Akio Sobue has taken the opening round of qualifying at the 1:12 World Championships in China. The CRC driver topped the first of the six scheduled qualifiers after a blistering fast run from Naoto Matsukura came undone in the final two minutes as the former champion ran out of tyres. The top seed for qualifying, Matsukura quickly pulled clear of his rivals building up an advantage of over 6-seconds, but with a lap time that was 3/10th faster than anyone else his pace took its toll on the Roche drivers tyres leading to a the first of a number of huge crashes coming off the main straight. With the crashes leading him to finish almost a lap down on Sobue in P8, it was reigning champion Marc Rheinard who would be closest to Sobue’s time with JJ Wang, who is running in the second fastest heat, completing the Top 3.
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