February 21, 2020

Akio takes opening qualifier at TITC

Having topped seeding at the Infinity Addict Circuit yesterday, Akio Sobue carried his speed into qualifying at the TITC taking the opening round in Bangkok. The Infinity driver would TQ the first of the four qualifiers by 2.6-seconds from team-mate Jilles Groskamp with it an all Infinity Top 5. While Naoto Matsukura would break after contact with the track barriers, Viktor Wilck would set the third fastest time ahead of surprise of Q1,  Ryosuke Yamamoto.  Running in the 2nd fastest heat after being 12th fastest in seeding he would set the fourth fastest time ahead of Jin Sawada.  Best of the rest would be Yokomo’s Nicholas Lee who was a disappointed 6th ahead of team-mate Meen Vejrak.  Having shown strong in seeding with the second fastest time, Yokomo’s Souta Goto visibly struggled, quickly being passed on track by Groskamp and eventually posting the 9th fastest time.

Pleased to open the 18th running of the TITC with a TQ run, Sobue said, ‘On the first the car tried to make a spin out so a drove a little safe but after that it was ok and once I felt I had traction I was able to push’.  Describing his new IF14-II as ‘good’, the 2018 Champion feels he has the advantage of a more consistent car than his rivals’. He explained, ‘my car is better than the others over 5-minutes.  After 3-minutes their cars get loose but for all the 5-minutes mine was good.  I will leave the same for Q2’.

‘I’m happy with P2 for the first round.  It’s nice to have a good result in the bag’, was Groskamp’s reaction to his first qualifying attempt.  The former World Champion continued, ‘I knew I couldn’t catch Akio.  He can make a gap at the start but my car was good and I think if I had driven more relaxed I could have been closer’. After the morning’s free practice run, Groskamp adjusted the drag brake on his car but felt he had gone a bit too much and this also cost him time and so he will go back to the previous setting.  Happy with overall performance of the IF14-II, the Dutch driver feels he has the second part of the race sorted describing his car as ‘quite consistent’ but feels he could ‘take more risks’ at the start of the qualifier.

Despite his Top 3 for the round, Wilck wasn’t too pleased with the set-up he went with for the first qualifier.  The Swede explained, ‘I change the toe in too much and it left me with understeer.  The car was loose in the morning (practice session) so I made the change but I was just being too conservative.  The traction will come up for the next one so I will go back to the previous toe set-up for Q2’.

Previously a Yokomo driver and now making his debut for Infinity here in Thailand, 20-year-old Yamamoto was pleased with this P4 but admitted he is still learning the new car.  Copying Sobue’s set-up for Q1, this is also the Japanese driver’s first time racing at the TITC and he summed up his first qualifying attempt as a ‘consistent effort’.

OneTen Series Champion Jin Sawada would cross the line with the 5th fastest time.  Asked about his car, the  Japanese driver replied, ‘it was OK but it felt loose’.  Running a different set-up to his Infinity team-mates, he will ‘make a little change’ to his car with the aim of a better performance in the 2nd round.

‘Not so good’ was Lee’s reply when asked how Q1 had gone.  He continued, ‘we are lacking overall grip compared to the other guys.  We tried many things but it still sucks.  I was lucky to finish 6th because I didn’t have a good feeling but a few crashed so I made the most of it’.  Asked what he planned to try get the car more to his liking, he replied, ‘I will talk to the team to try find a solution from the different things we have each tried in Q1’.

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