The CETC presented by Infinity finally made it to the first round of qualifying following earlier delays that forced it to be run under flood lights. With an incident filled opening round, Yokomo factory driver Nicholas Lee put in a very stable performance and had a brilliant finish to be able to come out on top in Q1, in front of the very strong Infinity team. Former World Champion Naoto Matsukura, who effectively lost out on the final lap by 0.198 seconds, had to settle for 2nd place for the round. The super fast Infinity driver Akio Sobue led the race early on but made a huge mistake as the race reached the halfway point dropping him to 4th place, but was able to recover to take third. In the 2nd last group, Awesomatix driver Rocket Zhang and Xpress driver Hay would end 4th and 5th overall in what was also an incident packed heat. ARC driver Patrick Chau ended 6th, followed by Hong Kong veteran Fai Ho.
As he predicted, Yokomo factory driver Nicholas Lee drove very stable for 5 minutes, enabling him to take the top spot, amazing everyone on how he judged the timing of the end of the race perfectly to pass the loop at full speed without trying to make the turn. Satisfied with his own driving for the round Lee thinks ‘the car is still a bit hard to drive’, but thinks it is still necessary to do some setup change before Q2. With the race being run at night Nicholas was a bit uncomfortable during his heat saying, ‘the facing flood lights were too bright’.
‘The car was so hard to drive’, said the Infinity driver, continuing ‘the first minute was really good but after two minutes it started to push and kept getting worse’. The night race also contributed to Matsukura’s two consecutive errors, dropping him out of the lead, saying ‘my body is yellow, as were the track dots making it hard to distinguish between them’. When asked about the last lap he said, ‘Nicholas charging at the line was very successful, and I thought I had one more lap to go’, dissapointed the Japanese driver is planning to once more run a set of new tires in the next one to try go for a better result in Q2.
‘The car was really good’, and with a good chance of being the only driver to achieve a 22 lap run, Sobue commented that ‘the flood lights are too strong’, this affecting his control of the car. Asked about his plan for the second run, the Infinity driver will maintain his setup but will opt to also run a set of new tires.
Right before the race Rocket Zhang decided to use a thicker shock oil, and was very happy with the performance of his Awesomatix A800X, saying ‘it oversteered in the first minute but then the car just kept getting better’. With an error when overtaking losing him 4 seconds, the Shanghai driver believes he needs to concentrate more on his driving. Having not yet decided on whether to use a new set of tires for Q2, because ‘I only have one set of new tires left’, he also pointed out that he is not used to racing in low light conditions, the 1/12th Chinese National Champion uncomfortable, saying ‘I’m really not used to this, so for my run I was trying to be super careful with my driving’.
點擊此處查看完整的比賽成績 | View the complete event results here.
The season finale of the 2017 CETC presented by Infinity is taking place this weekend at Twin RC Speedway in Hong Kong. With rain delaying the start of the action on Saturday for more than two and half hours, free practice was once again interrupted by some light rain lasting only a few minutes, however the track dried up quickly thanks to the high temperature and sunshine and so the race was able to continue soon after. After two rounds of controlled practice it was Infinity factory driver Akio Sobue who drew first blood. With tire strategy in mind the likeable Japanese driver only took part in the 2nd round of controlled practice and only ran 3 laps to set a 42.350, which was the fastest 3 consecutive laps to take the top spot in the ranking. Akio’s team mate Naoto Matsukura was just 0.26 seconds further back while Yokomo factory driver Nicholas Lee also played the tire conservation game by only running the first round of controlled practice and posting a 43.433, ending up in 3rd. New ARC signing Patrick Chau was 0.5 seconds behind in 4th and was the fastest local Hong Kong driver. Xray youngster Lau Ming Hao was a further 0.05 seconds back and ranked 5th ahead of the factory Serpent pairing of Stick King and Felix Law in 6th and 7th. Local Hong Kong youngsters Fong King and Lolo Sam impressed in 8th and 10th respectively, split by local veteran Fai Ho in 9th.
‘The car was really good’, said the very relaxed Infinity factory driver. Only running 3 laps, not only did Akio claim top seed, he also managed to conserve his tires in the best way possible saying ‘I tested a softer rear spring but it wasn’t too easy to drive’. Because of this the Japanese driver has decided to revert back to his setup from yesterday stating ‘I want to go all out’.
‘The track was loose’, said the former Touring car World Champion, continuing ‘the car was hard to drive’. On his out lap he lost the car, making contact with the tire track separators giving him a big scare. ‘The track demands a lot of driving skill and its not easy to find the right setup’, which is why he is relying on Infinity IF14 designer Fujiwara-san to work on his car’s setup. Asked for his plan for first qualifying he thinks ‘driving safe is the most important thing’ because ‘there is a lot of dots’, his target is to ‘try his best to follow Akio’.
Without attempting the 2nd round of controlled practice, Nicholas Lee’s controlled practice result is not a direct comparison with the times of the two Infinity drivers. ‘My five minutes pace will be better than my 3 laps’, the Yokomo factory driver appearing very confident. Not planning on any changes to his setup, the Singaporean ace believes the most important thing for the first round of qualifying is to make ‘no mistake’.
Admitting to being a bit surprised with his fourth place finish, Patrick Chau was using his setup from testing yesterday in the 2nd round of controlled practice, claiming to be very satisfied with the car’s performance during the run, saying ‘I will maintain the same setup for first round of qualifying’. Believing the temperature will drop significantly during qualifying, the ARC factory driver is believes he will perform even better.
With a significant jump forward in times in the 2nd round of controlled practice, Lao Ming Hao said ‘the car was pushing badly in the first one’. After adjusting the front rear suspension bracket and switching to a harder set of rear springs, the young Xray driver has jumped into the top 5. On trying to find a better setup he said ‘I’ve used new tires in both rounds of controlled practice’. Feeling he may suffer with his tires now, his strategy for qualifying will be to ‘aim safe’.
In the Sunpadow Stock class, Xpress driver Keith Chui did really well to become the top seed in this highly competitive group. The current Top 2 drivers in the Stock Series ranking Yan Cheung and Ding Fang Jie are yet to find their rhythm and currently only lie in 4th and 6th respectively. In the Serpent Formula class, Stick King is in a league of his own and will be ranked first for qualifying.
點擊此處查看完整的比賽成績 | View the complete event results here.