Chassis – Mugen MRX6 Prototype Engine – OS Speed R2104 Fuel(handout) – VP Racing Tires (handout) – Hotrace Radio/Servo – Sanwa Body – Xtreme Super Diablo
Remarks – Robert is racing a prototype Mugen MRX-6X here at the World Championships. The car features different shocks, caster set-up and weight distribution. Key items on the car are the new front upper arms and uprights with eccentric aluminium inserts. With these new front parts the driver will have more solutions of steering angle as well as a different roll centre. At the rear there is a 0.8 gear and a solution to use a standard rod or upper arm. The car is also fitted with an optional topdeck carbon front brace.
Chassis – Shepherd Velox V8.2 Engine – Gimar Blue Demon Fuel(handout) – VP Racing Tires (handout) – Hotrace Radio/Servo – KO Propo Eurus/Futaba Body – Xtreme Super Diablo (not pictured)
Remarks – Shepherd’s owner and designer, Patrick is running the Velox V8.2 with the brand new advanced weight system which will be released to customers shortly. The new system allows fast balance (front-rear) changes in the pits – perfect for changing track conditions during race day just like drivers are having to deal with here at Steel City RC Speedway. Posting a Top 10 run in the final round of seeding practice, Patrick’s car also features eccentric inserts in front uprights, low friction pulleys, Shepherd low friction belts, Brilliant RC aluminium pivot balls and Brilliant RC ball bearings.
Remarks – Making a return to World Championship action and putting in an impressive first seeding run with the third fastest time Steven is running Capricorn’s upcoming chassis release, the 804. While being called at ‘prototype’, Steven says the car is ‘good to go’ to customers and expected to be available shortly. Explaining the differences to the car over the 803, at the front the lower arms are 2mm longer with the chassis narrower to suit. He said through the chicane this keeps the car a lot flatter and so a lot smoother to drive. The upper arms are also mounted differently now being mounted to the new radio tray making the car more rigid. The front bulkheads are 2mm lower which is better for steering. At the rear of the car the bulkheads are narrower making the centre of gravity better. The arms are stiffer with less cut outs and are also longer but the rear roll centre remains the same. Steven is running Capricorn’s optional hubs both front and rear which he says makes the car roll a lot freer. As part of the new radio tray the radio box has been made smaller and is now in the middle of the car.
The opening day of qualifying at the IFMAR 1:8 Onroad World Championships has been cancelled due to high winds in California. The gusting winds forced officials to make the call on the grounds of safety with concerns over the integrity of the huge tent in which everyone is pitting at Steel City RC Speedway. Despite being held in position with large concrete weights such was the power of the wind it exerting huge forces on the tent frame making it too dangerous to pit under. With the winds that are causing huge issues for fire fighters dealing with wild fire in the California area not expected to pass until this evening, IFMAR president Jeff Parker confirmed that due to safety concerns caused by the conditions today’s qualifying would be cancelled. He added that the track would open as normal tomorrow morning at 07:00 with one hour of practice from 08:00 to 09:00 to ‘groove the track’ which would be followed by the opening round of qualifying. Parker was quick to make it clear that ‘at this point we are not going into Sunday’, Sunday being a reserve day but only for should there be issues with the Saturday Main Finals programme. So far no details have been released as to whether it will be possible to run all 6 rounds of qualifying as originally schedule but it is expected that today’s cancellation will see that number reduced.
Dario Balestri has got the defence of his 1:8 Onroad World title off to a strong start by becoming the Top Seed for qualifying at Steel City RC Speedway in California. The Infinity driver capped off today’s seeding practice by posting the fastest time of the day in the fourth & final round with a considerable advantage over second fastest for the round Toni Gruber. Behind the Italian, Naoto Matsukura made it an Infinity 1-2 in seeding being the only other driver to top the time sheets when he went fastest in the third round. Having a tough day by his normal standards, Simon Kurzbuch would manage to complete seeding in the Top 3 but openly admitted the gap to his great rival Balestri was quite a big one. Having surprised with his second fastest time in the opening seeding round, JJ Wang is the 4th seed ahead of young Italian talent Jonathan Gandin with former Champion Tadahiko Sahashi completing the Top 6.
After dropping off the top of the time sheets for the first time in third round of seeding, Balestri’s reaction to his final run was ‘now I am happy the car is perfect. Sometimes you feel you can’t arrive at perfect but now the car is really perfect’. He continued, ‘Don’t ask what I changed on the car because I don’t tell you, but it was the right way’. Asked about consistentcy over the 7-minutes that now counts for qualifying, he replied, ‘Today was only three laps but my car is fast and super consistent which is all you can ask for qualifying’.
