Chassis – Mugen MBX-7TR Engine – Novarossi Drake Special Edition Tyres – AKA Impact Fuel – Flashpoint Fuel 30% Radio/Servos – Sanwa M12s / Sanwa SRG-BZX Body – Mugen kit Remarks – Being one of the long time regulars at Circulo Verde Offroad Track, Mugen’s Edward Sio is always a fan favorite and this year has stepped up his efforts in organizing the Philippine Masters 2017. With 2017 being his 8th year in attendance, Sio wanted to make this year’s PM a success and his extremely happy with the way things have gone with many professional drivers making the trip over to highlight the event making it the biggest race in the history of the Philippines.
David Ronnefalk has claimed the overall TQ at the Philippine Masters, the HB Racing driver taking three of the five buggy qualifiers at the Manila based event. With drivers counting their best two rounds, Ronnefalk would be forced to wait until the final round to find out if he had pole for the 1-hour Main as arch rival Ty Tessmann had opened Day 2 of the event with a TQ run. Former winner Kyle McBride however would get the better of both World Champions in Q5, not only ensuring Ronnefalk pole position but also demoting Tessmann to third on the grid thanks to his time being quicker than Tessmann set in Q3.
Following discussions with Adrien Bertin, his former World Champion mentor not at the race but following progress from Europe, Ronnefalk would change his car for final qualifier with the finals in mind. He said, ‘I made some changes to make the car easier in the high speed sweeper. I changed the Ackerman and rear spring and I could drive flat out in the sweeper but it was lazy in the 180 corners so I will go with something in between for the final’. Also using the round to test JConcepts’ Rehab tyres he said, ‘I though they would be quicker but they were slower so I will go back to Detox for the final’. With runtime and tyre wear not an issue at the CV Offroad Track, he said the approach for the final is to ‘go out there and drive it’.
Having been a TQ contender every run until mistakes, and having snatched the overall Truggy TQ from Tessmann with his TQ time in the final qualifier, McBride was very happy to finally TQ a round of Buggy saying ‘I had no crashes this time’. Setting the fastest lap of the round, the Team Associated driver said he improved his car for the round by running a shorter front chassis brace which helped improve corner speed. Also running the same set of Pro-Line Blockade tyres, the former Worlds finalist said they are getting better with every run he puts on them. Planning to ‘try a different tyre in the warm-up to confirm what (he) like(s)’ he added ‘the X2 Blockades are wearing nicely’. In terms of any further set-up changes to his RC8B3.1, he said ‘the car is good right now so we’ll see if the track changes and then decide’.
Running on the tyre he plans to run in the Main, X2 Fugitives, Tessmann said after Q5, ‘the car felt good. It wasn’t as good as it was earlier but it was ok’. Suffering one ‘screw-up’ at the single double, the 24-year-old continued, ‘in terms of the car set-up, I am happy with it and I just hope there is no rain’. Race director Scotty Ernst has brought the start of the finals day forward an hour due to a slight risk of rain tomorrow evening.
Lining up 4th on the grid will be Atsushi Hara. The former World Champion said, ‘I am really happy with the car but again I had a stupid mistake in the last one but I am driving better every run’. Happy to run his HB Racing D817 as is for the final, he said the biggest thing was going to be to choose the right tyre. Picking between Pro-Line’s Fugitive and Blockade tyre, he said the Fugitive is more consistent while the Blockade is faster and right now he is leaning towards the latter. In terms of a race strategy, Hara said, ‘I don’t do anything crazy with my pit stops, it’s better to drive safe’ adding, ‘to get more time you need to run the engine lean which gives more power and this is a small track so it will only make the car harder to drive’.
Competing the Top 5 in qualifying, Aaron Stringer said ‘starting 5th is going to be interesting’. He continued, ‘my car was good in the last one, the times were pretty close and I was on my finals tyres which worked well’. Running AKA’s medium long wear Impact tyres, the Mugen driver added, ‘the tyres came on towards the end which is what you want’. In terms of run time, the Australian feels it is ‘a bit low at 7:30’ but he will run the final at that rather than take any risks. Behind Stringer fellow Mugen driver and defending Philippine Masters Champion Adam Drake with line up sixth for the start.
