Top Qualifier Coelho puts in fastest run in Q5


Having sewn up the overall TQ at the World Championships yesterday in the fourth round of qualifying, Bruno Coehlo would lay down the gauntlet in the final qualifier this morning in Japan posting the fastest time of the event to claim his 4th TQ of the five rounds.  With the 1:10 Offroad World Championship’s Rookie already decalred Top Qualifier, Q5 was all about determining the starting order behind the Xray driver.  The driver most expected to challenge Coelho for the win, Naoto Matsukura went into the concluding qualifier needing a second or better to put his Kyosho second on the grid but it wasn’t to be.  A number of mistakes would leave him only 12th for the round, meaning Michal Orlowski would hold onto his overnight second overall with him ending his qualifying with a P2 run.  Having sat 12th at the end of yesterday, Jared Tebo would complete the Top 3 in Q5, his best qualifying run securing the former champion a spot in the final. Starting 7th, the Kyosho driver is the best American starter with Ryan Maifield the only other US driver to make the A-Main in 9th.  Having been the best represented manufacturer in the 2WD A-Main, a noticeable absence from the grid will be defending 4WD champions Team Associated, their biggest hope Ryan Cavalieri having a bad final qualifier.


‘Perfect, the best of all my qualifiers’, was how Coelho summed up his performance.  Also setting a new fastest lap for the Astro Turf track, with a 17.046, the 22-year-old said his LRP powered XB4 was ‘again really good’.  Asked about the grid behind him the Portuguese driver, whose only previous electric Offroad accolade is a TQ on his EOS debut last month, said ‘its better to have Michal starting behind me, Naoto is more aggressive’.  He continued, ‘Michal is a very good driver and for sure he will be a strong challenger but Naoto and me share the same aggressive driving style so its better he is starting a little further back’.  Looking to keep his driving clean for the 5-minutes, he added ‘its a final so anything can happen’.  Coelho’s Xray team-mate Martin Bayer is also in the A-Main with the former European Champion starting his first Worlds from 6th.


Despite managing a P2 in Q5, Orlowski said his Schumacher was ‘really difficult to drive’ with him getting on two wheels a number of times which ‘lost (him) lots of time’, the gap to Coelho over 4-seconds.  The reigning European Champion will fit a thicker front rollbar to his CAT K2 for the A-Main practice which he said should get rid of some of the steering.  Having wanted Matsukura to get second on the grid, saying after Q4 that it was better to follow the Japanese driver rather than have him behind you, the 14-year-old said of his rivals P3 starting position ‘see how it goes’.  Expecting a harder race as a result of starting between Coelho and Matsukura, he said his focus would be to make ‘no mistakes and wait for mistakes (from the others)’ adding there would be ‘no crazy 17.0 laps’.


Describing his Lazer ZX6 as ‘difficult to drive’ in Q5 with it ‘easy to flip’, Matsukura will ‘change a little’ his set-up for the first A-Main. The reigning Touring Car World Champion feels the speed is still there and with the car a little easier to drive starting from 3rd on the grid would be ‘no problem’. Runner up at the last 4WD World Championships in Chico where he showed he takes no prisoners, the 22-year-old said his approach for A1 would be to ‘wait a little and see how the race is developing’.


Starting fourth on the grid, David Ronnefalk had a costly mistake through the chicane before the straight on his opening lap that cost the HB driver over 4-seconds.  Ending Q5 23rd fastest, the 19-year-old is confident for the final but added the key is going to be patience and with mistakes easily made said he feels the race is wide open.  Starting behind Matsukura, he joked ‘hopefully Naoto gets everyone out of the way’.  Behind Ronnefalk, Tom Cockerill will start 5th, who along with former 2WD World Champion Hayato Matsuzaki are the only Yokomos to make the final at the manufacturer’s home track.


‘I did kind of what I needed to do’ was Tebo’s reaction to his Q5 run.  Runner-up in the 2WD finals, he said ‘The car is so good but I got a little nervous and had two costly mistakes and needed to be marshalled’. Improving his previous best by over a second despite losing 4-seconds due to his errors, he said ‘to still get a 5:01, I’m happy with that’.



