November 8, 2022

Chassis Focus – Shoki Takahata

Chassis – Mugen MTX-7
Motor – OS Speed T1204
Fuel (handout) – Maxima
Tires (handout) – HotRace
Radio/Servos – Sanwa/Sanwa
Body – Xtreme CZ1

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November 8, 2022

Greiner is Top Seed in Thailand

Dominic Greiner is the top seed for qualifying at the 1:10 Nitro World Championship in Thailand. The Capricorn posting the fastest time of the day in the fourth & final round of seeding practice.  Ending yesterday’s controlled practice at the top of the time sheets, the German found himself only P9 as the seeding got underway this morning at the challenging RC Addict track.  Improving to fourth in the second round, he would make his mark on the second half of the day topping the remaining two rounds with his fastest 3-consecutive laps of the day in Round 2 giving him the tie-breaker over Tadahiko Sahashi.  Fastest in the opening two rounds, Sahashi lost his edge as the track traction came up, his best 3-laps on his final attempt being 6/10th off that of Greiner.  The most consistent driver of the day, Jilles Groskamp completed the day with the 3rd fastest time and that is where he is seeded for qualifying thanks to his second fastest times in the earlier three runs.  Posting P4 runs in the final two rounds, Mugen’s Shoki Takahata will carry the No.4 in the top heat while a strong final round for Dario Balestri lifted him from 11th to 5th in the final ranking.  An impressive performance from Milan Holthuis sees the young Dutch driver in the top heat as the 6th seed just ahead of reigning champion Naoto Matsukura.

Summing up his performance in the final practice, his closest rival Dario Balestri being 4/10ths off over the 3-laps,  Greiner said, ‘It was like yesterday’s last run, again the car had too little steering but it was still fast and super easy to drive’.  Having changed his car after the final controlled practice in search of more steering that resulted in a car with too much steering in the first seeding run of this morning.  Based on this experience, the former World Champion intends to leave the car unchanged saying, ‘this set-up is good for the first qualifier’.  With the focus now turning to 7-minute runs for qualifying, Greiner believes he has the consistency. With a fuel stop required, he added that choosing the right time to refuel so as to have a clear pit lane would be an important aspect of the qualifying.

Sahashi said for the final practice his car was ‘a little bit difficult’ to drive.  Describing the track as ‘high bit’, he said he had to ‘drive so careful not to flip’.  Finding the morning conditions suiting his car better, the former 1:8 World Champion is confident he will have a good car for Q1, three rounds of qualifying on the timetable for Day 1 of qualifying.

‘It was close with the other guys but my tyres came in later than the others.  I need to work on getting the (handout) tyres more broken in before the start’, said Groskamp about the final practice.  With drivers getting a 4-minute warm-up before the start of their qualifiers, he continued, ‘The pace is good and the car doesn’t flip.  I drove together with Dominic and we have the same speed.  The car and me are consistent, so let’s see what happens tomorrow’.

Being one of a number of drivers to flip off the track during the final seeding round, Takahata replied, ‘so, so’ when asked if he felt ready for qualifying.  The reigning 1:8 World Champion said his MTX-7 is ‘working good’ but admitted it was ‘also easy to flip’.  Feeling the track is the biggest and totally uncontrollable factor here in Bangkok he hopes to be able to use the experience he gained throughout practice to adapt the car to the conditions.

‘Finally and just in time’, was the reaction of a relieved looking Balestri after posting the second fastest time in the concluding round of practice.  He continued, ‘I tried everything and found something’.  Asked what was the biggest thing he improved on the car, he said it was having the right sway bar set-up for the conditions.  ‘The track changes every run. It is not easy to drive here as you are fighting the limits always. It is the most difficult conditions I have experienced’.

Having opened the day with an impressive P3 but then dropped well down the other in Rounds 2 & 3 before coming back with a P7 in the last one, Holthuis explained his mid day slump.  ‘In the second one a screw came out in the gearbox so I have no warm-up and in the third one I had an issue with the engine which is OK now.  The last one there was no problems so I was able to get another good run’.  Asked his approach for qualifying, he said, ‘Just drive steady because a lot of people flip, myself included, I flipped twice on the last one.  It is all about being consistent’.

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November 8, 2022

Chassis Focus – Dario Balestri

Chassis – Infinity IF15 prototype
Motor – MaxPower Quadrifoglio
Fuel (handout) – Maxima
Tires (handout) – HotRace
Radio/Servos – Sanwa/Savox
Body – Xtreme CZ1

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November 8, 2022

Greiner fastest in 3rd round of seeding

Dominic Greiner finally hit the top of the times sheets in seeding practice ending Tadahiko Sahashi’s run of fastest times in the first half of the day at the 1:10 Nitro World Championship.  Only P9 in the day’s opening round, the Capricorn driver improved to P4 in Round 2 before going fastest in Round 3.  Mister consistent in practice Jilles Groskamp was P2 for a third time with Sahashi, whose Round 1 time is still the fastest of the day, completing the Top 3.  Another of the leading contenders to struggle in the opening round, Shoki Takahata improved his Mugen to post the fourth fastest time.  For reigning World Champion Naoto Matsukura, the penultimate round was his best so far as he set the sixth fastest time behind team-mate Carmine Riola.  Top qualifier at the previous 1:10 and 1:8 World Championship, Dario Balestri has had a challenging day with the Italian having a best run of P8 in Round 2 leaving him currently sitting 11th which would see him seeded in the second fastest heat for qualifying.

