Qualifying for the 2010 IFMAR 1:8 Off Road World Championships is over with 16 drivers now able to relax some what having successfully completed the first stage of the event by qualifying directly for the Semi finals. Having already wrapped up the honour of becoming Top Qualifier at these World Championship this morning in Q5, Kyosho’s Jared Tebo topped off the perfect day with another fastest run in final qualifying. Team Associated’s Ryan Maifield, who needed to add a good result to his tally, took second in Q6 moving him right back up the order to fourth in the final qualification ranking. The only other driver to TQ a round here in Pattaya, defending Champion Atsushi Hara was third fastest to move into second overall ahead of Adam Drake, who had his worst run of the event with 9th.
A rather uneventful final qualifier the biggest losers were Losi’s Matt Castellano and Xray’s Teemu Leino who were pushed out of the Top 16 by Maifield and Josh Wheeler. 28th after Q5, Wheeler saved the best for last as he took his Xray around in the 4th fastest time to secure the final direct qualification spot just behind Joern Neumann who gives LRP’s S8-BXR evo buggy the honour of being best placed of the many new manufacturers making their World Championship debut here. In terms of nationalities, qualifying endorses the United States status as the powerhouse of 1:8 Off Road with 9 of the 16 drivers being American.
Finalists at the last World Championships Robert Batlle, Jesse Robbers, Travis Amezcua and Taylor James didn’t make the first cut. Batlle, Robbers and Amezcua will line-up in the 1/4 Finals while James has set himself a mammoth task needing to survive four finals if he wants to again be in the World’s most important buggy race having qualified down in the 1/16th final which means he races tomorrow.
A rest day for the top 48 drivers, tomorrow’s schedule will see up to and including the 1/16th final being run from which eight drivers will progress to the big day.
Jared Tebo will enter the record books as the Top Qualifier for the 2010 IFMAR 1:8 Off Road World Championship putting the honour beyond the reach of his rivals by going fastest in the penultimate round of qualifying here in Pattaya, Thailand. The Kyosho driver recored his second TQ run topping Q5 from Team Durango’s Ryan Lutz. Tebo had a couple of close moments but otherwise said it was a really good run despite the ‘extremely, extremely rough’ track conditions. The US Champion said sticking to your lines had become so important and that he has never raced on a track where this was so critical. Slowly adjusting the set-up on his AKA shod MP9 to suit the changing track, he is happy to have wrapped up the TQ honours but said that there was still a bigger game plan and he was sticking with it. Finding the chassis plate to be bent he will fit a new one for Q6.
Having set the fastest lap in both of the qualifiers yesterday, Lutz again was the quickest man over a single lap but this time he backed it up with a good 10-minute pace. Carrying the hopes of World Championship debutants Team Durango, the American said he ran as conservative as he possibly could and that while it goes against his natural driving instinct it is really the only way to post a competitive time around this track. Planning the same approach for the final qualifier he said even with another top run he can not make magical Top 16 and his focus now is getting himself into a Quarter Final position. Still fine tuning his Alpha engined DNX408 he said it has been getting better and better each time out.
Third fastest Adam Drake has been ‘Mr. Consistent’ in qualifying. What was a good round for Team Losi, with three of their cars in the Top 6, the suprise absentee from the 2008 World Final said he made a few mistakes. Also experiencing some problems with traffic the former US Champion said his 8ight felt good and his speed was good too. Top Qualifier at the last Worlds team-mate Mike Truhe was fourth fastest recording his best heat. Second fastest in Q3 & 4 yesterday Billy Fischer had a costly crash which lost him about 7 seconds to finish 6th. Discovering the ride height a little off on his O.S. powered Losi he said the run was ‘not bad’ but the final round should be better.
Defending Champion Atsushi Hara had two big mistakes on his way to fifth in Q5 but said the result means no more pressure as it secures him a place in the Semis, the Japanese ace was left well down the order after having a bad round yesteday in the evening run. Happy with his D8, the Hot Bodies team leader was less complimentary about the track saying it ‘sucks’ having got really bumpy even since yesterday. Asked what the plan was for the final qualifier, Hara said he was going for ‘maximum attack’ as he wants to add a second TQ run to his tally.
Dominator of the opening day of qualifying, Team Associated’s Ryan Maifield’s bad luck from yesterday continued as he failed to even start Q5 when the steering servo failed on his RC8B on the first lap of warm-up. With two bad scores this puts huge pressure on the American ace for the last run with him currently sitting 34th in the ranking.
European Champion Renaud was seventh fastest securing his place in the Semi but it was again a troubled round for the only other European in the 2008 final Robert Batlle. The Associated driver suffered a flame-out and was a non starter in Q2 so he needs a good final run if he is to make the Semis. Elsewhere Serpent’s Billy Easton enjoyed his best run of the week getting the new Cobra S811 into the Top 10 for the first time behind Ryan Cavalieri and Portugal’s Miguel Mathias, who were 8th and 9th respectively.
Jared Tebo claimed his first ever TQ run at a 1:8 World Championships here this evening in Thailand when he set the fastest time for Q4. The Kyosho driver topped the round ahead of Losi’s Billy Fischer and leaves the Pattaya track tonight at the top of the qualification ranking from Adam Drake.
Rain just as the last of the lower heats was about to start brought a short 30-minute delay to proceedings sending the top drivers scrambling for tyres but due to the hot conditions the track dried quickly leaving conditions very similar to earlier in the day. Watching the track dry Tebo ended up changing tyres three times before finally taking to the track with soft compound AKA I-beam on the rear and Cityblock on the front of his Orion powered MP9. A clean, crash free run, the American was happy with his car and even more happy to bag maximum points with his intention clearly set on taking the overall TQ honours for these championships.
