CIC ROUND 2

ITALIAN MANUFACTURERS CHAMPIONSHIP CIC ROUND 2

MINIAUTODROMO 5 COLLI GUBBIO 16-18 JUNE 2017

In the last weekend the second round of the Italian Manufacturer’s Championship took place in the beautiful Gubbio track already venue of last year 1/10 WC. After the Infinity 1-2 in the first round where Dario Balestri took the win and Alberto Picco finished second, our team attended the season finale with Carmine Raiola and Francesco Tironi backing the championship leader. Since the early practice it was Carmine to look the most comfortable on the track, and his Infinity dominated both friday’s and Saturday’s practice followed close by Dario and Francesco. The first round of qualifying went to Dario, but it was Carmine who completed Infinity’s full sweep of the four rounds taking Q2, Q3 and Q4 earning the overall TQ and the pole position for Sunday’s A-Main.
The A-Main saw Carmine start well and lead the race from tone to tone, despite the early pressing from Mazzeo. Behind him Balestri would complete another amazing race despite a bad starting position, with Francesco Tironi rounding up an all-Infinity podium!

Thanks to the wins of Balestri and Raiola, che championship taking into account the best manufacturer’s result in both races,  Team Infinity has also been crowned Italian Champion chassis. Another trophy for this amazing 2017… Thank you guys!

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ETS ROUND 5

ETS ROUND 5

JUNE 16-18 TRENCIN, SLOVAKIA

The Euro Touring Series travelled to Slovakia for its fifth round and while it is officially the Summer in Europe that memo appears to have never reached those in change of the weather over the city. After claiming the first international title for Infinity with his win at the Reedy Race of Champions followed by a sun holiday, Marc was in confident form despite the Hudy Arena being extra challenging given whose home track it is. Fresh from taking his first win with the team when he led a 1-2 ahead of Akio at the second round of the CETC in Xiamen the previous weekend, Naoto was also upbeat about the chances of a good result at the ETS.

After a day of testing on Wednesday in Vienna while en route to Trencin, Thursday’s free practice at the Hudy Arena would be run in sunny conditions.  With 6 runs over the day, it was Marc who set the pace ahead of Bruno Coelho while Naoto completed the Top 3. With Akio in 6th it was a very encouraging start to the weekend. Going to bed having basked in the sun all day, the team would wake to a very wet morning and a day that would test their patience. Waiting for the track to dry, it taking two attempts as further rain fell, once dry enough drivers would finally get back on track with a 3-minute practice run to get the track back up to speed so qualifying could finally get underway. Getting 9 heats in the 27 of the first qualifier, the rain returned and while a second attempt was made to dry it, the track wouldn’t be suitable to race on and time was called on the day.

Saturday morning would be a repeat of the previous day with drivers having to play the waiting game once more as they arrived to a wet track but eventually qualifying would get underway. Naoto was right on it putting in an impressive run to set the second fastest time. While feeling his car was not as dialled in for the cooler conditions as it had been on Thursday, Marc, even with a mistake, was fourth fastest with Akio 10th. With the worldwide gathering of drivers happy to have finally got some meaningful driving in the books, just as the second round of qualifying started the rain was back and ultimately the day was done.

With Sunday’s weather showing dry conditions from first light, the organisers decided to get in a second round of qualifying ahead of the finals meaning an extra early start for the team. Marc would improve on Q1 with the 3rd fastest time for the round but would remain 4th on the grid. Akio also improved with the 6th fastest time for Q2 to move up to 8th on the grid, each driver’s best points finish of the two rounds determining the starting order. Having made a change to his set-up for Q2, Naoto had a difficult second qualifier but his Q1 result would give him 3rd on the grid - his best ever ETS qualifying result.

For the first of the triple finals Naoto would revert back to his Q1 set-up and come good on his starting position to find a way passed the No.2 starting Alexander Hagberg. Delighted with his 2nd and the performance of his IF14, Naoto was also a little frustrated at having been stuck behind Alexander for so long as he didn't get the opportunity to challenge Top Qualifier Bruno Coelho. Unfortunately for Marc, suffering a spin on the curbing he would be collected by Akio putting him out on the spot while thankfully Akio could continue to get 6th. A2 was looking like a similar race with Naoto piling the pressure on Alexander but with a minute to go they touched with Naoto fairing worst and dropping two places. Leaving Marc to take up the Infinity challenge, he would finish 3rd with Naoto 5th and Akio 7th.

With newly re-crowned ETS Champion Bruno able to sit out the concluding final having wrapped up the overall win in A2, it was all to play for in terms of the other podium positions. Again Naoto would run all over the rear wing of Alexander but he managed to keep the door shut for the 5-minutes. 2nd in A3 would secure Naoto 3rd overall, his first ever ETS podium finish. Delighted to be on the podium, he was quick to attribute this confidence boosting result to the input of IF14 designer & his mechanic Kotonori Fujiwara. Marc would end up fourth overall with Akio improving on his starting position to finish 7th. While mentally a challenging weekend for the drivers due to the rain delays, it was another great effort from our EP team. Rejuvenated by his performance, the season finale of the ETS cannot come quick enough for Naoto. He will use the 6-week gap before the championship makes its first visit to Ettlingen in Germany to test & build on his new found confidence within the team and with the IF14.

