The first day of the opening round of the CETC presented by Infinity has just come to an end with the conclusion of the 2nd round of qualifying and it was Yokomo driver Naoki Akiyama who successfully hit back by taking Q2 with ease, the top heat seeing a lot of mistakes. After the young Japanese driver it was Serpent ace Viktor Wilck who took 2nd place, both drivers benefitting from consistent driving. Missing out on 27 laps by 0.07 seconds Viktor was just behind Akiyama by little over a second. Sitting in the lead for the first minute Akio Sobue could not hold his Infinity car on the driving line and although he made two serious mistakes the Japanese driver could still come back from 7th place to finish 3rd. Thinking himself ‘lucky’ Japanese National Champion got 4th place for the round, humbly stating that many people made a mistake, while Infinity driver Naoto Matsukura and Xpress driver Hay Lai again completed the top 6. Sitting in 2nd place for the first minute and half, Xray driver Gary Huang retired after 2 mistakes.
‘The result is really good’ but the Yokomo team driver still feels unsatisifed saying ‘my car still needs to be more competitive’. Although he won the round, the young up and comer still put his focus on rival Akio Sobue’s result, 0.13 seconds a lap slower over the average top 15 laps. For the final two rounds of qualifying tomorrow, the setting will still be handled by BD8 designer Yukijiro Umino, the Japanese set-up master simply saying ‘no worries’
‘If I knew I was so close to Naoki I would have pushed harder’, looking at the results sheet the top Serpent driver saying ‘I totally had a chance to win the round’. Retiring early in the first round, the Swede had to make a ‘safe run’ in Q2 but the mistakes of the other drivers in his heat gave Viktor a much better opportunity. Talking about tomorrow, he is thinking of reducing the rear toe-in to give the car more steering saying ‘I still need to discuss with David about more settings, the car has potential’
Akio was very calm about his results simply saying ‘its just my driving problem’. Still holding a very obvious advantage in lap times, the Infinity ace is very confident about his LRP powered Infinity chassis. The Japanese driver made two very serious mistakes but still recovered to take 3rd, making the fastest lap of the entire weekend so far, an 11.1, on the 19th lap of the run. Saying ‘the new car has real potential’ he added ‘the new chassis has really good balance, very easy to drive’. Tomorrow he plans a front roll centre change to get more steering and he will also just refresh his diff and shocks.
‘Many drivers made a mistake’ said the 16 year old Yokomo driver, ‘this improved my position. Satisified with his chassis, he only plans to change to softer shock oil for tomorrow and aving only used one set of tires today he will also go for a fresh set of Sweep handout tires for tomorrow.
‘The car obivously improved’ although taking 5th place again, the newly signed Hobbywing driver obviously in a better mood said ‘my car rolled and I lost 10 second but after that the car was really good’. Thinking about the reason the former WC smiled and said ‘maybe its because Akio prepared me a fresh set of shocks’. In addition to this change he also went to a wider suspension mount which made the rear of the car more stable. Looking to Sunday, he said ‘consistency is most important’
In the Sunpadow Stock class it was again Ali Lee who took the round but this time by a much smaller margin over Chinese driver Huang Yong Xiang and when you take into account the best 2 from 4 counting this result gives the Hong Kong driver a good chance to take the overall TQ. Only taking 8th place in Q1 Yong Xiang made a big improvement in Q2, only losing by 0.02 seconds to Ali. TRC track owner Xiu Hung also just 0.01 seconds further back in 3rd place. In the Serpent Formula class, using the F110 by Serpent, Stick King again won with ease, closing in on the overall class TQ
Infinity team driver Akio Sobue continued to stamp his authority on the opening round of the 2017 CETC presenting by Infinity, taking Q1 with ease. With his heat underway this Worlds finalist showed really pace putting in a very consistent run to finish 5 seconds ahead of young Yokomo driver Naoki Akiyama, to back up his pace from controlled practice. Akiyama and team mate Nicholas Lee got 2nd and 3rd for the round respectively with the pair separated by 0.7 seconds, the top 3 drivers all getting 27 laps. Although close to the Yokomo pairing during the middle of the run, two late mistakes dropped Gary Huang back to finish 4th, just missing 27 laps by 3 seconds. Just like Huang, former WC Naoto Matsukura had a number of mistakes which saw him finish the run 2 seconds back on the Chinese National Champion. Behind Matsukura was top Hong Kong driver Hay Lai, driving the all new Xpress chassis, with Xray driver Lao Minhao in the 2nd group completing the top 6.
‘Car is not bad’, Sobue said after looking at the result sheets, adding the new prototype wider chassis and hardened bulkheads is really helping to improve the car’s perfomance, ‘but the car is still a little bit hard to drive’. The new Infinity driver still believes his chassis has a tendancy to traction roll, saying ‘the car needs some more small tweaks’ but he hasn’t made any decision on what changes to make yet. For his LRP power system Sobue is really pleased its perfomance stating that it has ‘a lot of power and very smooth’. Thinking the traction is now a little lower the Japanese ace plans to re use the same set of Sweep tires in Q2 with the hope of ending the day with another TQ.
