› Race Watch
DATES: JUNE 23–25, 2017 TRACK: TRC RACEWAY, HONG KONG
What an amazing event at the Hong Kong stop of the 2017 Asian Onroad Championships (AOC) held at TRC Raceway. In the premier Modified class, it was a showdown between Infinity teammates and countrymen Akio Sobue and Naoto Matsukura, who went blow for blow to the final lap of the last main. Sobue had the advantage and worked it to his favor, drawing first blood by taking the first main from the TQ spot on the grid, with XRAY’S Alexander Hagberg in second. Matsukura was forced to take 10th due to a mechanical problem before finishing the first lap, after he rolled his car running the curbs near the finish line. But with a battle unfolding throughout the hair-raising five minutes and time ticking off in the second main, things turned on Sobue who fell victim to a broken rear belt on his IF14 and thus handed Matsukura the much-needed win to force a showdown in A3. And that’s just what happened, with the duo separating themselves from the rest of the field and racing nose to tail for the entire third main. Sobue had his own plans, though, and never really wavered, holding his lines and staying smooth enough to keep Matsukura from making a serious attempt for the pass. It would be Sobue’s victory, with Matsukura in second and Hagberg left to take the final spot on the podium.