April 11, 2011

Collari goes for 10th World title

Lamberto Collari

Kyosho’s Lamberto Collari is going after his 10th World title this week at the IFMAR 1:8 Onroad World Championships which are underway at the Homestead RC Raceway in Miami, Florida.  The Italian legend, who won his first title 22 years ago, is chasing a fifth consecutive title in r/c racing’s ‘Formula 1’ category and for his rivals it’s more a case of aiming to beat Collari rather than aiming to win a World title.  The sports original World Championship, this is the 18th running of the event that first ran in the US in 1977 and the 2011 WC is the sixth time America has hosted the IFMAR sanctioned event.

Of the 10 drivers that made the final at the last World Championships which ran in Lostallo, Switzerland, eight of them make up the 127 entries here.  A podium finisher last time round and one of the two drivers to halt Collari’s reign as World Champion, 1999 World Champion is one of those absent along with Italian engine guru Alberto Picco who finished fifth last time.

Robert Pietsch

Top Qualifier in Switzerland, Mugen’s Robert Pietsch set the pace in open practice to become the top seed for the new heat listings, but talking to the European Championship this morning he was annoyed by accusations that he is using tyre additive which is the big talking point so far of these championships.  The use of tyre additive is not permitted under the rules but there is a general view that a number of drivers are using it.  IFMAR have a machine for detecting certain properties used in additive but that got damaged in transit to Miami and now with controlled practice underway each driver is having an alcohol based liquid sprayed on their tyres prior to each run which is supposed to combat any advantage of the additive and also help officials detect who is using it.  Pietsch said outside of the talk over his use of additive, which he adamantly denies, he said everything is going well with both his MRX-5 chassis and Novarossi engines working really well.  It was a good day yesterday for Mugen with Worlds Warm-up Race winner Rick Vrielijnck setting the third fastest time. The multiple Dutch National Champion and 2009 Finalist said traction is different to the warm-up with the oil not drying away making the track very greasy.

Mike Swauger

Runner up at the last Worlds, American ace Mike Swauger heads Team Xray’s debut at the championships.  Having just released their first 1:8 chassis this year they have signed up the former Mugen driver who joins fellow American Ralph Burch who gave the Slovak company their first World title last year when he won the 1:10 200mm Championship in Texas.  Swauger was second fastest in the reseed, based on a drivers three fastest consecutive laps, and is pretty happy with the new car which he said is quite different to the version he used to win the Florida Winter Nats earlier this year.  Fifth fastest yesterday, Burch said they still have a few thing they need to try on the newer car but overall it feels pretty good with the clutch set-up being their main area of focus for today.  Drivers have just two rounds of 10-minute controlled practice today.

2009 Finalist Dario Balestri is another to have switched team with the Italian moving from Motonica to the other World Championship debuting manufacturer here, Capricorn.  Setting the fourth fastest time in the reseed with his Novarossi powered LAB-C801 he said he was happy with his earlier performance.

Daniele Ielasi

The new kids on the block at the last World Championship, Team Shepherd have two cars in the top heat after Josh Cyrul and Daniele Ielasi set the 6th and 8th fastest times yesterday. In between them is the fastest of the Serpents so far, Italian Andrea Cristiani.  Interestingly the 2007 runner-up is not running the updated car Serpent have released for this event other than the new front bumper.  Mark Green, who was a direct qualifier in Lostallo, is running the new parts which he said make the car easier to drive on the limit.  Top American driver Scott Kimbrow took his 966 to the 10 fastest time just ahead of team-mate Paolo Morganti.

Defending Champion Collari, who is running a hybird prototype Kyosho was ninth fastest in the reseed but as we have come to learn from the master little can be read into his pace this early into the event.

Atsushi Hara

One interesting driver making his 1:8 Onroad debut in Florida is Atsushi Hara.  One of the most recognisable drivers in the sport Hara is a World Champion of both electric Onroad and nitro offroad.  One of the most versatile drivers he is running an OS powered Mugen which he only drove for the first time a few days before flying out to the US for the race.  Hara said the lack of time with the car is making it a difficult challenge but learning more about the driving style of the car every outing he is happy with his progress so far.

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