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CETC ROUND 2

CETC ROUND 2

JUNE 3-4 XIAMEN, CHINA

The second round of the CETC (Chinese Electric Touring Car Championship) took place at ARC International Raceway in Xiamen with Akio Sobue and Naoto Matsukura flying the flag for Infinity & the IF14. With our EP team claiming a 1-2 at the opening round of the newly created championship back in March at the indoor AMA track in Guangzhou, the first outdoor race would bring with it a new challenge - the weather!  

The same venue that will host the 1:10 Offroad World Championships later this year, unfortunately Day 1 would be rained off. Forcing the event to be condensed into a single day, the new scheduled would leave room for just 2 rounds of qualifying with one to count. No pressure then! A damp start to proceedings, Naoto would initially set the pace in Q1 but as light rain began falling towards the end of the round the increasingly difficult conditions led to a number of mistakes dropping him to P2. While not the ideal result given there was only two qualifiers, having set the fastest lap Naoto knew the pace was their for improvement in Q2.

Running on a very similar pace to Q1 TQ Nicolas Lee in the second round, Naoto knew it was going to be a close finish and with the track drying this was going to be the round that counted. Taking a gamble on the last lap, he would launch his car across the finishing loop rather than braking. The gamble paid off. By just 0.033 of a second Naoto was the overall Top Qualifier. Having had a bad opening qualifier, Akio would also have a better Q2 to secure 3rd on the grid for the triple A-Mains, his time less than 6/10ths of a second off his team-mate’s TQ run.

In the first of the finals, Naoto would temporarily give up his lead to Nicholas Lee but managed to take it back from the Singapore driver to successfully covert his No.1 starting position into the No.1 finishing position. Behind, Akio would move up a place to follow him home in second place. On to A2 and after a not so perfect opening encounter Naoto put in a dominant drive to lead tone to tone for a 2.8-second win that would secure him his first overall race victory as an Infinity driver.

Winner of the opening round of the championship, Akio would go on to end the event with a win to make it an another Infinity 1-2 at the CETC, the result the reverse of how the season started. The result means Naoto & Akio now share the lead in the points standings as the CETC returns indoors when RCI V2 in Shanghai hosts Round 3 on July 22-23.

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2017 REEDY RACE OF CHAMPIONS

2017 REEDY RACE OF CHAMPIONS

MAY 25-28 TAMIYA RACEWAY, CALIFORNIA, USA

One of the World’s most legendary races both for Electric Touring Car and Electric Offroad, 2017 marked the 20th running of the Reedy International Touring Car Race of Champions.  Taking place at the historic Tamiya Raceway in Aliso Viejo, California, this would be the first time Infinity participated in this unique heads up racing format and what a weekend it was to turn out to be.

Marc Rheinard, Akio Sobue, Naoto Matsukura and Thomas Pumpler represented the team as part of the 24 invited drivers completing for the coveted Reedy Race trophy over 12 rounds and 3 days of racing. The fourth consecutive year the race has been held at Tamiya Raceway since returning to what is widely recognised as the spiritual home of the race created by industry pioneer Mike Reedy, the 2017 entry was one of the most competitive this decade setting the stage for tough competitive racing.

With the team all happy with their IF14s after Thursday's four rounds of free practice, Marc and Naoto would kick off the event in the best way possible as they claimed a 1-2 in the first of the 36 point scoring heats.  With 1 point for a win down to 8 for 8th position, each heat having 8 starters, drivers could only drop 2 of the 12 rounds.  As a result every position made in a heat was crucial come Sunday evening when the final point were tallied up.  For Akio he also kicked off the event in the best way possible winning his opening encounter.  Round 2 would see another win for Marc but in his third race he met with the track's infamous kink.  With every Reedy Race competitor having an encounter with 'the kink' but gaining more respect for the dream crusher with each year they race at the small track, this would be Marc’s one & only blot on his copy book for the weekend.  While Marc had a retirement after his short flight following the run in with the kink, Akio would double up on his winning tally. On target for a third win in his final Race of Day 1, with Marc on his rear bumper Akio would roll through the final corner handing Marc the win but P2 left him sharing the Day 1 overnight points lead with Meen Vejrak.

