Batlle tops opening run of final practice day

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Reigning World Champion Robert Batlle topped the opening practice on the concluding day of the extended practice at the 1:8 Offroad World Championships in Sicily.  With overnight repairs making for a slightly dustier track for the first of the days 3 scheduled 10-minute runs, the Mugen driver topped the time sheets with a time of 1:52.525 compared with Ty Tessmann’s 1:50.580 outright fastest time which was set in yesterday’s closing practice.  Running in reseeded heats today based on each drivers fastest times from the opening three days of practice, behind Batlle it was Darren Bloomfield who was second fastest just 0.163 off over 3-laps with Ryan Lutz completing the Top 3 for the run.

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Batlle used the run to test tyres running both a new and a used, almost slick, set of Procircuit’s Hot Dices.  Overall the Mugen driver said there was little difference between the two indicating the issue of wear on the high abrasion track does not pose much of a problem.  The Spaniard also used the track time to work on his driving trying ‘more aggressive laps’. Cautious not to get lost with set-up he said for the next practice he will try just some minor adjustments to his Novarossi powered MBX7R.

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Making one of the most significant improvements on his previous time, improving by 1.5 seconds, Bloomfield said he was a little surprised by how competitive his time was saying he ‘thought it was (the run) worse than it turned out’.  Moving out the front shock position on his Bullitt powered Agama, the former European Champion said he has been pretty happy with the car from the start of the event and they have just been making small changes each run but continuing in the same direction with the set-up.  Openly declaring himself not a big fan of the 3-consecutive lap timing saying he doesn’t go into the run focused a stringing 3-laps together he said with 3 Top 10 runs based on overall times to his credit he is very happy with where he is at.  Suffering a broken bodyshell after a bad landing he said in addition to fitting a new shell for the next run he will also look at possible changes to try a make the rear end a little more stable.

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‘Getting there’ was Ryan Lutz’s response to his opening run of the day.  The Team Durango driver said he has been having lots of little issues which he hopes are now sorted.  Fitting new brakes for yesterday’s final run he said they melted into the diff.  With a fresh brake set-up installed for this morning he said on the starter box they looked a little loose so he dialled that out on the radio but about 5-laps into the practice they kept locking up but on inspection afterwards he is hopeful they are now bedded in and are good for a problem free run.  In terms of the buggy set-up he said the few laps it was running without issues it felt pretty good.

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Setting the fourth fastest time Adam Drake described his start to the day as ‘better than yesterday’.  In the first of the two practice runs the TLR driver didn’t even complete a full timed lap after he got hooked up on a pipe with the stays holding it in place breaking a front hinge pin on his Novarossi powered 8ight.  Making no changes for the second run he said the conditions were too hot for the set-up he was running.  Saying it was nice today to be running with guys of a similar speed after the heat reseeding, he said small changes had made the car easy to drive and with the solid run his confidence was growing which he feels will help him to improve on his speed in the next run.  In terms of set-up he will try going up in the front diff oil as well as running less toe.

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A change of tyre left Tessmann only 5th for the round.  Running in the opening heat, the Canadian switched to Pro-Line’s Ion tyres but said due to the dust created by the overnight track repairs they did not work very well.  Apart from choosing a different tyre for the next practice, the US National Champion said they will mainly just freshen up the D812 shocks and diffs for the next run.

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Completing the Top 6 was Jared Tebo.  The Kyosho driver described the run, his fastest of the event so far, as ‘better’ adding they ‘just got to keep the progress going’. Making just small changes to his Orion powered MP9 for his next run he will fit a different engine.  In terms of his pace he said the biggest improvement was going to come from his driving as he gets more and more comfortable with the high bite conditions.

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Running Associated’s all new prototype RC8, a car which team manager Brent Thielke says is still very much in the early stages of development and most likely to see a lot of changes before going into production, Ryan Cavalieri posted the 7th fastest time.  The multiple 1:10 Offroad World Champion described his latest run a ‘really good’.  Describing his new car as ‘more predictable and easier to drive’ he said he didn’t change the car from yesterday instead finding time by attacking the track more.  Running medium compound AKA Catapult tyres he said he really happy with the tyre which other than one run on Enduros he has stuck with throughout the practice.  Planning to freshen up the car for the second of the day’s three practices he will also stiffen up the oils for the hotter conditions, today already feeling a lot warmer than previous days.

