With a break in the action following qualifying we have a collection of new products showing up at the Offroad Meeting in Italy. First up from our sponsors Fast Race is a new range of optional chassis plates for the Associated RC8, Xray XB808 and Mugen MBX-6. Made from 4mm thick high quality aluminium, they are heavily and strategically machined to be lightweight yet retain their strenth and stiffness. Another nice feature is that the plates feature a groove below the front and rear differential casing that can be fitted with an o-ring to retain the transmissions grease as well as keep dirt out. Another nice feature is the use of small steel balls under the downstop screws, that protect the chassis and over time offer a more consistent setting, due to the prevention on wear in this area.
Fast Race also showed us the new range of Alpha engines that they have the exclusive distribution for in Italy. Available in a 5 port and two 7 port versions, they are a good quality and high performance engine. As seen in Austria Fast Race also have new wheels, which are now finally in production and available for sale in both white and fluorescent yellow.
Kyosho are present with the first batch of newly arrived Inferno conversion kits to turn the regular MP9 into the MP9e. The cars did very well on their debut, taking 2nd and 3rd in the Brushless buggy final last night. Also seen on these and the gas powered Kyoshos are the new light blue srings that fit between the current blue and lime versions and new light green springs that fit between the current lime and purple springs.
Bitty Design have a big presence here at the event. The Rabitti brothers are showing off their new range of Fighter buggy bodies that we wrote about a few days ago as well as their new range of BD branded clothing. The body painting specialists also have a great selection approximately 100 pre painted bodies, all featuring a unique design.
New brand EZ Power from Italy are showing off their wares including this Novarossi made XS engine, a 5 port motor that features their own internal specifications. EZ Power also have a complete range of exhaust systems in the works to go with their new motors as well, with a range of manifolds, fuel tubing and air filters also available. For electric racing, with whom they supply Fabrizio Teghesi, there is a complete and extensive line of LiPo packs, from RX versions all the way up to competition packs for touring cars as well as brushless powered 1/8th scale buggies. They are currently looking for worldwide distributors.
Hobao driver Jon Howell is here with a lot of prototype parts on his Hyper 9. New straight front and rear lower wishbones, as well as new front upper wishbones and steering knuckles, currently in plastic, all help to to reduce low speed turn in and increase high speed turn in by giving the car more caster. Other new parts include new diff casings with extra mounts for attaching rubber boots on the driveshafts, new rear shock tower, new rear uprights and new one piece aluminium shock tops.
Yannick Aigoin is the 2009 Arena Offroad Meeting Top Qualifier for both Buggy and Truggy after setting the pace in the final qualifier for both categories here this morning in Italy. After struggling in the penultimate buggy qualifier yesterday evening, the Team Losi/Novarossi driver reverted to the set-up which took him to the top of the timesheets in Q2. The result was a 7L/5:10.201 which put him over 4 seconds clear of fellow 8ight driver Riccardo Rabitti, the Italian riding high from his Brushless victory last night. Shortly afterwards the French ace ran the fastest 5-minute run of the weekend for Truggy with a 7L/5:11.189 to secure overall TQ double.
Running the same set-up as yesterday, which includes running Proline Crimefighters on the front and Bowtie on the rear of his Sirio powered Losi, Rabitti lived up to his promised improvement. Producing an error free run he posted the fastest lap for the round enroute to second with a 7L/5:14.004. Like Aigoin, the Italian Champion would like to find a little more steering on his 8ight but plans no major set-up changes for his next outing, tonight’s ‘Race of Champions’.
Third fastest in the final qualifier was Q3 pace setter Davide Tortorici. The Italian produced his best time taking his Crono/OS/AKA combination to a 7L/5:20.153 knocking over a second of his TQ run. The former two time European Champion’s strong performance has denied Team Losi a clean 1-2-3 in the final overall qualification ranking as he claims third between Martin Bayer and Rabitti. Bayer had a poor final qualifier after changes to the centre diff and front shocks made his car difficult to drive and he ended the round with only the sixth fastest time. The Czech star, who will have to come from the back of the grid in the Race of Champions, will revert back to his previous set-up.
