Davide Ongaro is the new 1:8 Offroad World Champion. The Italian became the youngest winner of the sport’s top prize with an impressive and dominant performance in Australia, to win the 1-hour final by 3/4 of a lap from Top Qualifier Ty Tessmann. Ongaro initially battled with pole sitter Ryan Maifield after defending champion David Ronnefalk hit problems early and then Tessmann made a mistake that dropped him from 2nd to 5th. Pulling clear of the field only alternate mistakes saw the order of the Top 2 change. With 15-minutes on the clock, Maifield had a 4-second advantage and was looking strong but on the difficult track he relinquished that advantage on the top right side of the track and Ongaro went to the front. From there he would take control of the race, his advantage at the midway point almost 7-seconds. As he continued on his way to securing Team Associated’s first nitro World title, allegations of his car having a giro being proven unfounded afterwards, behind the battle hotted up between Maifield, Tessmann and the recovering Ronnefalk. With one less stop to do than his rivals over the hour, Tessmann would secure his 4th consecutive Worlds podium taking his Xray to second, 9-seconds clear of Maifield’s Mugen. For Ronnefalk his reign would end with 4th place the task of coming from dead last after 3-laps too much of a mountain to climb.
Once I had a good distance over Maifield I just tried to drive safe without mistake.”
With a reaction to his achievement more akin to if he had just won a club race back in Italy, Ongaro said, ‘It was a really difficult, long race. The first minute the car was not so good but after it was really good. Once I had a good distance over Maifield I just tried to drive safe without mistake’. Having shot to prominence at the Worlds 2-year ago but lost out on a podium finish when his fuel pressure pipe came off, when asked what today’s win meant, the 17-year-old replied, ‘I’m really, really happy. I want to thank all my family, my friends and all the team in Italy and my sponsors too’.
It was tough out there the whole time. There was not an easy moment.”
‘It was tough out there the whole time. There was not an easy moment’, was how Tessmann summed up the race. The Canadian continued, ‘I had a crash early on and had to battle in traffic for a while so by the time I got through that he (Ongaro) was too far ahead’. The 2014 World Champion added, ‘I thought my car ran good and my engine. We had no mechanical failures but Davide drove a great race and congrats to him on the win’.
This is my best finish at an 8th Worlds which just shows how tough it is. I think I have had pole 4-times but this is my first podium.”
The only one to mix it with Ongaro in the final, Maifield said, ‘the beginning was really good and I though I had a really good shot. I made a mistake but caught Ongaro really fast’. The American went on to say, ‘my car got difficult to drive because the dust came up a lot. I tried to drive without mistakes but it was really hard. I also had to take my sunglasses off at one stage. I tried to take at least 2nd but I didn’t drive a World Champion race, it was so hard’. Commenting on the race while Ongaro’s car was being inspected for a giro, he said, ‘Davide drove a great race and I hope it was a clean win for him. It’s been a long week but I’m happy for my companies. This is my best finish at an 8th Worlds which just shows how tough it is. I think I have had pole 4-times but this is my first podium. I’m not stoked with 3rd but I’m happy with it’.
It was just too hard to be that close to the limit on the longer run.”
Explaining his early dramas Ronnefalk said, ’It was a weird start. The grease from the bearings got in the clutch and was making it slip like crazy. I couldn’t make it over the triple. We did the same procedure as always and burned off the grease beforehand’. Having to pit after his mistake, with pitman Adrien Bertin holding his car down so he could burn off the excess grease, he said he ‘thought it was broke’. The Swede ‘came out dead last’ after his unscheduled stop but tried to ‘give it a go’ but the dusty track made it difficult to hit his lines and he ‘couldn’t catch Maifield and Ty’. He concluded, ‘Davide did a great job. I couldn’t catch him after my problems. He deserved it for sure but at least I gave it a shot. It was just too hard to be that close to the limit on the longer run’.
