After two very busy days of racing, the opening round of the CETC presented by Infinity has come to an end. The Infinity team of Sobue and Matsukura has achieved the best possible result against some very tough competition taking a 1-2 in the modified class. Having sewn up the race win early, Sobue decided to stand and watch A3 from the drivers stand and cheer on his team mate and good friend Matsukura and the former World Champion didn’t disappoint with a blistering run to record the only 28 lap run of the entire event to finish up the event in Guangzhou in the best possible way. Serpent factory driver Viktor Wilck also had a great run in A3 taking 2nd place again and securing himself the final spot on the podium. Having almost collided earlier in the race, while running 2nd and 3rd, Yokomo team mates Naoki Akiyama and Nicolas Lee eventually touched just as the race passed halfway, the accident giving Wilck the chance to get by and dropping the Yokomo drivers to 3rd and 4th which meant Yokomo would miss out on the podium.
Finishing the event with the best 5 minute run Matsukura was very happy with his performance. ‘Perfect start’ was how the Japanese ace describe his pass on Yokomo protege Akiyama of the line at the start of A3 and once in front the Infinity driver did’t have anything to worry about anymore as he was able to show the full potential of the new chassis, which is planned for release this April. Summing up today’s action, in which he got faster every round, the Japanese driver said ‘today the traction is lower’ and this was ‘very good for me’. He also mentioned his new power system for this event from Hobbywing and Sunpadow saying ‘ESC/motor combo works perfectly, very linear, and the new battery also makes me very satisfied’.
‘More improvement’ said Viktor Wilck who was pleased with his Serpent 4X in the final A main. Summing up the whole race, he felt the opening CETC round was a ‘very competitive race’ and he, like all the competitors, were very impressed with the new AMA facility, summing up with ‘we learned a lot from our new parts this weekend’.
In the very competitive Sunpadow Stock class, Awesomatix driver Ding was a very different man today. In the finals he overtook poleman Ali Lee in both A1 and A2 to wrap up the win early while in the last final, when Ding decided to watch the race, Ali still failed to win, losing A3 by just 0.2 seconds to TRC track owner Siu Hung. With three 2nd place finishes in three finals, Ali secure himself the vice champion position while Siu Hung got the last podium position thanks to his A3 win.
The CETC presented by Infinity has crowned its first race winner this afternoon at the Amazing Indoor Arena. With great skill and a little luck, Infinity team driver Akio Sobue secured the overall win with 1 round of finals to spare. Just behind him team mate Naoto Matsukura made the fastest lap of the event with a strong performance and some last minute luck which gave Infinity the 1-2. Young Yokomo driver Naoki Akiyama has several chances to challenge Sobue this round, but a few minor mistakes as well as a big last lap crash meant he had to settle for 3rd. Akiyama’s team mate Nicolas Lee had another terrible first lap, finishing the race in 4th place again. Xray driver Gary Huang and Serpent driver Viktor Wilck took 5th and 6th respectively, while behind it was three Chinese drivers Li Jiawei, Hay Lai and Ivan Lo. Japanese champion Souta Goto broke his car and retired on the 19th lap.
‘I’m very happy’, said a smiley Sobue clearly pleased with taking the win early, ‘My car is super good’. He also wanted to say thank you to his team mate Naoto, who unintentionally righted his car which had flipped. Having rolled, his Infinity team mate who was just a corner behind crashed into Sobue’s car, putting it back on its wheels and leaving Naoto needing to be marshalled. Following the incident, which the team mates had a good laugh about afterwards, the Worlds finalist calmed himself down and was able to finish the race with ease. Talking about A3, Sobue said ‘I hope that Naoto wins’ and when asked about the brand new CETC series, the Japanese ace didn’t hide his appreciation saying ‘the race is great!’ with his plan being to compete in all rounds this season.
Making the fastest lap of the weekend with a 11.078, Infinity team driver Naoto Matsukura simply stated ‘Car too good’ and ‘with new tire is also amazing’. Although he has no chance to win, the former World Champion hopes he can help CETC title sponsor Infinity take the overall 1-2 with a good performance in A3.
‘Car so good’, said a frustrated Akiyama. Unfortunately, having showing real good pace this leg, Akiyama broke too late at the end of the straight and slid of the racing line at the end of back straight giving up 2nd place. The 17 year old simply said, “I feel sorry for my mechanic”, the Yokomo protege working alongside Yukijiro Umino this weekend.
Taking 4th place again, Yokomo driver Nicolas Lee blamed everything on another bad first lap, saying ‘I have been hit again’. Putting new tires on his Yokomo BD8 for this final the Singaporean said the feel of the car is ‘very good’, however the drivers in front of him didn’t really give him any chance to get close. Following his team mate Naoki who made his mistake on the last lap, the popular “Chinese” driver crossed the finish line just 0.3 seconds behind.
In the fun Serpent Formula class, which uses ORCA 21.5T handout motors, Stick King driving his ETS champion Serpent F110 chassis again won A2 with ease securing him the overall win with one round to spare.
The opening round of mains is complete at the 2017 CETC presented by Infinity and it was first blood to Akio Sobue, who took the first modified A-main. In an incident packed race the Japanese driver was able to cruise around and take the victory by 3 seconds over 2nd place finisher Viktor Wilck, who started 5th on the grid. The incident didn’t take long to materialise as a crash involving the 3rd, 4th and 5th placed starters dropped all of them to the back of the pack, Nicolas Lee putting in the best recovery drive to end the race 6th, less than a second behind Gary Huang in 5th. Naoki Akiyama’s bodyshell got tucked in the coming together and he regretfully decided to pull up to save the tires.
Benefitting from the retirement of his biggest rival on the first lap infinity driver Sobue took a very relaxed win. With the traction continuing to drop, this made the driving easier as the edginess from his car had been all but taken away. For the 2nd A-main the Japanese driver hopes to do it again and wrap up the overall victory early.
‘All drivers in front of me crashed, said Viktor Wilck who felt lucky as his car was ‘not aggressive enough this round. Planning to adjust his set-up ahead of A2, the Serpent factory driver hopes a more aggressive 4X, which features some new part, could bring him a better result.
Talking about his good result, Souta Goto gave all the credit to the accidents that befell those ahead of him. “I’m stable and slow”, was how the Japanese national champion summed up his first A-main performance. Similar to Wilck, the Yokomo driver plans further changes to his car to make it more competitive, the 16 year old looking to add 1 degree camber and make longer stroke shocks.
‘My car was loose on the first lap’, said Nicolas Lee, who thinks starting from the dirtier outside lane might have affected his tires a little. Adding, ‘I tried very hard to catch up’, but when the Singapore ace felt his car was getting better and better ‘Naoto hit me again’. With a deformed body he was still able to finish the race, but with a car that was down on performance he wasn’t able to capitalise on the problems for his main competitors. For A2, he is planning to use his last new set of tires.