NOV 24-26 YATABE ARENA, JAPAN
The 2017 edition of Scotty Ernst’s Asian Onroad Championship concluded at the famous Yatabe Arena in Japan with our very own AOC maestro Akio making the shorter than usual journey to represent Infinity. Only missing the Australian stop on this year's five race calendar, Akio had already travelled to rounds in China, Hong Kong and South Korea notching up the win on each occasion. With such success, he was looking to wrap up his AOC campaign with a strong home result. However, when the track is owned by a rival manufacturer, the event was always going to present an extra challenge for Akio who was also without his regular partner in crime. Naoto wasn't competing as he was busy preparing for a trip to Florida to compete in the US World Nitro Cup.
With practice complete and Akio seeding 4th, the first of the six qualifiers wouldn’t go to plan as he suffered a DNF while on target for a Top 3 time. While Q2 would net a P4, things still weren’t as wanted and the first half of qualifying concluded with a disappointing P7. As expected, World Champion Ronald Volker held the home advantage, but Akio would start to find his way in Q4 posting his first Top 3 run behind Volker and team-mate Naoki Akiyama.
With Q5 bringing Day 2 of the event to a close, Akio was able to finish on a positive as he backed up his improved form with another P3 run. With one final attempt on Sunday morning to better his starting position for the Touring Car double A-Mains, him also contesting 1:12 at the season finale, that is exactly what he would do. TQ’ing the final round from Akiyama and Alexander Hagberg, with three of six to count the result would secure him second on the grid by splitting Volker and Akiyama with Hagberg starting 4th.
In the first final, Akio drove a strong error free race to finish as he started and repeating the result again in A2 he wrapped up the weekend with 2nd overall. When the worst result of your campaign is a second place, we think Akio can proudly declare his efforts a success. A big thank you to Akio for representing the IF14 so well in the AOC and to Kotonori-San who was on hand to support him each event.