August 24, 2016

Day 1 complete in Beijing, Xray in control


Day 1 of the Electric Touring Car World Championships is complete in Beijing with Xray having controlled proceedings.  Opening the day at the Fengtai R/C Model Area asphalt track at the top of the time sheets, after 6 rounds of free practice it was still an Xray 1,2 with Bruno Coelho fastest from Alexander Hagberg.  While the pair would fail to improve on their 3-fastest lap time from FP4, Coelho would still top the times sheets for the final practice ahead of Tamiya’s Chrishopher Krapp. Krapp’s FP6 time would see him the best of the rest as he turned around his performance over the day to finish P3 ahead of TRF team-mate Marc Rheinard although the gap was substantial at over half a second.  Unfortunately for defending champion Naoto Matsukura he couldn’t replicate the turn around of his team-mates ending up on page 2 of the time sheets with the 39th fastest time.  The Japanese driver said despite making changes to his set-up each run his car ‘still feels the same’.


‘It was a good day today’, was how Coelho summed up Day 1 of what is only his second touring car World Championship.  Finishing runner-up on his first attempt in Florida two years ago, the Portuguese driver added, ‘almost all runs we were on top showing we are strong in all conditions’.  Describing his Hobbywing powered T4 2017 as ‘good’ he said ‘there is still room to improve’ and they are ‘still working on it’.  Running two cars over the 5-minute practice, when asked about 5-minute pace he replied, ‘I think it should be fine.  I did 7 laps with each car and at that point the drop off is not so big’.


Only 5th fastest in the final practice, Hagberg was a lot less happier than earlier in the day saying, ‘we seem to be going backwards’.  Just under 4/10th of a second of his team-mate’s 3-lap pace, the 2014 Finalist continued, ‘things we tested didn’t work so we go back to our earlier set-up for the morning’.


‘We made a big improvement over the day’ was Krapp’s reaction to his strong finish to the day.  The multiple World’s finalist added, ‘we worked good as a team and focused on shock set-up which I think is really important on this track’.  On driving the car with the new shock set-up he said, ‘it did not feel so fast but was easy to drive’ and that combination helped him improve his 3-laps by almost 1.2-seconds. The German however added he is ‘still not super happy’ as with running 2-cars he has only run two & a half minutes with each so they don’t know how it is for the full 5-minutes which has him a little concerned.


Rheinard’s reply to how Day 1 went was, ‘we are not so far off now’.  He continued, ‘we found the right direction as Krappy showed in the last one and his car is really good now’.  Having switched between two cars, chassis thickness the key difference between them, the 3-time Champion said he is ‘still not sure which car to use for the race’.  Not a fan of the rule that requires a driver to mark a single chassis for the race, he is still undecided on which car to present to technical inspection adding ‘the difference (between cars) is not so big’.


Only fifth fastest, a low position by his standards, Ronald Volker said the day was spent ‘testing a lot of things’.   The Yokomo driver continued, ‘we found positive and negative stuff’ with ‘testing 2 cars a big help in collecting set-ups’.  Having to mark one car for tomorrow he said he will discuss with the team the best set-up options and put them onto his race car adding ‘I’m looking forward to improving tomorrow’.  Asked about where he thinks he is over the length of a full qualifier he replied ‘its better for 5-minute but I still want to find the .1, .2 were missing over a single lap’.


Completing the Top 6 with his time from FP5, Marc Fischer said ‘In the end the day was quite OK’.  The factory Capricorn driver said , ‘its only 3-laps and 5-minutes will be a little different but I hope we are the same pace in qualifying’.  With it ‘easy’ to get his three lap pace, the German said the car felt good for the 7 laps he ran before switching car.  Having preferred the car fitted with the optional chassis earlier in practice, he said now he prefers the standard car but fitted with the optional bridge top deck.  Planning to tech this car, the only other change will be to fit a race body.


Star of this year’s ETS race in Luxembourg, his home track, VBC driver Lucas Urbain would end the day P7. The French driver said, ‘It went better than expected’. Running a new car, having only done a little testing with it in Luxembourg before coming out to Beijing, he said it is ‘way better than the previous car’.  Asked about the car he said, ‘is the same as Yannic Prumper used to good effect at the ETS in Trencin’, where he took it to 4th at the season finale last month. Unfortunately due to illness Prumper had to cancel his trip to China.  Declaring the car ‘really good on 3-laps’ he added, ‘but thats it as the drop off is too much after 2-minutes’. Feeling its a ‘balance issue’, he said the car starts with a little understeer and gets worse and so tonight they will try to come up with a set-up change that improves it for 5-minutes.  Behind Urbain, the Top 10 was completed by three former World Champions with Team Infinity drivers Andy Moore and Jilles Groskamp sandwiching the Kyosho of Atsushi Hara.

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