AOC ROUND 2
JUNE 23-25 TRC RACEWAY, HONG KONG
After a successful opening round to the Asian Onroad Championship in Shanghai, China, back in April, our EP team travelled to TRC Raceway in Hong Kong for Round 2 of the Scotty Ernst series. Claiming a 1-2 in Shanghai, Akio, Naoto & Andy would be joined by Jilles with the team having a productive day of testing on the Thursday to get familiar with the bigger GP track layout the organisers had opted to use.
Unfortunately like Akio and Naoto's experience the weekend before at the ETS in Slovakia, after a dry day of free practice the race schedule would be effected by rain although in a competition of heaviest rain it was the Hong Kong weather that was a clear winner. Despite the spectacularly heavy downpours, the TRC Raceway track was almost magical in how quickly it dried with the traction levels pretty much how they had been prior to the rain. During the rain breaks, the team used the downtime to join Scotty for a video track walk to give their insight into the layout.
Once qualifying did get underway, Akio and Naoto got straight down to business taking a 1-2 in the first of the four rounds ahead of Alexander Hagberg followed by Andy and Jilles. Q2 would see the IF14 complete the Top 3 times with Akio again setting the pace as Jilles improved to record a P3 run. With Akio and Naoto the class of the Modified field, the duo would again battle it out for a TQ run in the third round. Setting the fastest lap, Naoto would take it after a bobble from Akio on the last lap cost him a competitive time. With only Naoto able to deny Akio the overall TQ, all the team went into the final qualifier fired up and aiming to better their starting positions. The result was an Infinity 1,2,3,4 on the times sheets with Akio taking it and the overall TQ ahead of Naoto, Jilles and Andy. Overall this put all four cars in the Top 6 on the A-Main grid, Naoto starting 2nd, Jilles 4th and Andy 6th.
With triple A-Mains, the first encounter would see Akio convert his TQ into an unchallenged win as Naoto rolled on the curbing early ending his race. With Hagberg inheriting second, Jilles would complete the Top 3 with Andy moving up from 6th to 4th. Akio looked like he was target to repeat the result in A2 and wrap up his second AOC victory of the season early but with less than 30-seconds to go he broke a rear belt handing Naoto the win ahead of Nicholas Lee. This set up a dual between Akio and Naoto for A3 to decide the overall winner. Setting fastest laps 4/10th faster than any of the rest of the field, they went at it but despite his best efforts Naoto couldn’t find a way passed allowing Akio to wrap up another win for the IF14. Naoto joined him on the podium ahead of Hagberg with Jilles claiming fourth overall and Andy finishing 7th. Having put the IF14 top of the time-sheets throughout qualifying and the finals it was another great effort and performance from the team.