Chassis: Infinity IF18 III Engine: O.S R2105 Exhaust: O.S TR02 – EFRA 2165 Radio: Sanwa M17 Servos (Steering/Throttle): N/A Body: Xtreme Hyper Tires (handout): Matrix Fuel (handout): O.S Nitrox Notes:
Tadahiko is running two prototype parts on his IF18 III. At the front the car is fitted with upper aluminium knuckles, while at the rear he is using a smaller 6mm anti-rollbar.
Simon Kurzbuch is the Top Seed at the IFMAR 1:8 Onroad World Championship, the Mugen Seiki driver setting the fastest 3-consecutive laps of the day in the fourth & final round of timed practice in a great battle with Capricorn’s Toni Gruber. The duo swapped position at the top of the timing screens, their engine tuner Daniele Ielasi finding it hard to keep up with which of drivers was currently fastest, but at the end of the 7-minutes it was Kurzbuch who was 2/10ths faster than Gruber. That time would give the very much back in form 2015 World Champion the tiebreaker in the final seeding points ranking as himself and Gruber both count a P1 & P2 each. Fastest in the second round, Infinity’s Naoto Matsukura would put himself out of contention for the confidence boosting Top Seed status when he crashed out just before the final 2 and a half minutes of the run which is when the times start to tumble. Another contender, having topped Round 3, Dario Balestri could not match the lead pace and finished with the third fastest time just ahead of Infinity team-mate Jesse Davis. Overall that would seed Balestri third.
‘It was really good, finally! The one before was not my best run due to my driving error but now I am really, really happy’, was how Kurzbuch summed up the final practice. The Swiss ace continued, ‘the car is good and my engine was amazing and I made everything right on the driving side. Top Seed feels a good way to start into qualifying’. With the attention now turning to 4-minute runs for qualifying, asked if he had any concerns about the qualifying run time his response was, ‘I think it is really tight for everyone. We will need to manage it over the run and have a good feeling for the engine limits to ensure you get to the 4-minutes’.
‘I have a sad face and a happy face’, was Gruber’s reaction to his performance. He continued, ‘We could see from the two groups before us that the track is fast and I wanted to see for myself where we are on a fast track. We tested a new engine so we needed a little extra time to get that set correct and I was also on new tyres which need time to break in. I thought I had done enough as I heard I was fastest but then Simon got me with a faster time. This way I’m not so happy. But when I look at the gang of drivers behind it was still a good performance’.
Commenting on his performance, Balestri made it clear he feels he has some catching up to do to run with Kurzbuch and Gruber. The Italian said, ‘we still need to find something in the set-up.’ He continued, ‘an important thing is we break in tyres today so that we have set ready for every round of qualifying’. Asked about run time and if he would have to manage his driving style to make the 4-minutes, the back to back reigning European Champion replied with a confused look, ‘No, run time is no problem so no need’. Surprised to hear other drivers believe it will be tight to the finish, the Max Power Engines driver said, ‘It is no problem for us to go more than 4-minute’.
Explaining his crash Matsukura said, ‘I had done two good laps but pushed a little too much and then crashed. I have made many mistakes at the same spot so it something I need to fix for tomorrow’. Ending up fourth seed ahead of defending World Champion Shoki Takahata, he is confident that he has a car he can challenge with and a good engine to power it having put that aside after topping second practice. He shared the concerns of Kurzbuch on run time saying it is going to be ‘super close’ meaning we might see a repeat of the opening round of qualifying at the 1:8 GT World Championships when lots of driver came to halt on their final lap.
With three rounds of seeding complete at the 1:8 Onroad World Championship, three different drivers have topped the times with Infinity’s Dario Balestri the latest driver to top the times in Japan. Toni Gruber kicked off the first day that counts for anything when he took the opening timed practice but an hour & a half later Naoto Matsukura took the round with an even faster 3-consecutive laps. With ranking points from the drivers best two of four rounds determining the heat groups for qualifying tomorrow, Balestri threw his hat in the ring for the Top Seed honours when he went fastest in the third round, track conditions slowing due to the hotter midday temperatures. The latest round would also see reigning World Champion Shoki Takahata have his run so far as he posted a P3 run behind Mugen Seiki team-mate Simon Kurzbuch who was very lucky to survive a driver error during the 7-minute practice.
Having felt his engine being too rich had cost him a better time in the first run of the day, Matsukura put that right in the second round using the same engine to run a time of 40.912 bettering Gruber’s time by 0.007 of a second! A multiple World Champion of the sport, the Infinity driver would swap out that engine after the run saying, ‘we will keep this one for qualifying’. With a different engine in his IF18 III he would end up only 8th fastest in third round saying, ‘the bottom end was not good’. With another engine for the final seeding round, he said the car is ‘very good’ and its just about getting engines sorted for qualifying, drivers getting 6 rounds over 2-days.
