August 24, 2016

Coelho continues to top practice at WC


Bruno Coelho continues to set the pace at the Electric Touring Car World Championship in Beijing, the Xray driver continuing to the top the time sheets with four of the opening day’s six free practice runs complete.  Taking things up a notch in FP4, he continues to be quickest from team Alexander Hagberg but with a bigger advantage, his best lap over 1/10th of a second faster and his fastest 3-consecutive laps almost 4/10th better.  Behind the Xray’s, after a ‘horrible’ start to practice, Marc Rheinard has started to find some speed with the Tamiya driver completing the Top 3 ahead of Andy Moore, the Team Infinity driver making good use of his black anodised Xray.  Unfortunately for reigning World Champion Naoto Matsukura is poor start hasn’t improved and the newly crowned 1:12 World Champion finds himself 44th fastest.


‘We improved the car a lot’ was Coelho’s reaction after the latest practice.  He continued, ‘we changed the set-up for the third practice and it was worse so we changed it again for the last one and it was better’.  Also changing his Hobbywing speedo settings he said this gave ‘a better feeling’.   Runner-up to Matsukura at the last Worlds, the newly crowned ETS champion continued, ‘Every round everyone is improving so we can’t stop trying to improve the car’.  Looking to the next practice he said, ‘I now have good forward traction but we are just lacking a little steering so we will work on that’.


With his confidence having taken a visible boost after a strong opening practice, Hagberg said, ‘I’m really enjoying driving out there’.  Using FP4 to run used tyres on both his cars, changing between them half way through the 5-minute run, the former European Champion said the car is ‘really good’ on both new and used tyres. He added, ‘I’m really happy with my package at this point’.  For his next run he plans to make a few small changes as well as try different diff hardnesses.


‘Getting better’ was Rheinard’s reaction to his improvement. Having gone to the top of the timing screen in the first half of the practice heat on the change over of cars he dropped back to third he added, ‘but Xray’s 2nd cars were faster’.  He continued, ‘we still need to find something so I will try a different car with a different set-up for the next one’.  Asked what the issue is the triple World champion said, ‘its hard to find a balance. The track is strange.  Sometimes it feels like you are sliding on a film on the track and then you have grip’.  Having been the lead TRF driver after two rounds holding P6, Christopher Krapp would improve on that time in FP4 but back drop back to P9 ahead of Serpent’s Viktor Wilck who had a spectacular off at the end of the straight in the fourth round and has been unable to improve on his FP2 time.


‘Definitely more at home here than with the 1:12 scale car’, was how Moore summed up his practice so far.  Having raced at the recent Nitro Touring Car World Championship in Italy where Team Infinity debuted their first 200mm car, the 2006 World Champion said considering the little running he has done in electric recently he is very happy with how things are going.  Adding, ‘It would be nice to have had more time with the car’ he said a spring change for the last one felt better.  Suffering an electric glitch, which caused his first car to shut down in FP4 forcing him to switch to his second car earlier than planned he said they are working through the problem.  In terms of set-up, the British driver said he has ‘a few more ideas he wants to try out’ over the day’s final two runs.  Unfortunately team-mate and 2012 World Champion Jilles Groskamp is having problems and find himself only 23rd.


Finding himself in P5 having started out as the closest challenger to the Xrays, Ronald Volker said, ‘like the others we are still running two cars and while I got some steering I was looking for I have lost traction’.  ‘Still looking for a better balance’, the Yokomo driver said, ‘the gap to the guys in front is not getting less so we have got to do more changes’.


Completing the Top 6, Atsushi Hara said his pace ‘is ok’.  Competing at the last round of the ETS at the Hudy Arena in Slovakia, the former Champion and legend of the sport said, ‘there I saw a lot what the top guys are doing.  I used the information to test a lot of things at RC Addict’.  While running his Kyosho as a privateer, the Thai based Japanese driver has the car’s designer Yoshiyuki Chikuba sitting next to him for support.  Having put the ‘focus more on chassis flex’ he said their predictions on the traction level has been ‘correct’.  Using the first three practice rounds to ‘just drive around and learn the track’, he said for the last one he ‘drove a little more harder’ and it was good but concluded, ‘I need a little more corner speed’.  Behind Hara, Marc Fischer took his Capricorn to the seventh fastest time ahead of Yokomo’s Nicolas Lee who failed to better his Fp3.

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August 24, 2016

Xray set early pace in Beijing


Xray have set the early pace in practice at the 1:10 Electric Touring Car World Championships in Beijing, with Bruno Coelho topping the times for the first two practices from team-mate Alexander Hagberg.  With the opening practice the first time cars have ever run on the newly resurfaced Fengtai R/C Model Area asphalt track, it was Hagberg who took the initial bragging rights and with the laps time improving by 1-seconds in the second of the opening day’s six free practices, he again set the fastest lap but over three consecutive laps it was Coelho who was marginally quicker – 0.025 the difference.  Behind the Xray’s it was Yokomo’s Ronald Volker who completed the Top 3 followed by the Serpent of Viktor Wilck and Capricorn of Marc Fischer.  With the first of the cars hitting the sugar watered track at 08:30, all the competitors coming out to watch Heat 1, the overall reaction to the layout and early traction is proving very positive.


Having only arrived in China yesterday, getting down to work immediately with an interview for Chinese television at a new indoor track in the city, Coelho said ‘I think its a good start, not perfect but we’ll get there’.  Describing the track layout as ‘fun’, the Portuguese driver, who burst onto the electric touring car scene at the last World Championships 2-years ago where he became Vice Champion, was ‘impressed by the traction’ over the first two 5-minute runs.  In terms of his Hobbywing powered T4, the ETS Champion said, it is ‘missing a little traction and steering’ but added they will ‘work on it’ for the next one.


