August 14, 2008

Groskamp moves into TQ position

Jilles Groskamp

Jilles Groskamp has regained the TQ spot with a superb drive in the penultimate qualifier for the 2008 Worlds here in Portugal. The Dutch ace was delighted with his run saying, ‘Finally it worked out for with my engine and fuel.’ Groskamp clocked up 32 laps in 10:11.241 giving Team Sirio boss Andrea Rossi every reason to punch the air in delight.

Groskamp was told to save fuel over the last few laps of his run and so had to lift a little but the call by his pitman was well warranted because shortly after crossing the timing loop the Kyosho ran out of fuel. Having had ‘Shit’ days on Tuesday and Wednesday, this morning’s heat is a big confidence boost for the world class electric racer who says he will now go flat out for the final qualifier.

Setting the second fastest time after also having a tough day yesterday was Daniele Ielasi. The Italian driver said his car was now the same as the first day after he reverted back to the same rear diff oil on his IDM powered Kyosho. Asked if he thought this evening’s final qualifier could be quicker Ielasi said he thought maybe it could be simliar but not quicker.

Dario Balestri

Dario Balestri moved himself up from fifth overnight into a direct Main Final qualifying position after putting in the third fastest time but the run was not a clean one for the young Italian. The Team Magic lead driver made a mistake early in his run which caused him to loose a body clip and this was to cost him further time during his pit stop as the body rose off the car when his pit woman lifted it for refuelling. Happy with the balance of his Novarossi powered G4+, the incidents cost Balestri a very possible TQ run.

With Groskamp, Ielasi and Balestri all going quicker than the overnight TQ time, Japanese driver Takaaki Shimo drops to fourth but the Kyosho/OS driver was quick to put his poor run down to himself saying, ‘Good car, Driver not so good’. Just how good the car was is the 18.553 fastest lap set by Shimo which is the quickest lap we have seen in qualifying todate.

Mugen/Novarossi driver Giuseppe D’Angelo finally got to show his true pace as he finished his first heat to record an impressive fifth fastest time. Finishing the run has given the Italian a big boost and he is very confidence he can go fastest later today.

Unfortunately for Adrien Bertin his strong run to record the third fastest time was to be in vain as his Kyosho failed to pass scrutiny with his fuel tank deemed to be too big. Obviously annoyed with his exclusion, the French Team Orion driver was pleased with his car and run despite a number of incidents with Francesco Tironi.

Andrea Rossi working on the car of Chris Tosolini

Chris Tosolini who was our Top Qualifier at the end of Day 1 had an interesting time with a bee during his fifth heat. Distracted by the bee which landed on his finger the Kyosho/Sirio said he spent ages trying to get rid of the trespassing insect but with his attention distracted he hit a curb and broke his inside rear tyre. Asked how the run was without the bee Tosolini said, ‘If the bee didn’t get involved you know were we would have been! I was driving super smooth and the car was great.’

Once again Ralph Burch was setting very fast laps recording the second fastest lap for the round but yet again the RC America driver was dogged by bad luck this time his engine coming to a halt on the back straight. His fellow countrymen also had bad luck with Josh Cyrul’s car stopping as a result of a broken tab on his receiver battery while Barry Baker, who was struggling with his engine, clipped a curb coming on to the straight which slammed his Team Magic into the wall pretty much destroying the car.

One of the star of yesterday’s qualifiers, Martin Lissau from Denmark was again running a fast pace but his engine ran out of fuel before the finish. Lissau, the current 1:5 World Champion, is really impressing here in Lisbon as this is only his fifth 1:10 nitro race this year.