Day 2’s action started with a P3 for Marc however Akio had a coming together with Viktor Wilck in the kink, with Wilck taking the win as Akio dropped to fifth.  For Naoto he would again start his day with a second place, Day 1 having been unlucky for him with an 8th in Round 2 and 7th in Round 4.  Over the rest of the day Marc would register two more wins, and a P2 from last on the grid.  All this put him as the overnight leader going into the final day.  Unfortunately for Akio it was to be a rough day at the office as got a 5th and a 6th, these ending up being his two throw out rounds in the final ranking.

With a great air of anticipation in the team on Sunday morning, Marc needed to get through his final four races with solid results as opposed to wins.  Going for the lead in Round 9 he made slight contact with leader Ralph Burch and dropped to the back as he waited for Ralph to retake position.  A great recovery drive would see him get back up to 3rd with Akio achieving the same result in his heat.  With front row starts for his next two encounters, Marc converted his No.1 starting position into 1 point in Round 10 and now a sixth Reedy Race title was within arms reach, but as its the Reedy Race, Marc was not accepting it was job done just yet.

With a break of almost 2 hours between races and with all the drivers fuelled up from lunch, the amazing moment finally arrived in the penultimate round of heats as Marc registered his 7th win of the weekend to wrap up the 2017 Reedy Race title early.  An unbelievable achievement, Marc is now a record six time winner having surpassed Barry Baker as the most celebrated champion in 2015.  Afterwards, Marc admitted this one was extra special because he did it with a brand new team.  The win marks the first international race title for our first touring car creation, the IF14, and to cap off the ultimate weekend Akio points combined with Marc’s meant we were crowned Reedy Race Manufacturer Champions.  What a day for the Infinity history books.  With our EP project and team just 3-months old we couldn’t be more proud of this achievement and look forward to building on the great vibe that has already been created within the team.  Thanks to everyone for their contribution in getting us this far already.

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WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WARM-UP

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WARM-UP

26-27-28 MAY AMAC CLUB MONTEUX (FR)

Last weekend the AMAC club hosted one of the most important race of 2017 season at Circuit Nougier in the Provence area south of France; the track layout is simply amazing very different to most of the track where, actually, we are used to race in Europe. Fresh resurfaced few weeks ago, the biggest characteristic of the track is the continuous work on the throttle and steering that all drivers need to do to correctly perform: lot of banking corners with a big sweeper in the back lay downed on little hill… Seems like that you’re driving in a “shaker” and if you’re looking for a straight you can easy forget it… No pause at all in 16 sec lap!!!

The rest of the venue need to be fixed; honestly we could consider it a bit “poor” to held here the most important race of the world… basically we are far from the standard drivers are used during a World Championship; I believe that, during these days, organisers collect a lot of feedback on where they need to improve, on the track and mostly outside the track. I hope they can succeed to realize all the changing required because the layout deserve this race.

Entries were few probably due to the IPD rule that IFMAR start couple of years ago; only 40 drivers with Lamberto, Alberto, Pietsch, Bertin and Ermen  as top drivers. Weather was very good from wednesday to monday with 28-30 degrees as average and points of 32-33 degrees in first hours afternoon…

Format of the race was only with 4 rounds 10 min qualifying, 30 mins semi and 1 hour final. Four drivers attended with Infinity platform: Simon Begoin from France, Bilal Suliman from Reunion Island with Alberto and Lamberto heading the team. Practice was good but in first qualifying round many problems dropped our fastest drivers far from the pace; in second leg things starts getting better with 2-3 position and in the third heat Lamberto took a TQ run… In the last round Pietsch was again the fastest securing the pole position with Collari 2nd and Picco 4th fitted in the “SuperPole challenge” for last spot to entry in the Amain directly with John and Adrien. Was Lamberto the fastest in the 6 laps format with a 16,58 sec that in hot conditions could be considered quite good.

Quarter finals put the end at Simon and Bilal race but both were happy of the performance of the car; Alberto made his pace to safely secure a bump up in the main where he starts with number 4. In the Amain Robert, Lamberto and Alberto pulled away from the field and with an early flame out for Pietsch, is the “Infinity team mate battle” that attract the attention of the people trackside: Collari and Picco swapped the lead many times due to different strategies in the pits but on the track oftenly happens that they were really close each other for the excitement of the audience. One tire change for Lamberto and 2 tire change for Alberto: final race result cannot be forecasted but at 40 minute Collari’s engine went rich and run out fuel close to transponder line… It happens again few minutes later allowing Picco to cruise with a comfortable lead until the end taking his first win with the new colours… Well done Albi!!!!

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2017 ENS ROUND 1

2017 ENS ROUND 1

MAY 19-21 MULHOUSE, FRANCE

Europe’s Onroad nitro season kicked off in earnest with Round 1 of the Euro Nitro Series. The fourth season of the four round championship, 2017 brought a new track into the mix with the Mini Car Club de Mulhouse circuit in the east of France the venue for the opening round. With its unique layout, Thursday practice was going to be extra important for the team as they tried to get familiar with the ‘difficult’ layout. The track’s first time hosting an international event, it hosting the European Championships later in the year, unfortunately rain would increase the difficulty of the challenge for the weekend.  With the team arriving in Mulhouse Wednesday evening, Thursday morning rain meant no running until after lunch. Able to run four rounds of free practice in the dry, worse was to come Thursday night leading to Friday’s activities being completely rained off. The team used the delay caused by the bad weather to set-up their pits at the hotel and spend the day working on their cars which was particularly beneficial for our drivers racing both 1:10 and 1:8.