‘I’m following the conditions, they change a lot’, was Balestri’s reaction to his third round fastest run. Explaining that with the temperature rising the track naturally loses grip, the Italian continued, ‘the set-up has changed almost completely. Before we need steering and now we need traction. It is really, really, changing a lot’. The lower grip is reflected in his 41.108 time for the round.
Third fastest for the opening round but only 7th in the next one, Kurzbuch said the run was not so good due to a bad engine setting. With the engine ‘really good’ for Round 3 and the car also really good he said ‘more was possible’ if it wasn’t for his ‘driver error’. Crashing at the end of the straight with his car ending upside down in the racing line and somehow everyone avoid him, the Swiss driver explained, ‘I went to far on the inside and then the car took off. I was very lucky no one hit me on the track’. Despite his scare, Race Director Scotty Ernst warning drivers over the PA and complimenting Dominic Greiner for good marshalling and recovering the car, the former World Champion is confident for Day 1 of qualifying say, ‘everything is set for tomorrow’.
Pleased with his first two runs, Gruber explained that for his latest practice he ‘tried something for qualifying and it was not so good’. Also trying a different engine it was not as good as the previous one. Asked in what way it was not as good, the German said, ‘It was just a little down on pace, not as strong as the other one, and when everyone is this close on pace it’s the little things that are important.’ In a common theme among most of the top drivers, he will try yet another engine in the fourth & final timed practice.
Making a good first attempt at trying to talk to us in English for the first time without having one of the O.S engines representatives translate for him, Takahata said he is still working on engines and optimising the power available to him. Happy with his Mugen’s chassis set up, the Japanese driver has been improve this each round highlighted by his improvement in results of the day.
Toni Gruber has topped the opening round of timed practice at the 1:8 Onroad World Championship in Japan. The Capricorn driver’s fastest 3-consecutive laps around the Infinity International RC Speedway gave him a 3/10th of a second advantage over his closest rival, the same margin of time then covering the next 7-drivers. Better known for his electric onroad exploits, it was Hayato Ishioka who was second fastest driving a Mugen with factory Mugen driver Simon Kurzbuch completing the Top 3. The best represented brand at this year’s World Championship with over half the field running the Japanese manufacturer’s car, it was Naoto Matsukura who lead their charge with P4 for the first of today’s scheduled four seeding rounds. Just 1/100th off, Serpent young gun Andrea Catanzani, who was up in the second last year to go on track, kick his day off with a P5 ahead of Dario Balestri and reigning World Champion Shoki Takahata.
While happy to top the times, Gruber was less happy with his car set-up. The German explained, ‘we made a little set-up change after the last practice yesterday and it was not helpful. Overall the car is now faster but it’s difficult to drive’. He continued, ‘it’s not bad compared to the other guys but if we can find a fix for the rear being loose we can be even faster but it’s a balancing act as we don’t want end up with a car that is too easy drive but is slow’.
A World Championship finalist in both 1:12 and Electric Touring Car, this is Ishioka 1:8 Onroad Worlds debut. Only in his fourth season of nitro racing, the 28-year-old was pleased with his 3-laps but admitted the 7-minute run did contain a number of driver errors. A Rush team driver, about his car he said while the overall feeling was good he did have to deal with a ‘little understeer’ and based on that will make a small change for his next run.
‘It was quite a good round’, was how Kurzbuch summed up his first effort. Like Ishioka, the former World Champion reported having suffered from ‘a bit of understeer’ adding that considering this it was ‘a really good time’. Also pleased with how his Mugen feels from the start on opening tyres he said in terms of the car they will just make small adjustments for the conditions at the time of the next run. Having already built up data on all his engines during the previous four days pf practice, he said they are going to use the seeding rounds to cycle back through the engines and run qualifying simulations on each of them in preparation for tomorrow.
Naoto described the first timed practice as ‘so, so’. The 2018 1:10 Nitro Car World Champion, said his engine tuning was off with the car putting out ‘too much smoke’. Starting on the new tyres he said they didn’t get the tuning right for when they tyres got smaller and that was the reason for the engine being too rich. Report a little understeer, the Japanese driver is pleased with the overall feeling of his car and is confident that with the engine set better he can be quicker.
Fresh from his podium finish at the 1:8 GT World Championship in Sydney, Catanzani is really enjoying the track here in Japan saying it is ‘so good’ to drive. On his car’s performance, the 18-year-old said, ‘All is ok. The car is good now so if we make any changes they will be little to adjust for the track conditions. We will run the same engine again in the next one and then after that change to a different one’.
‘The track today seems different, it’s more loose’, was Balestri’s response when asked about his run to the 6th fastest time. He continued, ‘It was not a clear run for me. My set-up was not for the conditions so I need to renew it for the next one. It’s just small changes I need to make’.