Top 10 after 5 rounds
1. Jilles Groskamp (NL) – 32 Laps in 10:11.241
2. Daniele Ielasi (IT) – 32 Laps in 10:11.904
3. Balestri Dario (IT) – 32 Laps in 10:13.809
4. Takaaki Shimo (JPN) – 32 Laps in 10:16.393
5. D’Angelo Giuseppe (IT) – 32 Laps in 10:16.657
6. Martin Lissau (DNK) – 32 Laps in 10:16.700
7. Martin Christensen (DNK) – 32 Laps in 10:16.776
8. Chris Tosolini (USA) – 32 Laps in 10:17.428
9. Peter Jovanovic (AUS) – 32 Laps in 10:18.893
10. Martin Hudy (SK) – 32 Laps in 10:19.360

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August 13, 2008

IFMAR extend warm-up for final rounds

Monsanto track Lisbon

Following requests from engine manufacturers, the organisers of the 2008 World Championship are to extend the warm-up time each driver will get ahead of the final two rounds of qualifying. To-date drivers have had 3 minutes to warm-up for their 10-minute qualifying runs but with many of the top drivers struggling to make five minutes from a tank of fuel the warm-up time will be increased to 5 minutes. The increase will give drivers the opportunity to fine tune their engines to the relevant temperature/conditions at the time of their qualifying heat.

Heats 5 & 6 tomorrow are the last two opportunities drivers have to determine which final they will start in with the big battle being that for the TQ, currently held by Shimo, and one of the four direct qualifying positions for the Main Final of the 2008 IFMAR 1:10 200mm World Championships which is scheduled to run on Saturday. Round 5 gets underway at 09:30 tomorrow morning and our coverage, which is sponsored by Kyosho, Xceed and Serpent, will continue througout the day.

The final overall standings after 4 rounds can be downloaded here.

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August 13, 2008

No change at the top

Dario Balestri heat action

The second qualifier for the faster group of drivers has been run but it made little change to the top of the timesheets. Dario Balestri was biggest benefactor of Round 4 climbing four places in the overall qualification standings after producing the fifth fastest run. The Team Magic driver said he had the right tyres this time and his car felt really good although a slight error by his pit woman cost him a possible TQ run. Fastest for the round was Martin Lissau who produced an almost identical time to his current FTQ time from Heat 3 finishing just 3/1000th slower!!

Ralph Burch action

The other big movers from the fourth round where American pairing Ralph Burch and Paul Lemieux who move into 10th and 11th repectively. Burch has been fast, holding the current fastest lap time for qualifying, but the RC America driver has been short on luck however on this occassion he came close to a clean run. Just missing the finish line after running out of fuel, the Xray/Max driver just missed out on a 32 lap which could have put him in the Top 6 but he was still pleased to get a decent time saying afterwards ‘At least we are in contention now’. Burch said his car was not perfect although the steering was better now but he needs to find a little more traction.

Lemieux was happy to finally finish a run. Changes made to his Xray for the heat weren’t so good but other than that he described it as a good clean run and something to build on.

Takaaki Shimo

For current TQ holder Taakaki Shimo heat four didn’t far well as he ran out of fuel before his pit stop. On set up the Japanese driver had the totally opposite problem to heat 3 with his car now nervous for the first half of the run and really good for the last part. The Kyosho driver will try to find a compromise set up to make the car more feel more consistent through the entire run.

Chris Tosolini reckoned he was on for taking back the TQ from Shimo but his engine was too rich and he ran out of fuel before his pit stop. Team mate Jilles Groskamp, who was the pace setter here in controlled practice, continued to have engine/fuel issues also running too rich, causing him too to run out of fuel. Adrien Bertin is complaining of the same fuel problems only his engine ran too lean causing a plug to go.

Peter Jovanovic’s woes continued when 10 laps into his run the rear belt stripped on his Xray. For defending World Champion Keisuke Fukuda things are also not improving. The Japanese ace said, ‘It was supposed to get better today but it didn’t’. The Mugen/Ninja driver is happy with the set-up of his car but continues to struggle with his engine.