With the greatly reduced track time, it was Naoto Matsukura who would be the surprise of Saturday morning’s two round seeding practice as he lead the team on the time sheets.  With his ENS participation only finalised during the previous weekend’s ETS in Italy, this was Naoto’s debut in the championship with P2 a promising start. Also making his ENS debut, Takaaki Shimo would make it two cars in the Top 4 despite feeling a little under the weather. In 1:10, Jilles Groskamp led our challenge setting the second fastest time with Teemu Leino not quite happy with his pace as his best 3-consecutive laps left him 9th but importantly seeded him in the top heat for qualifying.

After seeding, four rounds of qualifying awaited the drivers with Naoto continuing his impressive showing as he set the second fastest time every run. With three different drivers posting TQ runs, despite being in the Top 2 all day Naoto would line up fourth for Sunday’s 45-minute A-Main. Joining him as a direct qualifier, Dario Balestri secured sixth spot just ahead of Takaaki. With only Teemu and Jilles representing us in 1:10, the rest of the team focusing on 1:8 due to it being a World Championship year for the class,  both put themselves on the A-Main grid in 6th and 7th respectively.

With two bump up places up to the A-Main up for grabs, Kenji Taira gave the team some early motivation on Sunday morning as he bumped up twice.  Qualifying on pole for the G-Main, he won that before working his way from the back of the F-Main grid to finish second to move up to the E-Main.  Working his way from 10 to 4th over the 20-minutes final the hat trick wasn’t possible but Kenji was more than happy to enjoy an hour of racing over his 3 Mains.

The 1:8 B-Main an opportunity to increase the number of Infinity cars in the the Main event. It was all going to plan as Jessie Davis led for the majority of the race from pole. Still the original asphalt that was laid when the track was built in 1988, high tyre wear added to the difficult of the track and for Jesse his front tyres just came up short and in the final two minutes the lack of front tyre left him struggling around with no steering. Driving a calculated race, Jilles was able to take over the lead as unfortunately Jesse dropped to 4th in between Carmine Raiola and Andy Moore. While the end of the race for the trio, Jilles’ win would move him up with 4 cars making Infinity the best represented brand on the 12 car A-Main grid.

1:10 would be the first A-Main on the schedule and was to prove a tough race for our guys. Not the result we aimed to open the new season with as reigning class champions, unfortunately for Teemu his race would end early after a high speed off at the end of the straight. Having struggled to get the car to his liking in qualifying, Teemu said afterwards the set-up he ran in the final was good enough to make the podium but his race was done after 20-minutes. Starting out the final planning to play the long game in terms of going one less tyre stop than his rivals, a decision during the race to change away from that strategy meant Jilles finished as he started, 7th place.

After the disappointment of the 1:10 A-Main, hopes were high for a better 1:8 result. Putting his 1:10 frustrations behind him Jilles would drive a great race to give Infinity its first ENS 1:8 podium. From 11th on the grid, Jilles would put in a great drive to finish second behind Bruno Coelho who had also won 1:10. With 2nd to 6th all finishing on the same lap, Takaaki just missed out on the podium finishing fourth. For Naoto and Dario, the race would end in DNFs. Naoto would suffer problems with his fuel tubing early in the race before finally retiring after 39-minutes but overall it was a very encouraging event with him taking so well to the similarity in driving style between 1:8 and the class for which he is famous, 1:12. For Dario his race never got a chance with a number of flame outs forcing his retirement after 10-minutes.

After the unfamiliarity of the Muhouse track, Round 2 of the ENS will take the team to Germany to the popular Ettlingen track… See you there!

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ETS ROUND 4

ETS ROUND 4

MAY 12-14 RICCIONE, ITALY

Round 4 of the Euro Touring Series took our EP team to Riccione, Italy, and  following their successful showing at the previous round in Spain they were looking forward to building on our strong start to the outdoor season. While Marc, Jilles, Naoto and Andy all had previous experience of the Marco Simoncelli RC Circuit, for Akio it would be his first visit and his first time to take on the track’s infamous bump situated on the high speed entry to the main straight. In Free Practice, the IF14 would show well with it occupying four of Top 10 spots on the timesheets. Fastest in FP2, Marc would end up third quickest ahead of Akio with Naoto sixth and Jilles 10th with all drivers reporting themselves happy with the set-up work they had conducted.

