Viljami Kutvonen is Top Qualifier at the DHI Cup after delivering a second TQ run in the fourth & final round of qualifying at the Danish event. With the weekend not starting out well for last year’s podium finisher, the Finn just scraping into the top heat of qualifying, the Awesomatix driver turned things around drastically in the second half of Day 2. Heading a 1-2 from team-mate Freddy Sudhoff in Q3, the team was on target to repeat that result in the closing qualifier until Sudhoff, who was on the heels of Kutvonen, had to avoid a marshal attending Yannic Prumper’s VBC on the last lap. With this dropping Sudhoff to fourth, Alexander Hagberg got a personal best of the weekend P2 from the round ahead of defending champion Ronald Volker who, having TQ’d the 2nd qualifier, will line up second on the grid. Although Naoki Akiyama would break during the round, having taken last night’s opening qualifier the Japanese teenager will start 3rd on his second DHI Cup appearance equaling his best international qualifying result achieved at last October’s IIC in Las Vegas. Hagberg will start start 4th with Sudhoff making up the top half of the grid for tomorrow’s triple A-Mains.
‘I got what I wanted and it feels even better after a not so good practice’, was Kutvonen’s reaction to finally securing the TQ having qualified second twice before. Making ‘small tweaks’ to his LRP powered A800 for the decider he said ‘they worked as expected making the car a little more easy to drive’. Describing it as a ‘difficult qualifier as Freddy had the same pace’, he added, ‘It is great to see our car have very good pace at the moment’. Asked about the finals he replied, ‘I think I will leave the car and hope I can get away from the others, thats the plan’.
A previous 5 time Top Qualifier for the race he has won 8 times, Volker said , ‘it was slightly better than Q3 but I still lacked steering’. The World Champion continued, ‘It was a very clean run but I couldn’t do much (to challenge for TQ) and I am disappointed for that’. Having won the event from 3rd on grid, the Yokomo driver said, ‘for the finals I would prefer a car that is a bit difficult but than one that lacks steering’. Planning a new set of tyres for his BD8 and a different tyre prep to try improve his steering, the German added, ‘everyone is very close so 2nd is not bad and in terms of the track it is easy to touch the dots which are pretty high in spots so anything can happen’.
While he would suffer a broke drive shaft in the last qualifier with a minute to go, Akiyama said from the running he did his BD8 felt better than before and he is confident for the final. Qualifying 10th for the A-Main last year on his DHI Cup debut and going on to finish 6th, the 17-year-old said his plan is to follow Volker at the start and if his team-mate can force a pass on Kutvonen he wants to be there to follow him through.
While the Q4 time sheets show Hagberg as having the fastest car, the Xray driver said, ‘we got the car better but still need to change something to be fast for tomorrow’. Also losing time as a result of Prumper’s last lap crash, around 1/2 a second, the Swede added, ‘it was very close with, any of the Top 4 could have TQ’d but for the finals we will do a bit of fine tuning to the set-up to so hopefully we have a better car to race with’.
‘I would say just bad luck’, was Sudhoff’s reaction after Q4. He continued, ‘Yannic had a mistake on the last lap and I had to come to a full stop to avoid the marshal and that cost me 1-second. So I went from 1st or 2nd to 5th on the grid’. With ‘the car again very good’, the German said ‘it would have been a lot better if I was starting second behind Viljami as we have a good pace and could have worked together but now I have to try to work my way through but everything can happen on this track layout’.