Ty Tessmann has topped the opening day of qualifying’s second round at the 1:8 Offroad World Championships in Perth, Australia. Fifth in Q1, the Xray driver was fastest on his second attempt ahead of fellow Heat 1 runner Ryan Maifield by 9/10ths of a second. Running in Heat 2, the track getting one of its scheduled waterings before the first two heats, Q1 Top Qualifier David Ronnefalk was fastest of that group to complete the overall Top 3 ahead of Robert Batlle, Dakotah Phend and Juan Carlos Canas. Quickest in yesterday’s controlled practice to go into qualifying as the Top Seed, the day didn’t improve for Davide Ongaro. The Team Associated driver suffered a costly error in Q1 but ended up with a DNF for Q2 as he lost a wheel while on a TQ pace run.
I think we can get more out of the car so we will make changes for tomorrow.”
Reacting to his TQ run, Tessmann said, ‘I thought it went pretty good. It was a little dusty but the guys after had it dusty too. On the down steps I got a little squirrelly and had to correct it but otherwise it was a clean run’. The former World Champion continued, ‘I tried a different tyre, S2 Invader, and it was good for these kind of conditions. We will keep an eye on how the track develops and the dust’. Looking to Q3, drivers from the top 5 heats not up until midday compared with the 08:00 start today, he said, ‘I think we can get more out of the car so we will make changes for tomorrow’.
I played a little strategy at the start and stayed in the pit so as to be on my own.”
Commenting on his run Maifield said, ‘It was good. I tried to put in another clean run. I played a little strategy at the start and stayed in the pit so as to be on my own’.The Arizona driver continued, ‘I drove pretty conservative. One or two laps I didn’t hit my marks but it cost 1 to 2 seconds most’.On his car the Mugen driver said, ‘we made a few changes to improve the drivability for long runs. For tomorrow we will make a spring change and maybe also the rear diff but the big thing is to work out what tyre to be on’.For Q2 he ran the same set of JConcepts’ new Blockers tyre he used in the opening qualifier saying they ran the same set to get an understanding of how the tyre, which is also an all new compound, wears’.
We kept the car the same to see how it was in the day time conditions and it felt good for the entire run.”
‘It was not bad’ was how Ronnefalk summed up Q2. The defending World Champion added, ‘It was a good run with no mistakes although I touched the wall coming into the pits. I lost 1 to 1.5 seconds there but overall the car was very consistent again. I had a lot off traffic which cost me more time there. Without this and the pitlane mistake it would have been a TQ again for sure’. On his car the HB Racing driver said, ‘We kept the car the same to see how it was in the day time conditions and it felt good for the entire run. We can fine tune some fine details but we have the car for the final which is for sure the most important thing’.
We have enough speed and now we are already working on the final and what tyre to use.”
Only 11th in Q1 after two crashes on the triple, former World Champion Batlle was happier with Q2 describing the run as ‘not bad’. Describing his Mugen as quite easy to drive, the Spaniard added the car was ‘a little squatty on the rear’ and they need ‘to work on that for the next one’. Suffering a mistake that cost him 5-seconds and ending up 5-seconds off the TQ, he said, ‘we have enough speed and now we are already working on the final and what tyre to use’. Asked what he planned for Q3, he replied, we wait what and see. We have plenty of time. We have nearly 24-hours before we run again’.
There was a bunch of cars racing each other and I want to stay out of that tomorrow and race my ow race.”
‘That was a little better. Less mistakes on my part. I drove a lot better’, was Phend’s view of his second qualifying attempt. The TLR driver added, ‘I will try to get a better starting position at the start. There was a bunch of cars racing each other and I want to stay out of that tomorrow and race my ow race’. On his car, the US driver said, ‘It got a little edgy at the end so we will try fix that. It just was just the last few laps so we’ll do nothing crazy of a change. Maybe in the shocks we’ll go with a thicker oil.’