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Behind Cavalieri was former long time team-mate Ryan Maifield.  Maifield said he ‘went a little crazy’ with the set-up on his TLR for yesterday’s final practice which didn’t work out.  Going back to his base set-up for this morning but going up in oils he sad they are now headed back in the right direction. Running JConcepts Diamond Bars tyre he said these are what he plans to use on the longer runs and so if he can get the car good on this now it should set him up well for later in the event.  Team Losi Racing team-mate Dakotah Phend, who should have been classified in the Top 6 yesterday but was instead 15th after the official timing didn’t count his final run time, no reason for the error being given, tried a different shock set-up today which he said didn’t work out.

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Elsewhere European Champion Davd Ronnefalk looks set to revert to his original car which he used to top Day 2 of practice.  Having run his second car yesterday and this morning the Kyosho star said he doesn’t feel confident with that car and will now switch back.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014 - add a comment

Chassis Focus – Atsushi Hara

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Chassis – S-Workz S350 Evo
Engine – OS Speed B2101
Tyres – Pro-Line Lockdown X2
Fuel – Nitrolux
Radio/Servos – Futaba
Body – S-Workz Falcon 2
Remarks – 2008 World Champion Atsushi Hara is running the updated S350 Evo buggy which features a number of small new changes throughout. One of the major changes is the updated drive train with new aluminium front and rear centre shafts and steel drive shafts both which use their LDS (lightweight drive system). To work alongside the new front drive shafts there are new front steering blocks which sport smaller bearings while on the rear there are new aluminium uprights. All the wishbones sport 2 new lower shock mounting holes which when used in those lower positions give the car more traction. Finally there are new shorter larger bore shocks and new lower shock towers front and rear, as well as an updated Falcon bodyshell, the Falcon 2. In terms of setup, compared to his test session at IBR Padova prior to coming to Sicily he is running the car much harder and playing around with tires, having tried HB tires earlier in practice he has settled on Pro-Line Lockdown in X2 compound for now.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014 - add a comment

Tessmann fastest at end of Day 3

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With three days of practice complete at the 1:8 Offroad World Championships it is Ty Tessmann who holds the edge with the HB driver setting a new fastest time in today’s final practice. Having moved to the top of the time sheets in the first of the day’s 12-minute practice rounds, the Canadian improved that 1:52.143 time to a 1:50.580 to again set the pace over defending champion Robert Batlle. Having set the pace on Day 2, reigning European Champion David Ronnefalk was, after a sleepy start to the day, able to improve his overall time to complete the Top 3.

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Running a longer chassis on his OS Speed powered D812, Tessmann said the change was better giving the buggy greater high speed stability. Again running Pro-Line’s Suburb tyre, the US National Champion plans to test the company’s Fugitive offering. In terms of set-up changes he said they will discuss tonight what they plan to try out over the three 10-minute runs that make up tomorrow’s schedule, which is officially the final day of open practice.

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Running a time of 1:51.905 in the second practice, Batlle declared himself ‘quite happy’ with his day. Changing tyres during the run, going from Procircuit’s Hot Dice tyre to a new unnamed pattern tyre, he said they gave his Novarossi powered MBX7 super high grip and he preferred the Hot Dice. Feeling the buggy has too much weight transfer for the morning the Spaniard plans to make a shock adjust as he looks to get more forward traction off the landings.

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Changing the set-up on his second Orion powered MP9, Ronnefalk said he had to learn the car again but by the end of the run he was happy with both the consistency and speed. Looking to test his car on slicks he switched to a soft set of AKA Typo tyres which he said on the abrasive surface were slicks after 5 to 6 laps. With the car very easy to drive and the tyres providing good traction he was happy to conduct the test but added care needed to be taken that the tyre wall didn’t wear so much as to make it fail technical inspection.

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Changing to a harder insert in his AKA Catapult tyres along with a shock set-up change Martin Bayer was able to improve on his time to end the day fourth. The factory Xray driver said changes gave him an easier to drive car as well as giving him more overall traction. Admitting he was ‘still quite far of Ty & David’ he said he was still really happy with pace which he hoped to be able to improve on tomorrow with further small tweaks.

