Lamberto Collari is the top seed for qualifying at the 1:10 200mm World Championships in Miami, Florida. Making his Worlds debut in the nitro touring car class the legend of 1:8 Onroad secured the top seeding after both he and Infinity team-mate Naoto Matsukura, another class rookie, set identical times in the today’s fourth & final round of controlled practice. With Collari’s CP2 topping time quicker than that of Matsukura’s fastest time from CP1, it was the Italian who got the tie break over the Japanese driver. Behind, Tadahiko Sahashi made it an Infinity 1-2-3 in seeding with another Top 3 run in CP4 while Robert Pietch also matched his best run of the day, a 4th, in the cooler evening conditions of the final round to be seeded 4th. Former champion Meen Vejrak ended the day 5th overall in front of reigning champion Dominic Greiner who after CP4 seemed a lot happier than he was earlier in the day.
‘Incredible. This never happened before I don’t think’, was Collari’s reaction to both himself and Naoto registering a time of 47.407 for their fastest 3-consecutive laps. Appearing surprised himself with his seeding performance, the 9-time 1:8 World Champion said, ‘normally I am not fast on 3-laps but here I am and I am comfortable with this pace’. Asked about tomorrow’s start to qualifying, he replied, ‘the car is very good for qualifying and I will leave it the same for the first one. It is comfortable and easy to drive’.
Matsukura described the outcome of controlled practice as ‘not too bad’. In the Top 2 in all four rounds, the former Electric Touring Car World Champion added, ‘I am ready for qualifying’. Describing the track as ‘different’ and having ‘different traction’ in CP4 due to the much cooler conditions, he said his car still felt the same to drive adding it was consistent over the changing track conditions. Using the day’s concluding 7-minute controlled practice to try both pushing hard and driving safely, he said, ‘both worked well’ but that tomorrow he would drive ‘more relaxed and safe to make no mistakes’.
‘I’m very happy with the result today’, was how Sahashi summed up his Top 3 in seeding. The 2013 1:8 World Champion said that while he planned further set-up changes ahead of Q1 for better stability in the rear, his car was good over 3-laps as well as for 7-minutes – the duration of the qualifiers at this year’s World Championship with them having been 5-minutes 2-years ago in Gubbio.
Describing his performance today as ‘solid’, Pietsch added, ‘I can do one lap like Naoto and Lamberto, I just can’t do more of them together’. The Mugen designer and driver continued, ‘my main problem is the chicane section in the middle of the track. Before I could go over the curbs, now one lap is ok but the next one they make the car get unstable. I spoke to the guys who sprayed the track this morning and they told me that the sugar water on the curbing paint has much more traction than on the asphalt. It’s like offroad style where the bumps change in the track’.
Vejrak was pleased that he was going into qualifying in a much more competitive position than in Gubbio saying ‘I’m happy to be in the Top heat’. The Maxima team driver said he could make more steering from his Capricorn in the final round but with the traction higher it was hard to drive with this set-up, adding ‘anyway it was good to test this’.
‘In cold conditions it is better. Now it felt very comfortable and easy to drive. Maybe it was too stable but it is better’, was Greiner’s reaction after CP4 despite only producing the 9th fastest time behind reigning 1:8 World Champion Dario Balestri. The Serpent driver added, ‘the other guys are rotating more and because of this many are not going to be so consistent over 7-minutes. I will leave the car as is for the first qualifier for sure. It felt very good for me now. I was driving the car not it driving me. I will change the engine because I have a better one’. He concluded, ‘TQ will be difficult but maybe Top 5 for Super Pole will be possible’.
Chassis – Infinity IF15 Engine – OS Speed T12 03 Fuel(handout) – Maxima Tires (handout) – Matrix Radio/Servo – Sanwa/Sanwa Body – Protoform P47
Remarks – Right in the mix in controlled practice, Naoto is running what he describes as an ‘all standard car just with optionals’ adding the car has ‘nothing special’ on it. His first 200mm race, he said the most interesting aspect of the car is OS’ new T12 03 engine.
Shoki Takahata has put his Mugen at the top of the time sheets in the 3rd round of controlled practice at the 1:10 200mm World Championships in Homestead, Florida. The Japanese driver posted the 2nd fastest time of the day over 3-consecutive laps to top the round from fellow countryman Naoto Matsukura by 7/100th of a second. Behind, Simon Kurzbuch made a big improvement to set the third quickest time ahead of Teemu Leino who also made a big step forward in terms of pace. With his CP2 time still standing as the fastest of the day with one round of controlled practice remaining, Lamberto Collari would end the third round 17th fastest with a body change causing his Infinity to become unstable in the rear. It would also be a difficult round for reigning World Champion Dominic Greiner who was only marginally quicker in P15.
Commenting on his CP3 performance, having had a previous best of P10 in the previous round, Takahata said his car was getting better with them having made big changes each round to try and improve the car. The 24-year-old added he still needs to make the car more stable and while still deciding what changes to make he said they plan now to just focus on smaller set-up adjustment compared to before. Running in the second fastest heat group, asked what he thought of the track he replied it was difficult to make good times on as to achieve this he had to drive more aggressive which in turn made it difficult to be consistent.
With a change of set-up for CP3, Matsukura said the set-up felt ok but discussing his car with team-mate Jesse Davis said, ‘Jesse says I still need to make (the car) more stable’. Also changing engine for the round, he said it had good top speed but they needed to adjust the clutch for the final round when he will run the engine again. The Infinity driver added the track itself was also getting more challenging saying, ‘when I pass a driver on the inside I am off the line and in the loose. It is so difficult’.
