Teemu Leino will be the top seed for qualifying at the 200mm World Championships in Bangkok, Thailand tomorrow after the fourth & final practice at the Huge RC Circuit showed no improvement on the HB driver’s CP3 pace. Bringing 5-days of practice to a close, it was Dario Balestri would would top the round but with JJ Wang the only Top 10 driver to better his time the line up for the top qualifying heat remains unchanged. Behind Leino it was Nicholas Lee who ended the day second fastest, followed by Balestri and Mark Green making it four different manufacturers represented in the Top 4.
Never one to give too much away, when asked about his final run Leino said ‘everything seems to be good’ heading into qualifying tomorrow. Posting the fifth fastest time in the final practice, the Top 5 separated by just 0.040 of a second over 3-consecutive laps, the Top Qualifier of the last World Championships said his final run was focused on checking run time and he was pleased with the mileage from his Novarossi engine. Asked about the change from 10 to 5-minute qualifiers he said while its nice to get to run longer, in the end 5-minutes is what it is and he’s ready, saying his R10 is ‘good where it is at’ and he will make no changes for Q1.
Having struggled with a lack of engine power in CP2 & 3, Balestri was clearly happy to end the day by putting his Capricorn top of the time sheets for CP4. Having topped open practice, the Italian said today something changed that effected his XRD engines and it wasn’t until the final practice that they got the performance back through a gearing and exhaust change. Raising the rear hub camber link by 1mm, he said this also improved the car’s stability and helped rear rotation off power giving him a little extra safety should he find himself in a situation were he needs to input more steering. Ending the day 6th fastest, team-mate Kyle Branson is set to follow Balestri’s lead and change his gearing for tomorrow.
Despite posting the second fastest time of the final practice, Yuya Sahashi said the high traction of the cooler evening run left his Picco powered Serpent struggling for power. In addition he said the 748 suffered with understeer and trying to compensate for this through his driving it led to him catching a curb and rolling. Not happy with how the car ran in the conditions, the first qualifier also set to be cooler he expects he will make changes for the morning.
Setting the third fastest time of CP4 but not improving on his 7th overall, defending World Champion Meen Vejrak said while his KM Racing HK-1 was maybe too easy to drive he think the set-up is good for a safe first run. Adjusting his clutch in the search for more power, he said while it was an improvement he still needs more and he hopes to find that with a gear ratio change.
Although it didn’t change his final position of 8th overall, Wang said reverting back to his CP1 set-up for the closing practice gave him a car that easy to drive again. The factory Mugen/Novarossi driver said having made changes for both CP2 & 3 to try & keep up with the changing track conditions he was ‘scared for a time’ they might have lost their way. However going back to his base set-up he feels he is back on track and good for qualifying.
Posting the sixth fastest time in the final round, his best of the day, to end up 14th fastest, Serpent’s Dominic Greiner said while they found a little more steering his Max powered 748 is ‘still not safe’ for a 5-minute qualifier. Having started off well in open practice, he said with traction now ‘much lower’ than previous days he would change his car completely and go back to his base set-up adding he didn’t have much else to try.
Greiner’s Serpent team-mate Mark Green would set the 7th fastest time but a strong CP3 time sees the British veteran end practice 4th overall. Testing a recommendation from Novarossi in the final round, this made his engine come up to temperature much quicker than before and he is confident that his package is all set and ready for qualifying.
The above video is from the final press conference of the 2009 1/8th scale World Championships in Lostallo, Switzerland. We talk to the top 3 finishers Lamberto Collari, Mike Swauger and Adrien Bertin, and get their thoughts on the 1 hour final.
The weather forced us to wait a day longer than originally planned but today we got to witness another great World title drive from the master of 1:8 Onroad racing Lamberto Collari and see just why he is the greatest 1:8 driver off all time. Starting the one hour final from second, the Italian drove the perfect race taking his ninth title 20-years on from when he claimed his very first World Championship. Taking the challenge to Top Qualifier, and the only true dangerman, Robert Pietsch in the opening part of the race Collari hit cruise control once he had forced problems on the German. In the end the Kyosho/Novarossi driver took a very comfortable two lap winning margin over American Mike Swauger who came out top of the biggest battle of the race to claim second over former Champion Adrien Bertin.
Following Pietsch for the opening part of the race Collari, who was on longer runs between fuelling than the other nine drivers, caught everyone by surprise with his early pace in particular Pietsch. The Mugen driver was forced to push much harder than planned as Collari, who set the fastest lap of the 1 hour final, chased him down. This extra pace meant both higher fuel consumption and tyre wear for Pietsch and in the end this was to bring an end to his challenge. At mid point of the race Pietsch’s car flamed out as he tried to hang onto Collari. Afterwards Collari was quick to praise the key role played by his pit crew, Andrea Gardini and Luca Poggiali, in helping him to claim the title today. Described as the Ross Brawn of the operation, Poggiali’s strategy just left the opposition with little or no chance, with Collari handed a 7 second extension every 20 minutes thanks to his 5 minute fuel stop stategy.
