November 11, 2022

Chassis Focus – Naoto Matsukura

Chassis – Infinity IF15 prototype
Motor – OS T1204
Fuel (handout) – Maxima
Tires (handout) – HotRace
Radio/Servos – Futaba/Futuba
Body – Xtreme CZ1

Image Gallery

November 10, 2022

Video – Super Pole

Action from Super Pole at the 2022 IFMAR 1:10 Nitro World Championship covering the attempts of Tadahiko Sahashi, Dominic Greiner, Jilles Groskamp and Dario Balestri to set the fastest lap and book a spot directly in the A-Main.  Commentary from the one and only Scotty Ernst.

November 10, 2022

Balestri wins thrilling Super Pole shootout

Having taken the final qualifier but missed out on the overall TQ to Infinity team-mate Naoto Matsukura,  Dario Balestri pulled off a blistering lap to win a thrilling Super Pole shootout to book his place in the 1:10 Nitro Touring Car World Championship on Bangkok.  Following a 5-minute group Warm-up for 2nd through 5th place qualifiers, each driver was given their own 3-minute warm-up that would lead them into 6 attempts to set a single lap time and try to secure their place on the grid with defending Champion Matsukura.  Qualifying 5th, Tadahiko Sahashi would be the first to go with the former 1:8 World Champion deliver an impressive 14.9 second lap,  a time only seen once in qualifying and also set by the Japanese driver.  Next up it was Dominic Greiner but it was clear the 2016 Champion was struggling as he rolled a number of times during his warm-up.  Things didn’t improve for the timed laps and flipping again he would abort early.  Taking the stage next, onlookers cheering each driver as they took up position, Jilles Groskamp would set a new benchmark beating Sahashi’s already impressive time with just one challenger remaining.  Step up Balestri, but his warm-up suggested he wasn’t going to do it.  A flip would leave the rear wing hanging off his car forcing him to pit and loose valuable warm-up time.  Initially his timed laps posed no threat to Groskamp but then out of nowhere the Italian launched his car at the finish line riding the curbs to produce a 14.8 second lap that sent both him and the crowd crazy.  Top Qualifier of the previous running of these Championships,  he had booked his place in the final while the others will have to race through from the Semi Finals.

‘You know, this week I lost 10-years of my life’, was how Balestri reacted to his Super Pole win.  He continued, ‘In the 5-minute practice I flipped and broke the body and the tyre. We changed the body and then I flip again in the 3-minute warm-up and broke the wing. I don’t know how I find this lap.’  He added, ‘The set-up was not for these condition and I had to take away all the steering on the radio going down the straight’.  To win the Super Pole is a ‘huge relief’.

Groskamp said, ‘It was great to beat the time of Tadahiko and to lead until Dario turned up. He nailed it, so he deserves it’.  Top Qualifier of this Championship 14 years ago in Portugal and still a contender for the top spot,  he continued, ‘I’m happy at least I can fight for the Super Pole. I didn’t expect Dario to take the curb. I don’t know why I didn’t think to try this myself. It was an incredible time’.  Groskamp will now start his quest for a first nitro World title from pole in the Semi Finals.

‘Very exciting & very close’, was Sahashi’s reaction to Super Pole.  Top Qualifier in 2013 when he won his 1:8 World title then said, ‘I made a target time and when I got the 14.9 I though I had done enough to win Super Pole. It was super close’.

Having damaged his car in the final qualifier, Greiner said after fixing it for Super Pole it was ‘super good’ and ‘on rails’ in the 5-minute group warm-up.  The factory Capricorn driver continued, ‘the track changed for sure for my timed laps. I don’t know if the others changed their cars to suit the conditions after seeing my car’.

