October 12, 2014

Matsukura is Top Qualifier in Kissimmee


Naoto Matsukura is Top Qualifier for the Electric Touring Car World Championships in Florida, the Yokomo driver claiming his second overall TQ off the event having secured pole position for the 1:12 Worlds earlier in the week. With the sixth & final qualifier at the Kissimme track a three way Top Qualifier showdown between Matsukura, Ronald Volker and star of the event Bruno Coelho it was the Xray driver who would top the concluding round as both Yokomo drivers crashed. Making a last lap mistake himself, even without this Coelho’s time would not been quick enough to secure the top spot as all three drivers ended up on 2-points with 2 x TQs and a second as their counting 3 of 6 rounds. Setting the fastest run of qualifying in the opening round of qualifying two days earlier it was this time that would give Matsukura his fourth World Championship TQ, with Volker’s Round 5 pace securing him second ahead of Coelho. For defending champion manufacturer Tamiya, Marc Rheinard will head their challenge from fourth on the grid with Champion Jilles Groskamp taking up the rear of the grid in 10th position.


Pleased to claim his first Touring Car Worlds TQ, Matsukura said he was forced to push hard by Coelho, describing the Portuguese driver as ‘very fast’. Battling with Coelho for the TQ of the round, he would get out of shape coming onto the straight with the time lost putting him out of contention to TQ overall with the perfect score. Having originally expected his greatest challenge to come from team-mate Volker he acknowledged Coelho is a real potential challenger for the finals. Starting out front and looking to achieve something his mentor & RC Legend Masami Hirosaka never did in winning the Touring Car title, he said his approach for the finals would be drive a clean race. Asked about the opportunities for overtaking on the Full Throttle RC Raceway track he said it would not be easy but added there are opportunities there.


Confident the track conditions wouldn’t allow for anyone to better his fastest 5:15 Q5 pace, Volker said the only way he could better his starting position was to take the round. Pushing hard on lap 6 he would turn too early and make contact with the boards popping a shock off his car. Making a set-up change to his BD7 for the final qualifier he said the car didn’t feel as good as previous runs adding this was something they need to work on for the practice final. Changing a number of things the German said they will return some of the adjustments back to how the previously ran them and combined believes his car should improve. Four time consecutive champion of the highly competitive Euro Touring Series, he said Coelho is going to be a factor in the race but said speed is only one thing but making the right judgements would be key.


Impressing the World with his pace on this his Touring Car Worlds debut, Coelho said his last lap discrepancy was caused by nerves. Setting the fastest lap of the round and the only driver to run 18-laps, the 21-year-old said he knows his Nosram powered T4 is fastest enough to take the battle for the win to the two Yokomos starting in front of him. Asked what his approach for the finals would be, the European Championship Top Qualifier said simply ‘Maximum push’.


Having tried a set-up change in the morning’s free practice and liked it, Rheinard said it didn’t work as well in final qualifier as the temperature came up. Despite his TRF419 being loose on power, the German still claimed his best qualifying performance with a second. Planning to try a different set-up in the practice final, he said looking to actual races he thinks crashes are going to be the key to the outcome adding he hopes to be able to get through such crashes that happen ahead of him. Behind Rheinard, team-mate Viktor Wilck will start 5th, the Swede saying for how their car is in the hot conditions this starting position is the best he could have expected.

Hara Stand

Posting the third fastest time of the final qualifier, former Champion Atsushi Hara will start sixth on a grid that contains five RC World Champions. The Yokomo driver, who has been running in Heat 9 of 10 with clouds covering the sun having a huge effect on track condition between groups, said he believes on the same track at the same time he has competitive speed for the final. For the practice final he will try a thicker diff to get more traction for the hotter conditions of the actual triple A-Mains.



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