivers agreeing the track has few places in which to attempt a pass.
Summing up his last qualifier Sobue said, ‘the first 2-minutes the car pushed and last 3-minutes it was loose’ adding it also lacked ‘initial traction’. With a practice final the 1:12 World Championship debutant plans to use the track time to test a new set-up in the hope of finding better traction and stabilising the performance of the car over the 8-minutes. Asked about his approach for the final starting behind Rheinard and Matsukura, he said his plan was going to be to ‘attack from the start’.
Having been on the podium with both Rheinard and Matsukura in Florida last time round, Hideo Kitazawa is aiming to ‘at least be on the podium’ again. Starting one position higher than in 2014, when he got 3rd from 5th on the grid, the Morotech driver plans to play for the first 6-minutes and then ‘in the last 2-minutes is my best to make places’. While he would go crashing out of the final qualifier, the Futaba employee said his car was ‘perfect’ and he will ‘leave it the same’ for the opening final.
Completing the top half of the grid, Keven Hebert feels he ‘can fight for 3rd’. The Team Associated driver tried more camber in the final qualifier which gave him more steering but caused the rear to start ‘steeping out a little’. Getting a P4 for the round, which would count as one of three scores, the Canadian said overall his RC12 is a ‘good safe car for the main’. Finishing 5th from 9th on the grid 2-years ago, he said, ‘in qualifying we saw everything can happen. There are fast cars but they keep crashing’. Hebert’s team-mate Juho Levanen, who was borderline for making the main show going into the final qualifier, posted a P6 in the final qualifier to put himself 9th on the grid ahead of JJ Wang in a final that has no less than 6 Japanese starters.
Marc Rheinard has become the first driver to double up in qualifying at the 1:12 World Championships in Beijing. Having ended Day 1 of qualifying by becoming the fourth different driver to top the times when he took Q4, the Yokomo driver picked up were he left off to open the final day of the championship with a TQ run in the penultimate qualifier. Posting a new fastest time, he would be 3-seconds clear of Akio Sobue, the CRC driver now the only one who can deny the reigning champion the overall TQ. After a bad start to Q5, Naoto Matsukura would recover to complete the Top 3 but the result means that the Top Qualifier of the last four World Championships will for the first time in his career not start the A-Main from pole position.
Commenting on his Q5 performance, Rheinard said, ‘I struggled a little at the beginning, maybe I was nervous because Akio was catching me’. With the Japanese driver making a mistake he continued, ‘this gave me breathing room and then it was an easy run as I also knew Naoto was not in contention as he had a big mistake early on’. Describing his car as working ‘pretty good’ to the end of the 8-minutes the German said he ‘drove smooth’ due to his car dumping in Q2 yesterday but on checking it afterwards said ‘all was good so I can push a lot harder’.
With drivers starting the day with a free practice run, Sobue said after finding the traction was too high for his car set-up , his CRC suffering understeer, for Q5 he applied more additive to his front tyres. He said while this gave him a good car for the first two minutes he described the car for the final 2-minutes as ‘difficult’. This lead to ‘2 mistakes’ and ‘many small touches’ with the piping. Expecting traction to go down a little for the final qualifier, he plans to go back to yesterday’s tyre prep of using less additive on the front tyres.
Opting to run a bigger rear tyre for Q5, Matsukura would traction roll his Roche at the start of the qualifier. The 3-time Champion said, ‘I think there is more traction in the track today so this and bigger tyres caused traction roll’. Planning to go back to the same diameter rear tyre he ran all day yesterday, the reigning Touring Car World Champion feels he is driving better today. Having led each qualifier only to crash in 3 of the 4 rounds while on TQ pace he said, ‘today me also good’. He added ‘now I can’t make TQ but I will win last one for best start position’.
Posting a P4 to lock himself into the A-Main, Keven Hebert described it as a ‘conservative run’. The Team Associated driver said his Reedy powered RC12R5.2 ‘pushed too much (for him) to keep up with the leaders’ forcing him to ‘drive safe’. The Canadian will try to get more steering for the final qualifier concluding, ‘now that I have three good run I can us the next one to test some stuff for the final’. Behind Hebert Japanese drivers Toto Ebukuro and Kousuke Suzuki completed the Top 6 ahead of JJ Wang and former Touring Car World Champion Jilles Groskamp.
