Chassis – Xray NT 2018 Engine – Max XP3 Fuel(handout) – Maxima Tires (handout) – Matrix Radio/Servo – Sanwa/Sanwa Body – Xtreme Hammer
Remarks – Xray’s top driver in qualifying Leo is running an ‘out of the box’ version of their 2018 kit, adding it is ‘super standard’. The only upgrades are an aluminium chassis screw set and a light weight 2-speed shaft. The French driver said the car has had Top 10 pace all week but he just had trouble getting in clean runs during qualifying hence his P17 in the final qualification ranking.
After over a week of practice and qualifying, the day that counts in crowning the 1:10 200mm World Champion has arrived in Miami.With some very threatening clouds in the skies, proceedings at Homestead RC Raceway opened with the 1/8 Finals with the first win of the day going to Ralph Burch.One of only 2 former champions taking part in the 8th running of the nitro touring car World championships, the other being Meen Vejrak who lines up in the Semis, Burch’s Serpent started on pole from where winner of the last Worlds held on US soil took a 3-second victory over Masaya Ida. Behind there was a great battle between Paolo Morganti and Mark Green for the final bump up position but contact between the pair gave Morganti enough breathing space to take the all important Top 3 and progress to the 1/4 Finals.In the second of the 1/8 Finals unfortunately for promising young Dutch driver Milan Holthuis would not get the chance to capitalise on his pole position start as he had his brake pad come off and his race ended prematurely.At the end it was to be an all American Top 3 with Joaquin Desoto Jr. taking the win ahead of Dj Apolaro and Paul Lemieux who got passed Xray team-mate Martin Hudy, the former podium finisher bumping up from yesterday’s 1/16 Final, on the final lap.
UPDATE – Following the second of the 1/8 finals, Paul Lemieux was handed a 5-second penalty by Race Director Masami Hirosaka for his pass on Martin Hudy on the final lap. While the US team protested the decision, video evidence showed Lemieux did not give Hudy room. As a result of the penalty it was Hudy who took the final bump up position in the 1/4 final.
Robert Pietsch has won Super Pole at the 200mm World Championship in Florida booking himself a direct spot on the grid for Saturday title deciding 1-hour final alongside Top Qualifier Dario Balestri. Qualifying 5th overall, the Mugen driver was first to go and his 17.762 lap was the final lap of 6 was to start. First to challenge the German was reigning Champion Dominic Greiner but suffering a mistake in the middle of his attempt his best lap was 0.122 slower. Andy Moore then stood up to the mark but the Q3 Top Qualifier couldn’t break 18-seconds leave him last of the three to run so far. Taking two rounds of qualifying including the last round, Naoto Matsukura was the final challenger to run but having won Super Pole on his 1:8 Worlds debut last year he it wasn’t going to be another direct A-Main debut for the 200mm rookie. Completing the 3-minute warm-up, the Japanese driver immediately complained of being unable to see as light faded at the Homestead RC Raceway but continuing to put in his 6-laps his best time came on lap 4 but it was 28/1000ths off Pietsch’s. Unfortunately for Pietsch after a short live celebration, an official protest by Matsukura to have Super Pole re-run meant official confirmation of the result was delayed by more than an 1-hour, IFMAR’s international jury unanimous in deciding the result would stand.
Commenting immediately after taking the Super Pole, Pietsch said, ‘Its incredible. I can’t believe it. It’s unbelievable’. Having earlier said he felt not being the youngest of the drivers in Super Pole might go against him, he continued, ‘I knew from before that the track would be worse than the last qualifier for Super Pole because of the break. In Gubbio I also was the first to run and the conditions were super bad but I was hoping not many people had been walking on the track so it would be good. In my Warm-up it all felt good and then once I got some 17-second laps I knew I had a chance and for the last lap I kept on the throttle at the loop. I’m so happy’.