Unnofficial top 10 after 4 rounds
1. Takaaki Shimo (JPN) – 32 Laps in 10:16.393 [Kyosho/OS]
2. Martin Lissau (DNK) – 32 Laps in 10:16.700 [Xray/GRP]
3. Martin Christensen (DNK) – 32 Laps in 10:16.776 [Xray/Sirio]
4. Chris Tosolini (USA) – 32 Laps in 10:18.325 [Kyosho/Sirio]
5. Balestri Dario (IT) – 32 Laps in 10:18.473 [TM/NR]
6. Peter Jovanovic (AUS) – 32 Laps in 10:18.893 [Xray/NR]
7. Martin Hudy (SK) – 32 Laps in 10:19.360 [Xray/Max]
8. Adrien Bertin (LUX) – 32 Laps in 10:19.465 [Kyosho/Orion]
9. Mazzeo Alessio (IT) – 31 Laps in 09:58.271 [Serpent/Max]
10.Ralph Burch (USA) – 31 Laps in 09:59.355 [Xray/Max]

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August 13, 2008

Takaaki Shimo goes fastest

Takaaki Shimo

Takaaki Shimo got his day off to a great start by setting a new TQ time in the third round of qualifying. The Kyosho/OS team driver recorded 32 laps in 10:16.393 and now sits at the top of the time sheets ahead of fast Danish pairing Martin Lissau and Martin Christensen.

Shimo was modest about his run describing it as ‘So So’. The Japanese driver said his car was excellent in the first half of the heat but in the last five minutes it became very nervous. Not a big fan of the track here in Monsanto he plans to make set-up changes for the second of today’s heats but is unsure of what he can adjust to cure the problem he is experiencing in the second part of the run.

Martin Lissau

Current 1:5 scale World Champion Lissau said he drove a safe run as he experienced problems with shadows on the track from the trees but it was good enough for the second fastest time. The Xray driver said his NT1 is really good and his GRP engine is now making the 5-minutes with fuel to spare. Changes for Round 4 include heavier shock oil, as the track will be hotter for the run, along with a pair of sunglasses!!

Pitting next to Lissau is the third fastest man Christensen. Using the same chassis as his countryman Christensen’s NT1 is being powered by Sirio engines and the Dane feels he could have TQ’d the round if he had not been delayed by Robert Pietsch & Basile Concialdi in the last minute which cost him a second. He says if he can get a clean heat he is confident he has the pace to TQ.

Chris Tosolini, who held the overnight TQ honours, failed to finish his run as his engine went off tune during the run. His Sirio team mate Jilles Groskamp suffered the same problem. Sirio believe that the procedure used for the hand out fuel may be the causing contamination. Both drivers said their Kyosho cars were working really well.

Peter Jovanovic suffered a reciever problem and didn’t get any track time. At the start of the warm-up his car had no steering. His mechanic suspected a battery problem which they changed but still no steering so they changed the servo, still no joy. Further investigations lead them to the receiver which appears to be sending no signal to the steering. A new receiver is being fitted for Round 4.

Martin Hudy

Martin Hudy jumped into sixth in the current ranking after a adapting his driving style which in turn allowed him to make 5 minutes. The young Slovak driver, who is the son of Xray founder Juraj Hudy, said he drove more smoothly adopting a similar style to how he would drive electric touring cars and it worked. Hudy says he will push harder in the next heat as the electric driving style left him with good fuel.

Adrien Bertin drops to seventh after making a mistake on his run but the French driver was less happy with his Kyosho after making some small changes from yesterday which didn’t work.

Young Italian Alessio Mazzeo produced a good run to head the Serpent challenge here in qualifying with the 8th fastest time. The Max team driver said his 720 was very good and thinks he can push harder put needs to be careful with the fuel run time. Dario Balestri and Groskamp completed the Top 10 both failing to improve their times from yesterday. Balestri said he switched to 37 shore tyres which didn’t give him a good feeling with his Team Magic and as a result he rolled during the run.