Ryan Maifield will line-up on pole position for the 1-hour final that will decide who leaves Australia as the 1:8 Offroad World Champion. The Mugen driver secured the No.1 starting position of the 13 car grid with victory in the second & faster of the two half hour Semi Finals. In the first of the encounters, it was Top Qualifier Ty Tessmann who took the win but only after two late errors by Davide Ongaro. Ongaro’s Team Associated went to the front after two and half minutes as Tessmann made a mistake. The Xray driver briefly went to the front 3-minutes later when Ongaro had a mistake but another mistake from Tessmann handed it right back. Tessmann then started to come under attack from team-mate Bruno Coelho putting up little fight as the Portuguese driver went through to second. Unfortunately it was short lived as the race hit half way Coelho ran out of fuel just as he was coming around to pit. Ongaro’s advantage was now 2.3-seconds over Tessmann but with 4-minute left on the clock the Italian made a mistake that let his rival through. A racy Ongaro tried to take back the lead but a mistake inside the final 3-minutes put an end to that. With the Top 5 directly bumping up, there was a good battle for 3rd. Spencer Rivkin led that until a mistake at 7-minutes dropped him 4 places with the American never recovering. In the end it was Batlle that came out on top ahead of American duo Ryan Cavalieri and Jared Tebo. In the second of the Semi, reigning champion David Ronnefalk would have to settle for second behind Ryan Maifield. The Electric Offroad World Champion got the jump on the pole sitter off the start and lead early on before Ronnefalk took a lengthy turn out front until a number of mistakes dropped him back to second. Behind, having bumped up from the 1/4 Finals, Kyle McBride pleased the local crowd with 3rd place ahead ofNaoto Matsukura and Riccardo Berton who had also come from the 1/4 Finals.
Commenting on his race, his winning time almost 11-seconds faster than that of Tessmann’s, Maifield said, ‘it was good. The car was good. It was easy to drive. I just had a couple of mistakes but got back in the groove’. On his battle with Ronnefalk he said, ‘I was not really trying, I was just putting laps in. Overall it was a good run and when David had a few mistakes I was there to take it’. Looking to the Main event, the culmination of 10 days of racing here in Perth, the JConcepts backed driver said, ‘we’ll make a tyre change for the final, something that lasts a little longer, and see what happens’.
‘Not bad’ was Ronnefalk’s view of the race. Despite Maifield getting him off the line, the Swede added, ‘the beginning was very good. Me and Maifield pulled away and had a huge gap. Then he crashed and I pulled away but I caught 5-cars at the same time. It’s hard enough to take care with the jumps but then I also now had other cars to take care of and I messed up twice so Maifield caught back up’. Regarding his tyres choice for the Semi, he said, ‘I ran Detox but the track dried out and it was too hard to drive. I will prepare Blockers and Detox for the final and decide what is best at the start’, he also plans to make his D817 ‘a little stiffer’. On starting position, he said, ‘Starting P2 is no problem. Once there is no trouble at the start we will be right there.
Reacting to his Semi, Tessmann said, ‘it was OK’, adding, ‘we tried different stuff in the diffs. With rain in the Semi practice it was a mess so what we tried wasn’t good in the Semi’. The 2014 World Champion also went with the wrong tyre saying, ‘we ran too hard a tyre. We switched just before warm-up and it was not the right choice’. He continued, ‘we’ll be ok in the main we’ll just go back with the diffs and tyres’. Asked about the final, he replied, ‘that (the Semi) didn’t feel like 30-minutes out there so the 1-hour should go by pretty quick’.
‘It was really good but 30-minutes with Ty is difficult’, was how Ongaro summed up his race. The breakthrough talent of the Worlds 2-years ago in Las Vegas, he added, ‘the track was difficult because it has a lot of traction now but in some parts of the track I was slightly faster than Ty. I was attacking at the end. I am confident for the final’. Set to start 3rd behind Tessmann, he will change to a harder shock oil for the final but stick with his Semi tyre choice of AKA’s Double Down Soft compound long wear tyre.
2012 World Champion Batlle called his performance ‘so, so’. The Spaniard explained, ‘we changed the piston for the Semi because in the practice it was a little bouncy. With the change the car was not squatting and had good rear traction but it was too soft for the Semi and it was moving around too much’. On his own performance over the 30-minutes he said, it was ok but I had a mistake in the beginning and then had a lot of traffic. After that I stayed 7-seconds from the leaders. The speed as there. We had similar pace but I couldn’t get close to race them. At least we are in the final and I have extended my record of the (driver with the) most World finals’. For the Main he will tweak his set-up to have ‘less roll in the car’.
