July 30, 2010

Pietsch is Top Qualifier in Texas

Robert Pietsch Worlds TQ

Robert Pietsch has become only the second driver to TQ both nitro onroad World Championships after he was declared Top Qualifier for the IFMAR 1/10th 200mm World Championship at Gulf Coast Raceway in Houston, Texas, late tonight.  Held under flood lights the fifth and final round of qualifying failed to see anyone better the time set in Q4 by the factory Mugen driver who last year was the Top Qualifier at the 1:8 Worlds in Switzerland.  Pietsch retired from Q5 with radio interference but the German said under the artificial lighting a better time was never possible for him.  Only his second 1:10 Worlds appearance, the man responsible for designing Mugen’s onroad cars failed to make the final in Portugal after he hit problems in the Semi, but today he showed while his Matrix shod MTX-4R is one of the older chassis competing it is still competitive.  Having set himself a target of qualifying in the 1/4 Finals coming into the event, the European 1:8 Champion feels the track layout has really played to his advantage as he has been able to set-up and drive his car very much like an 1:8 scale.  Asked for his thoughts on the final, Pietsch said he hadn’t given it any thought yet and for now he just want to enjoy taking TQ honours by having a few beers and winding down after what has been an 16 hour day at the track.

Coming to within one second of Pietsch’s time, factory Kyosho driver Takaaki Shimo was fastest for the final round of qualifying.  Improving his previous best time by 8/10th of a second, the Japanese ace said his updated V-One RRR was capable of a TQ run but he did not like his first experience of night racing struggling with the lighting.  This was an element most of the top drivers had difficultly with.

Ralph Burch

Setting the second fastest time for the round following the exclusion of Jerome Renaux, whose car was found to be under weight, RC America’s Ralph Burch was very happy to record his first 35 lapper despite the fact he ‘cant really see in the dark’.  The Xray driver said his Max powered NT1 was really dialled in and he only wished he had the same car when racing was run during normal day light.  The American, whose time was good enough to bump him up to fourth, to secure him a direct placing in the main final, said it wasn’t very nice to get in at the expense of a fellow Xray driver but is he very happy to be in with the chance of becoming the first American to be crowned the 1:10 Nitro Touring Car World Champion.

Jerome Renaux car

Unfortunately after making major changes to his Novarossi powered NT1, that allowed him to run the second fastest time of Q5, Renaux’s car was found to be underweight.  A direct qualifier at last year’s European Championships, the loss of a 35 lap time means the 26-year-old drops from 3rd to 40th leaving him with a lot of hard work to do if he his to bump up and make the big final. The Belgian driver attributed his disqualification to excessive tire wear and switching from a hard to a softer front bumper, which left his car 10 grams under.

The fourth & final direct qualifier is Shinnosuke Yokoyama, the 17-year-old Xray driver being the real star of these championships.  Failing to improve his time in Q5, the up & coming Japanese talent is delighted to claim himself a place in the final. Admitting to being a little nervous ahead of making his World Championship final debut he is determined to try and back up his impressive qualifying performance with at least a podium finish on Saturday.

Hampered by his Max engine running too lean Alexander Hagberg dropped to fifth after Q5 but the 20-year-old Xray team driver is confident he can bump up from his Semi which he will start from pole. Starting the opposite Semi from pole will be Tadahiko Sahashi. The Japanese driver failed to improve on his Q4 time but as the sixth fastest qualifier he is the top Serpent driver with Scott Kimbrow the next best 733 in 13th position.

Daniele Ielasi

Defending champion Daniele Ielasi will line up in the same Semi as Shepherd team-mate Marc Rheinard as he improved in Q5 to set the 14th fastest time.  Having been in a Quarter Final position at the end of Q4, the Italian said he drove a safe last qualifier with the aim of moving himself into higher final.  Rheinard took the honour of being the fastest Velox V10 as he improved his time to place 8th.  The electric Touring Car World Champion was on target to match Burch’s pace but exiting the pits following his fuel stop he clipped a corner marker loosing valuable seconds. Top qualifier at the last World Championships, Jilles Groskamp had a difficult day, failing to complete any of his 3 runs and the Dutch ace finds himself on pole in the quarter finals.

So after one of the longest days we’ve ever experienced in the sport, qualifying is complete and apart from the Top 4 qualifiers the other 122 competitors will have to depend on bumping up if they wish to fill the other 6 places on the grid. Tomorrow kicks off the first of the lower finals running through to the 1/8 final.  Our coverage which is supported by Matrix tires, Team Titan and Red Racing engines will commence tomorrow afternoon and continue again on Saturday when the 4th IFMAR 200mm World Champion will be crowned.

Final qualifying order
1. Pietsch Robert (Mugen/Novarossi)
2. Shimo Takaaki (Kyosho/OS)
3. Yokoyama Shinnosuke (Xray/OS)
4. Burch Ralph (Xray/Max)
5. Hagberg Alexander (Xray/Max)
6. Sahashi Tadahiko (Serpent/Picco)
7. Wischnewski Dirk (Xray/Novarossi)
8. Rheinard Marc (Shepherd/Novarossi)
9. Terauchi Takehiro (Mugen/Novarossi)
10.Andersson Christer (Carpricorn/Sirio)
11.Balestri Dario (Team Magic/Novarossi)
12.D’Angelo Giuseppe (Mugen/Reds)
13.Kimbrow Scott (Serpent/Novarossi)
14.Ielasi Daniele (Shepherd/IDM)
15.Lemieux Paul (Xray/Max)
16.Morganti Paolo (Serpent/Novarossi)
17.Salven Michael (Serpent/Mega)
18.Swauger Michael (Mugen/Novarossi)

Complete final qualifying listing can be found here (PDF)

View our event image gallery here.


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