March 4, 2018

Xray 1-2 for TITC A-Main

It will be an Xray 1-2 on the grid for the TITC A-Mains later today at RC Addict In Thailand as a P2 in the final qualifier this morning bumped Alexander Hagberg up two spots to start second behind team-mate & Top Qualifier Bruno Coelho.  Having wrapped up the overall TQ in the fourth round of qualifying yesterday, Coelho would complete a clean sweep of qualifying, again topping the times in the sixth & final round this morning.  Behind the Xray duo, the attack is set to come from Infinity with Naoto Matsukura third ahead of team-mates Akio Sobue and Marc Rheinard with 2017 race contender Jilles Groskamp also making the grid for the team albeit in 10th spot.  For last year’s podium finishers Nicholas Lee and Ronald Volker, its been a tough event with both finding themselves in the B-Main with Meen Vejrak Yokomo’s top hope staring 6th on the grid ahead of team-mate Naoki Akiyama.

Commenting firstly on his Q6 performance, Coelho said, ‘I had a mistake at the beginning.  I was on 2-wheels in the front chicane but I was able to recover’.  Looking to the finals, the drivers getting 2-new sets of the race’s controlled Ride tyre, he said, ‘now we glue new tyres for the finals which I hope are not a different batch to what they sell us before but I think they should be the same’.  With the majority of drivers conceding that Coelho will successfully complete the hat-trick of TITC titles such has been his advantage from the opening practice, the Portuguese driver concluded that for the finals he will, ‘leave the car the same and continue what we are doing’.

‘My car was good, even better than yesterday’, was Hagberg’s reaction after Q6.  The Swede continued, ‘It was fast from the middle to the end so I could finish 2nd and I’m happy with that’.  Looking to the opening A-Main he said, ‘My car doesn’t start as well as the other but finishes good which could be an advantage because it doesn’t drop off as much as the others’.  He concluded, ‘I will try my best to fight for a podium in the finals’.

With modified the first class to run on the track this morning, Matsukura said, ‘the track grip was low but after 2-minutes my car started to understeer and get loose so I could make consistent laps’.  Despite spinning out on the last lap and knocking the rear shock off his car resulting in a 26-second lap he would still get a P5 but he needed to finish ahead of Hagberg. Dropping from the second position he held overnight in the provisional qualification ranking to third as a result, on the finals he said, ‘It will be super difficult to win but I will try.  I need to get by Alex as quick as possible’.  Asked about his car set-up for the final, he replied, ‘I think what we can do to the car but the track should be better than this morning’.

Sobue would also struggle with the lower traction of Q6.  Ending up 3rd quickest in the final qualifier, the Japanese Champion said, ‘the pace of my car was not too good. At the start it felt pretty good but after 1-minute it had a big drop off.’  Agreeing the real battle was going to be against Hagberg he admitted, ‘Bruno is too fast’ adding, ‘but we never give up so I will push hard for a good result for the team’.  In terms of his car set-up for A1 he said,  ‘I will make just small changes for the first final because the track will be better’.

Completing the top half of the grid, Rheinard was lost as to how he could improve for the finals.  Posting the fourth fastest time in the concluding qualifier, the multiple World Champion said, ‘I changed the diff, shock position and the rear toe but it was still the same. It was loose at the end.  I really have no idea what else I can do’.  He continued, ‘Now it is an Xray 1-2 and normally if Naoto was second he could maybe attack Bruno.  We know Alex is not the best at the start so maybe Naoto can get by but for me I just have to wait and see what happens’.  He concluded, ‘We have four in the Main which is still good’.

View complete event results here.

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March 3, 2018

Hagberg best of the rest in Q5

With the Bruno Coelho domination at the TITC showing no signs of abating, the Portuguese driver notching up his fastest TQ run in the penultimate qualifier even with getting out of shape, it was team-mate Alexander Hagberg who came out best of the rest.  Posting a time 1.6-seconds off Coelho’s 5th TQ run, the result puts the Swede in contention to make it an Xray 1-2 on the grid that will decide the champion at the 16th running of Asia’s most famous race. Akio Sobue would complete the Top 3, with the Infinity driver together with team-mate Naoto Matsukura and, with an outside chance, Marc Rheinard all vying to start second with one final qualifier left to run on Sunday morning.

‘Finally I was fairly competitive in the first laps and I could get a second place’,  said Hagberg afterwards.  He continued, ‘I will try to do the same again tomorrow morning but it is gong to be pretty dusty as we are out first’.  Not sure if he will change his car for Q6, he said, ‘2nd (on the grid) is still open so anything can happen in the last one.  I will try my best to repeat what I just did.  The car is definitely better than yesterday’.

One of only 3-drivers to run 14-second laps, Coelho and Matsukura the other two, Sobue said track conditions were not as cool as expected but added they were better than the previous round.  Describing his car as ‘a little loose’,  the Japanese National Champion goes into the final round of qualifying holding third on the grid but with a good final qualifier has the chance to overtake Matsukura.  He said, ‘I will try to fight for second but I need a 20 lap run in 5:10 and in the morning the track will be dusty so it is going to be hard’.

Needing a TQ in the morning to get P2 on the grid, Rheinard, who found himself in the B-Main last year, was pleased to get a 4th as it almost certainly secures him 5th on the grid.  The German said, ‘the starting order (for Q5) was based on the order of Q4 so I started 3rd last and it was hard to judge my pace compared the others.  One time the car spun out at the chicane but the rest was ok’.  He added, ‘we are still missing something.  Bruno is on one level, then it is Akio, Naoto, Hagberg and me. Maybe tomorrow it will be a different game because the organisers will give us all new tyres for the final but I am sure Bruno will still be fastest.