Speaking prior to his protest, a very frustrated Matsukura said, ‘It is not fair. I can’t see. It was too dark I can’t see especially at the sweeper’. Repeatedly shouting from the driver’s stand that he could not see during his timed laps, the Infinity driver concluded, ‘I’m not happy, this is not fair’, before setting about protesting the conditions most drivers and onlookers agreeing the timing of Super Pole was not ideal given how quickly the sun sets in Florida.
Greiner summed up his effort by saying, ‘It was difficult. I don’t know why but the balance was different again from the last qualifier’. Only managing two 17-second laps and making a mistake on his 4th attempt, the Serpent driver continued, ‘I was also nervous so my fastest lap was not perfect’. Missing the Super Pole in Gubbio but going on to win from P3 on the grid, he said, ‘maybe this is a repeat and sometimes it is not a bad to to run the Semi Final’. He will start 2nd on the grid for his Semi behind Matsukura.
After an impressive qualifying performance, on Super Pole Moore said, ‘It was just too dark and the track changed too much’. The Infinity driver added, ‘the track cooled down too much and my car was way too stable plus it was difficult to see at the end of the straight especially the sweeper’. The British driver will now vie for his second 200mm Main start from pole in the Even Semi final.
Remarks – Better known as one of the quickest 1:8 drivers in the World but a 1:10 Worlds Podium finisher, Simon is making one of his rare 1:10 outings with Shepherd’s new 2019 Velox. Unlike team-mate Eduardo Escandon who is running the preproduction car of the 2019 kit, Simon is running a full production kit which went on sale last week. The key feature of the new car is an updated rear end. A new rear axle allows the use of shorter arms which now mount lower in the car. A new shock tower is also added to accommodate mounting the shocks to the new arms.
Naoto Matsukura took the sixth & final round of qualifying at the 200mm Worlds Championship in Florida. The Japanese driver continued Infinity’s reign over the qualifiers as he registered the fastest time ahead of team-mate Teemu Leino. Matsukura’s second TQ run of the day, having opening proceedings with a TQ run, it was to be the fastest of the event with the round also seeing Leino join the elusive 24-lap run group, 1-second off. Robert Pietsch would complete the Top 3 as only the fourth driver to make 24-laps a further 3/10th off Leino while Mugen team-mate Shoki Takahata ended up fourth fastest. Top Qualifier Dario Balestri was left counting his blessing that he wrapped things up a round earlier as faulty power connector ended his run just before the 3-minute mark.
‘I’m super happy to make a new record in my total time but we made a little set-up change that made the car easier to drive but also a little less pace on the best lap’, was how Matsukura summed up his TQ run. Qualifying second overall in between team-mate Balestri and Andy Moore, meaning he will go last in the Super Pole, he continued, ‘I will go back to my set-up from before for Super Pole but for the final I will use the set-up I just ran’. The class rookie also made an engine change for his final run but said, ‘It was also good but it made a lot of smoke so we will adjust this for the Super Pole’.
Failing to make Super Pole, ending up 9th in the final qualifying classification, Leino was pleased with was his best run of qualifying. The reigning European Champion said he could have been in contention for Super Pole but a flame out during refuelling in the previous round robbed him of a top run. Overall though the Finn was happy with the pace he had shown in the concluding qualifier adding ‘now the car is good and the engine which is good going into the Semi Final’.
Pietsch, who qualified fifth overall behind reigning champion Dominic Greiner who got a Stop & Penalty in the final qualifier, was content with his P3 for the round despite suffering a brake issue. Top Qualifier the last time the 200mm Worlds was hosted in the US he explained, ‘in the beginning (of the qualifier) it was better and I could challenge Naoto but after 5-minutes the brake started getting tight and I had to adjust my driving and lost pace’. Asked about the pending Super Pole, the 2nd to 5th place qualifiers having 6-laps each to set the best time and join Balestri directly in Saturday’s final, laughing he replied, ‘It will be very difficult. I’m not the youngest in the Super Pole session’.