Finishing behind his team-mate Fischer, who again ran the second fastest time, Drake finally broke into the Top 3. Fourth in the opening three rounds he said the balance of his car was the best he had had after moving the rear hubs back on his Novarossi powered 8ight and going with a lighter oil in the rear shocks for the run. Running green compound Losi Kingpin tyres he said it was not the correct choice and that red compound would have worked better but with four strong points hauls in the bag the former US Champion is happy and now plans to use tomorrow’s final two rounds of qualifying to test tyres and try a slightly more aggressive driving style.
Fourth fastest for the round Cody King described it as the ‘luckiest run ever’, the Kyosho driver getting out of shape five times and landing rubber side down on each occassion. Having prepared 10 sets of tyres after the rain he ended up running soft AKA Impacts with the company’s new red foam and Evo wheel with stiffener which he said worked out well. Despite the result the 23-year-old, who is coming off the back of two big race wins back home, only lies 36th overnight and so needs another good run tomorrow if he is to secure himself a place in the all important Semis.
Top Qualifier at this year’s European Championship Yannick Aigoin set the fifth fastest time despite one big crash. The French racer said his Novarossi powered Losi 8ight has been getting better and better with each run and he is happy where it is now. Having broke a front shock in Q1 he said he still needs another good run and so will being playing it safe in the morning’s penultimate qualifier.
Team Associated’s Ryan Cavalieri completed the Top 6 saying he just tried to be as consistent as he could. Having two lucky escapes following incidents during the 10-minute run, the 24-year-old said his Orion powered RC8B felt good this time round and that the plan for tomorrow was to continue to work on consistency. Behind the American ace, Team Losi’s Darren Bloomfield enjoyed his best round with the seventh fastest time. The British Champion felt his car was a little too hard at the rear but driving the track in sections rather than as a full lap helped him to string together a good run.
Elsewhere it was a bad round for the only other two drivers to TQ a round. Ryan Maifield was running a good pace until a bad landing knocked the bone of the rear centre shaft out of the diff cup. With the RC8B back in the pits his crew clicked it back into place before sending the Associated driver back out, but the round was ruined dropping him from being the provisional TQ holder after Q3 down into a Quarter Final position. Fastest in Q3, Atsushi Hara was in trouble before the heat even started, his Hot Bodies landing on a rock causing his OS engine to cut. Back on track the defending World Champion tried to run the full 10-minutes without refueling but fell short and also drops outside the magical Top 16 in the Qualification ranking for now.
Day 5 of the 2010 IFMAR 1:8 Off Road World Championships sees the final qualifying action with drivers having two more opportunities to improve their positions. Supported by Team Durango, LRP, Reds Racing and Team C, we will bring you reports after each round as things start to get serious here in Thailand.
Defending World Champion Atsushi Hara has topped the third round of qualifying on Day 4 here in Pattaya, the Hot Bodies driver taking maximum points for Q3 ahead of Team Losi’s Billy Fischer and Kyosho’s Jared Tebo. The Japanese ace said it was another safety run on what he described as being a much more difficult track today. With the Top 5 heats having been run at the beginning of the rounds yesterday they are now last to run and a lot of ruts have appeared since Q2. Hara said the high speed sweeper has become very difficult with two bumps having developed since yesterday and they were to catch out a number drivers including yesterday’s pace setter Ryan Maifield who lost over 7 seconds when his Associated tipped over. Asked about set-up Hara said his OS powered D8 was working really well but that the track was not really about car set-up but getting around without crashing.
Giving Losi there best round so far, Fischer put his run down to just crashing less saying his 8ight has been working great all the time. Running Losi’ red compound Blockheads tyre he is however still making small changes to his set-up to suit the changing track conditions which he said has become really tricky now due to the ruts. His team-mate Adam Drake once again set the fourth fastest time and is enjoying the tougher conditions saying bumpier tracks have always suited his technical driving style more. The American said he was pleased with taking his third top 4 run which brings him one step closer to ticking the first item off his check list which is qualifying directly into the Semis. Overall Drake sits second in the qualification ranking equal on points with provisional Top Qualifier Maifield with Tebo third, a single point behind.
23-year-old Tebo changed his Orion powered MP9 ahead of the days first qualifier moving the positions of rear shocks and camber links but said it wasn’t suitable for the much rougher conditions. Having to back off through the sweeper he will change the car for Q4 but will wait till nearer the time of his run to decide on what to change depending on how track conditions change.
Setting the fifth fastest time Renaud Savoya was the top Mugen. A mistake free run, the European Champion is playing it safe for the moment working towards a Top 16 placing rather than overall TQ honours.
Despite getting a Stop&Go penalty for hitting a car as he tried to pass a group of three cars, Cody King took his Kyosho around in the 6th fastest time. After a troubled first day of qualifying 2008 Top Qualifier Mike Truhe finally managed a Top 10 time with his Losi 7th fastest ahead of Team Associated’s Ryan Cavalieri. Describing conditions as being like running on a new track, Cavalieri said he was not fast but didn’t make mistakes allowing him to equal his best round so far.
Elsewhere Team Durango’s Ryan Lutz finally saw his luck change after failing to complete a full run yesterday. Setting the fastest lap of the round with a 44.450, he was glad to do a full run but said while the car was good he made too many mistakes.