Naoto Matsukura has made his intentions clear here in Thailand by topping the time sheets when it counted most, as qualifying for the 1:12 IFMAR World Championships got underway at the RCS in Bangkok. The 14-year-old Yokomo star driver is running an Associated, due to Yokomo’s Japanese distribution links with AE, and put in a 39 lap run in a time 08:02.244 which was some 8 seconds faster than second placed Juho Levanen who made it a 1-2 for the RC12R5. In the final practice Matsukura had run a 40 lapper but believes increased wind at the track made for a slower run time in the first heat.
Teemu Leino has surprised his rivals in Thailand by recording the fastest time in controlled practice as day one of the 1:12 scale World Championships comes to a close. The flying Finn is debuting Xray’s new XII and was the only driver to record 39 laps over 8 minutes with his closest rival being CRC driver Jilles Groskamp who just missed out on 39 laps recording 38 in a time of 8:00.644.
As mentioned previously on our news page as well as in our 1:12th scale introduction piece, Xray are the latest manufacturer to enter the market, with the XII. We were able to get up close and personal with the LRP X12 powered example belonging to Factory Xray driver Alexander Hagberg from Sweden. Already in it’s second version, following feedback from the team after a recent test at the RCS track, the car is in appearance at least very similar to other brands on the market. Chief designer Juraj Hudy, who has limited experience of the class, says that while the car may be similar in appearance to others out there, that is more a reflection of the state of development of the class which has seen chassis design developed to a point where extra performance can only be found in small refinements. Featuring a T-bar, which some believe would be more suited to a lower traction surface, as opposed to the trailing link design seen on the CRC and Associated cars, the cars debut later today will be closely watched by all racers and manufacturers present.
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So the stage is set for the 2008 IFMAR Electric Onroad World Championship here at the Radio Control Speedway in Bangkok, Thailand where there is great anticipation for what should be two thrilling World title battles. The first title up for grabs is 1:12th which kicks off tomorrow (Sunday) with free practice. One thing for certain is no matter what the outcome there will be a brand new champion of the world as defending Champion David Spashett has not made the trip to Asia to defend his title and although five times World Champion Masami Hirosaka is here, he will not race, opting to fully focus his attention on trying to lift his first ever 1:10 Touring Car title later in the week.
The JMRCA 1/8th scale Japanese On road Nationals took place last weekend in Keitune. Qualifying saw Mugen racer Keisuke Fukuda take pole position from Yasushi Takashi with Yuya Sahashi 3rd. The 45 minute final however saw problems for the pole man, who retired after 11 minutes giving Kyosho team driver Takaaki Shimo the lead which he extended to 1 lap over Yasushi Takashi by the end to take the title for the new M3.
Xray are to become the latest major competition RC manufacturer to enter the resurgent 1/12th market with the news that they will run a prototype of their all new XII at the 1/12 World Championships in Thailand which get underway tomorrow. Joining Serpent, who recently entered the market with the S120, the Slovak company will be out to impress on their debut in the category with the formidable line-up of Teemu Leino, Alexander Hagberg, Paul Lemieux and Martin Hudy all set to run the car at the RCS track. We will catch up with the XII’s designer Juraj Hudy later to bring you more on Xray’s latest creation.
This past weekend Bending Corners Raceway in Orange County, California played host to the Team Orion Invitational race which would use the Reedy Race type heads up format for the Invitational drivers. The race format used the drivers 4 best points out of the 5 rounds of racing allowing 1 round to be thrown out. Team Orion Factory Driver Josh Numan looked very fast in practice on Saturday laying down very impressive lap times especially considering it was the first time he would run LiPo power in his TC. On Sunday morning the races were set to get underway at 10:00am but unfortunately light rain showers in the morning delayed the start until 12:00pm. After all 5 rounds of racing were complete, it was Numan that took home the championship, with 3 wins and 1 second place finish for a total of 5 points, Steve Weiss took 2nd with 6 points and Lex Tyler rounded out the top 3 with 8 points.
The first Picco Cup Asia was held last weekend at the ACO track in Hong Kong with racing for both 1/10th & 1/8th on road. The event attracted over 170 drivers from all around Asia as well as 1/10th scale World Champion Daniele Ielasi, Alberto Picco and Patrick Schaefer from Europe. After 4 rounds of qualifying it was Meen Vejrak from Thailand that took the TQ in 1/10th scale, while in 1/8th scale it was Shepherd driver Ielasi that came out on top. After 45 minutes of intense final action Daniele took the win in 1/8th scale, finishing only 5 seconds ahead of fellow countryman Alberto Picco, with Team C driver Hung in 3rd. In 1/10th scale Meen Vejrak took his Xray to victory ahead of 2nd placed Serpent driver Ts Kai Leung, while the final podium step went to Hung Cheung Hang.