A driver who achieved his first and Shepherd’s first A-Main Worlds appearance at Homestead RC Raceway at the 1:8 Worlds back in 2011, Kurzbuch said, ‘this track has has good memories for me and the team’. Praising his team’s efforts for the 1:10 Worlds, the 1:8 ace said, ‘we have a good team here working on set-up and it looks like we now found a good set-up for the conditions. It is pity my father could not be here but he is watching and offering advice from home’. The 2015 1:8 World Champion said while the car is now stable he still needs to work a little bit on his driving. He said, ‘the chicane before the loop and the hairpin after are where I can improve most’.
Ninth fastest in the opening two rounds, Leino was happy to have found a bit more pace as practice comes to a close. Asking the Finn where the improvement came from he replied, ‘we were so far off we needed to make many improvements to the car so its hard to say which one worked’. The European Champion added, ‘my problem is rear grip like everyone else. Out of the corner I cant get traction. It’s like buggy driving’.
Leading the Xray charge, Leo Arnold posted the 5th fastest time ahead of Robert Pietsch. The French driver said his car has been working pretty well from the first free practice but that time it was a bit better after he went for a softer suspension set-up. Describing his car as super consistent and not so bad in terms of speed ‘on 7-minutes it is super good’. ‘Easy to drive’, he plans to leave it as is for the start of qualification tomorrow.
Chassis – Mugen Prototype Engine – OS Speed T12 03 Fuel(handout) – Maxima Tires (handout) – Matrix Radio/Servo – Sanwa/Sanwa Body – Xtreme Hammer
Remarks – Looking strong here at Homestead RC Speedway, Robert is running a prototype of Mugen’s upcoming 1:10 200mm kit release. Featuring the same front end as the MTX6R the biggest change is a completely new rear end with both ends connected by a new chassis design. With the rear having all new metal parts it follows the design of their 1:8 rear end and having less parts making it easier to work on the car. In terms of performance Robert says the car has similar handling characteristics to it’s predecessor.
The second round of controlled practice at the 1:10 200mm World Championships at Homestead RC Raceway saw Lamberto Collari go quickest. The Infinity driver bettered the CP1 pace of team-mate Naoto Matsukura, to top the Japanese driver with Tadahiko Sahashi making it a 1-2-3 for the reigning 1:8 Onroad World Champion manufacturer. For reigning champion Dominic Greiner it was a frustrating round as he struggled with the balance of his car ending up P5 for the round behind Robert Pietsch. After struggling with traction conditions reigning 1:8 World Champion Dario Balestri would manage his first Top 6 run ahead of Leo Arnold who is the best of the Xray challengers in Florida so far.
‘The car feels very good’, was a very pleased looking Collari’s reaction after topping the round with the Italian adding, ‘for the long run I’m very confident’. Asked how he was adapting to the 1:10 driving style he replied, ‘I start out in my mind driving like 1:8 but after the first corner I remember I’m driving 1:10’. He added, ‘the braking and acceleration are completely different but I am getting more and more comfortable with the driving style each time I go on the track’. Running a different bodyshell in CP2, he will try and different body position for his next run as well a running a different engine with different timing.
Having made changes to his Infinity, Matsukura said, ‘Now it is too stable for my driving. I have to be more hard on braking so it is too much hard work. I will go for a set-up in the middle of what I ran now and the first round’. The 1:8 Onroad World Finalist, his international 1:8 racing debut coming at the Worlds in France last year, continued, ‘my driving is a little different to the others and I am using different lines but I need to change this because I am putting my tyres on dirty parts of the track and it is getting loose in the dust’. With 2 of the four rounds counting for the seeding for qualifying, meaning he will line up in the top heat tomorrow, he said, ‘This is my first time racing 1:10 and I am really enjoying it. It is good fun.’
Sahashi said he found a better set-up for CP2. Making rear end adjustments as well as switching to softer shock oil in the rear, the Japanese driver said the changes made his car ‘drive better’. Making his Infinity debut in Florida, the long time Serpent driver plans to take each of the adjustments one step further for CP3.
Having had a front diff problem in CP1, Pietsch said his car ‘felt pretty ok’ for the second run but added ‘it was still not the same as 2-days ago’ when he topped the opening day of practice. Fitting a new diff for CP2, the Mugen driver will now change the weight distribution of the prototype car concluding, ‘I hope with this we can find the pace of 2 days ago again’.
‘I’m not happy with the car’, was Greiner’s reaction after CP2. The German continued, ‘the balance is not good. It is pushing on corner entry and then has too much steering on the way out. It’s only on the left side of the track. The right side is pretty OK so I don’t know what to do.’ One thing he said is contributing to his problems is the shore difference between the front tyre and rear tyre. He said, ‘there is a 10 shore difference, normally I would race with a difference of 3. I can qualifying the car ok when I am driving around on my own but I could not race it like this. It is too hard to drive’.
Commenting on his performance Balestri said, ‘It is getting better but the big problem is when we tested at the Warm-up the tyres were completely different. They had more grip. We were 1-second faster than we are now and then when we start 2 days ago the car was undriveable. We had to start again from zero which is really bad for us’. The Italian was critical of the format saying, ‘they always changes the rules. In Gubbio we had 6 practice each day but here get 4 and yesterday because of the rain it was only 3. Anyway today its getting better but it is not enjoyable to drive. It is like driving on ice. It’s a really bad race’.