October 23, 2018

Matsukura tops first controlled practice in Florida

Naoto Matsukura has topped the first round of controlled practice at the 1:10 200mm World Championships in Florida.  Making his 200mm race debut at the event, the Infinity drivers was quickest over 3-consecutive laps by almost 2/10ths of a second from former World Champion Meen Vejrak and the reigning champion Dominic Greiner.  Despite yesterday evening’s rain, that forced the final practice to be cut short Matsukura was able to match his pace from yesterday which was the fastest of the day.  The first of four seeding rounds on today’s schedule, behind the Top 3 Tadahiko Sahashi would set the fourth fastest time ahead of Lamberto Collari and a much improved Toni Gruber.

‘Not so bad’ was Matsukura’s reaction to topping the times, however the Japanese driver admitted his car was ‘difficult to drive’.  He continued, ‘I don’t know if it is all the car or not or whether the traction is low but I think it is a bit of both.  I would like to get the car more stable for the next one but I will wait to see how the track is doing before deciding what to change’.  The former Electric Touring Car World Champion, a title he won in Florida,  added, ‘yesterday there was more wind on the track but today it is not so bad which makes things much easier’.

Vejrak was pleased with his opening run saying, ‘the car is better than 2-years ago in Gubbio.  I was only 30th or something in controlled practice but now I’m in the Top 10’.  The Thai driver continued, ‘I drive this track before in 1:8 but with 1:10 it is completely different.  Even since practice has started the track is completely different because of the rain’.  On his car’s performance, the Maxima team driver setting the fastest lap of the round, he said, ‘I need a little more rear grip for better forward traction.  My engine and power are a lot better than Gubbio and for the car I will try a different wing in the next one to see if it helps the rear grip’.

‘So so.  There is a little bit less traction I think because of the rain’, was Greiner’s reaction after CP1.  Picking up a pipe from his pit table, the Serpent driver explained, ‘I spun one time and Naoto hit me and my pipe got smashed.’  He continued, ‘I added more weight to the front of the car which was better but I made another change that was not better so I will go back to what I had before’.  He concluded, ‘I think the next one we will be better’.

Reporting the traction as ‘different’ today, Infinity driver Sahashi said his car was not really set-up for the lower traction and having left it unchanged from yesterday he would adjust his set-up for CP2.  Speaking through the translation from Matsukura, like the majority of the drivers, the former 1:8 World Champion said he needs to find more rear end traction.

Off to a strong start to his first attempt at a 1:10 200mm World Championship, Collari summed up the his first controlled practice as ‘good’.  The Italian legend of nitro onroad racing continued, ‘we just made a few adjustments for less traction.  We left the chassis the same and changed the rear diff and the feeling was good’.  Asked how much the traction had changed from yesterday before the rain, he said there was ‘not too much difference but there was a little’.  He concluded, ‘In the evening the track will be back to the same as yesterday’.

Reacting to his Top 6 time, 2017 European Champion Gruber said, ‘the last 3-days of practice was really difficult.  We totally don’t find the set-up for the track.  For the last one yesterday we made changes but because of the rain we couldn’t drive.  We decided to test it today and the car works better.  Now it was possible to run 18-second laps’.  Looking to the rest of the day, the factory WRC driver said ‘now we need to get consistency’.  Behind Gruber, reigning 1:8 World Champion Dario Balestri was 7th fastest ahead of JJ Wang, reigning European Champion Teemo Leino and newly crowned ENS Champion Jilles Groskamp.

View the complete event results here.

View our event image gallery here.


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