(updated Feb. 19th. 2007)
VRC World Champion Peter Jovanovic came back from a troubled Semi-Finals in the Virtual Winternats to blitz the opposition and take a double victory on the Fort Myers track.
Teenager Jovanovic had been the man to beat throughout the event but the Semi Finals proved difficult for the Aussie in particular in 1:8 where he just managed to make the A-main securing the last spot on the grid for the 45 minute encounter.
Winning the 1:8 crown by an impressive 2 lap margin over Semi Final winner Simon Wood, Jovanovic repeated the performance in 1:10 to beat Sweden's Christian Holmström to the title.
Completing the Florida podiums were two locals racers. In 1:10, Francis Lee was top US driver while fellow countryman Brian Strange ensured home success in 1:8 by also taking 3rd.
In the real Florida Winternats, Paolo Morganti converted his TQ position into the perfect result to win the 1:10 with his Serpent 720 by a massive 6 laps while Chris Tosolini took his Kyosho Evolva to victory in the 1:8 category.
Race analysis available from:
JOVANOVIC HITS TROUBLE IN SEMI AS WOOD & BARTOLOZZI TAKE SEMI WINS
(updated Feb. 18th. 2007)
Having completed the double in the Quarter Finals, Peter Jovanovic endured a tough Semi Finals for the Virtual Winternats which saw Simon Wood put an end to Australia's domination of the event.
British ace Wood lead home an all European podium in the 1:8 Semi, winning by 5.5 seconds from Sweden's Christian Holmström and a full lap up on Switzerland's Stephan Eschler. Once again Mike Howe took top local honours finishing in fourth to stay in the hunt for the home win. Some three laps off the pace Jovanovic just did enough to make the Main final finishing in 10th spot.
The Aussie's domination did continue in 1:10 with Ric Bartolozzi doing a superb job to win from Holmström and Austrian Wolfgang Franz. Brian Strange was top local finishing fourth ahead of fellow American Francis Lee while Jovanovic rounded out the top 6. Having finished 2nd in the Quarter final, Mike Howe failed to post a time in the Semi and so his challenge for victory on the Fort Myers track comes to an end.
QUARTER FINAL DOUBLE FOR JOVANOVIC IN FLORIDA
(updated Feb. 17th. 2007)
Peter Jovanovic completed a Quarter Final double in the Virtual Winternats when he took victory in both the 1:10 Sedan and 1:8 Canam classes. The Australian, who TQ'd in 1:10 and took P2 in 1:8 qualifying, is clearly not being intimidated by the tough Fort Myers track.
Jovanovic's closet challengers in the 15 minute encounters were Mike Howe in 1:10 and fellow Aussie Simon Nicholson who TQ'd the 1:8 class. Howe, the top American in qualifying in both categories, drove a very strong race and was the only driver to complete the same number of laps as the winner. If he continues this form he could pull off a home win on the Florida track.
Dutch ace Stefan Molenkamp completed the 1:10 podium while Canadian Joe Glover did a fantastic job in 1:8 finishing on the lead lap to claim third. Interestingly Simon Wood, who finished only 11th, recorded the fastest lap of the race in 1:8, an honour that went to Jovanovic in 1:10.
20 drivers now progress to the Semi-Finals which will run over 30 minutes. Can anyone topple Jovanovic, we must wait and see.
TQ DOMINATION FOR AUSSIES AT WINTERNATS
(updated Feb. 16th. 2007)
Qualifying for the Virtual Winternats has ended and the Australians have pulled off the perfect result by TQ'ing for both classes.
Peter Jovanovic retained his P1 position in 1:10 Sedan as did Simon Nicholson in 1:8 Canam which finished with the Top 10 qualifiers covered by just 6.5 seconds.
The only real changes to the time sheets involved Mike Howe who managed to improve his time in the final moments of 1:8 qualifying to go top American driver with the 7th fastest time. In 1:10 he also secured the honour of being best placed local but only after Sweden's Christian Holmström and Holland's Stefan Molenkamp posted 3rd and 4th fastest times respectively to demote him to 5th position.
Over at the real Florida Winternats, Team Serpent driver Paolo Morganti snatched the 1:10 TQ position with his 720 in the final qualifying run to deny the new Xray NT1 pole on its debut.
1:8 qualifying was effected by rain and so Kyosho driver Josh Cyrul held on to pole for the A-main final.
TOTAL AUSSIE RULE IN FLORIDA
(updated Feb. 15th. 2007)
With just over 10 hours left before qualifying for the 2007 Virtual Winternats comes to a close it looks like the Australians are going to TQ for both the 1:10 and 1:8 categories.
Taking place on the Fort Myers track, at the same time as the real Florida Winternats, it is an Aussie 1-2 at the top of both time sheets. Having held the provisional pole in 1:10 at the end of the first day of qualifying they now also hold the provisional pole in 1:8.
Peter Jovanovic heads the 1:10 field from Ric Bartolozzi with local ace Mike Howe the top US challenger in third. In 1:8 Simon Nicholson heads Jovanovic with early pole sitter Sweden's Christian Holmström holding third. The top 1:8 US challenger is Brian Strange who holds 8th.
In the real Winternats it is American Josh Cyrul who hold the 1:8 provisional pole after 4 of the 6 qualifying runs and while Ralph Burch holds the top spot in 1:10 with the new Xray NT1.
EVEN FORT MYERS CAN'T STOP AUSSIES!!
(updated Feb. 13th. 2007)
Even Fort Myers, one of the world's most intimidating r/c tracks, doesn't seem to be able to do anything about the current domination of VRC by the Aussies.
While rain kept track activities to a minimum at the real Winternats, the first day of qualifying for the Virtual Winternats saw over 50 of the 100 plus drivers record a time on the Florida based track today.
The 1:10 Sedan classes sees two Aussies at the top of the times sheets with Peter Jovanovic heading Simon Nicholson. The pair are currently the only to have broken 24 laps during the 5 minute runs.
Sweden's Christian Holmström is their closest challenger followed by top local hopefuls Brian Strange and Mike Howe.
Thankfully in the 1:8 class its not an Australian who occupies the top spot but a Swiss driver with Stephan Eschler putting in a cracking time during his 6th run to head Nicholson. Brian Strange once again heads the US challenge but with only the seventh fastest time.
With almost half those registered still to post a time much could change over the next 2 days of qualifying.
RACERS TAKE ON FORT MYERS CHALLENGE WITH VIRTUAL WINTERNATS
(updated Feb. 12th. 2007)
This week the real Florida Winternats, the first major international nitro race of the season, get underway and so to does the 3rd annual running of the Virtual Winternats so you can take on one of the worlds most intimidating r/c tracks - Fort Myers.
The Virtual Winternats allows racers to experience this prestigious event without incurring the travel costs of getting to Florida. Already 101 racers have signed up Virtual event and its great to see a strong local contingent with over 20% of the entries coming from US based drivers.
Racing in Virtual Winternats event, which covers both 1:8 and 1:10 classes, racers will also be helping American VRC ace Francis Lee race money for the US National MS Society. Lee is taking part in the 2007 MS 150 Bike Tour and Virtual RC Racing is donating $ 1.00 per racer who enter and race in the 2007 Virtual Winternats.
Qualifying on the Fort Myers track gets underway tomorrow (Tuesday) and the event continues through until Sunday when 10 racers will take part in the 45 minute mail final.