Ryan Lutz is the top qualifier of EP Buggy at the 2018 SIGP in Xiamen, China having taken Q2 which along with taking Q1 locks in pole position for Sunday’s triple A-mains. Putting in a blistering run on the ARC International Raceway, the Tekno driver took 4 seconds off his Q1 time and set the outright track record with a 32.904 second lap, the only driver to drop below 34 seconds in qualifying. It was a familiar order behind with Kyosho driver Yusuke Sugiura taking 2nd place, with Kaja Novotny a further 11 seconds back in 3rd with Chen Guanxian and Shin Dongcheol completing the top 5.
In round 2 of Nitro Buggy qualifying the top 3 drivers remained the same, however the order was reversed with Kyosho driver Wataru Takashiro taking the round but remains in 3rd overall with a time that is still 14 seconds off TQ Ryan Lutz. Japanese team mate Yusuke Sugiura was second, just 1 second back with Lutz having a difficult start to his qualifier with a number of mistakes dropping him way back. Zhan Wei would take 4th while Kaja Novotny finally starting to come to terms with the low grip surface to round out the top 5.
‘My fastest lap was slower but safe’ was Wataru’s reaction to taking the round. Switching to a bigger pin tire to handle the dust better, it made the car easier to drive but was not faster. Not wanting to switch tire he will instead work on the car’s setup and cut out the mistakes, having made only one big mistake this round. While fastest this round, with the best time counting from the 3 qualifiers, Wataru sits 3rd with one round left to be run this afternoon.
Yusuke Sugiura ended up 2nd for the round and stays in 2nd overall but said he was a little disappointed with his run as his car was feeling better but had two large mistakes on one lap which lost him a lot of time. The first mistake was due to a marshal blocking his view of a crashed car while the 2nd also involved a marshal. Feeling the car is much better now, backed up by him setting his fastest lap, his plan now is only minor tweaks to the car and to cut out the small mistakes.
Having a bad start to the qualifier, Ryan Lutz losing 18 seconds on the first 2 laps of the run, the first of which was caused by a mistake in the middle S section was he was trying a harder compound and a different pattern which pushed more than he expected. Once going again the American was able to get his head down and go about catching the drivers ahead of him, laying down his best lap of the weekend so far with a 33.668. Lutz still heads the qualifying standings with his Q1 time.
Chinese Kyosho driver Zhan Wei went one better this run to take 4th, and keeping out the mistakes shaved 10 seconds off his best time. Admitting that he is not a setup guy, with two good results on the board now, he doesn’t plan to make any changes to the car itself but does plan to try a harder compound James tire with a view to the 1 hour final tomorrow.
Finally starting to come to terms with the low grip track, having raced exclusively on carpet tracks all winter, Kaja Novotny says he is now missing the practice with was rained out earlier in the week but admits it is getting better. His first outdoor race with new sponsor JConcepts, the Czech teenager is still working on finding the best tire for the conditions, currently using JC Detox in green compound.
Tekno driver Ryan Lutz has carried his form through from controlled practice in EP Buggy, once again dominating proceedings with Yusuke Sugiura the only driver close to the American in Q1. Over 6 seconds clear at the top of the times, his fastest lap was also over 1.2 seconds faster than his Japanese rival. In 3rd place was Czech Sunpadow backed Xray driver Kaja Novotny, with Jonathan Yeung, who struggled with engine problems in Nitro Q1, ending up 4th a further 4 seconds back with Chen Guanxian from Taiwan completing the top 5.
Ryan Lutz has continued on in qualifying from where he left off in practice by taking the opening round of Nitro Buggy qualifying by 6 seconds with a consistent run under overcast skies. It was a familiar story in 2nd and 3rd with the Japanese Kyosho pairing of Yusuke Sugiura and Wataru Takashiro, the latter some 25 seconds back after making too many mistakes with what was a difficult to drive car. Felix Law, who is back racing 1/8th offroad after a 12 month break would end up 4th just ahead of Kyosho returnee Zhan Wei in 5th.
Lutz had a clean and consistent run, having only one small moment with traffic where he lost less than a second, he used Q1 to get a better feel for the car’s setup of his Tekno buggy. Having switched to a lighter rear diff and more rear pack for the rest of qualifying he will leave the setup as is and go up in oil in the shocks a quarter each run as he tries to find the best balance between being good over the bumps and on the big jumps. With a view to the one hour final he will also switch to a harder tire as he found the super soft version he was using was starting to tear.