‘For sure better’, was Greiner’s reaction to topping the third round. The 2016 Champion continued, ‘the 2nd run I definitely had a bad set of tyres but time it was good’.  Having changed his set after the opening run he said they went even further towards a set-up they ran yesterday but added they need to make one more change and that should give him a car that is ‘again drivable and fast’.  Needing to top the final practice and better Sahashi’s time to be the overall Top Seed for qualifying, he said, ‘the seeding is not important.  You only start first for Q1 so it does’t mean much. I have tried for years to change this so you start each qualifier in order of seeding but they don’t listen.  Anyway our focus is on getting the car right for qualifying’.

Groskamp said, ‘again second but it is still going ok’.  The former Electric Touring Car World Champion said he has just been making minor changes in anticipation for the track conditions and trying to get information together for tomorrow.  He continue ‘my car is fast and consistent so that is good’ but cautioned ‘Dominic found pace back again that one’.  Feeling he lost pace in the early part of his 3rd run he said ‘when I look at the lap times it was OK. I think there is variations in the shore of the tyres so this changes when the tyres work at their best but overall I can’t really complain with how it is going’.

Feeling he has improved his car in terms of getting a qualifying time from it as apposed to the fastest 3-consecutive laps Sahashi said trying to keep the car was flipping is his main focus.  The Japanese driver said track conditions are not high bit but the problem is caused when the rear of the car slides about and catches one the track many bumps and causing it to want to flip.  The former 1:8 World Champion plans to use the final practice to try another se-up change ahead of start of qualifying tomorrow.

Having started off the day with the same set-up as yesterday,  Takahata said he has had to make a number of changes to adapt his car to today’s track conditions.  Taking little steps in the changes he is making, he feels he is headed in the right direction.  Asked what his main issue is he replied he ‘needs more grip’.

Asked how his car is working, Matsukura replied, ‘it is too easy to drive so it is a little slow’.  While he feels this could help in putting in a good run over the 7-minute duration of the qualifiers he is hopeful he can make changes for the final seeding run that will make the car a little faster.  So far the Japanese driver has a P14 from Round 1 which he followed up with a P7 and P6.

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November 8, 2022

Sahashi tops first round of seeding practice

Tadahiko Sahashi has topped the first round of seeding practice at the IFMAR 1:10 Nitro World Championships in Bangkok.  The first of the day’s four seeding rounds threw up a number of surprises as the sun appeared for the final heat of the round leaving a number of the pre race favourites well down the order.  2013 1:8 World Champion Sahashi recorded the fastest 3-consecutive laps with a time of 46.351 seconds followed by his Infinity team-mates Jilles Groskamp and Milan Holthuis.  Shinnosuke Yokoyama added some variety to the top of the times using his Mugen to post fourth fastest ahead of Andy Moore.  For reigning Champion Naoto Matsukura a mistake cost him track time and he was only able to post the 14th fastest time just ahead of team-mate Dario Balestri.  Having been fastest at the end of controlled practice Dominic Greiner found himself only 9th quickest.

Summing up his performance as ‘safe drive’, Sahashi added he got ‘lucky as others had issues’.  Running the car unchanged from yesterday he said today he finds himself looking for more corner speed but cautioned it was a fine balance as too much could make the car easy to flip.

‘Not too bad’ was Groskamp’s reaction with him only 4/100th off his team-mate.  He continued, ‘the track for Group 6 was a little slower so earlier heats got some fast times but overall 2nd is a good start’.  The Dutch driver said the traction this morning was lower than other mornings and based on his experience of the previous days he went with a higher traction set-up but despite this his car was consistent’.

Fellow countryman Holthuis described the first run of the day as ‘really tricky’.  With all drivers now on the official handout tyres, the 19-year-old said his car ‘was sliding around a lot at the beginning’ with the tyres taking a long time to come in.  He explained, ‘the tyre wear is not zero but it is almost nothing’.  Overall pleased with his IF15, he will leave the car unchanged for the start of the second round but plans to adjust the car during the 7-minute run.

Yokoyama was very pleased with his ranking for the round.  The 30-year-old, who works for the iconic Japanese engine manufacturer OS, described his Mugen as being ‘really consistent’ but found himself with a little oversteer this morning.  Planning to change his rear wing for the next round to try cure the oversteer he added, ‘every heat the track conditions change so it is difficult to predict what changes will best suit the track at that time.

‘An OK start for sure’ was how Moore described his run.  With pre race testing ruling him out of IPD, he said based on his track experience and what he observed from watching the drivers in IPD he said what he though would work for controlled practice didn’t’ but today things were better.  Running a more conservative set-up today he said it was maybe not the right direction and he benefited from drivers running after him having a slower run.  The Thailand based British driver said he will ‘test a few things in the next one’ in the hope to improve his true pace.

