Thursday, 14 April 2011

DAY 8 - Final Qualifying - IFMAR 2011 1/8 On road World Championships

Final qualifying results:

1) Pietsch, Robert DEU (37/10:12.769 R1)
2) Hara, Atsushi JPN (37/10:13.653 R3)
3) Balestri, Dario ITA (37/10:14.446 R1)
4) Shimo, Takaaki JPN (37/10:15.456 R3)
5) Fukuda, Keisuke JPN (37/10:15.730 R3)
6) Ielasi, Daniele ITA (37/10:15.785 R3)
7) Morganti, Paolo USA (36/10:00.905 R4)
8) Terauchi, Takehiro JPN (36/10:01.206 R1)
9) Romagnoli, Michele ITA (36/10:04.437 R1)
10) Verjak, Meen THA (36/10:04.739 R1)
11) Salemi, Walter ITA (36/10:04.889 R2)
12) Shimazaki, Shinya JPN (36/10:05.307 R1)
13) Salven, Michael DEU (36/10:05.691 R2)
14) Kurzbuch, Simon CHE (36/10:06.193 R3)
15) Vrielijnck, Rick NLD (36/10:06.710 R1)
16) Elias, Flavio BRA (36/10:07.048 R1)
17) Cyrul, Josh USA (36/10:07.384 R2)
18) D'Hondt, Robin BEL (36/10:07.828 R1)
19) Branson, Kyle GBR (36/10:08.063 R3)
20) Dankel, Eric DEU (36/10:08.210 R3)
I think it is fair to say that Collari's week is not going according to plan. Regardless of how much reserve performance he may have, battling from the 1/4 finals to the top will be a tough act. His driving looks solid and composed, it's just that the laptimes are not good enough and runntime for a 5 min run is right on the limit.
Pietsch is without a doubt the fastest driver, consistently toping the time sheets. Watching him is very spectacular.
Similar pace to Robert we have seen from a few other drivers, it's just that they are not as consistant as Robert nor are their fuel stops as lightning fast as Roberts are. He constantly makes 21.100 - 21.500 sec laptimes during fuelstops. For comparison most make 22.000-22.500 sec laptimes during fuelstops.
All of the above info is about qualifying.
The race is quite a different story as other factors come into play and raw speed is not as important anymore. My observations are that the pace Robert Pietsch showed in qualifying cannot be sustained during the race. I am sure he would like to argue this and prove me wrong, as after his dissapointment in Lostallo in 2009 he has learned a few things and should have the long runs sorted out, but I still believe that the drivers driving more conservatively and efficiently hold a strong advantage over those who are flat out.
I will analyze each factor:
Fuel consumption
those who pit every 5 minutes need to make a total of 11 pit stops.
those who pit every 4 minutes need to make a total of 14 pit stops. These additional 3 pitstops will add at least 15 seconds to their total time. 15 seconds is almost a lap.
Tyre wear
The faster you run and the harder you push, the higher tyre wear you have. It's simple law of physics. If Atsushi and Shimo opt to pit only once at the 30' mark, they will hold another substantial advantage over the faster drivers who opt to pit at the 20' and 40' marks. This was also the case in 2009 where Collari extended his lead even further by making only one tyre change.
Without a doubt the most experienced and reliable driver on the field is Collari and that is why, although he has had a dismall qualifying, no one can really bet against him.
Robert Pietsch seems to have gained quite a bit more of experience in long amain finals at this level having won the 45 minute long European championships just a head of Balestri
Dario Balestri is another driver with experience in long main finals, having being crowned twice European champion in 1/10 nitro touring.
Shimo isn't too bad either, having won multiple Japanese National titles and been crowned IFMAR vice World Champion in the past.
Hara is, as you might have easily figured it out by my posts, my favorite. I believe he has such skill and spirit that he will fight for it as if his life depends on it as he has shown in both electric touring and one hour long 1/8 buggy world championship finals.
Stamina VS Track conditions
This is about who will be the least tired during the final.
The top 4 are in a great advantage, enjoying a very relaxed Saturday morning, having plenty of time to prepare their equipment to the highest level possible. The draw back is their lack of track time on the same day, which could become a factor on Saturday afternoon when the final starts.
The remaining 6 drivers will have to bump up from the semi and some might be even coming from the quarter finals. These will certainly be in a great rhythm and have good knowledge of the track conditions but on the other hand they will be very tired after driving all day and working on their cars.
For now we can enjoy the lower finals and tomorrow the big show will resume!

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