Getting stuck in traffic on his opening two laps of qualifying because of where he started the session, once passed Sugiura said the run was ‘OK’. For the next round the Kyosho driver will change to a harder tire saying with the weather more overcast the track surface is less glossy and so not as loose as yesterday and the soft tire he went with was the wrong choice. Not sure of what else to change for Q2, he will use the opening qualifier for EP Buggy to confirm his tire choice.
Wataru felt that his car was not so good, despite being able to make the second fastest lap of the round, only a tenth off Lutz, it was not safe to drive. For the next run he will work on making his Kyosho easier to drive and work on tire selection, feeling he still has not got the right compound for the conditions. Also making too many mistakes he thinks he is still getting used to the track and said ‘qualifying is practice for me for the final’.
Making a comeback to 1/8th nitro, having last driven at this event last year, Felix Law was pretty pleased to be in 4th. For the run he took it safe and easy to get a good time and will now push a little harder in the remaining 2 rounds, the fastest round from 3 counting. In constant contact with Paul Ciccarello back in the US regarding setup, Law says the car is getting better each run, helped also by the fact that his brand new Reds engine is now run in and it can be leaned out.
Completing the top 5 for Q1 was Chinese driver Zhan Wei who is having his first event back with Kyosho. His run saw him flip over 3 times so the time was not so good and for the next round will not change anything on the car and simply focus on his driving.
Completing the perfect day at ARC International Raceway Ryan Lutz has also topped controlled practice in EP buggy with the fastest run of the day in the 3rd round along with the fastest lap of the track with a 33.438. Yusuke Sugiura would end the day in 2nd, two seconds adrift of the American driver, with fellow Kyosho racer Hu Weiping in 3rd, while Jonathan Yeung and Serpent driver Felix ‘More Powaaa’ Law would complete the Top 5.
Ryan Lutz is the Nitro buggy top seed for Qualifying at the 2018 SIGP as he put in a blistering time to go nearly 2 seconds faster over 3 consecutive laps than 2nd placed Yusuke Sugiura. The US driver putting his time down to tweaks made to the car’s setup to make it harder, having felt that the setup he copied from Jonathan Yeung for Rd2 was too soft. Behind Sugiura in 2nd was fellow Japanese Kyosho driver Wataru Takashiro who finally found his rhythm to demote Hu Weiping who will rely on his CP1 time to seed 4th with Chen Guanxian, Jonathan Yeung and Kaja Novotny all improving in the 3rd round to complete the top 6.
Very impressed with the setup he has copied from Hong Kong team mate Yeung, especially how it handles the bumps, Lutz made his dampers harder for the final round of practice and also applied a rear linkage change from the setup that he hadn’t yet put on his car. Now much happier with his car he plans to go slightly harder in the rear shocks for the 1st qualifier tomorrow morning to make the car better on landings off the bigger jumps and plans to use one of the qualifiers to try a harder tire, switching from super soft to soft AKA Impacts.
Japanese driver Yusuke Sugiura felt his car was quick but not stable enough to be consistent over 5 minutes due to the many bumps on the track. For the opening qualifier the Kyosho driver plans to go softer on his damping to cope with the track conditions and make it more stable and consistent but overall he said the car was ‘not bad’.
Kyosho Japan team mate Takashiro said his car was now better than before, continuing the learn the track as the previous days testing had been rained off. Saying his first round this morning was terrible, it took him a while to figure out how to improve the car but now it was ok. With some ideas on how to further improve the car he said the track is getting slippery but followed that up with ‘but I like low traction’.
Hu Weiping made it three Kyoshos in the top 4 places despite not improving on his CP1 pace. In the final round of practice, the Chinese National Champion admitted to making too many mistakes and with the setup changes he made not working he will now revert back to the setting he started the day with going into Q1, with the exception of the change to harder Sweep Defender tires.
Completing the top 5, Chen Guanxian said the set-up changes he is making to the car were improving his Agama each run but also feels he is getting used to the track. For the first of 3 rounds of qualifying tomorrow morning the Taiwanese driver doesn’t plan any changes, instead focussing on just driving the car.