Ryan Cavalieri is the new 2WD Electric Buggy World Champion after seeing off intense pressure from his Associated team-mate Ryan Maifield in a very close third A-Main to claim his first IFMAR 2WD title. A past winner of the sports greatest accolade in 4WD, Cavalieri said afterwards that the race was probably their best ever battle and on crossing the finish line his first thoughts were that he couldn’t believe he had managed to hold off his great rival.
The deciding 5-minute encounter in Vaasa, Finland, became a straight race for the title when Top Qualifier Neil Cragg broke his car during the warm-up leaving Cavalieri to head the field directly in front of the only other two drivers in with a shout of the title, Maifield and Kyosho’s Jared Tebo. Running as a freight train, Tebo broke on his 10th lap leaving the Ryans to go at for the overall win. Pushing Cavalieri to the limit, Maifield also showed great patience as he ran right on the back of his fellow American’s B4.1. The Champion elect was given a vital break on the penultimate lap when Maifield had a bad landing and took the win by 1.4 seconds with TLR’s Dustin Evans third for the round.
The 11th 2WD World title for Associated Cavalieri said the victory was a huge team effort and the result of a lot of pre-event preparations and finishing 1-2 on the podium was a great way of thanking everyone involved. Saying that he thought he would have taken the 2WD title before the 4WD crown which he won in 2003 & 2005 this was the one title he really wanted. Happy to qualify second on the grid he said this played a role today as it forced him to push harder than he would have if he had of been Top Qualifier.
Maifield said he did everything he could as a driver and it was an emotional day but he was happy for his team-mate and Associated whose cars made up half the grid in the main event. Saying if he was ever to win a World title he would like it to be in electric, he said he has just got to let the race happen and today it didn’t work out for him but he could be proud of being part of an AE 1-2.
Despite his non finish in A-Main 3 Tebo completed the podium. The winner of the opening final from fourth on the grid, the 2007 4WD Champion said he lacked consistency and the result today was were each of the drivers deserved to finish. Coming here with a new much modified RB5 chassis, Tebo said he was pleased they were competitive and in the hunt throughout. The American who TQ’d two rounds of qualifying said one of the main problems was his search for perfection which at times made him change his set-up when he should have just focused on driving it.
Missing out on the podium, Losi’s Evans said he could not be disappointed at finishing his first Worlds in fourth. Coming to Finland with high hopes for the new TLR22 and in search of their first 2WD title in 10 years the friendly American said it was a pity about the opening two mains as he really felt his car was good enough for a podium.
Pulling off a stunning drive in the second A-Main to finish the leg 3rd, Team Durango have got to be pleased with Joern Neumann for taking their prototype DEX210 to fifth overall. Starting from 9th on the grid this is the German’s second time to put a Gerd Strenge designed prototype in the Worlds final on its debut having made the 4WD World Final in Japan in 2007.
Neil Cragg, who like Cavalieri won his 2WD World title starting from second on the grid, ended the event 6th in what was a very up and down day for the 28-year-old British ace. The high of securing the Top Qualifier honour this morning with a great final qualifying run was short lived with three finals he will want to forget.
One of the stars of these championships Dakotah Phend is now officially the 7th best 2WD buggy driver in the world which is no mean feat for a 14-year-old on his debut. Behind the talented American the World’s Top 10 was completed by Naoto Matsukura, Lee Martin and Peter Pinisch.
With the 2WD World Championship in the bag and Ryan Cavalieri joining the prestigious list of champions the other drivers have little time to refect on what could have been as Friday sees the start of the 4WD event. Tomorrow the organisers, who have put on the best World Championship the sport has seen, and are getting just recognition for their efforts, will change the layout of the track in preparation for what is expected to be a more fiercely fought contest. Our coverage which is being supported by Team Durango, LRP, Speed Passion and Team C, will resume Friday with updates throughout the practice day.