April 12, 2011

Pietsch tops final practice in Miami

Robert Pietsch

Just as he did at the last 1:8 Onroad World Championship before going on to become the Top Qualifier, Mugen’s Robert Pietsch has set the pace in the final practice in Miami, Florida.  After the 37 lap run, the reigning European Champion said the run was not perfect.  Running his engine slightly safe it was too rich and switching to softer shock oil he said he got the order wrong with the softer oil better suited to cooler morning conditions. Pietsch also felt his driving could have been better as he made a number of small mistakes and ran too much over the kerbing.

Paolo Morganti

The only other driver to post 37 laps and setting the fastest lap with a 15.958, Serpent’s Paolo Morganti was happy with his day.  The American said while he would like a little more rear traction on his Novarossi powered 966, the new parts Serpent have for the car here this week are working really well.  Not planning to change his set-up for tomorrow, when the faster half of heats will run twice in the evening, he did express slight caution about tomorrow’s weather which is set to be even warmer than today which will mean the cars are going to slide around a lot more.

Atsushi Hara

Atsushi Hara was fastest of the drivers on 36 laps, the Japanese ace missing out on 37 laps by just .523 of a second. Really happy with the third fastest time Hara ran only one stop after his pitman changed the original plan of two fuel stops to a single refuelling unknown to the driver.  Having reverted back to a set-up he tried in an earlier practice session he said the Mugen was much better than in CP1 when he was eight fastest.  Making a couple of mistakes during the run the former electric Touring Car World Champion said he needs to run more consistent laps tomorrow.

Running Capricorn’s LAB-C801, Dario Balestri was very happy with his new car as he set the fourth fastest time in CP2.  Sixth in Lostallo, the Italian says he expects he can get more from the car in qualifying tomorrow.

Making his 1:8 Worlds debut here at the Homestead R/C Raceway Takehiro Terauchi ended the day sixth just behind Brazil’s Flavio Elias whose CP1 topping time was good enough for fifth overall. The 19-year-old, who was one of the stars of the 200mm Worlds in Texas last year where we was runner-up, said he was happy with how his MRX-5 was working but gave the impression he was slightly disappointed to not have been nearer the top of the time sheets.  Mugen team-mate Keisuke Fukuda was eight fastest for the day, the 2006 200mm World Champion suffering a little understeer in CP2 which he hopes to cure for tomorrow by running a softer front spring.

Lamberto Collari

Not featuring strongly on the time sheets defending champion Lamberto Collari described his day as ‘average’ but the Italian who is chasing an unprecedented tenth 1:8 Onroad World title said it is better to look now at solutions for the coming days.  Confident for tomorrow he said the aim is make the magical Top 4 in qualifying so as to guarantee his place in Saturday’s main race.  Asked if 22-years after winning his first World title he his getting bored of racing, the Kyosho/Novarossi driver replied, ‘Of the racing I am not bored but the politics I am starting to get tired’.  Collari feels as the Formula 1 of our sport 1:8 should have little rules and be the place for manufacturers of the various products to showcase their goods and innovate like it was in the early days.  With tyre additive still the big talking point in Miami despite IFMAR spraying every competitors tyres with alcohol before they go out on track, the nine time World Champion feels the subject will overshadow the final result.

Practice times (Controlled Practice 1 & 2 combined)
1. Robert Pietsch (D) – Mugen/Novarossi – 37L/10:14.490 (2)
2. Paolo Morganti (US) – Serpent/Novarossi – 37L/10:15.143 (2)
3. Atsushi Hara (JP) – Mugen/OS Speed – 36L/10:00.523 (2)
4. Dario Balestri (IT) – Capricorn/Novarossi – 36L/10:01.395 (2)
5. Flavio Elias (BR) – Mugen/Max – 36L/10:05.081 (1)
6. Takehiro Terauchi (JP) – Mugen/Novarossi – 36L/10:05.525 (2)
7. Walter Salemi (IT) – Motonica/Max – 36L/10:06.401 (1)
8. Keisuke Fukuda (JP) – Mugen/Novarossi – 36L/10:07.088 (1)
9. Daniele Ielasi (IT) – Shepherd/Picco – 36L/10:07.089 (1)
10.Mark Green (GB) – Serpent/Novarossi – 36L/10:07.905 (1)