Completing the Top 3 in the second Semi, with his time putting him 10th on the grid behind the Renaud Savoya and Aaron Stringer, who got through on the fastest times having finished Semi A 6th & 7th, McBride said, ‘we are in there at least so I’m happy with that’. His second bump up of the day the Australian said on the Semi his car was ‘a little edgy’ as a result of the track getting more grippy but he would adjust his set-up for that. He concluded, ‘I’m not the fastest but I’m consistent so if we can make it easier to drive I’ll be good to go’.
New for the 2018 Worlds is the LCS (Last Chance Saloon) Final, a 15-minute affair that gives the Semi finalists who didn’t progress, the chance to become the 13th starter on the grid. A stacked affair, it was this year’s standout performer CJ Jelin who showed immensely cool shoulders as he saw off the pressure of former Worlds Top Qualifier Elliott Boots to book his first of what is sure to be many Worlds Final appearances for the 14-year-old.
The all important Semi Finals line-up has been completed in Perth, Australia, with 24 of the record 200 plus entries remaining in contention to become Champion of the 17th running of the IFMAR 1:8 Offroad World Championship. In the first of the half hour Quarter Final encounters it was Billy Easton who came out on top of a very closely contested race. Starting sixth on the grid, the Serpent driver had to work hard for the top bump up spot having to fend off Aaron Stringer and Joao Figueiredo, the trio crossing finish line in a train. Starting on pole, Adam Drake led things initially before a mistake at the 5-minute mark allowed 5th place starter Figueiredo to go to the front for much of the race before a mistake dropped him back into the chasing pack. Maintaining the final bump up position, Drake looked on target to progress to the Semi but with in the final 4-minutes lost position to a recovering Renaud Savoya. Starting second, the TLR driver had a rough opening few laps which were compounded further by issues with a bad refuelling on one of his fuel stops and he found himself down in 9th. With a Semi Final position at stake, Drake put in a stellar charge to take back the position and was closing on the Frenchman but going long on refuelling he came up short and in the final minute his Mugen came to a stop in the middle of the track allowing Savoya to cruise to fourth and onto the Semi final.
In the second of the Quarter Finals, thunder & lighting striking during the race, Italian Kyosho driver Riccardo Berton took the win ahead of Team Associated’s Aussie star Kyle McBride and the HB Racing of Cole Ogden. Starting on pole, McBride gave up the lead to Ryan Lutz on the opening lap before an error two laps later dropped the Tekno driver down the order. Worse was to come for the American however with his challenge for a Semi Final start ultimately scuppered by a flame out. Team Associated’s Cole Tollard secured the final Semi bump position finishing 5-seconds ahead of former World Champion Atsushi Hara who bows out of what is his final 1:8 Offroad World Championships.
Ty Tessmann is the Top Qualifier at this year’s 1:8 Offroad World Championships in Perth, Australia. The former champion took qualifying’s top prize with the second fastest time in the final round of qualifying behind Davide Ongaro to deny defending Champion David Ronnefalk by a single point. While Ongaro took Q6 by a considerable margin of almost 8-seconds, as the only one who could knock Tessmann off the top of the qualification ranking, Ronnefalk didn’t have the best of runs and needing only a Top 4 for the round to take the overall TQ ended up with a P5 leaving with 8 points compared to Tessmann’s 7. With four of the six rounds of qualifying to count Ongaro’s second TQ run allowed him to drop a 16th from Q3 to end up 3rd overall. Concluding qualifying with a P4 behind Spencer Rivkin, Ryan Maifield would move up to fourth in the final ranking ahead of Mugen team’s Robert Batlle with onroad star Naoto Matsukura completing the Top 6.
It’s getting a harder track out there, the step down in particular where a lot of guys were having trouble.”
