2005 World Champion Neil Cragg is the Top Qualifier for this afternoon’s 2WD electric Buggy World Championhips, the British ace snatching the honours from Associated team-mate Ryan Cavalieri with a TQ run in the fifth and final round of qualifying at Vaasa this morning.
The 28-year-old, who won his only World title in Italy from second on the grid, said his B4.1 just got faster every round culminating in this morning’s TQ in which he beat TLR’s Dustin Evans by 9/1000ths of a second. Asked about the final, which will be decided over three 5-minute legs of which the best two count, the six time European Champion said he is expecting a close challenge from his two AE team-mates Cavalieri and Ryan Maifield who line up directly behind. With all the finalists feeling driver errors are going to play a big part in the results Cragg said his focus will be on trying not to crash as he feels there are not too many places to pass.
Starting from second on the grid former 4WD World Champion Cavalieri feels he is looking good for the final as he chases his first 2WD title. Admitting anything can happen the former US Champion said he is comfortable racing the guys around him and thinks they should be exciting finals.
Fellow American Maifield said he is pretty confident about his chances as he is very comfortable with his Reedy powered B4.1. Starting third on the grid, the most consistent driver throughout qualifying feels the pressure is on the two ahead rather than on him. Expecting more exciting racing than at the Warm-up Maifield feels the track layout now gives more potential for passing.
Taking two rounds of qualifying Jared Tebo starts fourth after a poor final qualifier this morning. The Kyosho star said he did not listen to himself and changed his set-up for Q5 and the result was not good. Reverting back to the set-up he used on both his TQ runs, the American said his modified RB5 should be fine and the race is going to come down to him running flawless 5-minute finals each time.
Lining up fifth on the grid Dustin Evans said he ‘super pumped’ going into the finals. Having worked on his car late last night along with his engineer he said they found an issue with the diff. Transform the feel of the TLR22 he said his run to second this morning, which was so close to a TQ run, took half the driving effort of yesterday but was way faster. The 25-year-old who has been enjoying a really strong run of results in the build up to the Worlds believes he has a really good race car for this afternoon.
Starting from sixth on the grid Tamiya’s Lee Martin is aiming for a podium. The current European expects everyone to make mistakes especially over the jumps but feels his Speed Passion powered TRF201 is good enough to race with those ahead of him on the grid.
Starting behind Martin is Team Yokomo’s Naoto Matsukura who still holds the fastest lap time of these championships. Running a standard lenght B4.1, the Japanese Champion says he is going for the win. The current back to back 1:12 World Champion the 17-year-old is no stanger to success and is sure be spectacular in the finals.
One of the stars of the past three days is American Dakota Phend. His first electric buggy World Championship the 14-year-old will start 8th on the grid for Team Losi Racing. Totally unphased by this impressive performance he said his aim is just to get good starts and stay out of trouble. Working with former two time 4WD World Champion Jukka Stennari, Phend said making the final was down to the Finn, who is now based in California where he is responsible for product developed at Losi.
Making their 2WD Worlds debut Team Durango have made the main event thanks to German Champion Joern Neumann. Running the prototype DEX210 he said he is really happy for the team and hopes he can finish well up in the finals.
Completing the grid here in Vaasa is Austrian Peter Pinisch who brings the total number of Associated B4.1s in the final to five. The most successful brand in the class this is no real surprise and right now the American company looks good to add an 11th World title to their role of honour.