November 12, 2022

Greiner and Groskamp take convincing Semi wins

Dominic Greiner and Jilles Groskamp took convincing Semi Final wins at the 1:10 Nitro Touring Car World Championship as the final grid to decide the 9th running of the Championship is set in Thailand.  Up first Greiner drove a controlled race with it looking like it was going to be a Capricorn 1-2 as Alex Thurston put in a great drive. Holding second, his dream of a first World Final was suddenly dashed when the British driver ran out of fuel.  This promoted Brayden Stanley, who was shadowing Thurston for most of the race, to second with Andy Moore coming through to complete the Top 3 after his car had been on its roof on the opening lap.  Unfortunately having looked to be in contention to come from last in qualifying and through to the final, a mistake from Teemu Leino ended his run of bump-ups with the 30-minute encounter also being the end of the road for Meen Vejrak, champion here in 2012, current 1:8 World Champion Shoki Takahata and Takaaki Shimo.  The second encounter, the last chance to join Top Qualifier Naoto Matsukura and Super Pole winner Dario Balestri in the 1-hour title decider, Groskamp took the win. A slower race than the previous Semi he starts fourth behind Greiner, who will be the only non-Infinity driver on the grid.  Tadahiko Sahashi will again get a go at doing the Nitro Onroad double, the 2013 1:8 World Champion crossing the line second followed by Viktor Wilck, the Electric Touring Car ace securing his first nitro final appearance.  With the Top 3 directly progressing, the grid is completed by the next fastest two drivers in the Semi results, Chavit Sligupta and Jesse Davis getting that done in the second Semi with 4th and 5th.

While a dominant performance from Greiner, the German said his goal for the race was ‘only to survive and stay on four wheels’ adding, ‘If the car drives like this in the final it is impossible to win. We need to change something on the car but I don’t know what’.  With today notable warmer than previous days, he continued, ‘It is really hard out there.  It is super hot today.  Driving for half an hour was crazy I don’t know how we will drive for 1-hour’.  He concluded, ‘the first step is done and 1-hour is long enough that everything can happen’.

‘I’m super happy to make the the final again, the track conditions were super difficult and the car was on two wheels a few times’, was replied Groskamp when asked how his Semi was.  A driver admired for the hard work in puts and which has kept him at the top of the game 14-years on from him being Top Qualifier of these World Championship in Portugal 2008, he said, ‘I just tried to keep the car on track for the 30-minutes and follow the game plan’.  He continued, ‘when the tyres came in it was super difficult to drive.  Asked about tyre wear he said this is the first time we have a long run to see how it is and I still need to make my calculations for the final’.

Finding the tyre wear high, Sahashi said his car was good for the first half of the race but due to the wear things were tricky in the second 15-minutes. Opting for a safe drive he also rain one of his fuel stops longer than what he had been doing in order to check what options he has for the final but overall the Japanese driver is confident starting from fifth.

Delighted to be starting his first Nitro Worlds final, lining up 6th on the grid, Wilck said, ‘I had a really bad start and was almost last.  My car was always good and I had no problem with it trying to flip so I could work my way through.  I passed three guys on the track and the rest in the pits’.  The Swede, a multiple podium finisher at the Electric Touring Car Worlds concluded , ‘I am happy to be in the final again after my mistake in Gubbio,  the Italian track hosting the electric Worlds in September and Wilck missing the A-Main cut.

‘Awesome’ was Stanley’s reaction to his very impressive drive, the Australian adding ‘I don’t know how to do this’ in response to us asking him about his performance.  The 16-year-old explained, ‘my goal was to plod around and hope some guys had issues but from the start was car was really good and I stuck with Alex (Thurston).  I had a bit of luck I guess, I am really stuck for words. My goal was to finishing in the Top 20’.  His first international race and now a World Finalist, he exceeded that plenty lining up 7th on the grid.

‘I know this is my home track but am super happy to make the final again after so long’, was Moore’s reaction to progressing to the title deciding race for the first timer since the World was previously held at his home track back in 2012. The former Electric Touring Car World Champion said, ‘Francesco (Tironi) took me out at the start and I was well back from the pack at the beginning.  I knew the car was OK but I wasn’t sure about tyre wear so I just tried to make sure I had no mistake and no mistakes on my pit stops’.  Coming home 2-seconds behind  Stanley, the factory Infinity driver continued, ‘I could have pushed harder but it would have only put me ahead of Brayden which would make no difference in the final so it was better to keep it on 4-wheels’.  The British driver, who starts 8th ahead of Chavit and Davis, concluded, ‘I am just going to enjoy the final’.

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