March 2, 2024

Volker takes Q3, TQ to be decided in ‘Rocket Round’

Ronald Volker has taken the third round of qualifying at the TITC, meaning the final ‘Rocket Round’ of qualifying in Bangkok will decide the Top Qualifier for the 20th running of the famed race.  Top Seed for the event, the Mugen driver would take his first TQ run as Bruno Coelho traction rolled his Xray with 1-minute to go while on TQ pace.  This promoted Volker to the top of the timing screens followed by Alexander Hagberg as Coelho ended up with a P3.  Behind the leading trio Awesomatix’s Lucas Urbain finally posted a strong run after a difficult first day of qualifying at RC Addict yesterday.  Behind the Frenchman was team-mate Marc Rheinard with Axon’s Hayato Ishioka completing the Top 6 in today very humid afternoon conditions.

‘This time Bruno handed it to me like I did to him in Q2 yesterday’, was Volker’s reaction after taking the penultimate qualifier.  The former World Champion adding, ‘Q3 was his run but he rolled it.’   He continued, ‘My car felt safe but in the middle of the run I was struggling which was unlike the other two qualifiers.  Still I had a comfortable P2 but then he rolled.  I’m happy because now I get a shot at the overall TQ in the last one.’  Asked about the deciding round, the German said, ‘Q4 will be the fastest run and that is the only reason I have a shot at the TQ.  We will make a small set-up change and go for it.’

Commenting on his effort in Q3, Coelho said, ‘that was a hard one’.  He explained, ‘It started well and by the middle I had pulled away from Ronald but then the car started to generate too much traction.  The first time I got on two wheels I saved, then I got on two wheels in the first part of the chicane and again saved but the third time I couldn’t and I rolled and needed to be marshalled.’  He added, ‘the track was cooler and had a lot more traction and we need to work on the car for the last one as this should be the rocket round.’

‘A steady run to 2nd’ was Hagberg’s summary of his latest qualifying effort.  Last time a winner of the TITC in 2019, the Xray driver said, ‘we changed the car from yesterday which felt pretty good for the first 2-minutes and then it got difficult to drive at the end and I had to be cautious to stay safe’.  For the decider the Swede plans to put yesterday’s set-up back on the car and ‘hopefully fight for the win.’

A relieved Urbain replied ‘I need one more’ when asked how his run went.  He added, ‘It was relief to sort things out and finish one.  Man the nerves.’  Only his second TITC appearance, his first being in 2016, he said, ‘I am currently BQ so I need one more.  P2 in that round for Alex means I can’t now catch him even with a TQ run so I won’t chase him which is a good thing.’  His debut race as a full time professional driver with Awesomatix, he said, ‘my car has been really good in the evening on the other days and I will just work on the tyre gluing and adjust the amount on the sidewalls for the conditions.’

‘I just want to get some points’, was how Rheinard summed up Q3, after finishing over 5-seconds off the pace of Volker.  He continued, ‘the car wasn’t great so I was just trying to keep it on its wheels.  I am not so confident in the car but I have a 4 & 5 so I am safe in the final.  For the last one we will change everything on the set-up and hopefully that will help get the car sorted for tomorrow.’

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