‘The car is a little bit hard to drive’ Akiyama said but ‘overall it is good’. The Yokomo protege added the short break before their first heat, due to a timing issue, might have affected the tire a little. For the next round his Mechanic Umino will not make any setup changes and he will also continue with the same tire.
Top Singaporean driver Nicolas Lee who ended the round 3rd stated ‘I’m very satisfied, this round my target was to make a safe run’. Asked about his Yokomo chassis, he just shook his head and said ‘I have no corner speed’. Planning to change to a harder spring for the next round he will discuss this and other setup changes with Umino, the BD8’s designer.
Gary Huang felt his car pushed more in this run, just like Akiyama he too thinks the delay caused by the timing issue also affected the tires. His mechanic Gavin Kowk said ‘we already applied the additive before the delay’. Thinking of changing to a different set of tires, which did 3 minutes in controlled practice, Gary plans to change to front top shock-ball spacer from 4mm to 2mm saying ‘I tested this setting yesterday, it could make the car more aggressive’ and with this change the National Champion believes he has the capability to get a better position in the 2nd round.
Matusukura simply stated ‘maximum traction roll’. Using a very similar setting as team mate Sobue, the 2014 World Champion is not really sure where the problem lies saying ‘I really need to think about it’, before falling into a really long silence. In the same heat Viktor Wilck was less than satisified with his perfomance, traction rolling out of a potential 3rd place before parking the car to save tires. Three laps after the Swede pulled up, Japanese National Champion Souta Goto broke a spur gear and also had to retire
In the Sunpdaow Pro Stock class Ali Lee took the first qualifier by 2 seconds followed by two more Hong Kong driver Keith Chui and TRC track owner Siu Hung. In the Serpent Formula class Stick King dominated, taking Q1 by a big margin ahead of the field
The opening round of the new for 2017 CETC presented by Infinity officially kicked off today at the Amazing Indoor Arena in Guangzhou, and it as Infinity team driver Aki Sobie who has dominated proceeedings in controlled practice to become the top seed for qualifying. The former National Champion is 0.066 faster thatn fellow Japanese driver Naoki Akiyama who has to settle for second. Xray driver Gary Huang who is running at his home track is running very well just 0.186 beind Akiyama, and behind the two time time Chinese National Champion it is Serpent ace Viktor Wilck and former World Champion Naoto Matsukura who take 4th and 5th respectively
Commenting on his LRP powered Infinity prototype, the former World Championship finalist said that the car is ‘ok but still has a tendecency to traction roll, but is still under my control’. Looking ahead to qualifying Sobue is full of confidence saying ‘my car wont fade a lot in the 5 minute run’ and so the Infinity team driver will not make any set-up changes but instead focus just on his driving. Noting that there is more traction today than previous days, while the lap times are faster it also means the driver needs to be more precise.
‘Perfect’ was how Akiyama described his BD8, which is being personally taken care of by World Champion mechanic Yukijiro Umino. For qualifying the young Japanese driver feels there is no need to change the setup and agreeing with Sobue he too feels with the temperature lower the traction is also higher which will make it more difficult to make a clean 5 minute run saying ‘I need to be very careful to avoid traction roll’. Asked about his approach going into qualifying he was stated he was eager to win the first round as this would take off some pressure for the rest of qualifying finishing up by sayiny ‘It will be very difficult to beat Akio as his consistency is super good’
Sitting in 3rd place after seeding, and racing at his home track, the National champion believes he will perform better in qualifying because the the top drivers are all pushing really hard saying ‘I have the feeling the foreign drivers will make a mistake’ and on this relatively small indoor track any mistake will be costly. Commenting on his two rounds of controlled practice he said ‘I feel my car suited the track conditions’ and in the second CP which he believes had more traction his Sunpadow powered Xray T4 2017 had ‘a little bit push’. Ahead of qualifing he plans to make a small change reducing rear toe-in to adapt to the changing track conditions.
‘In the second CP my car improved a little’ said Factory Serpent driver Viktor Wilck, who was the only top 5 driver to improve his time in the second controlled practice, his 2nd 3-consecutve laps improving by 0.3 seconds. The Worlds podium finisher is obviously not happy with the situation saying ‘I have some ideas on setting’, his Serpent 4X equipped with an all new dual vertical plate top deck and new Ackerman plate, and will discuss potential changes with the car’s designer David Ehrbar. Deciding to keep the car as is for Q1, he does not plan any change until Q2 as ‘its very important to have a safe run’
‘Traction Roll’ was how new Infinity team driver Naoto Matsukura described his run, believing this to be the main problem he is suffering with. The Japanese driver pointing at his Sweep handout tires saying ‘I’m going to put glue around the sidewall’, the former World Champion is otherwise satisfied with his chassis set-up.