CETC ROUND 4
SEPTEMBER 22-23 HONG KONG
Announced in March 2017, the Chinese Electric Touring Car Championship (CETC) organised by Red RC China was created to help raise the profile of the competitive RC racing scene across China. Run over four rounds, Infinity committed our Japanese duo Akio and Naoto to contesting the championship and with the perfect start to the campaign with 1-2 finishes at Rounds 1 & 2 they both travelled to the final round in Hong Kong as contenders to become the inaugural champion. Going up against Nicholas Lee in the three-way shoot out for the title, Akio laid his intentions down early at the Twin RC Speedway track. With rain delaying the start of the event by more than two & a half hours on Saturday morning, when they got around to completing two rounds of controlled practice it was Akio who set the fastest 3-consecutive laps with Naoto ending the seeding second quickest.
As a knock-on effect of the earlier rain delay, qualifying would commence under flood lights. Akio would start off strong leading the way in Q1 but then made a huge mistake half way through the heat. This would cost him 5-seconds and leave him to record a P4. Despite finding his car hard to drive after the first minute, Naoto would fair better setting the 2nd fastest time 0.198 behind Lee. Come Q2, Akio would redeem himself as he TQ’d the round bettering the Q1 topping time by running 22-laps with Naoto the only other driver joining him on that pace. Arriving at the track on Sunday morning to continue the qualifying battle unfortunately so did the rain and it stayed until just before midday. Running short on time this forced the cancellation of the remaining two qualifiers. With 1 of the 2 rounds to count, Akio's faster time would secure him the overall TQ ahead of Lee with Naoto starting third.
Lining up on a dry track for A1, Akio made light work of the first encounter winning it by almost 4-seconds from Naoto who was delayed by a first lap incident. Eventually getting by Lee for second on the narrow track, he couldn’t do anything about Akio who was already too far ahead and in cruise mode. A2 would see both Infinity drivers start on used tyres and as a result Akio could not hold his line at the start allowing Lee, on new tyres, to force a pass down his inside to go to the front. Akio wasn’t giving it up that easy however and chased down his title rival, and capitalising on a mistake from the leader was back on his rear bumper and soon after made his way back into the lead. Staying there until the finish it gave him his second overall win of the season as well as crowning him the overall champion. With Naoto coming through to take second in A2, this would give him P2 overall as A3 was rained off. This result together with his Round 2 victory in Xiamen and P2 at the season opener, would crown him Vice-Champion making it a 1-2 overall championship finish for our IF14. With the IF14’s designer Kotonori on hand at each of the CETC races to support both our drivers it was a great way to cap off a highly successful maiden Chinese campaign.