‘Finally I have traction compared to stupid 1:12 scale’ was Hagberg’s reaction after FP2,  the reigning European 1:12 Champion having a terrible run at the 1:12 Worlds earlier in the week.  Describing his touring car as ‘really good’, the Swede said they would ‘keep working to fine tune the set-up for qualifying’.  Commenting on the track, he said, ‘it is really nice’ adding, the layout is good, its flat and a good size’. A driver who has endured a tough 2016 season, losing his 200mm World title earlier in the month in Italy, Hagberg has the car’s designer Martin Hudy as his mechanic this weekend, Hudy opting not to race this Worlds but instead focus on team support and so far it appears to be working.


‘A good mix between being technical & fast, I like it’, was Volker’s reaction to the track.   3/10th off the Xray’s, the German said, ‘we are bit behind the Xray guys but so far so good’.  Saying he ‘didn’t expect the traction to be above medium’ he added, ‘and that’s what it is, so it’s quite as I expected’.  In terms of his LRP powered BD7, the reigning European Champion said, they will work on some small things to ‘try get a slightly better balance’.  Team-mate Nicolas Lee would be the next fastest Yokomo, the Singapore driver posting the 7th fastest time.


While he would do just little more than half of the second practice after he lost a wire from his motor, needing to fit a new one for FP3, Wilck said his 4X was ‘working pretty good’.  Completing the second practice on used tyres, this year’s World introducing an order for qualifying of when a driver must use new tyres or old tyres, the Swede said the ‘feeling is ok’.  Continuing, ‘it is a little loose’ he added ‘but the track should come in later’ making for conditions for the used tyres.  For Q3, he will ‘play around with shock oils’.


‘An ok start, I’m a little surprised actually’, was how Fischer summed his performance over the opening runs.  Running two cars each run, he said the car with the optional chassis was a ‘little better’ having ‘more overall grip’ than the car with the standard kit chassis.  The German said the cars also feature a different shock set-up and he will ‘just change small things’ for the next run.


The leading Tamiya, Christopher Krapp posted the sixth fastest time but the overall mood in the TRF pits is low.  Over 3/10th off Coelho on his best single lap, Krapp said, ‘the 1st one was pretty rough but for the second the feeling was ok’.  Declaring they have ‘some set-up issues’. he continued, ‘its a new track and need to see how we can go in the right direction with set-up’.  With ‘everyone trying something different’ for FP3, the German said afterwards they will get together and ‘brainstorm’ to come up with a set-up.


Reigning champion Naoto Matsukura, who could only manage the 40th fastest time, was brief with his summary of the first two practices saying ‘Not good.  No feeling, No steering’.  Tamiya team-mate Marc Rheinard would fare slightly better on the time sheets with P8 but described it as a ‘horrible start’.  The 3-time Champion added, ‘it feel like driving on ice. I have no grip at all.  We are pretty wrong with our set-up’.  Fellow World Champion Atsushi Hara, racing a Kyosho as a privateer, completed the Top 10.

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August 24, 2016

Track Focus – Fengtai R/C Model Area


Track Name – Fengtai R/C Model Area
Host –  Car Modelling Association of China
Country – China
Location – Beijing Fengtai
Direction – Anti-clockwise
Surface – Asphalt

Having successfully hosted the 1:12 World Championship indoors in the Fengtai Science, Technology and Sports building, the Touring Car Worlds moves outdoors to another part of the Fengtai Sports Center which centres around the 2008 Beijing Olympics Softball stadium.  They say first impressions last and on arriving at the track one cannot but be impressed.  Obviously putting some of their Olympic experience to good use on entering the facility you immediately get the feeling this is something a bit special.  Situated next to the offroad track that was built to host the 2013 1:8 Offroad FEMCA Championship, the unique aspect of the 9th running of the 1:10 Electric Touring Car World’s is that the surface and layout has never been driven on prior to the opening round of free practice.  Originally built in September of last year, the track got new asphalt last month in preparation for China’s first hosting of an IFMAR World Championship, it expected to host its second next year for 1:10 Offroad, and with no teams or drivers having run on it before it has added a extra element to this year’s title.

Arriving to a security check, where you pass through a scanner, you then enter the massively long pit area.  120-metres long and all glass down the right hand side about half way down is the door to the track and impressive driver stand structure which houses everything needed to run a World Championship event.  Such is its size that on the same floor as where the drivers stand for their races there is a press room on one side with race control mirroring it on the opposite side.  Two stairways up to the top floor keep the flow of drivers, officials and press flowing without disturbance to racers.  One nice touch of these and the 1:12 event is a drinks area just off the pit area for racers where they can get complimentary juices, tea, coffee and bottles of water.  For lunch, a huge marquee has been erected across the street with this also set to be used for Saturday night’s award ceremony.

In terms of the track, which is over looked by a 300 + seater grandstand, it covers an area 68-metre long by 38-metre deep.  Featuring 16 turns, the layout is defined by steel dividers with the infield painted blue. Commenting on the layout as he watched the first heats of practice, reigning World Champion Naoto Matsukura said, ‘It’s a good layout, I think I will like it’.  Designed by Lung Chuan Lee from Tawian, who has designed many tracks in China include the Fengtai R/C Model Area offroad track, Matsukura feels the layout maybe a little tight.  He also pointed out that the curbing is nice and low in some areas but quite high in others and with a straight edge on the inside of the higher ones he said if you go off you will be stuck inside the curbing.

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