Runner up Swauger said he obviously came here wanting to win but was pleased with his result considering the man that finished in front of him and his lack of experience on European tracks which he said are completely different to the flat tracks in his home country. After a bad start and his engine needing to be leaned off during the first stop, the Mugen driver said once he settled into a rythm the race went pretty much as planned. Working his way back up through the field he was part of the biggest battle of the race eventually getting the upper hand over Bertin. Having struggled in qualifying and having to come through from the 1/4 finals, Bertin said he wasn’t surprised by his podium. Having found the problem with his Team Orion powered Kyosho in time for the 1/4 Finals, which he won, the Frenchman said he had the package to beat Swauger for second but in the end it was his physical condition that let him down. Throughout the championships Bertin has suffered with a painful right arm but after the race he paid tribute to Collari saying the best driver won.
Missing out on a podium finish Pietsch was justifiably feeling low about the outcome of the delayed race. Having been the pace setter all week claimimg the TQ honours and recording the outright fastest lap of the week, he said Collari’s speed in the early part of the race had caught them out and forced them to change strategy. Disappointed at not even making the podium he said he can take some consolation from the fact he was the only driver to challenge Collari for the victory.
For the other two direct qualifiers the race was a difficult one. Starting from third Alberto Picco said he just didn’t have the set-up to challenge for a podium placing. The Italian felt his Picco powered Mugen was very good in the 1 hour practice yesterday and he was confident of a good race. However this morning his car didn’t suit the conditions and despite changes in the 4-minute warm-up before the final he couldn’t get the car to work. Contact in the early part of the race saw him roll and chunk his rear right tyre. Trying to continue till his scheduled fuel stop he went off onto the grass losing a lot of time as the now wet tyres, from the morning dew, had no traction. In the end Picco finished fifth, six seconds adrift of Pietsch with the Motonica of Dario Balestri completing the Top 6.
Carrying all the hopes of the Serpent team in the final, Mark Green was disappointed to finish 8th. Having claimed his first ever direct qualification to a World Final, starting from fourth, the British ace got tagged a number of times on the opening lap and said his frustration got the better of him and he went off onto the wet grass. Having had to switch to an emergency engine from Novarossi, after problems with his other motors in the warm up yesterday, Green said his 966 and engine was great but his driving was the weakness today.
Final Official results
1. Collari Lamberto (IT) – 172 Laps in 1:00:19.212
2. Swauger Mike (US) – 170 Laps in 1:00:04.276
3. Bertin Adrien (FR) – 170 Laps in 1:00:11.468
4. Pietsch Robert (DE) – 169 Laps in 1:00:14.138
5. Picco Alberto (IT) – 169 Laps in 1:00:20.582
6. Balestri Dario (IT) – 167 Laps in 59:58.875
7. Shimo Takaaki (JP) – 167 Laps in 1:00:06.954
8. Green Mark (EN) – 166 Laps in 1:00:09.586
9. Vrielijnck Rick (NL) – 165 Laps in 1:00:10.562
10.D’hondt Robin (BE) – 164 Laps in 1:00:01.518
So the two year count down to the next 1:8 Onroad World Championship is alreay underway when the World’s best drivers will travel to the USA. Rumoured to being hosted at Kissimmee R/C Raceway in Florida, all the team’s need to go back to the drawing board if they are to deny the master, who still has the hunger for success, his 10th title. RedRC would like say ‘grazie’ to everyone at the Mini Racing Ticino E Moesa club for their help throughout our enjoyable stay at what is the most picturesque track settings in the world. Thanks also to Serpent and Mugen for making our coverage of this great event possible.
Lamberto Collari has claimed a ninth World title after cruising to a two lap winning margin this morning at the 17th IFMAR 1:8 Onroad World Championships here in Lostallo, Switzerland. The Italian ran a perfect race winning ahead of American Mike Swauger and former World Champion Adrien Bertin. Top Qualifier Robert Pietsch pushed Collari at the start but flamed out ending his chanes of a first title and ended the one hour race in fourth.
We will have to wait another day to find out who will be crowned the 17th 1:8 Onroad World Champion after IFMAR was left with no choice but to postpone the Main Final when the heavens opened up over the Lostallo track as the Top 10 drivers made their way onto the rostrum for the 1 hour race. Race Director Franky Noens has annouced that the rescheduled race will now take place at 10:00 tomorrow (Sunday) morning.
Having luckily booked our flights home for late Sunday night we will be here in the morning to bring you full coverage, which is supported by Serpent and Mugen, of the race which will see German’s Robert Pietsch start from pole position.