World Champion David Ronnefalk has got the defence of his 1:8 Offroad title off to the best start possible by the TQ’ing the opening round of qualifying in Australia. Running in the second heat, the HB Racing driver topped the 10-minute qualifier by a significant margin, more than 5-seconds from Naoto Matsukura in turn was 6/10ths quicker than Bruno Coelho, the two onroad World Champions also in the same heat as Ronnefalk. The big surprise of the first of the six scheduled qualifiers was that of young American CJ Jelin who took his Xray to the fourth fastest time for the round ahead of team-mate Ty Tessmann, the Canadian being the highest place driver from Heat 1. Seeded in Heat 3, Joern Nuemann would complete the Top 6 just ahead of Ryan Maifield and Dakotah Phend.
‘I’m super pumped to TQ’, was Ronnefalk’s reaction after Q1. The Swede continued, ‘I knew we had the better track that round and that I had to make the most of the opportunity. It was a safe run although a couple of laps I was on the limit. All my laps except one was in the 33s (seconds).’ Only 7th in seeding, he said, ‘we improved the car from last night and it is now more comfortable to drive’. Choosing JConcepts’ Reflex tyre in R2 compound for the qualifier he added, ‘we were debating which tyre to go with and I was thinking of going for a softer compound but after I saw the first heat I went with the R2. We probably could have went harder’.
Summing up his opening effort, Matsukura said, it was ‘not too bad’ adding ‘I’m feeling now the offroad driving style’. The newly crowned 1:10 Nitro Touring Car World Champion continued, ‘the engine was very good and we made no refuelling’ but added than any advantage gained was negated by ‘2 times mistakes’. The Infinity team driver, who is running a Mugen, admitted that even without any mistake he wouldn’t have been able to match Ronnefalk’s TQ pace. Describing the car as ‘difficult’, he said ‘we need to make easier to drive’. Asked what changes he planned for Q2 he replied, ‘I let Miura decided’ – the Onroad World Champion of 3 different categories being looked after by legendary mechanic Masayuki Miura.
Coelho described his qualifier as ‘a solid run’. The Electric Touring Car World Champion continued, ‘the car was working good. I tried not to go super fast and take it down one gear and finish good. It worked out’. The Xray driver, who earlier this year became the European 1:8 Offroad Champion in his home country of Portugal, said for Q2 ‘maybe we will make some small changes but the car is good so we will leave it more of less the same’.
Having made his Worlds debut in Las Vegas two years ago at the age of 12, Jelin was taking his P4 in his stride. Splitting his World Champion team mates, the American said, ‘I started off fast but then backed it down. I tried to stay ahead of David (Ronnefalk) but he got passed but then I tried to pace myself off him. I had just one mistake so overall it was a clean run and I’m happy’. Running the same Pro-Line Buckshot tyre as Coelho, he said they were really good but for the day’s second qualifier he might go up in diff oils and the watering of the track would ‘dictate if we do or not’.
‘I thought it was good’, was Tessmann’s response when asked about his run, the 2014 World Champion having topped the times for the opening heat. He continued, ‘the car was too stiff for the cold conditions and I thought there would be good grip but the car was pretty loose’. Ending up almost 9-seconds off Ronnefalk, he said, ‘I drove round as fast as the car would let me. That was all I had to give’. He concluded, ‘I hope it’s dry the next and we can do better’.
Pleased with P6, Neumann said, ‘It was good. No big problems, just 1 or 2 times on 2-wheels because there was so much grip. Otherwise it was a clean run’. The Sworkz driver continued, ‘we made small adjustments to the car for this round and it was even better than practice’. Looking to Q2, the German said, ‘the next round, depending when it is, I need to decide if I will change anything but I think I will keep the same and maybe try some adjustments tomorrow’.
Pushed out of the Top 6 by Neumann, Maifield was content with his opening run after a mistake on the final lap cost him a Top 3 run. The Mugen driver said, ‘It was OK just first race blues I guess’. Out in the first heat, the 1:10 Offroad World Champion said, ‘in the shadows it was loose and it was also hard to judge where the car was. I crashed on the last lap. I was nervous and driving a little tight. It’s hard to wake up and just drive easily at the Worlds’. With 18 heats to get through because of the over 200 entries, the first heat of the day hit the track at 08:00 local time in Perth.