Top Kyosho at the end of qualifying is Martin Karner who produced his fastest qualifier in Q4 enroute to fourth for the round which ranks the Austrian’s Team Orion powered MP9 fifth overall. Finishing just behind him for the round and also in the overall ranking was Hong Nor’s Richi Gomez, the Spaniard also saving the best for last to produce his quickest 5-minute run. Elliot Boots had a disappointing last qualifier struggling with a lack of grip but strong showings yesterday meant the European Junior Championship is best placed of the Mugen team with 7th overall.
With Aigoin and Bayer also claiming a Losi 1-2 in the overall Truggy qualification it is Simon Willets who heads the chasing pack. The British driver took his best result in the final qualifier taking his Team Orion power Kyosho to second to jump ahead of Mugen’s Alessandro Magi in the final ranking. Also producing his best Truggy result with third for the round Fabio Boero takes 5th overall with French driver Sebastien Mutel completing the Top 6. It is a busy afternoon here at the Arena of Cowboys for the Truggy drivers as they have their Finals today following by their own Race of Champions.
There is much excitement among the leading drivers ahead of tonight novel race which will see the Top 16 from qualifying line up in reverse order before the last placed driver gets eliminated every two minutes. For the buggy event this means another Frenchman will start on pole with Sebastian Mutel at the controls of Kyosho taking all the pressure. In Truggy, Italian Mugen driver Federicio De Marco will have the honour of heading the field off in front of the large crowd expected at the Rodeo ring, which provides the perfect stage for such an event.
In the F2 Buggy category local driver Marco Baruffolo driving an RB powered GS claimed TQ honours ahead of the Mugen of Englishman Anthony Conroy with leading British Championship runner John Howell, who is racing a Reedy engined Hobao, completing the Top 3.
Riccardo Rabitti has claimed the first of the silverware at the 2009 Arena Offroad Meeting after he cruised to victory in the Brushless Buggy class here tonight at the ‘Arena of Cowboys’. Starting on pole the Italian wrapped up the title early winning the opening two Legs of the triple A-Mains with ease. With the crown secured the Losi driver set himself the challenge for the third leg of running a sub 42 second lap. Taking a hat trick of wins to complete the perfect event he came very close, recording a 42.078. Afterwards Rabitti said he was very happy to win but he must now turn his attentions to improving his performance in the nitro buggy category in which he lies 5th in the overnight qualification ranking. The current Italian 1:8 nitro National Champion said his performance was effected by the constant switching between the instant power of the LRP powered 8ight-E and his nitro buggy. As a result he struggled to get the clutch on his Sirio engined 8ight to his liking. Able to focus on just nitro for the rest of the weekend and with one title already to his name he is hungry for more setting himself the target of being part of a Losi 1-2-3 come Sunday.
Behind Rabitti the main battle was always for the runners up spot and in the end it was Team Kyosho driver Martin Varner that claimed it over fellow MP9e driver Fabrizio Teghesi. The Austrian briefly made a challenge on Rabitti in the second Leg but couldn’t sustain the pace of the eventual winner and had to settle for another second while Teghesi was best of the rest in Leg 3.
Davide Tortorici has TQ’d the penultimate round of qualifying here at the Arena Offroad Meeting with a 7 lap run in 5:21.145. Having sent out a warning shot in Q2 when he took his Crono RS7 to the third fastest, the Italian improved on that time by almost three seconds to top Q3 from Austrian Kyosho driver Martin Karner and the Mugen of former World Championship finalist Matteo Dapporto. Tortorici was helped somewhat by a poor round for the all conquering Losi team with Yannick Aigoin managing only 7th, after a bad choice of set-up & tyres with Martin Bayer one place behind him. Bayer, who again set the fastest lap for the round with a 43.361, said his run was simply down to bad driving on his behalf.
