One of the pre-event favourites for this the 13th running of the 1:8 Off Road World Championships, Jared Tebo made his intentions clear here in Thailand today by topping the reseeding for qualifying. The Kyosho driver completed the fastest three consecutive laps around the Pattaya track in the second practice to maintain his form at the top and again leave the track as top dog. The American ace fitted a new Orion engine along with a fresh set of soft compound AKA Impact tyres to his MP9 for the final practice but otherwise ran the same set-up as he had used to convincingly top the morning time sheets. During his fuel stop taken at 8mins 30sec, pitman Joe Pillars took time to check the remaining fuel before refilling and afterwards said that while there was still a good amount of fuel remaining they planned to play it safe tomorrow and make a stop.
Team Associated’s Maifield was pleased with his performance describing it as ‘not a bad day’ as he set the second fastest time over the three combined laps. The American said his RC8B suited the hotter afternoon track conditions and other than checking over the car he has no plans to make any changes for the morning’s first qualifier. Asked if he could break Tebo’s run at the top of the time sheets he said he was just focused on doing his own thing and keeping his head down but added that if the track stays consistent all should be alright.
Travis ‘Peanut’ Amezcua was classified third based on his morning run. The Mugen driver said he opted for the wrong tyre in the afternoon choosing Proline Sniper when he should have went for Holeshot. Due to the hotter conditions this left him with too much traction but heading into qualifying the 2008 Finalist said he has a good set-up that makes his MBX-6 easy to drive and it was just a matter of choosing the right tyres to suit the conditions at the time of each run.
Making it four different manufacturers in the Top 4 was 20-year-old Matthew Castellano. Although the day was about getting three fast consecutive laps together the Team Losi drivers ended the day with the quickest 10-minute run also recording the fastest lap of the event on the way with a 43.88. Other than switching to a slightly heavier shock oil in his OS powered 8ight, he has been running a very close set-up to that which he normally uses back home and is very happy with his event so far. Having traveled to the Pattaya track for some pre-event testing in early October, the American said he was glad of the mileage and he was now looking forward to qualifying getting underway. The Top Qualifier at the last World’s, team-mate Mike Truhe was classified a lowly 17th in the reseeding but the Californian was upbeat about his day saying his car was easy to drive allowing him to run 10 minutes without crashing.
Despite having his fuel tubing come off in FP4, Cody King put Kyosho top in terms of team performance by getting a second car of the 1:8 Off Road’s most successful manufacturer in to the Top 5. The highest ranked non-American was Canada’s Ty Tessmann, the 17-year-old being classified 6th in the ranking due to a new points system IFMAR applied to determine the final order, despite having actually recorded the fourth fastest time. The factory Hot Bodies driver said he drove the final practice solely focused on achieving three quick laps and was happy with his performance. Team-mate and the defending World Champion Atsushi Hara tried new lines over the jumps and was unable to get three trouble free laps together and so ended up 12th. The Japanese ace again tried to run 10 minutes without fueling but with his OS set very lean it cut when he rolled his D8. Encouraged by his fastest lap of 44.160, which he said he set when he drove safe, he will play it safe tomorrow and stop for fuel. Both drivers will run the same set-up again tomorrow but will fit new chassis plates.
Team Durango’s big new signing Ryan Lutz claimed 7th followed by Germany’s Joern Neumann driving LRP’s S8 BXR evo. Neumann looked very strong today and actually set the fifth fastest reseed time but the over engineered points system doesn’t reward him for his driving. European Champion and 2008 Worlds podium finisher Renaud Savoya was 9th with his RB powered Mugen but remains confident while fellow countryman Yannick Aigoin completed the Top 10 with his Novarossi powered Losi.
Fastest yesterday, Kyosho’s Jared Tebo continued to set the bench mark in terms of outright pace as he recorded the fastest lap so far of the championships in this morning’s third free practice. Running on a track that underwent a lot of patching, he set a 44.840 lap to top the time sheets by the biggest margin yet ahead of fellow countryman Travis Amezcua. Kyosho team-manager Joe Pillars, who is pitman for Tebo, described the morning run as near perfect saying everything came together with driver, car and tyres all performing really good. In the second group to take to the track Tebo found the track still a little too oily after the overnight treatment and plans to wait for the track to come up rather than change anything on the AKA shod MP9. It was a good morning for the Kyosho/Orion/AKA squad with Cody King setting the third fastest time
Running his Mugen the very same same as he did yesterday when he ended up being fourth fastest, Travis Amezcua said the track work had made his MBX-6 a lot easier to drive. Other than running wide a couple of times as he adapted to the new conditions, the 2008 Finalist described the run as clean and like Tebo doesn’t plan to change anything for the day’s second and final practice. Today’s practice will determine the reseed for qualifying with each driver’s three fastest consecutive laps being used.
After a difficult opening day new Team Durango signing Ryan Lutz is much happier with his pace managing the fourth fastest time this morning. Having been set back by a sticking throttle linkage, the American said the patching of the track had really helped as it was now more suited to his driving style. Planning to focus on his driving in FP4, the only change planned to his set-up is a switch to a heavier centre diff oil.
Setting the fifth fastest lap, Team Associated’s Ryan Maifield said he liked the track better today and was also happier with his Reedy powered RC8B. Having changed to lighter diff and heavier shock oil along with adjusting the rear sway bar the car felt better overall but at the cost of a little steering.
Darren Bloomfield was fastest of the Team Losi drivers, the British Champion setting the sixth fastest lap time despite him not having been to the Pattaya track previously. Setting a best time of 46.068, Bloomfield admitted he is getting on a lot better than expected. Having heard it was a very difficult track to learn he said after just three runs he is really comfortable with it and likes the neat and tidy driving style that the track requires.
Defending champion Atsushi Hara could only manage the 10th fastest time but the Japanese driver had the disadvantage of being in the first group on the reworked track. Afterwards the Hot Bodies team leader said for the conditions his D8 felt good and he was able to run very consistent laps. Running short of the ten minutes in terms of fuel Hara plans to run the same set-up in the final practice as he looks to take it to Tebo.