Reigning World Champion Marc Rheinard holds the overnight TQ at the 1:12 World Championships after he became the fourth different driver to top the times on the opening day of qualifying in Beijing. Second fastest in the opening two rounds but retiring from Q3, the Yokomo driver finally took the day’s final qualifier after battles with both Naoto Matsukura and Akio Sobue, Sobue taking the fight to the line finishing 0.152 off the German. Having allowed Rheinard into contention for a TQ run with two smaller mistakes, Matsukura would make bigger mistakes trying to retake control eventually pulling off in the final minute after a mistake that saw him cut the track. With Matsukura out of the picture there were plenty more Japanese drivers in waiting with Hayato Ishioka finishing the day with his best run to complete the Top 3 ahead of Hideo Kitazawa who topped the previous round and holds 3rd overall behind Sobue.
While pleased to finish off the day with a TQ, Rheinard wasn’t celebrating a break through in performance saying, ‘Naoto is the fastest but he just crashes too much’. The German added, ‘I’m not sure how the other cars look to drive but for sure mine is not good, it’s so hard to drive’. Getting to run behind his Tamiya Touring car team-mate Sobue for a few laps, he said the Japanese driver’s CRC chassis with which he took his World title looks to have ‘really good rear traction’. With two rounds of qualifying left and grid position seen to be key to the final with drivers agreeing the track layout offers few place for overtaking, Rheinard said, the pressure is now on him to get results tomorrow, him being Matsukura who has P8 as one of counting three rounds and currently sits fifth overnight. In terms of his Muchmore powered YRX12, 3-time Touring Car World Champion said the plan for tomorrow was to ‘leave the car the same as today and just keep going’.
‘Maximum close’ was how Sobue summed up qualifying so far as he has the same points as Rheinard but sits second due to Rheinard having the fastest race time from his Q4 TQ. While running somewhat under the shadows of Rheinard in touring car, Sobue’s aim is the overall TQ adding, ‘I need one more (TQ) run’. On Q4, the ETS podium finisher said the traction was a little higher causing his prototype CRC to understeer adding as a result of this it was ‘not so fast as before’. Looking to the morning’s Q5, he said the current set-up should work fine but after that for the final qualifier they ‘need to see how the track conditions are looking’.
Declaring himself ‘happy’ to be sitting 3rd overnight, 2014 podium finisher Kitazawa said while his Morotech was ‘very good’ in Q4 the driver was less so. Suffering a ‘driver mistake’, the 12th stalwart and multiple World Championship finalist said his biggest focus for tomorrow was to ‘get more sleep’ in the hope of having ‘better concentration’. With all the drivers travelling between the hotel and the track by official bus this morning the 06:30 pick up had a lot of drivers looking the worse for the early start as they left the track on the 19:00 return bus.
Putting his Q4 performance down to a set-up change that gave his CRC more steering allowing him to push harder, Ishioka said while it was a good finish to the day with a Top 3 he was aiming to be placed higher than the fourth he holds overnight. The Japanese National Champion, who was tipped by many as being a title challenger based on recent form, said tomorrow he will run bigger diameter tyres with the aim of having an easy car with which to finish out the 8-minutes.
Becoming the only driver to record an 11-second lap in qualifying, posting an 11.972 in Q4, Matsukura said, ‘the car is ok I just push too hard’. A driver renowned for his maximum attack driver style since he won the first of his 3-World title in 2008 aged just 15, the now 22-year-old said ‘maybe he needs to take a different approach tomorrow’. With his Roche prototype becoming ‘super difficult after 4-minutes’, most drivers having such difficulties over the closing minutes of the qualifier, he said he would try make the car easier to drive but admitted there is maybe something to be gained from he himself managing the advantage he seems to be able to build up in the first half of the heat.
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.
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.