Having claimed two P2 result in qualifying yesterday, Lee Martin has opened the final day of the 2WD Offroad World Championships in China with a TQ run in the penultimate qualifier. Running in the second fastest heat, the reseeding after three rounds that would have put the Yokomo driver in the top heat been withdrawn this morning, Martin’s time would see him post the quickest time ahead of Q1 pace setter Michal Orlowski. Having lead a Yokomo 1-2 last night from Martin in Q3, Ryan Maifield backed that up by posting a P3 run ahead of Chris Sturdy, Dakotah Phend and Jared Tebo. For reigning champion Spencer Rivkin, the fourth qualifier saw the American’s hopes of defending his title come to an end as he again failed to register a competitive result.
‘The track is slick’, was Martin’s reaction after Q4. The European Champion continued, ‘I kept it relatively clean and had no mistakes although I had to single jumps a few times which lost time but it was nothing crazy’. Having made ‘small tweaks’ to his YZ-2 for the morning qualifier, today a much warmer day than yesterday, he said they will make further ‘small tweaks’ to suit the track conditions. Looking to ‘increase rear traction’, the British driver said this would make it ‘safer accelerating towards the jumps’. Looking to the finals, the British driver concluded, ‘the racing is going to be difficult. You are racing the track not each other’.
Orlowski said, ‘It started well and I had good pace. I was leading the timing and running behind Maifield and tried to keep calm and run consistent laps but then had a mistake at the end of the straight. My car flipped and I had to wait on the marshal so it cost me a lot of time’. The Schumacher driver continued, ‘After that I had to push to get back some of the time so at least I got second for the round’. Asked about track conditions, the Pole replied, ‘It felt very loose in the warm-up so I drove the heat with that in mind trying to make no mistakes’. In terms of car set-up they will make some ‘small changes’ to keep up with the changing track conditions.
‘It was ok. Its the first time I didn’t have to get marshalled although I still crashed twice’, was Maifield summary of Q4. He added, ‘the track is getting worse and worse and there are now a lot of holes out there’. On his car he said, ‘I wouldn’t say it is going awesome but myself and Lee are working really well together and having Joe (Pillars) is a big help as he and Shin (Adachi) are spotting things were aren’t seeing out there. There is no lack of communication within the team which is really helpful’.
After a rough start to qualifying yesterday with things improving over the day, Sturdy was delighted with his P4 having had a best run of 16th fastest in Q3 last night. The Team Associated driver said having struggling with ‘dept perception’ in last night’s closing run under food lights, today he was a lot more comfortable driving with his B6 also ‘nicer to drive’ and having more steering. On his Q4 performance, the 21-year-old said, ‘It started off well but when I got called in the lead I got a bit shaky and had a tumble in the jumps section but the marshal was really good and I didn’t lose much time’.
‘The track is definitely getting more slippery the more we are running on it’ was Phend’s reaction after setting the fifth fastest time for the round, his best qualifying result so far. Describing his TLR22 4.0 as ‘not too bad’, the American said, ‘we are making a few changes each time for the track as its getting looser and looser’. He concluded, ‘It should be good for the last one so I’m chasing a Top 5’. Behind Phend, fellow countryman Jared Tebo completed the Top 6 ahead of Naoto Matsukura, Joern Neumann, Bruno Coelho and Ryan Cavalieri.
Ryan Maifield became the third different driver to post a TQ on the opening day of qualifying at the 2WD Offroad World Championship, the American leading a Yokomo 1-2 in China in the third round of qualifying. Having not featured in the opening two qualifiers, with a best run of P9 in Q2, Maifield took set-up direction from team mate Lee Martin for the final action of the day to top the third of the five qualifiers by 0.375 of a second from the British driver who also managed a P2 in the previous round. Behind the Yokomo duo, the round would see another of US Offroad racing’s big name drivers turn around a challenging day as Jared Tebo took his Kyosho to the third fastest time even with an error on his final lap. Having taken Q2, Ryan Cavalieri would conclude a long day, due to morning rain delays, with a P4 ahead of Q1 pace setter Michal Orlowski while TLR’s Dakotah Phend rounded out the Top 6 with his best run of the day.
Commenting on his turn around in performance Maifield said, ‘We made a couple of changes and they were good. Lee was going good and we have been working well together so I did a few things he did and the car felt better’. He continued, ‘It was still sketchy to drive so I tried to drive more calm but it was still not calm enough. For tomorrow I need to make sure I don’t drink any Redbull because you have to be so calm out there’. With 3 of the 5 rounds to count, the result is a huge boost going into the final two qualifiers tomorrow with the former runner-up saying, ‘we have a good plan for tomorrow and have a good idea what direction to go with our set-up’.
Summing up his run, Martin said, ‘ Overall it was a good run but I got held up a lot by traffic. I’m not blaming the drivers as it was too dark to see who is around you but there are four guys on the drivers stand and big numbers on the cars but still nothing was called so can we not take these big ugly numbers off the cars’. On his YZ-2 performance he said, ‘we made a small tweak to get more rear bite on power. It was quicker in the turns but didn’t solve the issue’. With the Q3 result booking the European Champion’s place on the A-Main grid he conclude, ‘I’m excited for tomorrow’.
‘Awesome’ was Tebo’s reaction to P3 time, the former Champion only managing a best run of P13 in the opening two qualifiers. He continued, ‘my car felt good and I finally got my confidence back. I made a mistake myself when I messed up on my last lap which cost me the TQ but still this one kept me in with a chance’. Having got his car set-up back to where the car is comfortable to drive he said, ‘I ‘m positive about tomorrow because now that I have confidence in the car I know there is room for improvement’.