Enjoying his best run of the day Borja Hernandez broke into the Top 10 for the first time taking his GS Racing CLX to the fourth fastest time with fellow countryman Richi Gomez next up. Gomez is struggling with his car weight which is way over the minimum and this is making it very difficult over jumps, a big hurdle on the US style track that the MRC Crew have prepared for the event.
Elliot Boots said his car was the best its been following a switch to the new Barcodes tyres from his new sponsor JConcepts and ended the round with the sixth fastest time. Having also lowered the angle of the shocks on his Mugen he believes standing them back up will further improve the feeling of the MBX-6. Behind Aigoin and Bayer it was Riccardo Rabitti and Fabio Boero that completed the Top 10.
In the third of the Truggy qualifiers Bayer broke his team-mate Aigoin’s run of TQs taking the round by just over a second from the Frenchman. The result means we will have to wait till the final qualifier in the morning to find out who will be this year’s Arena Offroad Meeting Top Qualifier in both the Truggies and Buggies. Kyosho UK team driver Simon Willetts was third fastest for the round.
In the Brushless class pre-event favourite Riccardo Rabitti will line up on pole position with his LRP powered Losi for the A final which will be run here at the ‘Arena of Cowboys’ tonight over three 10 minute legs.
The second round of qualifying for the Arena Offroad Meeting has been completed with Yannick Aigoin laying down a super fast buggy run of 7-laps in 5:07.797 to finish 10 seconds clear of his nearest rival Losi team-mate Martin Bayer. The French ace said a change of shock pistons and oil resulted in an almost perfect car for the run and he was happy to be able to knock 13 seconds of his Heat 1 time. Despite the huge margin Aigoin plans to try a few small set-up changes for the third and final heat of the day. In Truggy Aigoin once again set the pace bettering his round 1 time by just over a second, again ahead of Bayer.
For his buggy run Bayer switched to Losi Kingpin Red tyres which he found to work much better than expected given their harder compound compared with the Crimefigher M3 he used to top the opening qualifier. Once again Bayer set the fastest lap for the round with a 43.086 which was a second quicker than that set in Q1. In Truggy, like his team-mate Aigoin, he ran the same set-up as the morning but once again he found the ‘crazy’ traffic to be his biggest problem.
A change of tyres transformed the pace of former 2 time European Champion Davide Tortorici in the second qualifier. The former factory Crono team driver ran the same set-up on his OS powered RS7 but switched from AKA’s Gridiron tyre to iBeam and this allowed the Italian to post the third fastest time of 7 laps in 5:24.044. Kyosho’s Martin Karner was fourth fastest having made some changes to the suspension on his Orion powered MP9. Adrien Bertin is assisting Karner with his set-up and feels the very consistent Austrian can make further improvements with more suspension tweaks. Karner is also racing a Castle Creations powered MP9 in the brushless class setting the 2nd fastest time for their third qualifier.
Fifth fastest for the round was Sirio team driver Ricardo Rabitti but he could have claimed a the top 2 time but for a costly driver error. The Italian, who is running in the top heat, had been heading Martin Bayer but lost around 6 seconds with a mistake that was his own doing. Rabitti’s Brushless run was a troubled one as his LRP powered 8ight failed to go at the start. A quick check of the wiring saw the car come to life again and he was able to record the fastest lap enroute to fourth behind the Kyosho’s of Fabrizio Taghesi & Karner and the Mugen of Fabio Boero. A faulty sensor wire is suspected to have been the problem and a new one has been fitted for the next heat.
Completing the Top 6 for the buggy class was Elliot Boots who continues to be top Mugen driver. The young Englishman suffered from a lack of grip on his second run and now plans to try for the penultimate qualifier JConcepts new Barcodes tyre, a pattern he has never used before. Top Xray with the seventh fastest time was Riccardo Perin followed by the Hong Nor of Richi Gomez with Alex Bayer, younger brother of Martin, and Simon Willets completing the Top 10.