View the final overall qualifying standings after Rd5 here (PDF).

View our full event image gallery here.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Video – 4wd Qualifying Rd5

YouTube Preview Image


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Coelho takes early overall TQ in Japan


It is turning out to be a World Championships at which the rookies are making their mark with Spencer Rivkin winning the 2WD World title earlier in the week and now Bruno Coelho securing the overall TQ in 4WD on his 1:10 Offroad Worlds debut.  Unlike 2WD qualifying when the Top Qualifier was decided in the fifth & final round on the morning of the finals, Coelho got the job done early in a dramatic fourth qualifier which brings Day 2 of the 4WD action to a close.  Running at the top of the timing monitors 3-seconds clear of his rivals, the Xray driver would find himself being instructed by referee Dallas Mathiesen to open to allow 2nd placed Naoto Matsukura through.  Having passed Matsukura following a mistake by the Japanese driver, Coelho eventually heeded the strange instruction, Matsukura would try to close the gap but with time running out a stripped spur gear in the last sequence of corners before the finishing straight denied a Q5 showdown.  Coasting his Kyosho across the loop, Matsuskura with still get second behind Coelho with Michal Orlowski completing the Top 3.  Two drivers that went head to head at last year’s Touring Car World Championship, Matsukura coming out on top, a good Q5 for the Japanese star would set the stage for a re-match.


Exchanging words with Mathiesen after the qualifier, Coelho said their was ‘no logic’ in the call made.  Giving his view of things the 22-year-old said ‘Naoto made a mistake which let me by. After this I changed completely my driving so as to control my TQ pace instead of pushing like I did when I was behind Naoto.  I don’t understand the logic of asking the driver who is first to open’.  He continued ‘I won’t say I was frustrated but more disappointed and it caused me to make two mistakes’.  With his team-mate Martin Bayer, who at this years 1:8 Offroad European Championships lost his place in the Main final due to controversial decision by Mathiesen, telling him to ‘forget the negative’ Coelho said ‘Of course I’m super happy to TQ not just for me but the whole team’.  A driver who has just completed his first full year as a professional driver since bursting onto the scene at the Touring Car Worlds in Florida and then being signed up full time by Xray, he continued, ‘everyone has worked really hard, particularly in the 2-weeks before the race.  I only did 10% of the work or less Martin (Bayer) did most of it’.  Asked about the finals, the hero of Portugal said ‘having 9 guys behind me is completely different to doing your own thing in qualifying.  It will be much more pressure, its going to be like being hunted’.  Expecting overtaking to be ‘almost impossible’ due to the high traction of the astro turf with everyone running the same line he said while you never know the key was going to be to put in clean mistake free races.


Offering his congratulations to Coelho, Matsukura said he is looking forward to racing his touring car rival.  With a P8 for Q2, he said he needs a 2nd or better in the morning’s final qualifier to ensure he starts 2nd joking ‘last time the TQ won but this time it will be the reverse’.  Setting the fastest lap of Q4, he described his Lazer ZX6 as ‘super nice to drive’ highlighting how he was able to pull away from Coelho before the spur gear let go.


After making ‘lots of mistakes’ in Q3 as a result of being ‘not fully concentrated’, Orlowski said he went into Q4 aiming for a safe run.  Wanting to ensure he didn’t have to go into Q5 looking for a result to make the A-Main, the European Champion said the safe approach worked ‘really good’.  Looking on target to start 3rd, the 14-year-old said this position was better than ‘having Matsukura behind you on his own track’.  He added with the Warm-up Race winner also slightly faster than Coelho he would just try to keep pace and wait to see what happens.