Chassis – Mugen MBX-7R Engine – OS Speed B2101 Tyres – Pro-Line X2 Fugitives Fuel – Flashpoint Fuel 30% Radio/Servos – Hitec Lynx 4S / Hitec HSB-9370TH Body – Pro-Line Predator Remarks – Making his 3rd appearance to the Philippine Masters, Mugen’s Adam Drake is one of the original professional drivers to race the PM. Drake’s MBX-7R has a few minor modifications like the Flashpoint brass pistons and newly designed engine mount. Also following the trend of upping shock oils and diff oils, Drake commented that his car isn’t much different from what he normally runs and has mostly been testing tires, running a different set every run on his buggy.
Kyle McBride is the Top Qualifier for Truggy at the Philippine Masters, the Team Associated driving topping the final two qualifiers to deny first time visitor Ty Tessmann pole position for what is expected to be an endurance test 1-hour Main in Manila. Tessmann set the early Truggy pace doing three in a row in the opening rounds of qualifying but in Q4 McBride’s would force the decision to got to the final round. Setting a new fastest time this was to work to the advantage of the event’s former Buggy Champion. With drops of rain appearing during the fifth & final qualifier, Tessmann struggled with his tyre choice allowing McBride to take the win. The slowest time of the 5-qualifiers it didn’t matter because the Australian had banked the fastest tie breaker time a round early.
On his second visit to what has become Asia’s highest profile annual offroad event, McBride was pleased to get the overall TQ and believes the longer final will suit him. ‘I have driven 1-hour finals a couple of times and usually I’m better on longer runs’. Commenting on the final qualifier, the 21-year-old said, ‘my car was really good, then the rain came which made it really interesting but I managed to keep it clean’, something which saw him the only driver to complete 10-laps. Asked about his game plan for tomorrow’s main he replied, ‘I just going to mount up new tyres, I know my car is good’. In terms of strategy he said, ‘I can run a solid nine minutes so I am going to come in (for fuel) comfortable. It’s not possible to make 10-minutes in this weather so no point in taking extra risks’. He concluded, ‘It should be an exciting race’.
Summing up the final qualifier, Tessmann said, ‘It started off ok and I was cruising around but then it started sprinkling big drops which I was surprised to see and after that it got worse and worse. My tyre compound was super bad in the rain’. Running Silver compound Electro Shots on his XT9 he said for the final ‘I’ll run X2 Blockades and hope it doesn’t rain’. Expecting tyre wear not to be an issue in the final, adding ‘even if they’re slicks they’ll be fine’, he also feels there is no advantage to be gained from stretching his fuel stops. Like McBride he will stick with his regular 8:40 stops. Planning to ‘pressure (Kyle) early in the race and see what happens’, he said, ‘it’s a long race especially for Truggy and I don’t think its something many people have done before in a truck’.
Starting third on the grid, Aaron Stringer said, ‘It’s going to be a long race but I’ll leave my truck as is because its been pretty quick’. The Australian National Champion, who will run AKA’s Impact tyre in the final having run them in the final two qualifiers said his approach to the race is to ‘try not to crash at the start and try keep touch with the leaders’. After that he said the aim is to ‘try to finish’, adding ’60-minutes in this hot weather will be pretty tough’.
‘It a 1-hour final so something is going to happen’ was Atsushi Hara outlook for tomorrow. Putting his OS Speed powered HB Racing truck 4th on the grid, the first time visitor continued, ‘it hot so its going to be tough on the cars and the drivers. It a bit of an endurance test so its going to be interesting’. In terms of his own race, the former Offroad & Onroad World Champion said, ‘my truggy has good speed so I will just put on medium Blockades and just drive’.
Starting fifth on grid, former winner Adam Drake said, ‘the final will be good’. Having been restricted in his tyre choice for qualifying, the Mugen driver continued, ‘we had only one set of the proper tyre we needed but we had to save that for the final’. World famous for his ability to stretch his full mileage to impressive lengths, the American said not having his regular pitman makes long runs a risk. While he has successfully worked with the pitman he has here in Manila before, Drake said his pitman’s limited English is a bit of a communications barrier and so he will run the same fuel stops as Tessmann.