Cavalieri said his run ‘started off good’ but then he had a ‘really bad one’ at the table top on the right side which cost him over 5-seconds. While he ‘almost saved it’, the Associated driver admitted he was ‘lucky to salvage 4th out of something that could have been a lot worse’. Feeling his car was too aggressive when he TQ’d Q2 due to the amount of wear on his front tyres he said ‘I really like the new front after the first 3 to 4 laps’. Counting his P2 in the Q1, TQ in Q2 and P4 in the third, the multiple former champion holds the overnight provisional TQ in Xiamen.
‘It was difficult with the light. It was hard to see the pipes even with them painted white (in the corners)’, was Orlowski’s reaction to setting the fifth fastest time for the round. The reigning Euro Offroad Series champion added, ‘I had two costly mistakes in the last double off the jumps section but the base is there and we don’t have to change anything on the car. Tomorrow I will just try to drive around and make the best laps I can’. Behind the Schumacher driver, while Phend’s 6th would be the first Top 10 for the TLR team it would also be the first time reigning champion Spencer Rivkin had a single digit result with him getting a P9 behind HB Racing’s David Ronnefalk and the privately entered Associated of Joern Neumann.
Chassis – TLR 22 4.0 Motor – Orion VST2 LW 6.5T ESC – Orion HMX Battery – Orion 3800mAh Radio/Servos – Spektrum Body – Kit Body Tyres R/F – Sweep (Handout) / AKA Vektor Remarks – Dakotah Phend is running the latest 4.0 version of the TLR22 with a number of new parts, one of which is a new steering system. Featuring a new Ackermann plate as well as new arms on the steering knuckles, the new parts help make the car smoother in the corners and allow it to carry more speed. Working to get a good balance between smooth and fast, the US driver has also switched to stiffer arms to help the car land better. Another new part on the car is the fan mount which is mounted directly to the updated left side skid plate and allows the fan to be placed to the rear side of the motor with a single screw.
Having lost out in the opening round of qualifying with a mistake on his final lap that gave Michal Orlowski the TQ, Ryan Cavalieri got it done on his second attempt in China but it wasn’t without incident with the last lap again being a deciding factor. With Orlowski leading away the field again in Q2, the Schumacher driver would get it wrong at the first double and need marshalling allowing Cavalieri to lead the field from Bruno Coelho. With mistakes from almost every driver come the final lap it was Coelho who was on target for the TQ but running in close proximity to Cavalieri, a mistake by the American would balk the Xray driver and out of his rhythm lead the 4WD World Champion to having a larger mistake in the jumps section that left him with a 31.4-second lap handing Cavalieri the TQ and dropping him to third behind Lee Martin.
With Coelho expressing his frustration with both Cavalieri and race control on the drivers stand over the incident, afterwards Cavalieri said, ‘I had a spin into the corner and he got into the back of me but I think the result was more a reflection of his error in the jump section. I said sorry to him. I was planning to give him room to pass at the next corner’. Commenting on his own performance the former Champion said, ‘the track was a lot dustier that time and there were a lot more mistakes from everyone. The left side was even more challenging’. Running his front tyres for a 3rd time in the qualifier he said is B6 was ‘too aggressive’ because of the wear and for Q3, the final qualifier of the day, he will ‘fit a new set to try smooth it back out’.
‘I was making a clean round and then on the last lap I touched with Cavalieri and thats it. It was his fault’, was Coelho’s view of things. The Portuguese driver sarcastically added, ‘he is not so experienced and he don’t know what to do when he has a faster driver behind him’. Asked how changes to his XB2 had worked, he replied, ‘It was still difficult to get around. The track changed a lot and that time it was very loose on the rear on power. We will make more changes but I think conditions will be different again but the lighting will make it even more challenging’. Having experienced running in darkness under flood lights for the second controlled practice last night he said, ‘with the shadows you can’t get close to the pipe because you can’t tell the difference between the shadow and the pipe. You also can’t see the car well so you can’t see what it is really doing’.
Having taken a ‘try not to crash route rather than the be fast route’ in Q1 to get a P5, Martin said he ‘drove a little harder to get around faster this time’. Running in the second fastest heat, the Yokomo driver had ‘one bad lap’ which he said ‘was a shame in hindsight’ given his closeness to the TQ pace and the fact he ‘hit a corner rather than crash in the hard bit’. Looking to Q3, the European Champion is not a fan of racing under spot lights.
Having struggled in practice leading to him finding himself carry the No.9 in the third fastest heat, Australia’s Kyle McBride would get a P4 for the second round of qualifying. The Associated driver said, ‘I got 10th in the first and now 4th so we are going in the right direction’. The Australian continued, ‘we have been making small changes to the car to get more grip and make it more easy to drive and for the next one I’m going to adjust the camber link and anti squat. you don’t have to be fast, you have to keep it smooth and you’ll be there. That run didn’t feel fast but I got fourth’.
Chassis – Xray XB2 2018 Motor – Orion VST2 LW 6.5T ESC – Orion HMX Battery – Orion 5000mAh 110C Radio/Servos – Sanwa / MKS Body – Kit Body Tyres R/F – Sweep (Handout) / Pro-Line Scrubs Remarks – Starting out with a mixture of a sugar track setup and what they left the Hudy Arena with, having spent 3 weeks in Slovakia prior to attending the event in Xiamen, Ty Tessmann has focussed on the rear of his Xray XB2. Happy with the front of the car, the Canadian focussed on getting more stability in the rear, opting for thicker shock oil and changing the roll centres while also using heavier rear springs. Having also tried a gear diff, they switched back to the ball diff following first practice.