After a busy race day at the 2nd round of the CETC presented by Infinity, which due to rain saw the event shortened from a 2 day event to a single day event, the race was eventually able to come to a successful conclusion. Once again the Infinity duo proved to be a formidable team, successfully taking 1st and 2nd positions in the Infinity Modified class. With places switched between the team mates from the opening round at AMA, Akio Sobue was able to secure the runner up spot thanks to winning the final A-main. Points leader in the Arrowmax Chinese Modified ranking, Nicholas Lee could only take 2nd in the last final, giving him the final step of the podium. Fellow country man Dominic Quek would end the race in fourth place in front of Xray team mate JJ Wang who took fifth.
‘For this round the car was really good’, said Akio Sobue. Following Nicholas Lee closely from the start, the Infinity ace found his way passed at the 1 minute mark and once in front the Japanese driver went into cruise mode, helping his team secure the top two spots on the podium.
Yokomo driver Nicholas Lee was not fully satisfied with his 3rd place, saying ‘the track is changing from wet to dry and the grip level constantly changed’ the setting of the car needing to be constantly tweaked for the changing conditions. This situation is ‘really challenging’ for the drivers. Having attending the Reedy Race in the US last week, Lee came straight to Xiamen from California and as a result wasn’t feeling too well and this also affected his focus.
In the Sunpadow Stock class, the final A-main was very entertaining. TQ Yan Cheung and CETC Rd1 winner Ding Fang Jie took a win a piece in the first two A-mains and with the 3rd round setting up to be a showdown it did not disappoint. Right from the start Yan Cheung was leading the race while starting from 5th Ding fell to 8th. Quickly regrouping the Awesomatix driver started picking off those ahead of him and with only a minute and a half remaining he finally reached the Hong Kong driver in the lead. In the last 3 laps the two drivers had an intense battle with Ding trying to pass Yan the first time, but making contact he was forced to wait. One lap later the driver from Hangzhou had a door to door battle on the pit straight and worked his way passed but only 3 corners later Yan made a move resulting in contact causing a body tuck for the Awesomatix driver. While Cheung stopped to wait he didn’t wait for Ding to re pass and was subsequently given a penalty which gave another Hong Kong driver Ali Lee the win in this round. Ding Fang Jie took 2nd in A3 with this result giving him the overall win with Yan Cheung having to settle for 2nd with Ali Lee 3rd.
Multiple World Champion Naoto Matsukura dominated the 2nd round of mains to take the overall win in the Infinity sponsored Modified class at the ARC International Raceway. Team mate Akio Sobue once again made the jump on Nicholas Lee and took 2nd for the round. The Singaporean’s Yokomo BD8 still lacked the competitiveness in this run and was only just able to keep fellow countryman Dominic Quek behind, albeit some 1.5 seconds back. JJ Wang once again failed to have any luck, finishing back in 5th with Chinese Junior Champion Lao Min Hao in 6th. Behind the two Xray drivers in 7th was Xpress driver Chan Chau Man who started from the 9th position.
‘I’m very happy, this weekend our cars performed very well’, said a smiling Matsukura, obviously enjoying his victory, continuing ‘with new tires the car pushed a little, but after a minute it was all normal again’. The Infinity team driver managed to extend his lead by the end of the race, eventually winning by a 2.8 second margin. Talking about the track the multiple World Champion was very content with the track conditions saying ‘the track was great, the size is perfect and the layout was very good’. The Japanese ace liking this style of track and feeling it was one of the reasons he excelled at this race.
‘I had one mistake’, but the ‘new tires are really good’, the round 1 winner still felt his driving was lacking somewhat. For the final round Sobue will not make any changes to his IF14 and with Matsukura sitting out the last final he hopes he can take the round win to secure the runner up spot.
Nicholas Lee was not happy with his car saying ‘no steering, no grip’, despite changing his shock oil the Yokomo driver couldn’t feel much difference with his car. With only one run left, and the Singaporean effectively on pole position he only has to maintain his position on track to take 2nd overall.
‘I got hit at the start’, Xray youngster Dominic feeling his race was compromised from the beginning, continuing ‘I’m really happy to maintain fourth place’. Elsewhere in the Sunpadow Stock class, starting from 5th on the grid, the winner of the stock class in Guangzhou, Ding Fang Jie had a great race and was able to come through to take the win in this leg to set up an A3 showdown. Serpent ace Stick King wrapped up the 2nd Formula main in convincing style to maintain his winning streak having won the season opener back in March.
Infinity Factory driver Naoto Matsukura has successfully converted his pole position into victory, winning the first A-main of the Infinity Modified class here at CETC Rd2. Taking the lead on the 2nd lap, Yokomo ace Nicholas Lee went on to make mistakes on the 4th and 6th laps and had to settle for 3rd position in this leg while Matsukura’s Infinity team mate Akio Sobue finished the race in 2nd. Starting from 8th place Xray team driver JJ Wang had been locked in battle with Lao Min Hao, finally passing the future star on the last lap, giving him 4th for the round, with Xray’s Dominic Quek only 0.6 seconds behind team mate Lao in 6th. The two Awesomatix drivers Rocket Zhang and Michael Lo would finish the race in 7th and 8th.
Failing to pull out a gap at the start, a moment on the 2nd lap for Matsukura resulted in him going wide and while he tried to close the door Nicholas Lee was able to slip by. With a visibly faster car the ex World Champion took back the lead in only 2 laps and was able to maintain the position until the end. Happy with his IF14, Matsukura only plans to fit a new set of Sweep handout tires for the 2nd main.
Admitting, ‘I had one or two mistakes’ Sobue was still able to pass Nicholas Lee in a nice move that gave the Japanese driver 2nd. Winner of the previous round of the CETC at AMA, he believes his driving still has space to improve and like team mate Matsukura he too will just fit fresh tires for the 2nd main and simply focus on his driving.
With his car not on form, Nicholas felt ‘the car is sometimes loose and sometimes grippy’, which explained the Yokomo driver’s lack of competitiveness in this first main. For the next the Singaporean will try to find out the problem and will also consider using a new set of tires.
‘The car was great, but I got hit right at the start’, the Xray driver feeling he also ‘took too long to get passed Lao’, this time spent behind his team mate meaning he lost contact with Nicholas. When asked about the 2nd main, the Chinese American explained that he will consider changing shock springs, remove the centre chassis stiffener and switch to a new set of Sweep tires.