Taking what is his second Worlds TQ, going onto win the World title on that occasion in Italy, Tessmann took it in his stride saying, ‘we made a few changes and they were not good. We tried to make the car more comfortable but did the opposite. I drove around as best I could and I made no mistake, I’m pretty happy about that’. The Xray driver added, ‘we know what to do to make the car fast again’. Asked about track conditions now that qualifying is complete, the Canadian replied, ‘it’s getting a harder track out there, the step down in particular where a lot of guys were having trouble’. Looking his Semi final he said, ‘we will watch and see how it evolves now that there is going to be longer runs between watering’. Tomorrow is a day off from racing for the top drivers with the lower finals up to and including the 1/16 finals making up the schedule.
The TQ is nice but it’s not everything.He can take this one and I’ll take the one on Saturday.”
Summing up qualifying Ronnefalk said, ‘It went pretty good. Everything that matters is your starting position in the Semi and I’m starting first in the B Semi’. On his Q6 performance the HB Racing driver said, ‘I needed to get two good runs to make the Semi. I had two mistakes at the critical step down and then hit traffic at the end which cost me the TQ. I was 4/10th behind Maifield and that position would have got me the TQ. I passed Maifield but then hit the traffic’. The Swede added, ‘the TQ is nice but it’s not everything. He can take this one and I’ll take the one on Saturday’. Asked his plan for the finals he answered, ‘the car is easy to drive so we will wait and see what happens with the track tomorrow after they run the lower mains’.
Preferring to do his talking on the track, Ongaro reacted to his TQ run by saying, ‘I’m happy’. The Italian teenager added, ‘the track had a lot of traction now but the car was ok for this’. Looking to the Semi final, his Associated set to line up 2nd on the grid behind Tessmann, he said, ‘I will try a harder compound (tyre) for Saturday but I just want to drive a clean 30-minutes to pass to the final, then we will see’.
We are still trying to get the car to work. We’ve been here 11 days and ran on 15 different tracks.”
On his fourth in Q6, Maifield said, ‘It was alright. I was just trying to drive conservative. We had issues in the other round but got that sorted’. The Mugen driver added, ‘we are still trying to get the car to work. We’ve been here 11 days and ran on 15 different tracks’. One positive the Electric Offroad World Champion took from the final qualifier was, ‘David (Ronnefalk) caught me which allowed me to see where my car is lacking. It was good to see what we are missing’. On Saturday’s Semi final he said, ‘We’ll just prepare it the best we can for Saturday and see what happens the track which will probably be something we’ve not seen before, but it’s all good’.
Batlle said his final qualifier ‘was so so’ but the Mugen driver pointed out he using the run to judge tyres for the Finals. The Hot Race sponsored driver was using a set of their Alaska tyres which already had 40-minutes of running on them. As a result of the mileage he said he lost about 2 to 3/10ths of a second per lap but running them was very beneficial for planning for the finals. On his car he felt it was ‘better than before’ but added ‘we still have to work a little more to find more forward traction’. On qualifying 5th overall, he said, ‘It s good result. I am not a qualifying guy. We are in the Semi which was the goal. We need a little more speed for the finals but we have one day to think about this. We will do our best’.
Coming into the event directly from almost 2-weeks of racing at and winning the 1:10 Niro Onroad World Championships in Miami, Matsukura was happy to qualify 6th overall to secure himself 3rd on the grid in the Semis. The Infinity team driver, who has chosen to run a Mugen as the onroad World Champion manufacturer does not yet have an offroad offering, said Q6 was, ‘not too bad but I had a mistake’. Using the run to test a harder tyre with a view to the finals he also made a rear shock change to the car but plans to go back to a heavier oil for the Semi practice predicting Saturday’s race temperatures will be higher. He concluded, ‘All is good and in my Semi I will drive just to get to the final’.
Concluding the second half of qualifying with a much improved run of Top 4 finishes, Rivkin said, ‘I didn’t change the car the last three rounds and I don’t want to touch it because I got good consistent results but I think to get a taste of more speed we need to make changes’. The former Electric Offroad World Champion continued, ‘It is not the fastest but it is consistent and it drives around better than others. We will examine a few things we can change on the car ad made an educated decision on what’s best and go from there’.