Using two round of controlled practice to determine the seeding for qualifying, in the first, Marc would post the second fastest time for 3-consecutive laps. With a wind making for more difficult conditions in the second run, a shock spring change after CP1 would result in a big improvement from Jilles.  Setting the second fastest time for CP2, his time would be the second fastest overall, meaning he would start Q1 behind top seed Ronald Volker. Unable to better his CP1 time, Marc would end up third with Akio (6th) and Naoto (8th) giving us four cars in the top heat.

With the opening round of qualifying bringing the first official day of the event to a close, the cooler evening conditions would make it the rocket round. Marc would be in the TQ mix ending the 5-minute qualifier second fastest in-between Bruno Coelho (P1) and Volker. Despite performing an unplanned donut on his run, Jilles would open with a P5 while Akio ended up 12th following a more substantial error. With an allocation of two sets of tyres per driver on which to complete the four rounds of qualifying, Naoto would opt to sit out Q1 to save his two sets for Day 2.

With tyre strategy coming into play on Saturday, an issue the ETS organisers will address for the next round of the championship, the day didn’t start out well for the team.  Marc would suffer a high speed off in Q2 ending his run after a lap. Opting to run his second set of tyres in Q3, that run was looking strong but a minute in he would fall victim to ‘the bump’. Luckily able to continue, he would salvage a P3 from it while Jilles using a combo of new rears and used fronts posted the 4th fastest time. Unfortunately for Marc his mistakes in Q2 & 3 left both his sets of tyres damaged forcing him to run the final qualifier on the rear tyres from each set. With the tyres done, he slid off the track a number times quashing any chance of improving on his P4 grid position for the final. With Jilles running his unique mixture of new & used tyres again in Q4 an early mistake left him with dirty tyres and he couldn’t improve on his previous results which were good enough for 5th on the grid. While Akio would end qualifying with his best run, a P4, it wasn’t enough for him to make it three ETS A-Main appearances in a row as he ended up taking the BQ.

In the finals, the first encounter would net Jilles a fourth ahead of Marc after an altercation with ‘the bump’ dropped Marc back to 7th but he would snatch 5th from Viktor Wick right at the finish line. A2 wasn’t to prove any better for Marc. Having to check-up at the start as Elliot Harper got out of shape in the first corner, contact from behind would drop him to 8th. For Jilles the race would see him repeat his A1 result to again finish 4th while Marc recovered to 6th. With the overall win decided in A2, Bruno wrapping up his third win of the season, Marc and Jilles would finish the closing final 3rd & 4th respectively to claim 4th and 5th overall. Not quite the result that had been hoped for, on summing up the weekend Marc was however pleased with the car's performance saying, ‘the pace of the car was there for sure for a podium and I think also the potential was in the car to challenge Bruno but I messed it up in qualifying with my own driving mistakes’.

With 5-weeks until the next round of the ETS, which takes place at the Hudy Arena in Slovakia (June 16-18), Marc, Akio and Naoto will now set their sights on the team’s debut at the world famous Reedy Race of Champions in California later this month.

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SINGAPORE GP OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

SINGAPORE GP OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

2017

With ETS and ENS Series “on sight” in next weeks Team Infinity asia-based drivers reunited in Singapore to attend the Open Championship 2017. The Marina Paradise Modellers Track hosts the two days of racing with a nice weather and a competitive ambience to well prepare next Europe commitments.

After a 45min Amin final was Andy Moore that takes his first win with Infinity after a long battle with Jesse Davis that close second in front of Chavit Saligupta and Ryan Ignatius to a full filled Infinity drivers podium! Well done Andy!! See you all in Europe next week!

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ITALIAN NATIONALS

ITALIAN NATIONALS

Rd.1 Minicar Fiorano 22-24 April

After just couple of weeks of successful CIC Club Minicar Fiorano hosted the first round of Italian Nationals. The Championship format consists in three rounds (other venues are  the well known Cassino and Gubbio) with some slightly changed rules like 4 direct qualifiers with “rocket round” as base. An immersion in the back “old” times that seem little bit “nostalgic” but attract more than 130 drivers in 1/8 and 1/10.

From friday practice things went really well for Infinity team as Dario, Lamberto and Alberto wrapped 1-2-3 positions in the first late afternoon qualify.

At saturday morning the fresh weather conditions allowed fastest laptimes and once again was Balestri that grabbed the TQ this time in front of Picco and Collari. Francesco 7th and Carmine 10th have to pass through semifinals to enter in the Amain.

Sunday morning both Semis was good: in the first Francesco run a mistake free run to close second behind Nicola. In the second one Carmine finally shows his potential leading fastest phase flag-to-flag taking number 5 for the final.