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November 10, 2022

Matsukura to defend World title as Top Qualifier

Naoto Matsukura is to defend his 1:10 Nitro Touring Car World title from pole position, the Infinity driver becoming Top Qualifier after his TQ time from Q3 gave him the tie breaker over team-mate Dario Balestri.  Three drivers went into the sixth & final qualifier vying to secure the pole position for the 9th running of the World Championship. With Balestri delivering an impressive performance his IF15 cornering on 2-wheels throughout the 7-minutes as Matsukura tried to match his pace.  While Matsukura couldn’t do so, unfortunately a slower track mean’t Balestri’s time was 1.2 seconds short of what he needed to repeat his 2018 TQ start.  The other contender for the top spot, Jilles Groskamp would get a P4 for the final effort behind Tadahiko Sahashi, a result that would count towards his third overall ranking.  Having TQ’d the second round of qualifying yesterday Dominic Greiner would flip in the warm-up, although not in contention for the overall TQ he damaged his car and had a DNF but overall ends up fourth so get so second chance to book a direct spot into Saturday’s 1-hour final with Super Pole.  Qualifying 5th in the final ranking ahead of the countryman Shoki Takahata, Sahashi is the final driver who will try to lay down the fastest lap later this evening in that Super Pole shoot out to try join Matsukura in the final.

‘I’m super happy and thanks to the boss Kenji and Miura for everything’, was Matsukura’s reaction to being confirmed Top Qualifier.  He said, ‘It was a safe drive because Dario was fast in the beginning I couldn’t catch him.  My car felt good so I drove with focus on the final.  Saturday I have no idea how the temperature or traction will be but I think we have a good car.  I have a practice session before the final so will see then what I need to do’.  Ask about strategy for the final, he said, ‘I think we change tyre one time.  Tyre wear is very low and I think 40 minutes no problem but the for last 20-minute you have big tyres and more risk to flip so I think just change at 30 minutes’.  He concluded, ‘For now I am looking forward to watching Super Pole’.

Commenting on his TQ run, Balestri said, ‘I tried my best but the track was not as fast as Naoto time yesterday evening but looking at how it was 36-hours before for me it’s OK’.  Having struggled early in the event with the challenging & very unique track conditions, the Italian has been finding his form today and asked about Super Pole he replied, ‘I just need one lap so I see what I can do’.

‘It was close again but I lost too much time in the beginning’, said Groskamp.  A former Top Qualifier of these championships, he explained, ‘I did a lot of adjustments to the car and engine in the warm-up so had less running on the tyres before start but after the fuel stop the car was good.  We made a lot of progress today so I am confident for the finals and of course Super Pole’.  Feeling he has a good set-up for the finals as his car comes in later than his rivals, he concluded, ‘I am happy for Naoto.  Congrats to him and the whole team’.

Having bent the chassis on his Capricorn following the impact with the boards after his flip, Greiner was busily working on his car to have it ready in time for Super Pole.

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November 10, 2022

Balestri TQs penultimate qualifier in Bangkok

Dario Balestri finally hit the top of the time sheets in qualifying at the 1:10 Nitro World Championships, the Infinity driver TQ’ing the penultimate qualifier to become the fourth different driver to do so.  Again various drivers took turns at setting the pace.  Naoto Matsukura was looking like he might secure the over TQ a round early, but having kept his car on four wheels to take the previous two rounds he could repeat that and needing to be marshalled he got a 5th for the round.  It was a similar story for the other two drivers to post TQ runs as both Jilles Groskamp and Dominic Greiner flipped, the latter still managed P2 while Groskamp ended up fourth behind Mugen’s Shoki Takahata.

Not overly joyed with his TQ run, Balestri said, ‘we made a small set-up change and maybe it was a little better to manage the flip’.  The 2017 1:8 World Champion continued, ‘It is still on the limit. It’s a lottery all the time, you never know what happens’.  A driver who has been in disbelief at how difficult the RC Addict have been to master, as one of only two remaining drivers who can deny Matsukura the overall TQ, the Top Qualifier of the previous 1:10 Worlds says he has every intention of trying to top the sixth and final qualifier to secure pole position for Saturday’s final.

Having found his Capricorn very difficult to drive in this morning’s third round, Greiner said, ‘the car was better now but the change we made gave me a little too much steering.  I flipped once coming on to the straight but I don’t know why there, but the speed (of the car) is better now’.   The German added that while the ‘TQ is no possible’, they will ‘change the set-up to make it (the car) more safe and I push maximum for a TQ run’.

