At the end of qualifying he was delighted to make his first ever 1:10 200mm World Championship Final but now Daniele Ielasi has gone one better and won a thrilling one hour Main Final here in Portugal to become the 2008 World Champion. Having suffered cruel luck at the 1:8 European Championship last month, Ielasi was clearly emotional after claiming his first ever World title which was greeted by huge applause from the large crowd who witnessed the race.
Starting from 3rd on the grid, Ielasi made the same tactical decision that brought him victory in the World’s Warm Up race, opting to run his own race and conserve his ATS tyres while his rivals drove at 110% up front. The tactic was to play out perfectly for the Picco driver as most of the early pace setters encountered problems along the way. Running at the back of the field for much of the race Ielasi started to shine through in the second half as he caught up to race leader Martin Hudy. Eventually Hudy’s great drive from the final spot on the grid started to take its toll on the Xray driver’s tyres allowing Ielasi to take the lead from where he stretched out a comfort zone for himself.
After the race the new World Champion said, ‘For me this result is most important to end my back luck and for sure it is great to win the World Championship’. He continued, ‘The race is the World Championship and its very hard and for me it was more hard because it was my first 1:10 World final. I started in the 3rd position but after the first lap I prefer to let the others go because I think the life of the tyres for one hour is very hard. I made the same tactical decision in the Warm Up and here in the World Championship it was good too. In the finish I have tyres and car was good allowing me to take Hudy and when I have one lap in front I think this is a good race.’
Finishing second Tosolini was clearly upset with how his race went. The American described the race as ‘the same old shit’ and continued that he was ‘tired of these guys’. The Sirio driver was referring to his team-mate Jilles Groskamp and former double World Champion Adrien Bertin who he felt drove over aggressively. Tosolini said he made a good start but his team-mate ran him off the track on the opening lap. Tosolini spun coming onto the straight on lap one which dropped him back to last. Later in the race as he came back through the field he was to get a Stop & Go penalty for running in to the back of Bertin claiming the Frenchman had brake tested him. Tosolini, who praised the new World Champion after he allowed him to pass the Italian three times during the final, said as always if he had had a clean race he would have finished one place higher! The Kyosho driver who ran out of fuel just before his second pit stop said his car felt really good although on a few occassions when he clipped the curbs his engine momentarily ran rough. Adding to Tosolini’s tough day in the office he dropped and smashed his glass trophy during the podium presentation.
Having originally been classified 4 in the Semi Final B and looking like he would play no further part in the event, Martin Hudy got promoted to the Main Final after an error was discovered in the results and would claim a podium finish. Getting the place of Swede Roland Strom, the Slovak driver was to shine in his first ever World’s Final and only his second nitro race of the year. ‘I didn’t have enough time to prepare everything because it was late when I found out I would be in the final so it was really busy at the beginning. It was a one hour final and starting from 10th I had nothing to lose so I took it easy. Suddenly I heard I was leading. The only problem was that we wanted to make it safe so I refuelled after four and half minutes but Ielasi was running five, so I had to do one more stop. I saw Ielasi was really fast behind me so I didn’t battle with him as I didn’t want to break my car. I am very happy with this result and want to thank my sponsors Xray and Max for a really good engine.”
Unfortunately for Hudy’s Xray/Max team-mate Paul Lemieux an amazing drive in the first half of the race was to be in vain after his engine cut during a scheduled tyre stop costing him around four laps before it would restart. The young American star who started from 8th on the grid was on fire in the race heading the entire field at one point by 2 full laps but it all went wrong at 28 minutes. Rejoining at the back of the pack once his engine kicked back into life, the US Electric Touring Car National Champion put in a stunning recovery drive and such was his pace he was able to claw back an entire lap which he had lost to the field recording the fastest lap of the event in the process.
For Top Qualifier Jilles Groskamp, who led the opening seven minutes of the race, fifth was the best he could achieve. The Dutch racer lost his lead to Lemieux after a small mistake but three engine stops ended any chance of achieving the perfect result. The first engine cut came after Groskamp missed the call from his pit crew and although the car made the extra lap his Sirio ran dry just as he reached his pitman.
The races other direct qualifier Francesco Tironi completed the Top 6 having run as high as fourth. The fourth Sirio powered car in the final which was driven by Dane Martin Christensen ran with the leaders throughout the race but hit trouble when his car came to stop in the last 3 minutes. Making an engine change during the final, Double World Champion Adrien Bertin claimed eigth while Teemu Leino and Dario Balestri finished 9th and 10th respectively after both broke their cars forcing early retirement.
Complete overall standings can be downloaded here.
The curtain has closed on another World Championships which will go down in history maybe not for all the right reasons but Daniele Ielasi’s name will deservedly go into the IFMAR record books as the 2008 Champion. For the rest of the competitors they now have 2 years to reflect on what could have been. Red RC enjoyed bringing you coverage from the Lisbon event and look forward to the next exciting chapter in the 1:10 World Championships which will take competitors to the US in 2010. A special thanks to the race organisers for their assistance and to our sponsors Kyosho, Xceed and Serpent without whom our coverage would not have been possible.