2WD Top Qualifier Jared Tebo would achieve the best result of the day for the Americans taking his Kyosho to fourth in the penultimate qualifier.  Saying ‘that was good’, the former 4WD Champion said ‘my car has been decent all day but a little difficult and for that one I made it a little easier to drive which let me get a clean run’ adding ‘I’ve been on the pace every run but just crashed’.  With only a 16, a 13 and a 17 from the opening three qualifiers, the American who sits 12th overnight said ‘I need to do it again tomorrow’ implying a clean run is essential to him having any chance of making the A-Main.


Sitting fourth overnight, HB’s David Ronnefalk would only get 17th for the round having posted Top 4 times in his previous qualifiers.  The Swede said he was ‘trying to find the limit’ and ‘drove harder’ but this approach ended up being ‘slower and more risky’.  Happy that his D413 has good pace he said ‘the key is to keep it smooth’ and he will revert to how he ran in Q3 when he got a P3 just a second of the TQ pace.


View the complete overall qualifying standings after Rd4 here (PDF).

View our full event image gallery here.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Video – 4wd Qualifying Rd4

YouTube Preview Image


Friday, October 9, 2015

Matsukura comes good in Q3


Naoto Matsukura has finally come good at the World Championships in Japan, with the pre-event favourite TQ’ing the third round of qualifying from Q1 & 2 pace setter Bruno Coelho.  After a frustrating 2WD event, in which he finished 20th overall, the Kyosho driver had a close battle with Coelho to take the Q3 by 0.266 of a second with David Ronnefalk again completing the Top 3.  Overall it was a better performance from the host nation’s star drivers with qualifying top seed Yusuke Sugiura also putting in his best performance to take a fourth for the round.


Having lost steering in Q1, the speedo traced as the cause of the problem, and then struggled with the settings of a new speedo fitted his Lazer ZX6, Matsukura said Q3 was ‘perfect’.  8th fastest in Q2, the Warm-up Race winner and 2013 Vice-Champion said that his run was hampered by the speedo having a different feeling leading to early mistakes.  Having too much punch, with that rectified for Q3 the 22-year-old said he had a good feeling with the car which he said also had ‘good speed’.  A major confidence boost for the 4-time Onroad World Champion, he said the focus is to ‘keep it going now’.


No stranger to battling with Matsukura, finishing a very close second to the then Yokomo driver at the Touring Car World Championships in Florida, Coelho would lose out on a potential overall TQ due to a mistake.  Asked about the roll the electric offroad novice said ‘I am all the time learning’.  Over jumping at the table top he would land wide and trying to get back onto his line turned too early causing his XB4 to traction roll.  Despite the ‘rookie mistake’, he said it was still a good qualifier and again he was full of praise for his car which again would set the fastest lap for the round.


Describing his third qualifying run as ‘even better’, Ronnefalk is clearly growing in confidence with his HB car.  Putting more weight in his D413 this ‘found steering’ with the Swede able to make a ‘huge improvement’ in pace.  Knocking 2/10ths of a second off his lap times he feels he can now challenge for a TQ run.  Making one error when he overshot the roller and flat landed it he said his ‘times are now pretty close to Bruno and Naoto’s highlighted by the fact that they were the only 3-drivers to run an 18-lap qualifier.


Sugiura said Q3 was better but admitted it was a nervous 5-minutes.  Posting a 10th and 11th for the opening two qualifiers, the Warm-up Race podium finisher said he knew he needed a good result and the pressure of that got to him a bit.  With the P4 lifting the pressure a little he is targeting a repeat run in the day’s closing qualifier.


View the complete overall qualifying standings after Rd3 here (PDF).

View our full event image gallery here.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Video – 4wd Qualifying Rd3

YouTube Preview Image


Friday, October 9, 2015

Live Event Updates

Recent Posts


Red RC are travelling to Tsukuba in Japan, just north of Tokyo, to the world famous Yatabe Arena for the 2015 IFMAR EP Offroad World Championships. The best racers from around the World will be battling it for the win on this all Astro turf indoor circuit. Red RC's coverage begins in full on Sunday morning (4th) and we will be trackside bringing you reports, insights, videos and photos directly from the track throughout the week.

Like Red RC on Facebook

Follow Red RC on Twitter