With 5 car in the Main event team result was already astonishing: At the start of the final Dario pull away followed by Alberto while Lamberto suffers some contacts that drop him 6th but he recover quickly the 3rd position after couple of laps. Unfortunately in lap 3 a car come in the wrong way causing a big accident to Picco that was forced to retire. After the first fuel stop was Balestri leading  with comfortable 5 second gap on Collari in second. The battle for the win was clear in their hands as they marked the fastest pace of the field. After 15 minutes Raiola suffers glow plug problems that forced him several time in the pits; Tironi seems less comfortable but manage to maintain his pace taking care to avoid any problem. In the lead, after tire change the audience will wait the last refueling to see if Lamberto’s longer run strategy will pay off; he risks a bit when his engine seems “lean” before entering in the back chicane but he manage to arrive in the pits. Same thing, crazily in the same part of the track, happened few minutes later to Balestri that was less lucky with his car that runs out of fuel two corner from the transponder line. The  current Italian Champion Vanni acquired the second place but Dario push a lot to recover once exited from the pitlane but only succeed to get closer to Marco couple of seconds grabbing the third podium spot. Another win for Lamberto and another win for Infinity in this promising first part of 2017 season. Can’t wait the first round of ENS… See you all there!

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AOC Round 1

AOC Round 1

APRIL 14-16 SHANGHAI, CHINA

Shanghai was the venue for the opening round of famous race promoter Scotty Ernst’s 2017 Asian Onroad Championship.  Fresh from competing at ETS Spain, after a quick visit home to Japan to restock their suitcases Akio Sobue and Naoto Matsukura travelled on to the indoor carpet event where they were joined by Andy Moore.  

The fifth year the AOC race has been held at the impressive RCI V2 facility, Naoto would top a very close seeding practice.  With the Top 3 drivers all setting a best 3-consecutive lap time of 31.2 seconds around the tight track, Naoto would have a 0.07 of a second advantage over Alexander Hagberg with Akio just a further 0.02 off.  Andy would post the 7th fastest time for the single round of seeding practice which brought Day 1’s action to a close.

With three rounds of qualifying, the grids for the finals determined by rocket round, Naoto would take full advantage of leading away the top heat of Modified to TQ Q1 ahead of Hagberg.  Akio would net a P4 with Andy taking his pre production IF14 to the 6th fastest time.  With Saturday’s weather hotter and more humid than that experienced in Friday’s practice, the second qualifier was expected to be faster and it was.  Going a full 3-seconds quicker than Naoto’s Q1 time, Akio would head a 1-2 for Infinity.  Also improving on his opening time, Andy would complete the Top 5.  While Q2 would bring an end to the R/C action for the day it wasn’t the end of ‘racing’ with track owner Rick Wang, always a great host, organising a karting night.  A great night out, the experience highlighted that our drivers are best sticking to R/C!!

While the final qualifier on Sunday morning was predicted to be not ideal conditions to better the TQ time from Q2, Akio defied this.  With the traction levels more to his liking, he managed to post the only 30-lap run of qualifying to secure pole for the triple A-Mains. Unfortunately for Naoto and Andy, they couldn’t capitalise on the faster track.  Four laps into the 5-minute qualifier, Naoto would make an error that put him out on the spot while Andy also failed to finish.  Having to rely on their Q2 times, they would line up 3rd and 8th respectively on the grid.

In the finals, Akio would take full advantage of his pole position.  Winning A1 from Hagberg and Naoto, he went on to win A2 by a bigger margin to wrap up his second major Asian race win in less than a month.  With Naoto having a DNF in the second encounter, A3 would prove vital to him making the podium.  Battling hard with Hagberg, as they pulled away from the field, a mistake from Hagberg over the dots on Lap 5 would result in contact between the pair.  Both drivers would get swallowed up by the field but Naoto would eventually find his way back to the front to take the win and make it a 1-2 for the team on the podium.  Despite coming back from a DNF in A1 to finish 4th in A2, and setting the fastest lap of the finals in A3 on his way to a 6th, Andy would be classified 8th.

Picture credits to Asian Onroad Championship.