Elsewhere Ralph Burch again set the fastest lap improving on his time from yesterday to set a 18.679. Burch was on for a really quick run but first had a coming together with Barry Baker who lost his Team Magic on the back straight and then moments later the Xray driver crashed which broke the rear wing. Baker too was on for a good run but crashed on his way into the pit lane. Paul Lemieux too crashed in his heat which caused his Max engine to flame out while Josh Cyrul managed his best run so far but appears to be struggling for pace.

World Champion Keisuke Fukuda’s defence of his title is not going well. The Japanese driver is struggling with run time and as a result is well down the order.

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August 12, 2008

Tosolini ends Day in TQ position

Chris Tosolini

Day 1 of qualifying is over and it is American ace Chris Tosolini who holds the current TQ honours for the 2008 IFMAR 200mm World Championships here is Lisbon. The Sirio team driver was one of only three drivers to record 32 laps today with a run of 10:18.325 which was half a second clear of the ever impressive Peter Jovanovic with former World Champion Adrien Bertin third a further 7/10th behind.

Tosolini said his engine was too lean for the run and after the pit stop it started to run hot causing it to loose power. The American also felt he lost a lot of time with Adrien Bertin who held him up during the run. Although quickest Tosolini feels much faster times are yet to come and is predicting around 6 seconds will be knocked off his current TQ time.

‘Shit at the Start’ was how Jovanovic described his run to second spot on the time sheets. The young Aussie thinks nerves are getting the better of him in the opening part of the run and says once he makes his pit stop he gets it together. The Xray driver said the track was a little more consistent than the morning run but didn’t feel much quicker.

Adrien Bertin

Adrien Bertin described his run to third as ‘Quite OK’ but said the track conditions were still poor. Running Team Orion engines the French ace said he ran a little too rich and that he is still missing a little with his Kyosho chassis.

Martin Lissau had a potential TQ run on the cards but ran out of fuel due to a experimental fuel stop strategy. Running GRP engines in his Xray NT1 the Dane opted to pit a lap earlier than his rivals feeling an engine cut before the stop would cost him a lap in the final result as the car would need to be restarted. Unfortunately the early stop meant he didn’t have the range to complete the latter 5 minutes but he justified the decision by saying ‘a 31 laps in 9:58 is better than 30 in 10 something’.

Martin Lissau action

Dario Balestri had his first full 10-minute run which was good enough for fifth. The Italian was really happy with his Team Magic and Novarossi engine but said he made a wrong call on tyre shore which he said cost him a 32 lap run.

Having TQ’d the first round Jilles Groskamp was unable to improve his morning time as he was forced to pit on the very first lap with a very lean engine ending his chances of improving.

Another Dane enjoying a good run was Martin Christensen who posted the seventh fastest time just ahead of Daniele Ielasi. The Italian, who was excluded from the first round of qualifying for a fuel tank irregularity, said all is OK now and other than a mistake during the run which cost him around 4 seconds it was fine. Completing the Top 10 was quick Spanish Mugen driver Josue Artiles and Italy’s Niki Duina.

Ralph Burch, who again set the fastest lap time for the round with an 18.784, hit trouble in the warm-up when the power switch on his car broke. Frantic repairs got him out for the heat but again the American was to run out of fuel. Setting the second fastest lap time for the round was his RC America team-mate Paul Lemieux who was on for a good time but six and half minutes in he stripped second gear on his Max powered Xray.

For defending champion Keisuke Fukuda fuel run time is hampering his progress. The Mugen/Ninja driver said he is really happy with the handling of his MTX-4R and the performance from his JX12 T01 Ninja engine but he just needs to find that very fine line to get the setting right for making 5 minutes. Top Japanese driver at the moment is Kyosho/OS driver Takaaki Shimo who doesn’t like the track here but still sits in 13th.