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April 11, 2011

Brazil’s Elias tops first controlled practice

Flavio Elias

Seven time Brazilian National Champion Flavio Elias was the surprise name at the top of the time sheets in the first controlled practice for the 2011 IFMAR 1:8 Onroad World Championships. The 25-year-old Mugen driver topped the 10 minute run from factory Motonica driver Walter Salemi and former 200mm World Champion Keisuke Fukuda. Elias was delighted to top the run but was quick to point out that tomorrow when qualifying gets underway and the times count for something it will be a very different game. Running Max Power engines, he said his MRX-5 was very stable and other than running a different engine he plans to leave the car the same for this afternoon’s final practice run. A finalist at the 2007 Worlds in Argentina, Salemi had little to report as did Fukada who were both happy with their set-ups.


Team Shepherd’s Daniele Ielasi was fourth fastest ahead of fellow Italian Dario Balestri. The former 200mm World Champion ran a harder 37 shore tyre on the rear of his Velox V8 but said it didn’t suit the conditions as he had expected and will revert back to 35 shore for his next run. The Italian, who was only 1/1000th off Fukuda’s time, will try another engine in the final practice after which all drivers must nominate three engines for the remainder of the event.

Serpent Action

Setting the fastest lap time and 6th overall for the round, Serpent’s Mark Green was happy with his Novarossi powered 966 but said ‘mental issues’ meant he was slow at the start but once he woke up everything was really good. Team-mate, and designer of the 966, Michael Salven changed his car for the run but it wasn’t as good as yesterday. Not sure if it was down to a change in the track conditions, which he said are about a lap slower than when they tested here, he will revert back to the earlier set-up. The German used the run to try a 5-minute engine but admitted it was really on the edge to go the distance. He will run a qualifying engine next time out. Paolo Morganti and Andrea Cristani made it three Serpents in the Top 10 with the 7th and 9 fastest times respectively.

Atsushi Hara

Making his 1:8 Worlds debut Atsushi Hara took his OS powered Mugen to the 8th fastest time. Saving his race engines, which he ran yesterday, the Japanese ace said of all the classes he has raced 1:8 is just down to one thing, engines. The former Touring Car and 1:8 Off Road World Champion said he was told prior to the event about the importance of engines, ‘Now I know, engine changes everything, not just speed but the better the engine the more steering, everything is effected by the engine.’

Robert Pietsch

Fastest in the reseed Robert Pietsch used the first run in the new heat order to try a different manifold and working on his refueling. Top Qualifier at the last Worlds the German ace felt the traction was not as good today as yesterday. He also urged race officials to extend the warm-up now that they are spraying alcohol on the tyres prior to the run to deter the use of tyre additive. Running Contact tyres Pietesch said it took 3 or 4 laps before his tyres came in after the treatment.

Vice World Champion Mike Swauger, who was second fastest yesterday, tried a different clutch set-up on his new Xray RX8 but said it ‘didn’t work’ forcing him to pull up after 4-minutes. The American said the composition of the springs, shoes and flyweights on the Xray are new to him and they are currently lacking the knowledge to get the right combination.

Top 10 times – Controlled Practice 1
1. Flavio Elias (BR) – Mugen/Max – 36 laps in 10:05.081
2. Walter Salemi (IT) – Motonica/Max – 36 laps in 10:06.401
3. Keisuke Fukuda (JP) – Mugen/Novarossi – 36 laps in 10:07.088
4. Daniele Ielasi (IT) – Shepherd/Picco – 36 laps in 10:07.089
5. Dario Balestri (IT) – Capricorn/Novarossi – 36 laps in 10:07.669
6. Mark Green (GB) – Serpent/Novarossi – 36 laps in 10:07.905
7. Paolo Morganti (US) – Serpent/Novarossi – 36 laps in 10:08.345
8. Atsushi Hara (JP) – Mugen/OS – 36 laps in 10:09.379
9. Andrea Cristiani (IT) – Serpent/Max – 36 laps in 10:13.801
10.DJ Apolaro (US) – Capricorn/Novarossi – 36 laps in 10:14.131