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One of the finds of the 2010 World Championships in Thailand, Australia’s Kyle McBride completed the day with a Top 5 run. Making the switch to Pro-Line’s Suburb tyre for his second run, the 18-year-old Kyosho team driver found speed but at the cost of consistency. Feeling his OS speed powered MP9 was not set-up for the edgyness of the tyre he is confident a few adjustments will make it more comfortable. Asked about the track he said traction is nothing like the loose conditions he is used to running at home but he is happy with the rhythm he has found for the super high traction.

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Completing the Top 6, today’s time set to determine a reseed for tomorrow’s final day of open practice and the next day’s two rounds of controlled practice, was Team Associated’s Neil Cragg. Debuting an all new car at the event, the former 2WD Offroad World Champion said it is much easier to drive and more forgiving than is predecessor. Still learning the car, the British ace said with every run it is getting better and better. Disappointed with his morning run the car having felt good to drive but that not being reflected in the lap times, for the second run he took a leaf out of Tessmann’s book and ran a set of Pro-Line Suburbs. A big improvement he said he is pretty happy with how the day ended up but added he has ‘no idea where Tessmann’s pace is coming from’. For his next run he will try heavier diff oils as well as again following Tessmann by try Pro-Line’s new lexan rear wing.

Behind Cragg, Kyosho’s Jerome Aigoin set the 7th fastest time followed by Adam Drake, both drivers times being set yesterday. 1:10 Offroad World Champions Jared Tebo and Ryan Cavalieri, the Associated lead driver setting his time in the final practice, completing the Top 10.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014 - add a comment

Chassis Focus – Ryan Maifield

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Chassis – TLR 8ight 3.0
Engine – Novarossi Keep Off 21 4S
Tyres – JConcepts Diamond Bars
Fuel – Sidewinder
Radio/Servos – Airtronics/Hitec
Body – JConcepts Silencer
Remarks – Ryan Maifield is making is international debut with TLR and is performing well despite having some brake fade problems on Friday, which they managed to fix. The car is a standard 8ight 3.0 but Ryan has had stiffeners made for the lower wishbones and having tried them feels they make the car sharper. Having raced until this point with his basic US setup for the 2nd and final practice today he was going to make his first adjustments to the setup to make it more ‘European’. Ryan is also running the new Diamond Bars from JConcepts which we will have more information on tomorrow.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014 - add a comment

Chassis Focus – Robert Batlle

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Chassis – Mugen MBX7R
Engine – Novarossi Keep Off 21 4S
Tyres – Pro Circuit Hot Dices Medium
Fuel – Nitrolux
Radio/Servos – Futaba/Xpert
Body – Kit
Remarks – Reigning World Champion Robert Batlle is running the new MBX7R, which is the same as the car he ran at the recent Euros but with the latest chassis plate which has the bigger side plate angle. Like the other racers here he has changed his car to a stiffer setup in diffs and shocks to give the car less roll in the high grip conditions and is so far very happy with his pace.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014 - add a comment

Tessmann sets mid way practice pace in Sicily

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Already into their third day of practice at this year’s extended 1:8 Offroad World Championships with still 2 more days of practice to go on the Italian island of Sicily, Ty Tessmann laid down today’s early marker running the fastest three consecutive laps from defending World Champion Robert Batlle. With David Ronnefalk setting the pace yesterday from Tessmann with a time of 1:53.211, in the first of today’s two 12-minute runs the Canadian lowered the benchmark to 1:52.143 with Batlle managing a 1:53.386 followed by a 1:53.842 from Martin Bayer.

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With drivers appearing to be more focused on pacing themselves for the extra long event, the race hosts adding extra practice days to the timetable in lue of the fact they hosted no Warm-up Race, the atmosphere in the pits is rather relaxed for a World Championships. Having went up in the diff oils in his HB, Tessmann said today was a lot better than yesterday the change making his D812 easier to drive in the high speed sections as well as helping the buggy to push through the corners better. Running the same set of Pro-Line X1 Suburb tyres he ran yesterday, Pro-Line appearing to have a slight edge in the wear department on the high abrassion surface, he said overall the car was easy to drive. HB designer Torrance Deguzman has been on a bit of parts reduction exercise for the event with two key new parts being debuted. Following a pin failure in the diff input shaft that cost him the 2013 US title HB now have a single piece unit which they have adapted from the 1:10 electric buggy. Reducing 5 piece to 1, they have also done a similar redesign with the rear wing stay. Now a single molded piece the weight saving is the big benefit of this change which has been further complimented with a new lexan wing. Although happy with where he is at with his set-up, Tessmann said with plenty of practices still to run he wants to try a number of things but added he is at the same time trying to make sure he doesn’t get lost in terms of what direction he goes with the set-up.

