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.
The fourth and final round of qualifying saw Akio Sobue successfully take the first CETC overall TQ honour in the Infinity Modified class, the Worlds Finalist quickly setting off from the grid and never looking back. Right behind him Naoki Akiyama crossed the finish line 1.4 seconds later to take 2nd place for the round and secure 2nd overall on the grid. Newly signed Sunpadow driver Naoto Matsukura showed good pace again with only one mistake, the Japanese driver took 3rd place this round and with 1 point less than Akiyama will start 3rd overall. ‘Using old tires’ Nicolas Lee wasn’t competitive and could only take 5th for the round and 4th overall while Viktor Wilck’s quest for the TQ was over after retiring following a traction roll and so he would claim 5th on the grid for the triple A-mains.
‘A safe run’, as expected Infinity driver Sobue took overall TQ with a consistent drive. Saying ‘the car is good’ Akio doesn’t plan to make any setup changes for the finals while regarding final strategy the pole sitter plans to ‘be aggressive in the first minute’ and after go into ‘safe mode’.
Naoki took 2nd place again, the Yokomo driver felt ‘satisfied’ with the chassis. Using new tires in this round, Akiyama added ‘I need to be faster’. Set to start just behind Sobue on the grid, the 17 year old driver thinks the car is good enough, with the key point being ‘I need better driving’.
Although taking 3rd place in the this round Infinity driver Naoto Matsukura feels satisfied with the result saying ‘the car has no problem’. Talking about the mistake on the 4th lap at the chicane just after the back straight, the Japanese driver said, ‘its all my driving problem’. Using a little harder rear diff, thinks the car is more aggressive now. For the finals he plans to use an even harder diff to get a better result saying ’I feel good, I can drive good today’.
‘Tires too old’ Nicolas Lee explained this as the reason as to why he was not fast enough in the last qualifier. ‘I will use new tires in the finals’ and regarding his strategy he also said ‘I will push the car in front really hard and hope for something to happen’.
The CETC presented by Infinity continued its 2nd day action at the AMA track in Guangzhou, with former world champion Naoto Matsukura putting in a great performance in Q3 to becomes the 3rd different single round TQ of the opening race of the CETC. A result which leaves the overall TQ wide open for the fourth and final round of qualifying 5 drivers are still in contention to be top qualifier. With an obvious lap time advantage Akio Sobue flipped his car but was able to recover to take 3rd for the round. Singaporean driver Nicolas Lee split the Infinity drivers, taking 2nd place with a very solid run. With two very obvious mistakes Viktor Wilck and National Champion Gary Huang finished the round in 4th and 5th place respectively. TQ of Q2 Akiyma had a lack of pace in this round and ended up in 6th place.
Infinity driver Naoto Matsukura totally changed his performance compared to yesterday and took Q3 with consistency and was the only driver who made 27 laps for the round. Commenting on this very obvious change, newly signed Sunpadow driver, who joined the Chinese brand’s factory team last night, pointed as his brand new battery and said ‘new battery give me a very good feeling’. A relatively heavier battery made his car more balanced and so it was more comfortable turning through right hand corners. Changing to a softer rear diff and also adjusting his Hobbywing ESC to be less aggressive all this effort gave the infinity driver a smoother car.
‘Not enough steering’ said Nicholas Lee, despite getting his best result the Yokomo driver still felt his car could be better. Thinking of using a softer rear diff for the final round of qualifying, the Singaporean driver mentioned that the much lower traction in the morning affected many drivers.
Falling into the awkward position of having to charge through the field again, Akio was still satisfied with his chassis. A coming together with Naoki Akiyama, the Infinity driver flipped over and lost 6 seconds, falling out of the lead down to 8th in the heat but a very competitive car helped him put in fast and consistent lap times he was finally able to recover to 3rd position. ‘Today’s track is not easy to have traction roll, so the car is easier to drive’, talking about the very important last round of qualifying the Japanese ace is confident and said ‘I just need a safe run’.
‘The car is a little loose’, Serpent team driver Viktor Wilck feels today’s lower traction conflicted with his setup change saying ‘I changed my rear toe-in but compared to the traction today it may be too little now’. Planning to revert to yesterday’s setting, the Swede is prepared to go all out for the TQ in Q4.
National Champion Gary Huang said ‘the drivers using aluminium chassis this round are less competitive’. Talking about final qualifier, the Xray driver doesn’t want to make any setup changes to the car instead preferring to wait for the traction to come up.
In the Sunpadow Stock class Ali Lee too Q3 to wrap up overall TQ for the class while Awesomatix driver Ding saw a big improvement today to take 2nd place for the round. By using the ORCA CETC control motor and fixed ratio of 5.0, the top 5 drivers are split by a mere 5 seconds. In the Serpent Formula class Stick King continued his dominance of the class to also secure overall TQ.