Shoki Takahata has put his Mugen at the top of the time sheets in the 3rd round of controlled practice at the 1:10 200mm World Championships in Homestead, Florida. The Japanese driver posted the 2nd fastest time of the day over 3-consecutive laps to top the round from fellow countryman Naoto Matsukura by 7/100th of a second. Behind, Simon Kurzbuch made a big improvement to set the third quickest time ahead of Teemu Leino who also made a big step forward in terms of pace. With his CP2 time still standing as the fastest of the day with one round of controlled practice remaining, Lamberto Collari would end the third round 17th fastest with a body change causing his Infinity to become unstable in the rear. It would also be a difficult round for reigning World Champion Dominic Greiner who was only marginally quicker in P15.
Commenting on his CP3 performance, having had a previous best of P10 in the previous round, Takahata said his car was getting better with them having made big changes each round to try and improve the car. The 24-year-old added he still needs to make the car more stable and while still deciding what changes to make he said they plan now to just focus on smaller set-up adjustment compared to before. Running in the second fastest heat group, asked what he thought of the track he replied it was difficult to make good times on as to achieve this he had to drive more aggressive which in turn made it difficult to be consistent.
With a change of set-up for CP3, Matsukura said the set-up felt ok but discussing his car with team-mate Jesse Davis said, ‘Jesse says I still need to make (the car) more stable’. Also changing engine for the round, he said it had good top speed but they needed to adjust the clutch for the final round when he will run the engine again. The Infinity driver added the track itself was also getting more challenging saying, ‘when I pass a driver on the inside I am off the line and in the loose. It is so difficult’.
A driver who achieved his first and Shepherd’s first A-Main Worlds appearance at Homestead RC Raceway at the 1:8 Worlds back in 2011, Kurzbuch said, ‘this track has has good memories for me and the team’. Praising his team’s efforts for the 1:10 Worlds, the 1:8 ace said, ‘we have a good team here working on set-up and it looks like we now found a good set-up for the conditions. It is pity my father could not be here but he is watching and offering advice from home’. The 2015 1:8 World Champion said while the car is now stable he still needs to work a little bit on his driving. He said, ‘the chicane before the loop and the hairpin after are where I can improve most’.
Ninth fastest in the opening two rounds, Leino was happy to have found a bit more pace as practice comes to a close. Asking the Finn where the improvement came from he replied, ‘we were so far off we needed to make many improvements to the car so its hard to say which one worked’. The European Champion added, ‘my problem is rear grip like everyone else. Out of the corner I cant get traction. It’s like buggy driving’.
Leading the Xray charge, Leo Arnold posted the 5th fastest time ahead of Robert Pietsch. The French driver said his car has been working pretty well from the first free practice but that time it was a bit better after he went for a softer suspension set-up. Describing his car as super consistent and not so bad in terms of speed ‘on 7-minutes it is super good’. ‘Easy to drive’, he plans to leave it as is for the start of qualification tomorrow.