With Q5 proving his worst round, Matsukura said, ‘my car was pretty good for the first minute but after that it started to understeer. It was not very stable’.  Crashing on lap 12 of 20 at the end of the straight, the Japanese driver took full responsibility for the impact saying, ‘that was my mistake’.  Sitting second overnight in the provisional qualification ranking, the former touring car & reigning 1:12 World Champion said, ‘it will be an important run in the morning to hold onto second’.  Asked is he was to hold on to 2nd if he believes he can mount a challenge on Coelho he replied, ‘Bruno still has the advantage and don’t think that will change tomorrow’.  Behind Matsukura, a good run from Charlee P would see him post his first Top 6 run as the lead Yokomo driver followed by the Infinity of 2017 second place qualifier Jilles Groskamp.

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March 3, 2018

Chassis Focus – Meen Vejrak

Chassis – Yokomo BD8 2018
Motor – Scorpion RS 4.5T
ESC – Scorpion Vanguard ESC
Batteries – Scorpion 7700mAh
Tires – Ride (handout)
Radio/Servo – Sanwa/Power HD
Bodyshell – Protoform Type S Pro-lite
Remarks – Local superstar Meen Vejrak is the top Yokomo so far in qualifying using the 2018 BD8. Moving away from their standard setup for the tricky conditions at RC Addict, he has gone for softer springs all around and lowered the top of the front shocks down one hole. Making the front narrower by using 3.5mm wide hex adaptors, he is also using the back bone plate, which evens up the car’s flex. Up front he is using a brass front suspension block and a further 15 grams in the bumper to make the car more stable on power. In terms of body the Type S from Protoform has been mounted 2mm forward while the rear wing is fixed as far back as it can go in a effort to get more steering while maintaining stability.

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March 3, 2018

Coelho wraps up overall TQ at TITC

Bruno Coelho will start out his quest for a third consecutive TITC victory tomorrow after wrapping up the overall TQ at RC Addict in Bangkok.  Having dominated yesterday’s three rounds of qualifying, the Xray driver secured pole position with yet another different level performance in the fourth qualifier.  Behind him, the main challenge again came from Japan but not from Naoto Matsukura, who had a mistake on the first lap, but from Infinity team-mate Akio Sobue.  Sobue stopped the clock 2.5-seconds off the TQ pace.  Alexander Hagberg finally broke into the Top 3 having finished all of yesterday’s qualifying 4th fastest.  The Swede was on for second but had issues on his penultimate lap which dropped him back behind Sobue.  Despite his mistake Matsukura would recover to record a P4 ahead of Meen Vejrak and Atsushi Hara.

‘It was another good round’, was Coelho’s reaction after Q4.  The reigning champion, who claimed that title from the TQ last year, continued, ‘I just drove easy to make no mistake and could pull away slowly’.  Having a clear advantage over his rivals, on becoming Top Qualifier with two rounds remaining he said, ‘To get the overall TQ without any problems from the driver or mechanics of the car is really great and I hope we can keep it like this for the rest of the weekend. I have nothing more to say really’.

Sobue described his car as ‘a little difficult’ to drive but the CETC Champion was pleased with himself that the run had ‘now no mistakes’.  He added, ‘the car was a little nervous and we need to make it more stable but the conditions for the next one will be much cooler so we will change the set-up for the higher bite’.  The 5th and penultimate round of qualifying will be the latest a qualifier will be run with drivers expecting it to be much cooler and in theory quicker conditions.

‘The car was better than yesterday but still I lost a little time avoiding upside down cars’, was Hagberg’s summary of Q4.  The Xray driver continued, ‘definitely the pace was there to be second so I will try to have a clean round in the next one’.  Putting the car improvement down to a ‘small change in the roll centre’, asked if he planned any further changes the Swede replied, ‘the track conditions will change massively for the next one.  Its going to cool down a lot, it will be the coolest time we run on the track all weekend and I am probably not going to change my set-up’.

‘The first lap again’, said a frustrated Matsukura.  Switching from PSS shocks to the standard set-up, he said they are better but more risky as his contact with the curb in the sweeper after the main straight showed when contact launched his car.  He continued, ‘I think it lost me 3-seconds or something but the car was pretty good. I just had that one mistake’.  Asked about the expected high traction for Q5, the former World Champion will go up in both diff and shock oil for it.  For team-mate Marc Rheinard he would also make an early mistake.  Rolling his Infinity coming on to the main straight he lost almost 8-seconds and now sits 5th on the provisional grid.

Remaining Yokomo’s leading challenge, with Ronald Volker copying his set-up for his 5th attempt but ending up rolling, Vejrak described his run to the 5th fastest time as ‘difficult’ due to the track being ‘a lot more hot than yesterday’.  The Bangkok driver said, ‘we went much more soft with the shocks.  The lap times look OK but it is very difficult to drive’.  On the final qualifier of the day, the former nitro touring car World Champion said, ‘It should be cooler but you never know.  The traction now is completely different to practice but I do know the four guys in front of me are too strong’.

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March 3, 2018

Chassis Focus – Naoto Matsukura

Chassis – Infinity IF14
Motor – Hobbywing V10 G3 4.5T
ESC –Hobbywing XR10 PRO
Batteries – Sunpadow 5600mAh
Tires – Ride (handout)
Radio/Servo – Sanwa
Bodyshell – Montech Racer lightweight
Remarks – Naoto Matsukura is running the IF14 from Infinity with a number of new option parts on the car including a new lower rear suspension mounting block that enables 2 degrees of toe-in to be put on the car as well as a new single screw anti roll bar positioning collar on the rear that allows for a softer setting. In terms of setup on the car he changed to a wider front track width to get the car more stable and changed the diff setup for the lower traction expected today.

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