Fastest Serpent to date is former World Championship Finalist Mark Green who sits just outside the Top 10 in 11th position. Marc Rheinard continues to endure a difficult nitro touring car debut managing only 16 laps in his first run today and 4 in the second after suffering a radio glitch.

Top 10 after 10 rounds
1. Chris Tosolini (USA) – 32 Laps in 10:18.325 [Kyosho/Sirio]
2. Peter Jovanovic (AUS) – 32 Laps in 10:18.893 [Xray/NR]
3. Adrien Bertin (LUX) – 32 Laps in 10:19.465 [Kyosho/Orion]
4. Martin Lissau (DNK) – 31 Laps in 09:58.772 [Xray/GRP]
5. Balesti Dario (IT) – 31 Laps in 10:01.994 [Team Magic/NR]
6. Jilles Groskamp (NL) – 31 Laps in 10:02.708 [Kyosho/Sirio]
7. Martin Christensen (DNK) – 31 Laps in 10:03.001 [Xray/Sirio]
8. Daniele Ielasi (IT) – 31 Laps in 10:04.547 [Kyosho/IDM]
9. Josue Artiles Santana (ES) – 31 Laps in 10:05.678 [Mugen/Ninja]
10.Duina Niki (IT) – 31 Laps in 10:06.599 [Xray/Max]

Download the complete overall standings here.

Tomorrow’s timetable will see the faster group of heat run Rounds 3 and 4 of qualifying in the morning with Groups 1-7 getting the evening slot.

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August 12, 2008

Groskamp tops first qualifier

Jilles Groskamp

Jilles Groskamp is the pace setter after the first round of qualifying here in Portugal but the Dutch driver was not the fastest in the run, that honour going to Daniele Ielasi but in post race scrutiny the Italian’s fuel tank was deemed to be to big. It was very close at the top with Ielasi posting a run of 31 laps in 10:02.628 with Groskamp just 8/100th behind.

Overall the times where much slower than what we saw in the final controlled practice yesterday due to the overnight rain with Ralph Burch, who recorded the fastest lap for the round, summing it up perfectly with ‘The track was junk’.

Groskamp said his car was perfectly balanced and his Sirio engine was spot on but the track just didn’t have any traction. The Sirio team driver had one moment during the run when he had had a half spin which lost him time but added that it was important to start with a decent run. For the second qualifier Groskamp will leave his car exactly the same as the traction should be back.

Daniele Ielasi Action

With Ielasi loosing his time it is a Team Sirio 1-2 at the top of the time sheets with Chris Tosolini officially second fastest. A much happier looking Tosolini said he was really pleased to finally get a full run in and also said he could run pretty consistent. For his second heat the American will run a softer rear sway bar to improve rear traction.

Peter Jovanovic is showing it wasn’t home advantage at the last World Championship but emerging talent and the young Aussie sits in third position. Early in the run his car was very taily but after his pit stop it got better while adapting his driving style to the lower grip conditions also helped.

Fourth fastest was Japanese driver Takaaki Shimo followed by Teemu Leino. The Finn switched to a stiffer set-up after yesterday’s final practice to combat traction roll but when he had his run today there was no traction. The Xray driver will now switch to an in between setup for Heat 2.

Elsewhere Ralph Burch was on for a really quick run but ran out of fuel. The US driver is not sure why but will lean out his Max engine for the second qualifier. Also in the American camp Josh Cyrul ran out of fuel too but thinks his tank may not have been entirely filled during his pit stop. Cyrul also lost time when he caught a kerb and then got hit from behind by Shimo which caused his body to tuck under. Barry Baker who appeared to be having a lot of engine problems was straight to the point when asked what happened simple saying ‘I sucked’.

Italy’s Francesco Tironi who ended the run in seventh said he made changes to his car that just didn’t work while fellow countryman Dario Balestri was quick to put his hand up and say he made the mistake of setting his engine too rich which caused him to run out of fuel.

The second qualifier is now underway news of which we will bring you later.

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