Despite crashing out of the final round but luckily having set the 10th fastest time to secure 2nd overall, Matsukura explained, ‘the traction was more high and the car was a little edgy. I couldn’t go full punch and had a mistake in the chicane and hit the wall which broke the car. Also the engine wasn’t so good’. Despite this, the Top Seed on his Onroad nitro Worlds debut two years ago in France declared himself ‘ready for qualifying’ pointing out the first round should have less traction and so he should be OK adding he will also have one of his good engines fitted.
‘Another difficult run’, was Kurzbuch reaction at the conclusion of seeding. The Shepherd driver explained, ‘the track changed that much in the last 2-hours our set-up was not good enough. We need to understand the changes to the track better so that we can have our car right for them’. The reigning ENS Champion, a battle fought out between him and Balestri, he concluded, ‘right now 1st position feels really far from reach but let’s see’.
On his P4 seeding, Wang said he felt while his results following a strong opening round don’t reflect it they ‘made progress’ over the day. The Mugen driver added, ‘we had bad luck some rounds so we didn’t show our real pace but I think we have a good car for qualifying so I will do what I do’. Asked about running the full 7-minutes in qualifying he replied, ‘My full run pace is better than my 3-laps so I think I am ready for tomorrow. Everything with the car seems good now’.
Leaving his best run to last, recording the third fastest time of Round 4, Gandin said making the top heat for qualifying was a ‘real surprise’ and ‘absolutely not expected’. Running a prototype car, the ARC driver who has renowned nitro onroad mechanic Stefano Colombini looking after him in the pitlane, he didn’t change the car set-up during the day but instead tried different positioning of weight in the car each run’. His second 1:8 Worlds appearance, having raced in France, the 16-year-old is confident that he can translate his 3-lap pace into a competitive 7-minute performance.
Finally there was a change at the top of the timing sheets at the 1:8 World Championships as Naoto Matsukura set the pace in the third round of seeding. Having suffered a heavy crash in the previous round, the Infinity driver came back to set the fastest 3-consecutive laps of the day ahead of a much improved Simon Kurzbuch. Having been the benchmark up to now, Dario Balestri would set the third fastest time ahead of fellow Italian Alessio Mazzeo with Jesse Davis and Robert Pietsch completing the Top 6.
Commenting on his performance, Matsukura said, ‘My car was very good in the second round. I did the warm-up and broke in the tyres but then the steering failed and I had a big crash. I had to rebuild the car and fit a new chassis as it was a little bent from the crash but I ran the same set-up’. The reigning 1:10 Nitro World Champion admitted that while he got the fastest 3-laps the car started to struggle half way through the run saying, ‘after 4-minutes the car was not so stable and the lap times were up and down so for the last one I will make a change to the front of the car’.
Kurzbuch said, ‘we changed a lot on the car. We made the same changes as Patrick (Schafer) made on his car the previous round’. Asked about the changes he said, ‘we changed the geometry and the body to take out some steering so we could run a clean round without flipping’. While happy with the improvement the Shepherd driver aired caution about the set-up saying, ‘yesterday we set a good time in the evening but I am not sure the set-up will work all day but this was a result we needed after the the results we had in Rounds 1 & 2 (of seeding)’.
Asked about his P3 time, the Top 3 cars pulled in to technical inspection to have their pipes tested, Balestri said, ‘we tried something and it doesn’t work so we will just come back to our old set-up and try something else’. The Infinity driver elaborated, ‘we went super hard in the front (of the car) and it was the wrong way’.
Leading Xray’s challenge at Steel City RC Speedway, Mazzeo said, ‘this morning the car was super good. Our focus was to get the car not to flip. It is easy to have a fast car but we work to make our car more easy’. He continued, ‘If you flip a few times in qualifying you will lose a lot of time. For sure our car is still on the limit but hopefully it will not flip and this is the direction we have worked towards all week. We have the speed to fight’. Running a car on which they are ‘testing some new stuff’, Mazzeo concluded, ‘today is only about 3-laps and not a true picture of how it will be in qualifying. Many drivers are flipping many times in their runs today’.
‘I think I just drove well then’ was how Davis summed up his best run. The Australian continued, ‘I didn’t really change much set-up wise but the car was lacking power, heavy to drive and boring’. Describing the set-up as ‘safe’, the Infinity driver said, ‘its lacking steering so its not fast over 3-laps but over a qualifying distance the pace is still good but we’ll try a few things for the next one to make it a little livelier’.