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.
On the final lap of the final round of qualifying, former World Champion Naoto Matsukura chose not to brake for the corner at the timing loop and in doing so managed to take the round by 0.033 seconds and with it take the overall TQ in the Infinity Modified class. This move meant Nicholas Lee had to accept 2nd spot on the grid. Behind the Yokomo driver, Infinity star Akio Sobue bounced back from a bad first round to claim 3rd place for the round only 0.55 behind the Singaporean. Third place in the first round Dominic Quek was off form in the 2nd round but due to his result from the first round will start in fourth place in the finals. Xray driver Lao Min Hao and Awesomatix drivers Rocket Zhang and Michael Lo complete the top 7 with Factory Xray driver JJ Wang, Xpress driver Chan Chau Man and Hong Kong driver Bun finishing off the A-main grid.
‘The car was great and the track is drying up’, Infinity driver Matsukura believes the 2nd round conditions played into his favour. Asked regarding the last lap dash to the line he said ‘I knew I was really close to Nicholas’ and chose to gamble. Regarding the upcoming finals the Japanese ace hopes he can take full advantage of his pole position with the track drying up plans to change to a harder diff.
Very happy with his BD8, Nicholas Lee said ‘the car was really nice’, the Yokomo driver pleased with his pace and feels he only lost out on the TQ to Matsukura due to his unorthodox tactics at the finish line. For the triple mains, the winner of the Sunpadow Guankou GP held here last November, is not going to change any settings on his car.
‘I had five or six little mistakes’, Akio Sobue not very happy with his performance in the final qualifier. Regarding the track conditions, the Infinity driver said ‘some part of the track is already dry but there are still wet patches’ and so for the final the current series points leader is not going to change anything on his car and instead focus on his driving.
‘The car was suddenly really hard to drive’, without changing anything on his car Quek was puzzled by the poor performance of his Xray T4 2017. However the good result from the opening qualifier still means he will start 4th on the grid. For his finals Dominic said ‘I will revert to my previous ESC setting’, the drying track requiring more power. In the Sunpadow Stock class Yan Chueng dominated the 2nd round resulting in him taking the top starting position for the finals. For the Serpent Formula class Stick King once again took the TQ spot.
Round 2 of the CETC presented by Infinity finally got underway this morning under slightly damp but drying conditions, after day 1 was rained off. Nicholas Lee took the top spot in Q1 under light rain which had started to fall again in the 2nd last heat making the already tricky conditions even more difficult. Infinity factory driver Naoto Matsukura who initially lead the heat made too many little errors which saw him drop down to 2nd place, while Dominic Quek from Singapore was the best of the rest taking 3rd place. Fourth place went to another Xray driver Lao Min Hao from Guangzhou, followed by Michael Lo and Chan Chau Man both from Hong Kong. Awesomatix driver Rocket Zhang saw himself a further 0.2 seconds behind and ranked 7th for this round.
Current leader in the Arrowmax Chinese ranking, Nicholas Lee simply said ‘It was very slippery’. ‘The rain was heavier compared to the group before’, the Yokomo driver continued, believing the conditions for the last group were not that good. He continued ‘All I can do is try to not make any mistake’. Regarding setup, the Singaporean used a softer diff and for the next round of qualifying doesn’t plan to make any changes.
‘Maximum no traction’ said Matsukura, the runner up from the previous round in Guangzhou was another driver struggling with the difficult track conditions, but ‘the car was still really good and I got the fastest lap for the round’. Having led the heat briefly the former World Champion will change to a softer diff for the next round and go all out for the TQ honours, the reduced schedule meaning only 1 round from the 2 will count towards the driver’s final starting position.
Making his welcome debut at the CETC, Xray driver Dominic Quek from Singapore humbly said his good result was down to ‘luck’. He believes the ‘rain allowed me to have a better result’ and despite not having any experience racing on a damp track the result shows otherwise. ‘My setting was exactly the same as we used in the practice the day before and I only lowered the punch setting on my ESC’
Winner of the Protoform/Sunpadow Rising Star award at the season opener, Lao Min Hao was happy with his 4th position in the opening round of qualifying. Running in the 2nd last group he made the most of the slightly better track conditions and although he didn’t have a special setup for the damp conditions, the Guangzhou Xray driver changed to a slightly smaller rotor in his motor and applied more drag brake to his LRP ESC. In the Sunpadow Stock class, Rex Chan topped the first round followed closely by Keith Chui and Jacky Lau, while in the Serpent Formula class Stick King reversed his poor form in controlled practice, saving some face by taking the first round.
Due to the constant rain all day today, the organisers of the CETC presented by Infinity have been forced to cancel day 1 of the 2nd round of the Championship in Xiamen. Forced to move all the action to Sunday, the new schedule will comprise of 1 controlled practice, 2 qualifying rounds (best single qualifier) and, if the weather permits, 3 finals for everyone.