Remarks – Australian Ryan Maker is running the new A800 MMXA from Awesomatix here in Thailand. Equipped with a number of RC Maker option parts such as the slimflex top deck, front and rear body mounts and brass balance weights, Ryan is using a very similar setup to last year. Fitted with an aluminium chassis plate, one of the few to do so due its tendency to drop off in these conditions, he said he has been able to work extra flex into the top deck to compensate and make the chassis work.
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’.
Chassis – HB Racing Pro XX Motor – P1 Performa 4.5T ESC – Orion HMX Battery – Orion Ultimate 7000mAh Tires (handout) – Sweep Radio/Servos – Futaba Body – Xtreme Twister
Remarks – Former World Champion Atsushi Hara is using the TITC to test different configurations of HB Racing’s new Pro XX platform. Based on the now 6 year old Pro 5 chassis, the car has been converted to a mid motor car thanks to a Zero Tribe conversion. Continuously evaluating the car, Hara says he has multiple different configurations still to test but will focus on the currently installed one for now to try and get the most out of it. An optimistic release date for the new car is August this year with the final car set to also have new plastics.
Updated – Atsushi gave us a close up look at the second Pro XX configuration, one which has been created specifically for the car rather than an adapted conversion kit which is what he is currently running. In this you can see the single piece central motor mount and spur gear holder as well as the new bulkheads, chassis plate and servo mount.
Akio Sobue has topped seeding at the TITC, with the Infinity driver quickest from Yokomo’s Souta Goto over 3-consecutive laps of this year’s high speed layout at the Infinity Addict Circuit. In the first of the two controlled practice runs, the 2018 Champion was fastest from team-mate Naoto Matsukura but rocket round conditions for the second round produced a big improvement in times as Sobue went almost half a second clear, this time ahead of Goto who was placed in the slowest of the much depleted Modified field. Jilles Groskamp completed the Top 3 ahead of Viktor Wilck, while Matsukura, unable to better his opening time, dropped to fifth with Atsushi Hara completing the Top 6. Unfortunately the coronavirus has impacted hugely on the international entry at the 18th running of Asia’s most famous RC. Concerns over the health of their drivers in travelling to Asia means multiple champions Xray are not in attendance meaning we wont get the opportunity to watch Alexander Hagberg attempt to defend the title he won here last year. Also missing from the entry are TITC regulars and World Champions Bruno Coelho, Ronald Volker and Marc Rheinard.
The first big race for the IF14-II, Sobue was quick to compliment the Japanese manufacturer’s progress with the new car saying, ‘the new car is very good, the first lap is good and 5-minutes is good, the balance of the car is really good. I was happy with the car in practice all week so today I just made small changes which improved the balance even more’. Asked about this year’s track layout, he replied, ‘It’s not a difficult layout. It is super high speed so tyre management is important. It is always difficult here but now it’s even more challenging to make sure the tyres don’t get too hot’. With 4 rounds of qualifying on the schedule over the next two days, looking to tomorrow’s opening qualifier, Sobue is confident he is ‘ready to go’.
Making his TITC debut, Goto is pleased with his pace over 3-laps but feels there is improvement to come from his driving. Heading the early Yokomo challenge, with team-mate Meen Vejrak their next best placed driver in 7th after seeding, the 19-year-old said, ‘I’m happy with the car set-up. I am running the car very much like how I run it in Japan just with a few tweaks for the layout. The layout is high speed which is what I like’. Vejrak who will be joined in the top heat of qualifying by team-mate Nicholas Lee who was 10th fastest, has ended the day running a car borrowed from the 2017 Vice Champion. A speedo shut down saw the Thai driver hit the barrier in the middle of the track launching it rocket style to a spectacular vertical height, the impact destroying his race car.
Summing up his P3 in seeding, Groskamp said, ‘The rocket round was not as fast as I expected and I was on used tyres. I tried them in free practice yesterday and they felt better but today they were not better and I pulled in after 2-minutes’. The Dutch driver who once used to call Bangkok is home continued, ‘with the rocket round its always scary that some guys might get 3-laps and push you out of the top heat but the gap with our new car over the other teams is quite big which is nice’. Happy with his car, he said the biggest challenge for qualifying is going to be the track, ‘conditions are different every time so you don’t always know how it is going to work’.
Commenting on his practice pace, Wilck said, ‘It’s OK. It is not super fast over 3-laps but 5-minutes is pretty good’. The Swede added, ‘I tried a set-up change in the last round which caused the car to spin out sometimes so I will go back for Q1. On the track he echoed the general feeling about the layout, saying, ‘the layout is a little more easy this year but it’s fun to drive. You use a lot more power. It’s fast’.
Last year’s runner-up, Matsukura said his second seeding run was hampered by a lack of traction in the first laps with him explaining, ‘I had no traction the first minute. I don’t know why. I did make a set-up change but this should not have caused this. After the the first minutes it was good’. Describing the chassis on his car as ‘old’, he said, ‘I think this might be causing it to flex too much so I will fit a new chassis for tomorrow’.
Asked about his P6 in seeding, Hara said, ‘this is my first time racing the HB Racing Project and Zero Tribe is helping me with the development. So 50% of the car is from him’. Having taken up a sales role with HB Racing, and therefore racing less, the RC Racing legend said, ‘before the race I tested the car but couldn’t get a set-up. I need to figure out the current situation for touring car. It’s been a long time that I don’t race touring car’. With the car, internal code named the Pro XX, now fitted with a Zero Tribe mid motor conversation, Hara said he has already designed the next stage in the car’s development but didn’t have the time to get it ready for the race’. On his own performance, given his lack of competitive action, ‘I have Top 10 pace so I am happy, I just need to figure out small details now’.