2008 IFMAR 1/12th ISTC
ELECTRIC ON-ROAD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
RADIO CONTROL SPEEDWAY – BANGKOK,THAILAND
Three years ago he was taken under wings of one of rc racing’s greats Masami Hirosaka and today aged just 15-years-old Naoto Matsukura has become the youngest ever IFMAR World Champion after a dominant performance at the 1:12 Onroad Worlds in Bangkok, Thailand. The Japanese driver came here with an already impressive CV with back to back titles in his National Championship but faced with the best in the world, including all four Touring Car World Champions, he rose impressively to the challenge.
Hot property of Japanese manufacturer Team Yokomo, Matsukura was running Associated’s RC12R5 and from the first practice his laps times were impressive. That pace was converted into overall TQ honours after he claimed the fastest time in four the six qualifiers, his only opposition coming from Associated team-mate Juho Levanen. Leading Leg 1 of the A Main, an incident while lapping cost him the win but the impressive youngster didn’t let the misfortune get to him and came right back with two superb drives in the second and third Mains to claim a very popular and historic win.
For mentor Hirosaka, himself a five times 1:12 World Champion, it was a very proud moment but one which he always believed would come for his young protege. Opting not to race himself in the 14th 1:12 scale Worlds, so as to focus fully on the Touring Car title which has so far illuded him, Hirosaka said from the first time he witnessed Matsukura at the controls of an rc car he knew this kid was special.
For Matsukura he descibed his first World title as being ‘like a dream’ and for sure it is going to take a few days for the reality of what he has just achieved to sink in. A true professional he is already thinking about the Touring Car Worlds which get underway on Thursday but said his win has given him a great boost for the event. Asked if he can challenge his mentor when the pair will lead Yokomo’s touring car hopes, he said it would be very difficult but he will trying.
Final official results
1. Naoto Matsukura – 20pts (9,10,10)
2. Juho Levanen – 19pts (10,9,9)
3. Hupo Honigl – 16pts (1,8,8)
4. Marc Rheinard – 14pts (7,7,1)
5. Hideo Kitizawa – 12pts (8,4,4)
6. Jilles Groskamp – 11pts (4,3,7)
7. Simo Ahoniemi – 11pts (6,5,3)
8. Andy Moore – 11pts (5,6,5)
9. Teemu Leino – 9pts (3,2,6)
10. Dasiuke Yoshioka – 4pts (2,1,2)
1/12th scale World Championships – A-main Leg 1