Chassis – Team Associated RC8B3.1 Engine – OS Speed B2101 Tyres – Pro-Line Blockade X2 compound Fuel – VP Racing Fuel 25% Radio/Servos – Futaba 4PX / Reedy RT2207A Body – AE kit body Remarks – ‘The King’, Richard Saxton has made the journey from California to participate in this year’s Philippine Masters and who is enjoying his first ever trip to the Philippines commented that ‘the people are really nice, the track is fun, and I’m having a really great time here.’ Saxton’s Team Associated RC8B3.1 is kit stock besides the Fast Race shock caps, which utilizes a different bladder and have no volume behind the bladder and was seen on Spencer Rivkin’s buggy at the Neo. Also, Saxton is using a +5mm rear shock standoff to fine tune the rear end of the buggy, however Saxton also remarked that he was going to try Kyle McBride’s emulsion shock package in round 4 of qualifying to see which was better.
After a below par performance in the first qualifier of Day 2 of the Philippine Masters following his domination of the opening day, David Ronnefalk bounced back with a new fastest TQ run that all but secures him the overall TQ for tomorrow’s 1-hour A-Main in Manila. Unable to double up on his Q3 TQ, Ty Tessmann would finish 1.5-seconds off his Swedish rival’s pace meaning the Canadian needs to take the fifth & final qualifier in a new faster time something he conceded was not likely. Kyle McBride would complete the Top 3 in a round that saw trouble for Atsushi Hara, his car suffering a flame out, and Aaron Stringer, tyre gluing issues leaving him a non-starter. Enjoying his best run, Adam Drake would claim a P4 ahead of fellow US racers Richard Saxton and Aaron Gomez.
‘Adrien (Bertin) used to call it a morning run and that is what happen in Q3, I left my car unchanged for that one because I knew mistakes were the problem not the car’, was Ronnefalk’s reaction after Q4. The World Champion added, ‘the temperature went up a little so the car was working even better that time’, a fact highlighted by him laying down a new fastest lap time of 30.181 seconds. Commenting on that lap he said, ‘I didn’t even push at all on that lap. It’s easy to go around but if you push it can bite you so I drove super tight in the corners without pushing too hard’. Looking to the final qualifier, he said, ‘it will not be as late as yesterday but I might have to go down (with the oils). I will also change my motor venturi to get more power but other than that the car is amazing’.
Commenting on his P2 for the round, Tessmann said , ‘we ran everything the same as the first one but I think the tyres were a little too soft that one’. He continued, ‘I didn’t have quite as much grip, it was squirmy I guess so for the last one I’ll try X2 Fugitives to see how they are for the mains so we can try to find a tyre that is more stable for the final’. Asked if the final was now his focus, the former World Champion said, ‘it would be nice to go for the TQ but we need to get ourself ready for the finals’.
‘Same old story, I was going good at the start and then crashed’, was how McBride described his latest run in which he would come up short on the triple costing him 4-seconds. The Associated driver continued, ‘we are pretty much on pace and good for the final’. Looking on target for third on the grid, the 21-year-old from Brisbane plans to use the final qualifier to test saying, ‘I want to make one small change for the last qualifier to try and get see if I can get a little more steering’.
The driver who put the Philippine Masters on the international map setting it up for the growth of the big name drivers in attendance for this the biggest year of the event, Drake was happier with his Mugen for Q4. He said, ‘the balance is better now which made it easier to drive but my tyres were too soft’. He continued, ‘it was dusty but still had really good grip and my tyres got too hot so I have just got to get the tyres figured out’.
Setting the fifth fastest time, Saxton said, ‘Having talked with Kyle about his shock set-up, I saw what he was saying and took his advice so I changed from Fastrace shock caps to Associated production caps with emulsion shocks. Comparing the car to Q3, the ‘King’ continued, ‘my car was easier to drive and it was better over the bumps’. For the final qualifier he plans to continue to head further towards McBride’s set-up.