Robert Batlle has TQ’d the opening round of qualifying at the 1:8 World Championships in Buenos Aires, the factory Mugen driver topping the 10-minute run by 4.3 seconds from TLR’s Dakotah Phend and the Xray of Martin Bayer. With the teams and drivers expecting to wake up to a wet track this morning the forecasted rain stayed clear and the action was able to get away at 09:00 with Heat 1, made up of fastest Top 12, something that took many by surprise. Team Associated’s Ryan Maifield, who was in that heat, was very critical of the event saying it was the ‘worst’ World Championships he had been to as there was a complete lack of communications. He continued that the schedule is being followed and the re-sort for the qualifying was not done how it was supposed to be done. He finished his criticism with ‘where is IFMAR?’.
Running a time of 14/10:37.538, Batlle said he just tried to run a good safe heat with there being a strong threat of rain before the second qualifying round and in the end was a surprised to TQ as the run didnt feel that fast. Running purple compound Procircuit Hot Dice tyres on his Novarossi powered MBX7, the Warm-up Race winner said the buggy was good however track repairs made this morning left a number of sections of the track very slippery due to the cement dust. In terms of his plan for Q2, the 3-time European Champion said he will wait until nearer the afternoon’s run to see how much the track has broken up and also see what the weather decides to do.
Phend said his run was really good and he was happy to have kept his Orion powered 8ight on its wheels for the entire run. Using Proline Bowtie tyres, the 15-year-old who was a very close runner up at this year’s hugely competitibve US Nationals said while the cement dust made things a little tricky the repair work to the jumps made them a lot better. Looking forward to Q2, Phend said he would probably run the same set-up and tyres again but said he would make the call on that nearer to the time of the run. Team-mate & reigning European Champion Darren Bloomfield, who is running in heat 2, failed to finish his opening qualifier after he broke a front arm on his 8ight.
Setting the third fastest time Bayer, who is running in Group 3, was very happy with his run. The factory Xray driver said he made a few mistakes in the opening two laps but thereafter the run was really good with his LRP powered XB9 very easy to drive. Running AKA City Block tyres he said a suspension change and a wing adjustment improved the buggy from yesterday. The Czech ace said what he does for Q2, commenting the car needs to be adjusted for every run due to the changing conditions, would depend on how the track holds up.
Suffering a mistake of his own doing and then having problems with traffic on his last lap, yesterday’s controlled practice pace setter Elliot Boots said the incidents cost him about 9-seconds in total to leave him 4th fastest but he said ‘thats how it goes’. Running AKA Cityblock on his Novarossi powered MP9, the 19-year-old British Champion said he found the track quite edgy compared to yesterday and so he plans to make a few set-up adjustment but he will wait and see how the track changes over the remainder of the first round of qualifying before adjusting anything.
Team HB’s Ty Tessmann set the fifth fastest time despite a mistake on the step-up which left the Canadian’s D8’12 needing to be marshaled. Fitted with Proline Bowties, the US Champion said the buggy was really good and other than freshening it up for Q2 he doesn’t plan to make any set-up changes. He said his focus for this afternoon’s run is to ‘try not to crash.
Taking his Mugen MBX7 to the sixth fastest time, 3-time European 2WD Electric Buggy Champion Lee Martin was very happy with his start to qualifying. The British ace said his buggy was not as fast as in practice but it was easy to drive apart from one mistake, which he put down to being ‘semi nervous’, that cost him around 2-seconds. Choosing medium AKA iBeam tyres, Martin said the soft compound would have been fastesr but he made the choose to make the buggy safe.
Team Xray’s Renaud Savoya said his objective was to drive a safe run and keep his XB9 on its wheels which is what he achieved. The Frenchman said he was the fastest buggy on the track but the aim was to get a solid Top 10 run and so he was happy with 7th. Comfortable with his buggy in the first half of the run he said after refueling it felt a little edgy something he thinks was due to the insert he ran in his Sweep Battle Star tyres. For Q2 the 2008 Worlds Podium finisher said he will fit the inserts differently and may glue them to the edges of the rim.
One of the smallest factory teams in Argentina, Serpent’s Billy Easton set the 8th fastest time with his S811 Cobra. The American, who designed the buggy, was happy with the result but said it could have been much better had he not had traffic problems. Catching up to a slower car early in the heat he said this caused him to make a mistake and having being one of the last cars to start the run he said on his final lap he lost further time as all the other cars were running around the track slowly having already finished their 10-minutes. The former electric offroad World Champion said in the first half of the race the buggy was a little loose something he put down to the fresh set of Proline Blockades but after the fuel stop he said he put together some ‘really good laps’. Looking to bag another safe run in Q2 he said he doesnt plan to make any set-up changes for this afternoon. Behind Easton was two time European Champion David Tortorici who took his Bliss powered Mugen to the 9th fastest time.
Having got his opinions of the way these World Championships are being run off his chest, Maifield said changes to his RC8 last night made it a little more difficult to drive but overall the run to the 10th fastest time was ‘OK’. Having not had time to mount a new set of tyres due to the unexpected heat resort, the former US Champion ran the same set of JConcepts Metrix tyres he used in controlled practice yesterday. Planning to make a revert back to his set-up used in CP2 he said with a fresh set of tyres he should have a better package for Q2.
Defending World Champion Cody King said he took the full blame for a poor opening qualifier. The Kyosho driver said his MP9 was pretty good but he just tried to drive it too hard. Putting it down to ‘first round jitters’ the first 5-minutes of the run was full of mistakes but he hopes he has now got it all out of his system and is looking forward to a much better Q2 run. Team-mate Jared Tebo, Top Qualifier at the last World Championships, needed to be marshaled twice, one time being on his final lap but still set the 11th fastest time. The American said his MP9 was really good but he was pushing it over the limit at the time of his two occassions.