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ETS ROUND 3

ETS ROUND 3

APRIL 7-9 MADRID, SPAIN

The start of the outdoor season for electric touring car in Europe officially got underway last weekend as the Euro Touring Series visited Spain for the first time.  An all new venue, our EP team travelled to the third round at the ASOGER track in Getafe, Madrid, in confident form after some productive pre race testing with our ProtoTC.  A large 318 metre long track, it would prove popular with drivers, them all agreeing it was more challenging to drive than the layout suggested on first inspection.  With Marc having attended the Warm-up event, his mileage meant the team had a good set-up base from which to begin the first of four asphalt races on the ETS calendar.  With over 230 entries, the race was the first time Marc and Akio would be joined by Jilles and Naoto with all four really gelling together for a combined team effort.
A great run in controlled practice would see Akio post the 2nd fastest time followed by Naoto and Marc.  Unfortunately in the second of the two timed runs, when the track was at its fastest, Jilles would experience problems that prevented  him from posting a time reflective of his actual pace.  As a result he ended up in the second fastest heat.
With the first round of qualifying bringing Day 1 to a close, the team would have a very encouraging start.  Akio again lead the way posting a P2 run just ahead of Marc.  Despite not being in the top heat, Jilles made it three ProtoTC cars in the Top 5 with P5.  Recovering from a lap 2 error when coming on to the main straight, Naoto would recover to post the 8th fastest time.
A cold start on Saturday morning for Q2, Akio looked on target for another P2 run but an error on the last lap left him with a third.  Really happy with his car, he was less happy with his driving.  It was a similar story for Jilles. On a potential Top 2 run, he clipped the curb coming onto the straight rolling his car onto its side.  Luckily it landed on its wheels and he could continue but the 2.5-seconds lost left him with fourth.  Making sure to put in a clean run after his Q1 error, but opting to run used tyres Naoto ensured another round of 3 cars in the Top 5.   Also running old tyres Marc was P7.
In the second half of qualifying Marc delivered two great runs, TQ’ing both rounds to end up tied on points with Bruno Coelho. The tie break would favour the ETS Champion so Marc started second on the grid.  With Akio lining up 4th, Jilles 5th and Naoto 10th, Infinity would be the most represented car in the final.  All four drivers would take great encouragement from this performance.
The arrival of Sunday meant finals day.  A1 wouldn’t go down as an exciting race with the Top 5 all maintaining station for the entire 5-minutes.  Confident conditions for A2 would put him in a better position to attack Coelho from the start, Marc did exactly that but unfortunately as the field came out of the first right hander of the lap his car got side ways and spun dropping him down the field.  Akio would finish 3rd with Jilles and Naoto crossing the loop in 5th and 6th respectively.
With the overall win decided in A2, Marc went into third A-Main determined to secure second overall and go one better than the 3rd he claimed at Round 2 in Germany on his ETS debut with the ProtoTC.  Starting from the front, he pulled clear to win with ease ahead of Ronald Volker who had to fend off Akio.  With Marc on the podium, Akio 4th, Jilles 5th and Naoto finishing 8th on his first A-Main at an ETS in 2-years, it was smiles all round for the team.  Representing Infinity in the Formula class, Jitse Miedema would further add to a successful weekend by finishing on the podium.  After such a positive start to the outdoor season the team are already looking to the next round of the ETS which will bring them to Riccione in Italy on May 12-14.  We can’t wait!

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EFRA GP SERIES ROUND 1

EFRA GP SERIES ROUND 1

RME CASSINO 24/26 MARCH 2017

The beautiful location of RME Cassino hosted the opening round of a newly created Onroad GP Series presented by the European Federation; the new race format mixed some requests gathered from drivers at the last Euro’s in Sweden like 4 minutes heats and re-usable handout tires combined with more institutional rules like 5 rounds qualification and christmas tree finals.

The amazing facility and the nice weather allowed the participants to maximum enjoy their track time: on Thursday “old style” free practice and from Friday the official start with controlled practice before the first qualifying round. While the timetable changed couple of times everything ran smoothly for the whole weekend.

Infinity official team were represented by Francesco, Carmine, Lamberto and new signings Dario and Alberto. Car seems to perform really well on Cassino track and after control practice we have four drivers seeds in the fastest heat; unfortunately Francesco cannot show his speed as he suffered different little troubles for the entire weekend. In Q1, Dario had the best pace but was 7g underweight and a long discussion about his new PF bodyshell homologation denied him the first TQ. Lamberto seems quick enough and consistent in 4th position and Picco manage to stay close in the Top 5. In Saturday morning’s Q2, after bodyshell matters had been cleared up, Balestri sets 2nd time 0,019sec behind Kurzbuch with Collari 3rd. In Q3 Dario had to stop on the track while leading the round allowing Simon to gain overall TQ with Lamberto provisional 2nd. With only one good result (2nd) Dario needed two good positions to bump up into a semis spot: to clear the doubts on his speed he TQ’ed 4th and 5th round showing great confidence with his materials, track and “loose” conditions. Lamberto closed 4th overall getting a place for the “superpole challenge” with Pirani and Ielasi. Alberto 6th and Carmine 14th also getting directly into the semis. Francesco 21st need to pass through the Quarter finals. It’s super pole time: 3 minutes warmup and 6 rocket laps alone on the track to try earn the last direct spot for the Amain: once again Balestri impressed the audience managing the best lap at second attempt! Will be an exciting final for sure…

Semis were tough for Tironi who was hit a couple of times in opening corners damaging the pipe and Raiola that calls the delay for tech problems that apparently was solved but few minutes later had to pit for a long time. On the other side Collari and Picco cruises in 1-2 position for the entire 20-minutes with Alberto getting the win due to a better fuel strategy; in the Amain we had 2nd, 3rd and 5th position at the start… Not bad!