Davide Ongaro is the top seed at the 1:8 Offroad World Championships in Australia. The young Italian star produced the fastest 3-consecutive laps in the second of the day’s two controlled practice rounds to top the times from Ryan Maifield with Ty Tessmann completing the Top 3. Initially it was Tessmann, who ran early in the round, who set the pace bettering Dakotah Phend’s CP1 topping time by 1/10th of a second. Third fastest in CP1, Ongaro, who ran 9 heats after Tessmann, set a blistering new pace to go over 1-second quicker than the former World Champion. Two heats later saw the first serious challenge to that time as Maifield got to within 0.315 of the time to set the second fastest time of the day. Unable to better his CP1 time, Phend would end up 4th fastest ahead of Bruno Coelho, who also couldn’t better his opening time, with Robert Batlle completing the Top 6 ahead of the reigning World Champion David Ronnefalk.
Commenting on his run Ongaro said, ‘we changed the car and it was better but the track was faster also’. The big talent discovery of the previous World Championships two years ago in the US, he was also happier with his line through the steps section which he reported after CP1 was causing him a few issues’. With the fastest individual lap of controlled practice, a 32.526, he is also confident that he has a good car for 10-minutes saying they will leave it as is for Q1 and ‘just glue some tyres’. Changing to AKA’s Double Down tyre for CP2 having run Catapults in the first run, he said they both felt similar to drive but the wear was less on the Double Down which he added was good to know for the finals.
Fastest in free practice and ending up 3rd in seeding, Maifield said, ‘the whole week has been really good. The double electric 1:10 Offroad World Champion added, ‘the car is awesome and really consistent but the track is tyre sensitive. It changes a lot and that time was the most traction the track has had. I went out on tyres I thought would work but then changed to a harder tyre and they worked better. Starting on JConcepts’ R2 compound Detox tyre he said they lacked steering and so he switched the new compound Blocker tyre. He continued, ‘the car settings haven’t change for a long time because the balance is consistent over the different track conditions, I just need to pick the right tyre. With the right tyre you can go faster without trying’.
After being only 45th in the first controlled practice due to running on a watered track, Tessmann was happy to be at the sharp end of the time sheets in the second round. The Xray driver said, ‘It would have been nice to be fastest at the end of practice but it’s not everything. I just wanted to get a better run and be in the Top 24 so to be sure to be in one of the top 2 heats. I thought it was a good time but the track got better in the evening’. On the run itself, the 2014 World Champion said, ‘the track was really dry especially because we also had the lunch break before my run. For the higher grip we went heavier with everything and the car felt good’. Running Pro-Line’s Buckshot tyre, trying with S2 and S3 commands during the heat, the Canadian is enjoying the track describing it as ‘cool’ and adding ‘Worlds’ tracks are normally not nice to drive’. With the track watering working against him in CP1, Tessmann said, ‘the watering schedule is not consistent but they (the organisers) say they need to do the heavy watering to keep it right for qualifying so hopefully now it (the level of watering) will even out’. For the opening qualifying he plans to make changes based on what he learned from CP2 and on how the track looks nearer to the time of his run.
Fastest after CP1, despite not posting a faster time in the second run Phend was happy with his final practice performance. Sixth fastest in CP2, the TLR driver said, ‘we made some changes to the car and it was better. The time was slower but that was because the track was different. It was watered and we ran at night but everything felt good’. Looking to qualifying, drivers face 2 runs a day over the next three days with 4 from 6 to count, the American said, ‘we will leave the car the same for the first one and then see where we are at’.
Also unable to better his CP1 pace, fourth seed Coelho said his marginally slower CP2 run ‘was OK’ but changes to his car were too much. The European Champion said, ‘we changed the car to try make it more comfortable to drive and it was too much. It was easy to drive but slow. It was a big change so we could get information and now we will go back and try something else. It will only be a small change but we will go in a different direction with it. As he did in the first seeding run, the Portuguese driver again opted to run Pro-Line’s Buckshot tyre.