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‘Good’ was how Batlle summed up how the event was going so far. The Mugen driver ran a harder shock set-up today which he said made for a more stable car and for the second outing he plans to go even stiffer. Suffering a little with traffic today he said overall he was happy with his current pace echoing Tessmann by saying it was ‘important not to get carried away’ with set-ups changes. With Batlle like his rivals not yet busting out their game faces he said his game plan for the remaining practices was just to make small little changes every run.

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Bayer was not reading much into his early form, the factory Xray driver quick to highlight ‘Its practice’. The Czech driver said he has been changing many things and so far the pace has been good so he is ‘happy for now’. Complimentary of the track surface he said conditions are very stable with the track changing little between the morning and the afternoon which he said helps in terms of working on tuning the set-up.

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Despite being without his pitman and Kyosho Team-manager Joe Pillars, Jared Tebo posted the fourth fastest time this morning ahead of fellow American Carson Wernimont. Issues with the expiry date of Pillar’s passport meant while his team headed on out to Italy he got stuck in LA for two days as he arranged to have a new passport issued but we are glad to report he has made it in time to see his star driver run in the day’s second practice. Tebo said after he ‘struggled’ on the opening day, things have since got better with each run and as he ‘slowly’ gets used to the track declaring himself pretty happy with his opening run today. The reigning 1:10 2WD Buggy World Champion said he is not used to being on throttle in corners so much and he has had to work on getting confident with that but is getting there now.

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Renaud Savoya set the sixth fastest time, the French ace finding the speed he was lacking yesterday to go with the consistency of his Xray. The multiple European Champion said the speed came from switching from Sweep’s Revolt to Exagon tyre. Happy with his car from the very first time he laid it down on the track, this morning he used the 12-minute run to back to back test bodyshells. Running Xray’s stock kit bodyshell he said the buggy was a little faster but switching to Sweep’s Muzzle he said it felt more stable on the grippy conditions. ‘Happy so far’, he said with ‘lots of pratice runs’ they are able to take a ‘step by step’ approach to working on the car set-up.

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Dakotah Phend was fastest of the TLR drivers this morning the teenager posting the 7th fastest time. Having run Pro-Line’s Blockade tyres up to now he will test smaller pins tyres in his next outing with both a set of Suburbs and Fugatives ready to go in his 8ight. Although looking to improve his buggy in the fast sections while trying to keep it good in the tight corners he said he is more focused on trying to figure out the track for himself. Not used to such high bite conditions for 1:8 he feels he needs a bit more track time to master that. New team-mate Ryan Maifield said his buggy is really consistent but he needs to get more speed from it. Really comfortable with the track and getting good feedback from his team in relation to the lines he is running he said they now needs to work on making the car ‘a little more aggressive’.

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Ninth fastest this morning behind Team Durango’s Ryan Lutz, Ronnefalk said he was still asleep for his run. Happy with the car he ran the previous two days, the Swede used today to run his second car for the very first time and although built identically they end up feeling different with this one too soft making it hard to drive. Planning to fix the set-up he will run the second car again this evening adding that tyres have been his big focus. Running AKA’s Catapult tyre he said he has tried soft & medium compound, new versus used adding that while wear is high his MP9 works well on slicks ‘so its not too bad’.

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Elsewhere this Worlds marks the debut of 2008 Champion Atsushi Hara with S-Workz. An all round RC great, Hara said he is not fast but for him that is normal so early on in an event adding that his races starts in the Semi-Finals. After an ok start to yesterday he said a change by his long time mechanic Masayuki Miura for the final run made the buggy terrible. Although better this morning he said the car is stable adding he thinks it is overall too soft and they will now go for a harder set-up.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014 - add a comment

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Introduction

Red RC are on the island of Sicily, off the coast of Southern Italy, at the Pista Naxos World track for the 2014 IFMAR 1/8th scale gas offroad World Championships. The bi-annual event attracts the best racers from around the World to battle it out for the title which was won 2 years ago by Spaniard Robert Batlle. Red RC's coverage of the event begins in full on Saturday morning (20th) and we will be trackside bringing you reports, insights, videos and photos directly from the track throughout the week long event.

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