February 23, 2020

Groskamp wins A1 at TITC as Sobue crashes out

Jilles Groskamp has taken the opening A-Main at the TITC, the Infinity driver challenging his team-mate Akio Sobue before the Top Qualifier crashed out at the 3-minute mark.  A much more competitive looking Groskamp, who qualified second, was able to put Sobue under pressure for the first 2-minutes of the race before things settled down and the Japanese driving managed to get himself some breathing room.  Suddenly it all turned on its head as Sobue came around to complete his 12th lap, his car shooting off into the barrier as a loose pinion meant he couldn’t brake.  With Groskamp well clear of the rest of the field, the Dutch driver could cruise to the finish 2.8-seconds ahead of Viktor Wilck while, taking full advantage of the many incidents in the race, Nicholas Lee came through from 8th on the grid to complete the Top 3.

Summing up A1, Groskamp said, ‘My car felt good at the beginning of the race. I was actually faster than Akio and had to back off a few times. I could have tried to pass but didn’t want to hit him.  I was really surprised the car was really competitive at the start’.  The former World Champion continued, ‘after 2-minutes Akio pulled away a little but I still felt I could have had another go at him later in the race.  To get the first one in the bag is always nice’.  Having improved his IF14-II by switching to a softer top deck he also increased the toe-in again which made the car more stable.  Looking to A2, he said, ‘I’m not sure if I can fight Akio in the second half of the race but the pressure is on him now and it’s going to go to the third final, unless of course I win again the next one. I am going to leave the car the same, it was perfect’.

Explaining his sudden exit from the race, Sobue said, ‘the pinion came off and I couldn’t stop’.  The 2018 Champion added, ‘today was more loose and Jilles had more pace.  It was not so easy for me today but I think I would have still been OK for the win’.  Asked if he planned to change his car for the second A-Main, he said, ‘It was a big crash so I will just check over everything and leave the set-up the same so I know it is all OK’.

Causing some of the opening lap chaos, Wilck explained, ‘At the start I touch Ryosuke (Yamamoto).  we were side by side and closed in and touched’, continuing ‘after everyone spun off or had problem I could come back to 2nd’.   On his race pace, the Swede said, ‘I changed the set-up again but it was too stable so for the next one I am going to go with what Jilles has. Now his car is working good’.  He concluded, ‘It is very low traction now and windy so it is easy to spin’.

‘Fortune was on my side’ was Lee’s reaction to his 3rd place adding, ‘I had a clean race while the others made or got caught up in mistakes’.  The Singapore driver added, ‘the grid is too close and everyone is going for it in the first corner’.  With the Yokomo team struggling in qualifying, asked if today marked any improvement in set-up, the former TITC runner-up said, ‘My car is still not what I like so we are still trying to get it better’.

In the Open Brushless class, the first corner saw Top Quailfier Dominic Vogl unceremoniously pushed off through the first corner by second place starter Kriengsak Suttiprawat sending them both back down the field.  With no official Race Referee the incident also went ahead with no repercussions.  Eventually Suttiprawat found his way back to the front with Trin T, who was also flipped over at the start, hot on his heals and Vogl in third.  On the final lap the pressure seemed to get to Suttiprawat as he overshot the penultimate corner and in similar style to Sobue’s spectacular 2018 A3 win, Trin launched his car at the loop to take the win by 1/10th with Vogl salvaging third, 7/100ths off 2nd.

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