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April 11, 2011

Collari goes for 10th World title

Lamberto Collari

Kyosho’s Lamberto Collari is going after his 10th World title this week at the IFMAR 1:8 Onroad World Championships which are underway at the Homestead RC Raceway in Miami, Florida.  The Italian legend, who won his first title 22 years ago, is chasing a fifth consecutive title in r/c racing’s ‘Formula 1’ category and for his rivals it’s more a case of aiming to beat Collari rather than aiming to win a World title.  The sports original World Championship, this is the 18th running of the event that first ran in the US in 1977 and the 2011 WC is the sixth time America has hosted the IFMAR sanctioned event.

Of the 10 drivers that made the final at the last World Championships which ran in Lostallo, Switzerland, eight of them make up the 127 entries here.  A podium finisher last time round and one of the two drivers to halt Collari’s reign as World Champion, 1999 World Champion is one of those absent along with Italian engine guru Alberto Picco who finished fifth last time.

Robert Pietsch

Top Qualifier in Switzerland, Mugen’s Robert Pietsch set the pace in open practice to become the top seed for the new heat listings, but talking to the European Championship this morning he was annoyed by accusations that he is using tyre additive which is the big talking point so far of these championships.  The use of tyre additive is not permitted under the rules but there is a general view that a number of drivers are using it.  IFMAR have a machine for detecting certain properties used in additive but that got damaged in transit to Miami and now with controlled practice underway each driver is having an alcohol based liquid sprayed on their tyres prior to each run which is supposed to combat any advantage of the additive and also help officials detect who is using it.  Pietsch said outside of the talk over his use of additive, which he adamantly denies, he said everything is going well with both his MRX-5 chassis and Novarossi engines working really well.  It was a good day yesterday for Mugen with Worlds Warm-up Race winner Rick Vrielijnck setting the third fastest time. The multiple Dutch National Champion and 2009 Finalist said traction is different to the warm-up with the oil not drying away making the track very greasy.

Mike Swauger

Runner up at the last Worlds, American ace Mike Swauger heads Team Xray’s debut at the championships.  Having just released their first 1:8 chassis this year they have signed up the former Mugen driver who joins fellow American Ralph Burch who gave the Slovak company their first World title last year when he won the 1:10 200mm Championship in Texas.  Swauger was second fastest in the reseed, based on a drivers three fastest consecutive laps, and is pretty happy with the new car which he said is quite different to the version he used to win the Florida Winter Nats earlier this year.  Fifth fastest yesterday, Burch said they still have a few thing they need to try on the newer car but overall it feels pretty good with the clutch set-up being their main area of focus for today.  Drivers have just two rounds of 10-minute controlled practice today.

2009 Finalist Dario Balestri is another to have switched team with the Italian moving from Motonica to the other World Championship debuting manufacturer here, Capricorn.  Setting the fourth fastest time in the reseed with his Novarossi powered LAB-C801 he said he was happy with his earlier performance.

Daniele Ielasi

The new kids on the block at the last World Championship, Team Shepherd have two cars in the top heat after Josh Cyrul and Daniele Ielasi set the 6th and 8th fastest times yesterday. In between them is the fastest of the Serpents so far, Italian Andrea Cristiani.  Interestingly the 2007 runner-up is not running the updated car Serpent have released for this event other than the new front bumper.  Mark Green, who was a direct qualifier in Lostallo, is running the new parts which he said make the car easier to drive on the limit.  Top American driver Scott Kimbrow took his 966 to the 10 fastest time just ahead of team-mate Paolo Morganti.

Defending Champion Collari, who is running a hybird prototype Kyosho was ninth fastest in the reseed but as we have come to learn from the master little can be read into his pace this early into the event.

Atsushi Hara

One interesting driver making his 1:8 Onroad debut in Florida is Atsushi Hara.  One of the most recognisable drivers in the sport Hara is a World Champion of both electric Onroad and nitro offroad.  One of the most versatile drivers he is running an OS powered Mugen which he only drove for the first time a few days before flying out to the US for the race.  Hara said the lack of time with the car is making it a difficult challenge but learning more about the driving style of the car every outing he is happy with his progress so far.

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