November 1, 2019

World Champion Balestri finally gets TQ run in Q4

Defending 1:8 Onroad World Champion Dario Balestri finally produced a TQ run setting the fastest run in the final qualifier of the day at Steel City RC Speedway.  Having topped seeding, the Infinity driver became the fourth different driver to top qualifying today seeing off Q2 pace setter Simon Kurzbuch by just 5/100ths of a second.  Continuing his improving results, JJ Wang claimed the third quickest time to finish just ahead of a much improved performance from his Mugen team-mate Shoki Takahata.  Also finishing out today’s action with his best run, two more qualifiers to run tomorrow following yesterday’s wind cancellation, Francesco Tironi set the 5th fastest time ahead of Infinity team-mate Jeffrey Rietveld.  After posting a TQ run in Q3, Dominic Greiner’s follow up attempt was full of driver errors leaving the Serpent driver 10th fastest.  Having opened qualifying with a TQ run, Naoto Matsukura had a disappointing finish to the day as a crash in Q4 put him out.

‘Finally a nice run’, said a pleased looking Balestri.  Having had engine issues in the previous three qualifiers but still managing the second fastest time on each occasion, the Italian explained, ‘the conditions of the track change a lot today.  We had worked to get our car and engine ready for the super high traction but after the wind and day off yesterday the grip was down.  The set-up is so critical that this was enough to cause the tyres to slip a little bit more and make the engine work harder and this is what was causing our problems.  For the last one the grip was higher, still nothing like the days before, but everything was better for the conditions and we could get the TQ.  Also the car was super easy to drive and did not want to flip so the higher the grip the better for us’.

Reacting to his battle with Balestri, Kurzbuch said, ‘It was super tight.  I should be happy with the result because we are now really close to them but when you lose out on the fastest run by half a tenth its a disappointment’.  The Swiss driver took the blame for losing out on what is expected to be the all important fastest time of qualifying saying, ‘It was down to errors on my side.  I had one small contact with the barrier in the first part of the Omega and that put me off the line for the second part of the Omega.  I lost 2 or 3 tenths’.  Asked about his car, the Shepherd driver said, ‘the car was really good.  I had a lot of steering and power.  I flipped in the warm-up which warned me about which corner to be careful’.  Looking to the final two rounds of qualifying in the morning, the former Champion said, ‘Super Pole should already be fixed but we will try of course for the TQ’.

Summing up his fourth attempt Wang said, ‘the result was not bad but I had to come in a few times in the warm to tune the engine and this cost me precious time for bedding in the tyres’.  The American added, ‘my car was getting better and better towards the end of the run.  Anyway, overall it was a pretty good day’.  Asked if he planned to try anything in the remaining two qualifiers, he said, ‘I’m going to try and go faster and push for Super Pole’.

Having had a previous best of the 14th fastest time, both in Q1 & 3, Takahata put his improved performance to switching to his preferred set-up from practice.  The factory Mugen driver opted to go with a set-up that gave him an easy & safe car for the longer qualifiers but unable to mix it at the front.  Finding this set-up was causing his car to stop on turning into the corner, he reverted to his best practice set-up which immediately gave him a car that flowed better on track and with three rounds to count the Japanese driver plans to leave the car as is and try to drop his two currently counting P14 results.

Featuring in the Top 8 in each of his qualifiers, Tironi said, ‘All day the car is good and I have a good feeling on the track.  I didn’t change the car just little adjustments to the front spring’.  He explained, ‘Always the first run I take care to finish.  The second was also good.  The third round was faster but I had a mistake on the first lap.  This time I finish with a 5th.  I am easy in the Semi Final so now I will try to make Super Pole.  I know it is not easy but I try’.

View the complete event results here.

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