Team Associated Claims 23rd IFMAR World Championship in Dominating Fashion with the New RC12R5
Every two years the best racers in the world gather to compete in the IFMAR World Championships. This year the 1:12 Scale Onroad World Championships were held in Bangkok, Thailand at Radio Control Speedway from November 9-11, 2008. With resurgence in 1:12 scale racing world wide and more manufactures than ever, the competition was sure to be heated.
As the practice heats shuffled thru it was clear that Team Associated driver's Naoto Matsukura of Japan and Juho Levanen of Finland were on pace to compete for the World Championship with their recently released Factory Team RC12R5 chassis. Throughout the first four rounds of qualifying both Matsukura and Levanen set blistering paces, each trying to one-up the other. Heading into round five of qualifying both drivers had two rounds of TQs so the fifth and deciding round would set the grid for the A Main final and with Matsukura setting the fastest time of the weekend in round five, the 15-year-old Associated/Yokomo driver secured the overall TQ position.
With tenths of seconds separating Matsukura and Levanen each time out and with a comfortable cushion on the rest of the field, the main events had the makings of a two man sprint to the finish. A1 started off just as such with TQ Matsukura leading Levanen for over seven minutes, the two never separated more than a second until a lapped driver collected Matsukura. This handed the lead to the Finnish driver Levanen who cruised to the win, and only one A Main victory away from a World Championship.
After such a good effort only to see it slip away at the end, Matsukura consulted with his mentor and 5 time 1:12 World Champion Masami Hirosaka. Words of encouragement and focus calmed the youngster who was prepared to show that his TQ effort was no fluke. In the next two "A" main events, Matsukura controlled the pace, never letting second qualifier Levanen within striking distance of the lead. A rough start in the third leg by Levanen gave Matsukura all the cushion he needed to claim his first IFMAR World Championship and the twenty-third for Team Associated.
With TQs in all five rounds of qualifying and victory in all three A Mains, the Team Associated RC12R5 proves it represents the pinnacle of performance for 1:12 scale racing. Designed from the ground up by Associated engineers, the recently released RC12R5 kit is yet another Team Associated World Champion By Design.
Photos used with permission from Eoghain O'Briain.