Summing up his final practice run, Batlle said, ‘it was not bad and I managed some decent laps but still the car is critical’. The former World Champion explained, ‘we need to take grip out of the car because we are missing corner speed’. Running in the same heat as Ongaro, which ran straight after one of the scheduled waterings, the Mugen driver said the wet track had less impact than expected. ‘The first 3-4 minutes was worse but in the end it dried out and I could run good laps but for qualifying this (watering system) will not be so fair. They should water for everyone not just every four (heats)’. Using Hotrace’s Alaska tyre in medium compound the Spaniard said that while he ‘still managed good lap times’ the compound was ’too hard’.
Ronnefalk said while on time sheets it looked like he was missing pace, with 2-second between him and Ongaro over 3-laps, he is confident that on equal track he is ’not far away’. Improving just slightly on his opening time, the HB Racing driver said on CP2, ‘the track was still grippier than I thought even with the lights on. While the visibility was worse (from racing under the flood lights), the main thing was I didn’t drive that well and had a couple of mistakes’. Again running on JConcepts Stocker tyre in R2 compound he also felt it was ‘maybe too soft’.
With things finally getting official at the 1:8 Offroad World Championships after 6 free practice runs over 4 days, it was Dakotah Phend who topped the opening round of controlled practice in Perth, Australia. The TLR driver posted a best time of 1:39.697 for his fastest 3-consecutive laps to set the pace ahead of Xray’s Bruno Coelho. Running in the heat just before Phend, Coelho managed a time of 1:39.957 around the MORBC track with both drivers having an almost identical fastest lap. Running in Heat 13 of 18, Davide Ongaro would complete the Top 3 followed by Jared Tebo, Naoto Matsukura and Australia’s own Aaron Stringer. For reigning champion David Ronnefalk, who topped the final free practice yesterday, the first of the 2 seeding rounds would see him with the 7th fastest time, a full second down on Phend.
Reacting to topping the first seeding round, Phend, who was in the second last heat to run, said, ‘We made a lot of changes and we are a lot closer than yesterday. Running AKA’s Catapult Soft-Long Wear tyre, the American added, ‘the changes we made were really good but the grip came up too. We will try to get the car a little safer with a few more changes for the next one’. Asked his thoughts on the track he replied, ‘It flows well and its a little tighter and technical than other 1:8 tracks. It’s nice’.
‘2nd is very good’, was how Coelho summed up his pace. With his offroad super star team-mate Ty Tessmann only 45th fastest having had his run early in the round on a wet track, the newly crowned Touring Car World Champion added, ‘we are still working on set-up and tyre compound but overall it is looking very good’. Using Proline’s Buckshot tyre to set his time but also trying Fugitives during the 10-minute run the European Champion said, ‘we still need to improve the car because it is difficult to drive but we have a good team working on finding something to improve it’. Travelling to Australia straight after contesting the opening round of the Euro Touring Series in Vienna last weekend, asked about the change of track he replied, ‘It’s really fun. It’s not super difficult but it’s fast. It has a nice flow. There is no section that breaks the flow. I like it.’
A driver who shot to prominence at the last World Championships in Las Vegas, Ongaro was content with his pace saying it ‘was better than yesterday’. In yesterday’s single round of practice, the Team Associated driver had to contend with a wet track, ending up 24th fastest, a full 3-seconds off the pace of Ronnefalk who topped the times. Describing the track as ‘nice to drive’, the Italian added that he is still working on finding the best line through the steps section at the back of the track where if he can get the car to run more straight he can gain some time. The 17-year-old is currently running the new compound of AKA’s Catapult tyre but faced again with a wet track for the second of the two seeding runs on today’s schedule he will change the front sway bar.