The start of the main event sees Dario charging on Simon in the early stage with Lamberto in a comfortable 3rd position. Unfortunately on lap 35 Balestri hit the wall entering the main straight as he starts pushing hard having set the fastest lap of the race. Less than 10 laps later Collari blew his glow plug loosing 6 laps in the pits; in this moment Alberto was 3rd trying to close on Daniele 2nd. With both having the same pace and a quite similar fuel/tire strategy the race seems “frozen” to the end and only a possible issue could mix the cards; an issue that happens to Kurzbuch 4min to the end.  This allowing the 2 Italians to fight for the final win. Daniele managed to maintain 2 seconds lead for the finals minutes forcing Alberto claim a strong second place on his Infinity debut. Well done Alberto!

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CIC ITALY 2017

CIC ITALY 2017

MINICAR FIORANO APRIL 7-9

Infinity Racing Team was in Fiorano for the first round of successful format created by Riccardo Acciari with the involvement of R/C manufacturers; more than 150 drivers attended to the event.
It was an “open race” with free tires and additive with lot of practice time on Friday, 4 qualifying rounds on Saturday and A-B-C mains on Sunday.
The weather was nice with a warm temperature that allowed all everybody to enjoy the beautiful ambience and location.

Friday practice doesn’t count for reseeding groups as organisation already set qualifying heats with few adjustments; Dario, Carmine, Teemu, Alberto, Francesco and Lamberto were happy of the car from the firsts laps.
Balestri sets the fastest time in last practice round with an astonishing 13,883 in front of Pirani and Collari…

On Saturday Dario took a TQ run in second heat sitting second overall, Lamberto blew a glow plug in the last heat but he manage to save the 4th place, Alberto feels comfortable with the car and sits 5th with Teemu confident with his new engines in 8th. Qualifying things went a little bit tough for Carmine who suffered a setup problem that didn’t allowe him to express his potential, and for Francesco that couldn’t reach the same feeling of 2016 ENS finale where he was very fast… Bmain for both.

On Sunday morning Dal Cielo Gianluca wins H final and bumps up to G final where he finish in 3rd place; in the Bmain unfortunately Tironi suffered a failure which forced him to retire at early stage and Carmine fight for the whole time close to bump up spot but only got a final 4th position. All ready for the main event where, once again, with 4 cars we are the most represented brand in the field.

At the start Pirani pulled away followed by Balestri and Collari that overtook Pietsch in the first corner… Picco was forced to the pits to change tires after an hard contact that put him in the grass damaging the rear tire. After few minutes positions seeed “freezed" as often happens and pit strategy would assume maximum importance: Dario showed his confidence changing only the outside tires at third pit stop, Lamberto moved on front thanks to longer runs but his engine cut off at 13 minute. At the tire change Andrea had a problem and Dario took the lead and never looked back cruising for his first well deserved win with the new colours… Teemu was really unlucky and broke his engine, as Lamberto also did few minutes to the end, while Alberto gaining positions with a strong pace getting another second place that put our team in 1-2 position for the first time! Really a nice job for the whole team attended here; awesome job guys! Season 2017 seems more exciting then ever!!!

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CETC ROUND 1

CETC ROUND 1

MARCH 25-26  GUANGZHOU, CHINA

Our EP drivers Akio Sobue and Naoto Matsukura travelled to China last weekend to represent Infinity in the promising new Chinese Electric Touring Car Championship (CETC).  A four round championship aimed at raising the profile of touring car racing across China, the opening round was held at the Amazing Indoor Arena in Guangzhou.  Racing on the impressive 40m X 24.5m indoor asphalt track that was only completed in January, Akio and Naoto would achieve a 1-2 result with our ProtoTC.  

With five World Championship finalists contesting the well attended event, Akio was quick to get comfortable with his set-up and opened the weekend by setting the fastest 3-consecutive laps in seeding practice.  Carrying that pace into qualifying he would TQ the opening and closing rounds to secure the overall TQ.  Opening the second day of the event with a TQ run in the third qualifier, Naoto would put his ProtoTC third on the grid behind Naoki Akiyama and ahead of Nicholas Lee with Viktor Wilck, who designed the track layout, completing the top half of the grid.

Winning the first final by a comfortable 5-seconds margin, A2 would be a little more eventful for Akio.  Leading from Naoto, who had got by Akiyama for second, a mistake would send his car rolling onto its roof.  With no where to go Naoto would hit the up side down car.  Luckily for Akio, the impact put his car back on his wheels & sent him back on his way but unfortunately it left Naoto’s car needing to be marshalled.  Finishing the leg 1-2, both drivers enjoying a good laugh about the incident afterwards. The result meant Akio becomes the CETC’s first winner and with no need to race A3 he could watch from the sidelines.  A great start from Naoto would allow him to beat Akiyama off the line to take the lead and setting the fastest race winning time of the weekend he completed a 1-2 for the ProtoTC with Wilck completing the podium.

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