Bruno Coelho has kicked off the defence of his TITC title in the best way possible by TQ’ing the opening round of qualifying at the iconic Bangkok race. Second behind Ronald Volker in the single seeding round yesterday evening, the Xray driver reversed the order in the first of the four qualifiers by topping the round by 7/10th over the Mugen driver. Held just after midday local time on a very hot track, behind the Top 2 there was a considerable gap. The third fastest time was set by Alexander Hagberg who was closely followed by Marc Rheinard and Akio Sobue, the Top 5 all previous winners of what is widely regarded as the most difficult race in the world. Making it five different manufacturers in the Top 6, Xpress team driver Yugo Nagashima put in the sixth fastest time.
Ronald Volker is the top seed going into qualifying at the TITC, the Mugen Seiki driver fastest over 3-laps from defending Champion Bruno Coelho. With just a single round of seeding practice determining the heats for the four rounds of qualifying, most drivers completed the minimum laps possible needed to secure a place in the top while also saving tyres. Running in the second fastest practice heat due to his B-Final appearance at last year’s event, Volker took two goes at setting a time. It was his second 3-consecutive laps that counted with him fastest by 16/100th of a second over Coelho, the Xray driver making just one attempt to post a time. One of the few drivers to run the entire 5-minutes along with team-mate Akio Sobue, Axon’s Hayato Ishioka set the third fastest time with 2-time TITC winner Sobue ending up 7th. Infinity’s Naoto Matsukura posted the fourth fastest time ahead of the Awesomatix pairing of Lucas Urbain and Marc Rheinard.
Red RC attended its first TITC in 2017. It was always a bucket list event but it was the meaning of the win on the Sunday that really endorsed for us that this is one of the greatest touring car races. The emotion of the win was powerful and that winner was Bruno Coelho who gave us the headline for our final report that read, ‘Coelho takes TITC with ‘hardest win’ of career’. Seven years on and catching up with Bruno before he took his flight to the Thai capital to defend his title, the World Champion still rates the race as ‘one of the best in the World’ adding it is ‘a completely different race to any other’. Chasing a record equaling fourth win that would put him on par with TITC Master Atsushi Hara, a driver widely acknowledged for putting the race on the world stage, as we will find out Bruno isn’t driven by records but very much being the best on the day. He knows this is one race where ever detail is critical be successful at ‘one of the most challenging races’ in the world while on the flip side offers ‘one of the best race atmosphere’ you can experience.
New from Xray for its X4 Electric Touring Car is their UAM (Under arm mounting) front and rear anti-roll bars designed to work with the lower suspension arms. Mounted under suspension arms for ultra-low CG, the anti-roll bar system is mounted to the bulkheads via bearings from outside for extra-smooth movement and for quick & easy changes and adjustment. The roll bar turns in ball-bearings for maximum precision and free movement and the height is adjustable via a screw making adjustments quick & easy. Each anti-roll bar has laser-engraved stripes (corresponding to bar thickness) for easy identification.
Every sport has its legends and for me personally the greatest of all is Atsushi Hara.Before I knew I would ever work in the RC Industry and well before a thing called ‘social media’ would consume our daily lives, there was one driver dominating the track.You couldn’t open an RC Magazine without Hara featuring as a race winner or in an ad for the brands he represented. For our younger generation of followers I should explain that an RC magazine was a thing made of paper pages that had kit reviews and reports & photographs (that you can’t zoom in on) from major RC races a few months after they happened. He was an influencer before influencers were a thing.Hara was a truly global star and was the only racer I found myself slightly star struck on first meeting him at the DHI Cup in 2008.It was also Hara who many attribute to putting the TITC on the World stage and on my bucket list of races to attend and to this day, as we approach the 20th running, he is still the Master of it.As the most winning driver in its history, Hara is the ultimate authority to be able to label this iconic race the ‘toughest race in the World’ and one he believes is the ‘most difficult to win’.
Engine tuner Mantis Tuning has entered the growing 1:8 GT engine market with the release of its hand tuned Hyper .21GT T1 P5 engine. Base on the Nova G5, after more than 12 months of development the T1 has undergone intensive tuning by Malta based engine tuner Daren Decesare who draws on over 20-years experience with 2-stroke engines. Boasting impressive performance gains throughout the rev range, Mantis Tuned is confident its latest creation can rival the best GT engines on the market.
Mon-Tech Racing has added another Hyper Car LMH series based body to its range with the release of the SC-63. A 1:10 190mm body, the SC-63 faithfully replicates in every detail the beautiful racing car of the well-known Bolognese brand. In order to produce this model, rich in details and with a breathtaking front end, a highly mechanically processed mold was designed and created by the Italian body shell producer. The kit includes all the stickers, the masking along with the fixing screws for the wing.
While racers are not known for always agreeing, one thing all the professional team drivers do agree on is that the TITC is the most difficult race in the world! After the World Championships, this annual Bangkok based race has become the most significant electric touring car title drivers can secure. Racing at the TITC you are putting yourself on a World class stage with the best in the business with the additional unique element of every driver having had the opportunity to complete days of pre race practice, something that eats into your excuses when the race doesn’t go your way. So for these reasons it might not be the first race of choice at which to make your international race debut as the newest member of the full time professional driver ranks but that is exactly what Lucas Urbain will do later this week. At the age of 34, Urbain will tell you himself that the opportunity to become a full time professional racer ‘came out of the blue’ adding ‘the idea was never a topic we talked about’. An announcement on February 2nd however from Awesomatix changed all that and now this popular French racer switches from a decade of working in signalling with the French railway network to living every young RC racers dream of travelling the world racing and getting paid for the privilege. Lucas’ journey to becoming a ‘Pro’ is an interesting one that started in 2000 when a certain Adrien Bertin came to his home town of Longwy and gave a demo with a 1:8 Nitro Onroad car. That was the moment Lucas was ‘blown away’ by radio controlled cars and with his parents getting him his first RC car from a local hobby shop for Christmas that year, the seed was sown for his 24-year long road to obtaining the job description of Pro RC Racer.