Having ‘screwed up’ yesterday in the final free practice, Tebo describe his CP1 effort as ‘awesome’. The Kyosho driver said, ‘the car was really good and I finally picked the right tyre at the right time’. Using a new and as yet unnamed tyre AKA has brought to Australia, he added, ‘I was not the fastest on 3-laps but overall the 10-minutes was really good’. He added, ‘I screwed up my wet heat last night, hopefully it will be better today but they are watering the track less so the tyre choice should be similar. I will keep the car the same and just focus on tyre choice for a wet track and cooler conditions’. Describing the track as ’super fun’, he said, ‘it has a good flow which suits my driving style’.
Fresh from becoming the 1:10 200mm Onroad World Champion in Miami 9-days ago, Matsukura joked, ‘this is completely different’. The Infinity team driver, who has chosen to run a Mugen in Perth as his team have yet to add a 1:8 Offroad chassis to its ever growing product line-up, copied the set-up Mugen factory driver Ryan Mayfield for CP1 saying it ‘works good’ and that ‘the feeling of the car is good’. With his most recent offroad outing the 2018 Indonesian Challenge over 2-months ago, the Japanese driver added that is biggest issue is he ‘need(s) more practice to get back into offroad mode’. Running JConcepts Reflex tyre in blue compound the Japanese driver said another challenge is how much the track changes between each run – the gap between the two runs a day a common complaint among racers.
Ronnefalk put his P7 down to increased traction and traffic. The HB Racing driver said, ‘the traction was higher than it has ever been. We expected it to be grippy but not that high’. With his ‘set-up too soft in the shock oil we used and the also the diffs’, he added he also had ‘major issues with traffic’. Managing 4-clean laps at the start he said ‘every other lap I had issues but as long as your Top 24 your good for the Top 2 heats’. Using JConcepts R2 Stocker tyre he said they are his tyre of choice for the race but with his next run at 18:45 this evening right after the track’s scheduled watering he said they will have to see what they will do concluding ‘the track is not going to dry at that time’.
Track Name – MORBC Host – M.O.R.B.C (Model Off Road Buggy Club) Country – Australia Location – Whiteman Park, Perth Direction – Clockwise Surface – Dirt
The MORBC track, the acronym formed from the club’s very descriptive name Model Off Road Buggy Club, has the honour of bringing the 1:8 Offroad World Championships to Australia for the first time, this being the 17th running of the IFMAR event. With international drivers flying into Perth for the event, the track is located in Whiteman Park, a 4,000-hectare bushland area located 22 km north of the city. With an RC flying club as neighbours, the club was originally formed with 5-members in 1996 with it later leasing land from the local government to establish itself at the current track, with the Worlds bringing improvements such as an extended permanent pit area, rebuilt scrutiny area and timing room. Hosting the FEMCA Championships twice, it was the host of these Asian Championships for the first time in 2015 and that lead to the club securing the world’s biggest race. Hosting the FEMCA race again in 2017, this prepared the club of approximately 90 members well for the Worlds with the organisation and facilities so far being greeted positively by the RC circus as it pulled into town. The track design and build was led by former club member Craig Laughton. Having relocated to the east of Australia, the club got him back to do the build because as well as being a 1:8 Offroad driver he is also a bobcat driver by profession – a very handy trade to have when building a track.
In terms of the track Laughton has created and prepared, the feedback back is also positive. A person who gets to visit and study a lot of offroad tracks as he watches his drivers do laps so he can offer tyre advice, JConcepts boss Jason Ruona summed up the general feeling on the track by saying, ‘it is one of the better ones we have been on in a very long time’. Clinching his first World title in Las Vegas two years ago, when asked his thoughts on the layout reigning World Champion David Ronnefalk said, ‘the track is great and its fun to drive’. The HB Racing driver continued, ‘they did a great job but we already knew from the warm-up the layout would be cool. It is tricky in spots out there, in particular the double table top and the double triple. There is a lot of difficulty which will separate the drivers but once everyone gets their cars sorted, it’s going to be very close’. The Swede adding that compared to the Warm-up Race, the grip is now higher and that has effected the tyre compounds they are now using but with a number of practice runs completed already he said, ‘I’m not sure the track is going to show any character. I hope it stays close to how it is now as it will make close and exciting racing but I also don’t mind if it breaks up a bit because that suits me too’.