After two bad qualifiers following his strong P3 in Q1, Takahata said he he went ‘safe’ for both of his runs today.  Sixth in the first one of the day, he backed that up with a third and now going into the final round his focus is on holding onto his P5 in the ranking so he gets to take part in this evening Super Pole suit – 2nd through 5th getting to go against the clock to join the Top Qualifier directly in the final.  Describing his car as ‘so so’, admitting that was not the worst place to have it given the difficult track conditions, he will try a change for Q6 in the hope it gives him a faster car.

Groskamp summed up his Q5 by saying, ‘I am still happy with 4th after flip.   I lost 4-seconds so without this I was close with Dario but you flip you lose’.  He went on, ‘I pushed a lot after flip pushed a lot after I flipped and I got the fastest lap which was nice’.  Looking to the last qualifier he said, ‘I can still TQ but it is going to be difficult to beat Naoto’s time from Q3.  It’s hard to be fast and consistent but I will try’.

Asked about his costly mistake, Matsukura said, ‘just a little too much steering’ was the cause of him traction rolling out of a TQ run that would have given him the overall TQ.  The reigning Champion how is confident for Q6, adding, ‘I still have change to TQ so it is all OK’.

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November 10, 2022

Day 2 of quali kicks off with another TQ run from Matsukura

Defending Champion Naoto Matsukura has become the first driver to register multiple TQ runs at the 1:10 Nitro Touring Car World Championship.  Day 2 of qualifying at RC Addict in Bangkok witnessed one of the more unusual causes for a delay in the timetable as works on trees running on the street forced the action to be halted halfway through the fourth round.  While outside the track, there was saw dust from the tree cutting and the large chunks of tree being craned away were very close to the track edge caused about an hour delay to proceedings.  With the section of track clean by the club when qualifying resumed each of the remaining heats was given an extra minute of warm-up time.  In the end it was Matsukura who picked up from where he left off in Q3 yesterday to top the times from Infinity team-mate Jilles Groskamp and Takaaki Shimo.  After posting a TQ run in Q2, Dominic Greiner would be on target for a second TQ at one stage until he flipped.  Dario Balestri suffered similar faith in the edgy track conditions.

‘I’m so happy to get another TQ, I just need one more’, was Matsukura’s reaction, his pace 2.2 seconds off his TQ time from yesterday.  He continued, ‘I expected higher traction but it was low, maybe after the tree cutting, but still the car was always close to flip. So I make a smooth driving’.  With Groskamp, Greiner, Balestri and Shoki Takahata the only remaining drivers who can potentially deny him starting his title defence from pole, the Japanese concluded, ‘no mistake is key to a good result here’.

A very upbeat Groskamp said, ‘I think that was good. I am happy I am more close to Naoto’.  The former Top Qualifier continued, ‘I was on the limit of flipping so to keep it on the ground was nice when you see Dario and Dominic both flipped’.  The Dutch drivers feels he can ‘fight for the TQ’ explaining, ‘I lost time in the pits and also with back markers.  I also need to make the car a tiny bit more easy to drive.  At the end of the straight you can gain time.  Now I am having to let the car roll through the corner too much but overall we found a better set-up now’.  He concluded, ‘2nd is good but I am more happy we got the car working again.

Posting his best qualifier so far, Shimo said, ‘the track was very difficult and it was very easy to flip but this was the same for many guys’.  The veteran nitro onroad racer added, ‘I need to drive very safe to get the result but now I am safe in the Semi Final so maybe I will take more risk in next one and push harder’.

Making a big jump up the ranking taking P4 for the round, Chavit Sligupta, said the performance was down to it being his ‘first time with no mistake’.  With RC Addict being his home track, the 27-year-old said, ‘the car is good but it needs more steering’ and so for the penultimate round of qualifying he will make a change to the front diff.  He concluded, ‘I need two more runs like this’.

Posting a much needed P5 for the round ahead of Takahata, Andy Moore, ‘I made more changes from yesterday to try calm the car down but on the driving side I was a bit nervous because I need the points’.  The former Electric Touring Car World Champion continued, ‘I didn’t push hard, in the warm-up the car felt more normal so I just tried to keep it on the track.  I know others crashed but I’ll take it’.  The British driver believes playing for the weights in his car for Q5 should help him to get the car more to his liking.

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