October 7, 2013

Shimo tops final Day 2 practice in Japan


Mugen’s Takaaki Shimo topped the final round of free practice bringing Day 2 of the 1:8 Onroad World Championships in Japan to a close. The Pre Worlds race winner managed a time of 49.515 over 3-consecutive laps in the sixth of the day’s 8-minute practice runs followed closely by Serpent’s Tadahiko Sahashi (49.564) and KM Racing’s Keisuke Fukuda (49.803).  Overall the fastest time of the day (49.207) was set by Team Shepherd’s Jilles Groskamp in the second of the cooler morning runs while in the final practice the Top European was his team-mate Oliver Mack who posted the 4th fastest time.


Shimo summed up his day with ‘getting better’ adding that he was happy that when conditions were either cloudy or sunny he was always in the Top 3.  Describing his OS Speed powered MRX-5 as ‘very good’ when he pushes it hard, he said when he tries to drives it at a more normal pace it doesn’t feel familiar to him.  With the car’s characteristics changing considerably between the two driving styles he said he will try a few changes in the mornings two controlled rounds of practice in the hope he can get a more consistent package.


The younger of the Sahashi brothers, Tadahiko said after a morning that was not so good he was pretty happy with with his pace by the end of the day. Making a lot of set-up changes since the morning, he said the biggest change came from running harder material rear arms on his Picco powered 977.  Already running the harder material on the front he said he did start out with the hard on the rear but in testing he found this to make the car too sensitive.  Deciding to try it in the afternoon he said it works well here adding he likes the feeling it gave.  Also working on his clutch set-up he said he found improvement in this area too.  Yuya, who was second in FP2 the fastest round of the day, choose a different Picco engine for the afternoon but the setting wasn’t as good.  Setting the 5th fastest time in the closing practice he said his 977 is ok but he needs to find something to give him a better feeling with the car.


Having not been happy with his car in the morning, Fukuda said things are slowly getting better and better each run but he is still looking to get more steering.  Running Picco engines, the former 1:10 World Champion said he doesn’t have a good feeling with his engines and hopes that in the morning’s 2-controlled practices he will be able to find a good one.

Oliver Mack

Not going to full distance in FP6 but still managing a 49.820 time, Mack said his Velox V8 was very fast but as the run when on it got difficult to drive developing oversteer.  Suspecting a crash at the end of FP5 may have tweaked the car, on rebuilding the car for Day 3 a bent front hinge pin was discovered.  Suffering a broken glowplug, the German said run time is his biggest concern for tomorrow as they struggle with safely running 5-minutes, crucial for the 10-minute World Championship qualifiers.


Shepherd’s European Champion Jilles Groskamp also had engine issues in the final practice. Switching to his planned race car, which is fitted with a transponder that the MyLaps timing system was able to count, he said the Maxima engine they tried was too lean cutting out at the end of the straight after which the struggled to get it to run right. Disappointed not to run for one last time the car he will tech for qualifying, he said it was the same car he posted the fastest time with in FP2 so he is pretty confident with it.  Having built a new car just for the event, he said the older car which he used for a lot of testing gave him a better feeling and that is why he has chosen to run that one for qualifying.


Completing the Top 6 was 21-year-old Shinnosuke Yokoyama, team-mate of Shimo.  The 2010 200mm World Finalist described his day’s performance as ‘not bad’ adding he had improvements every run.  Not entirely happy with the stability of his MRX-5 in the corners he will try a lower ride height for the opening controlled practice.  The 10-minute controlled practices will be used to reseed the heats for qualifying with each drivers fastest 3-consecutive laps determining that.

Andy Moore

For 1:8 newcomers HB, it was Andy Moore who was best of their drivers in the final practice.  Setting the 7th fastest time, the former Electric Touring Car World Champion said he was happy with the balance of his Maxima powered R8 but would like to find steering.  Only his second ever 1:8 Onroad event, the KM Cup here at this track being his first, he said the lack of steering is really only an issue at the start of the run when on big tyres.  By the end of the run he said the overall package is pretty OK.  Having thought they had engine trouble in FP5, Moore said they found afterwards that the brake disk was rubbing the flywheel causing the engine to keep cutting, adding they could have done without the lost track time.  The set-ups team-mate Teemu Leino tried in the afternoon didn’t really work but he said that is what practice is for.  Planning to revert to the set-up used to set sixth fastest time in FP6, the last November’s 200mm Worlds Top Qualifier said it should be alright for qualifying.


Describing 1:8 Onroad cars as ‘still weird to drive’, Atsushi Hara said overall he ‘think(s) all is OK’.  Using the final day’s practice to run his fully assembled spare radio tray he said it wasn’t set right leaving his Mugen with too much left steering and not enough right steering.  Still playing catch-up with drivers who got to race at the Keitune Racing Speedway before the Worlds such as his former HB team-mate Moore & Leino, FP6 saw the legend of the sport run his famous colour scheme for the first time which he said felt good.

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