Explaining his slow time, Matsukura said, ‘I made a mistake and broke a rear body post so I had to stop to fix this.  This cost me track time so my tyres where then too big to get a good time’.  Balestri said the sun made for two extremes on the track.  Where the sun was shining the car had no steering but then shaded areas the car wanted to flip.  The Italian added, ‘we keep trying’.

‘Horrible’ was Greiner’s response when as how his run had gone.  The Capricorn driver said he made an adjustment to his steering but the sun completely changed the track.  Flipping his car in the warm-up he badly chunked a rear tyre which he then had to complete the run.  Looking to the second seeding round the German plans to revert back to a set-up he ran yesterday describing it as a good compromise for the varying conditions.

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November 7, 2022

Greiner on top as free practice concludes at Nitro Worlds

Having waited four years for it to come around, it is go time at the 1:10 Nitro Touring Car World Championship in Thailand with Dominic Greiner at the top of the time sheets as controlled practice concludes at RC Addict.  After the 14-rounds of practice over the past 2 days, the Capricorn driver set the fastest 3-consecutive laps followed Infinity’s Jilles Groskamp.  Reigning Champion Naoto Matsukura completed the Top 3 just ahead of team-mate Jesse Davis while behind it was a trio of 1:8 World Champions.  2017 winner Dario Balestri posted the fourth fastest time from 2013 Champion Tadahiko Sahashi  with reigning 1:8 Champion Shoki Takahata completing the Top 6 before the go into four rounds of seeding practice tomorrow (Tuesday).

For Greiner this is his first ever visit to the famed Bangkok circuit and the German’s relationship with the track didn’t get off to the best of starts.  Able to avail of the two International Practice Day, the afternoon’s rise in traction resulted in him destroying a chassis each day as his car flew off the track and into the wall at the end of the main straight.  He said the track has a lot of bumps, which with the high grip can lead to traction rolls.  For controlled practice the reigning European Champion said his car has been ‘super good’ and not just over the 3-laps times as he said they did a number of 4-minute runs for which the car was ‘super consistent’.  In the last practice he said his car lacked steering but he knows why so it isn’t anything to be concerned about.  Describing the track and the conditions as ‘really special here’, he concluded, ‘the big thing here is to get the set-up right for the conditions of the track at the time you will be driving’.

A driver who tested prior the race and so was unable to do IPD, Groskamp said, ‘the track was completely different from when I tested and I struggled a lot the first day.  The track is so different now’.  Working on finding a new base set-up for the current conditions, the Dutch driver said he got the car to ‘a good consistent pace’ but added ‘it is not super fast’.  With all drivers reporting how much the track changes, the former Electric Touring Car World Champions added, ‘it goes from understeer to oversteer, from flipping to not flipping so I tried lot of things to see what to do for how the track is’.  Summing up practice he said, ‘Overall I’m happy and I’m confident’.

‘Every day, every time you go on track it is different’, was Matsukura’s response when asked to sum up practice.  Testing prior to the race he said conditions were very consistent then and now he is having to learn what to do with the set-up for the different times of the day for each run.  Currently overcast and cool by Thai standards, he said to drive, ‘it feels like you don’t have much traction but at the same time it is easy to flip’. Adding while it is ‘difficult to understand what way to set the car up’ he is ‘super happy to go racing’.

Top Qualifier in Miami in 2018, Balestri said he has been ‘testing a lot of different set-ups’ but believes this morning they found the best compromise’.  Describing the track conditions as ‘crazy difficult because it changes every time’, the Italian continued, ‘we don’t focus on speed but the balance of the car.  We had a lot of new parts so we have been trying to test everything and in the evening today the car was good’.

Carrying Mugen’s hopes of doing the nitro onroad double, Takahata said his main work has been on trying to avoid his car from flipping.  A 1:8 specialist, this is the Japanese drivers first 1:10 race in 3-years so he is also having to readjust to driving touring car admitting he prefers his 1:8 scale.  Running a number of prototype parts on the car he said overall it is very consistent even if the track conditions are not.

Currently heading the Serpent challenge is newly crowned ROAR National Champion Bryce Butterfield.  The America is in the Top 10 with his best 3-consecutive laps  and summed up things as going ‘pretty well’ with him ‘trying something new every run’.  While used to high traction he said here it is all in the front end, resulting in the car being twitchy to drive but it is something he has been able to working around.   Asked about the car he said it is different to what he uses back home with him having fitted the active rear end during practice to dial it into the track.  For fellow Serpent driver and winner of the World Championship the last time it was hosted by RC Addict, Meen Vejrak summed up his practice as being, ‘not so good’. The Thai driver said his car has too much year traction and as result no steering but trying to be positive said,’ I have 4 more practice runs to fix it’.

Tomorrow’s schedule is made up of four rounds of seeding practice that will determine the order for the heats in qualifying.