Top seed Michal Orlowski has taken the opening round of qualifying at the 2WD Offroad World Championships in China. After rain delayed the start of Day 2’s action, the first of the five qualifiers got underway with Orlowski making a cautious start as from the back 10th seed Ryan Cavalieri showed Team Associated had finally found their way on the challenging Xiamen track. Going to the top of the timing screens, Cavalieri looked to have bagged the first TQ with a big enough gap over the recovering Orlowski but contrasting last laps threw up a surprise. With Cavalieri touching the pipe on his final lap, Orlowski would post his fastest lap on his last lap with Cavalieri’s advantage turning to a 1/10th of a second deficit, the duo the only drivers to make 12 laps. Behind, fastest man on the track Bruno Coelho would somehow salvage a 3rd despite a number of crashes, with David Ronnefalk, Lee Martin and Dustin Evans completing the Top 6. For defending champion Spencer Rivkin the first qualifier would net the American the 11th fastest time.
Surprised to get the TQ, Orlowski said, ‘On the last lap I didn’t know if I had finished or not so I drove the best lap I could. It was to be my fastest lap and it gave me the TQ’. The Schumacher driver continued, ’It was a bit sketchy at the start. The first laps were not the best as I was a bit nervous. I hit the pipe and spun and then David (Ronnefalk) was behind me so I pushed a bit harder and starting climbing up the order. When I was in second I just want to try to get to the finish but then I had a few small mistakes. I knew it was very close but to get the TQ is a big confidence boost for the next one’. Asked about track conditions following the rain, the Polish teenager said, ‘the car is always on the edge, you don’t feel when it is going to spin out so it is hard to keep it on the track. For the next one we will make some set-up changes for this.’
‘Overall it was pretty good’, was Cavalieri’s reaction after Q1, the American happy to finally be on the pace but at the same time a little frustrated to lose the TQ on the final lap. He added, ‘I was really surprised how good my car felt in the warm-up and it was a flawless run until the last lap. I knew it was really close with Orlowski and when I messed up in the middle of the last lap I tried to make back the time but got a little tight to the pipe’. Asked about his marked improvement in pace, he replied, ‘we made really good changes to the car today. They have made it really comfortable and in the jumps section its now really good. We also improved the corner speed which helps a lot’.
Commenting on his first qualifying attempt, Coelho said, ‘I am kind of surprised with the place I made. My pace was good but I crashed a lot’. The Xray driver continued, ‘the track is very difficult after the rain and there was cars everywhere so like I said before the guy who makes the least number of mistakes will come out on top. I had three mistakes and flipped twice but fortunately I got 3rd place even though I lost 5-seconds in mistakes’.
‘Considering I was marshalled 3 times I’m happy to get 4th’, was Ronnefalk’s reaction. With two mistakes in the jumps section, the HB Racing driver said, ‘I lowered the punch in the electronics for that one and went too low so I will go back up a bit for the next one so I feel more comfortable on the jumps’. On track conditions, the Swede said, ‘the grip is down a lot I think so I will make a few changes but mainly to the electrics’.
Chassis – Kyosho RB6.6 Motor – Orion VST2 LW 7.5T ESC – Orion HMX Battery – Orion 5000mAh 110C Radio/Servos – Futaba/Futaba OS Body – Kyosho Lightweight Tyres R/F – Sweep (Handout) Remarks – Japanese front runner Kohta Akimoto is running Kyosho’s latest 2wd offering, the RB6.6, powered by Orion electronics. Having started practice with his standard setup, following 3 rounds of practice in which he tried many things he reverted back to that setup but still continues to make changes. The biggest of which is to move from a 3 gear to a 4 gear laydown transmission in the search for an easier and more predictable car. To deal with the loose conditions and to prevent wheel spin he also lowered the turbo setting on his speedo.
Chassis – Yokomo YZ2 DTM Motor – Orion VST2 LW 6.5T ESC – Orion HMX Battery – Orion 5000mAh 110C Radio/Servos – Sanwa/MKS Body – JConcepts F2 Tyres R/F – Sweep (Handout) / JConcepts Remarks – Ryan Maifield is running the YZ2 DTM from Yokomo and having arrived in China with his base setup which has a number of changes made to it to help make the car less edgy. Looking for a balance between corner speed and being easy to drive, he has tried a number of different gear diffs and arm lengths but has reverted back to the standard length and stuck with the ball diff. In the end he went for a higher roll centre, reverted back to their standard spring and set the car with more droop on the front and rear.
Chassis – Schumacher Cougar KC Motor – LRP X22 6.5T ESC – LRP Flow X Battery – LRP 3500 Shorty LCG Radio/Servos – Sanwa Body – Aerox Tyres – Sweep (Handout) Remarks – Top seed after Controlled Practice, Polish ace and current EOS Champion Michal Orlowski is running the Cougar KC from Schumacher. Arriving in China with his standard dirt setup they made only minimal changes, going to a harder shock package due to the high grip, switching from a 7.5 to 6.5 turn LRP motor prior to hitting the track and switching to less boost. In terms of geometry he has just added 0.5 more rear camber to make the car slide less in the low grip sections of the track.
Man made rain has delayed the start to qualifying at the 2WD Offroad World Championships in Xiamen, China. With no rain in the area for almost a month, the Meteorological Authority conducted ‘cloud seeding’ which involved the launch of more than 30 missiles at clouds to induce rain. Containing chemicals such as frozen carbon dioxide this helps bring on precipitation. The process is common practice in China. Unfortunately unaware that the Worlds best RC drivers are in town, the effects of the process took effect in the early hours of this morning with drivers waking to rain. Luckily however race organisers had covered the track overnight so the track was largely protected from the rain. With the rain eventually stopping around 11:00 local time, the process of pumping the water off the tarpaulins began. The knock on effect is that the third round of controlled practice, which was only to determine the starting order of the heats which were already decided by the best time of CP 1 & 2, has been scrapped and replaced by a round of free practice. The delayed start also means that instead of 4 qualifiers today with the fifth tomorrow, there will now only be 3 rounds with Q4 moved to finals day.
Michal Orlowski is top seed at the 17th running of the 1:10 Offroad World Championships. Having set the fastest time in the first of the day’s two seeding rounds in Xiamen, the Schumacher driver would see that time beaten by fellow European David Ronnefalk, the HB Racing driver running two heats earlier than Orlowski’s group which completed the round. With Free Practice pace setter Bruno Coelho topping the second last heat grouping but crashing on the last lap of the potential fastest 3-consecutive laps it was Ronnefalk’s time that was the target for Orlowski. Run under floodlights, with most drivers struggling to to properly see where they were going, Orlowski somehow managed the fastest lap as he put together 3-laps that would leave him 2/10ths quicker than the HB Racing driver to wrap up a successful first day for the Polish driver. With the only other improver in the Top 10 being Coelho, that time good enough for 6th, it was Dakotah Phend who would complete the Top 3 ahead of fellow North American driver Ty Tessmann. While the result determines the heats in which drivers will qualify and what number they will carry, a third controlled practice remains tomorrow morning that will determine the order in which drivers start Q1, making drivers question the logic of the IFMAR format, feeling that if you have topped seeding them you should lead out the top qualifying heat.
‘I couldn’t see anything on the track so I just decided to try and enjoy myself’, was Orlowski’s summary of CP2. He continued, ‘the grip was slightly lower because there were some drops of rain so I drove a bit smoother. I knew I had to get 3-laps and once I got them I could relax’. Having been happy with his car throughout practice, the 2015 double A-Main Finalist concluded, ‘All is looking good for tomorrow’.
Commenting on his improvement having been only 11th fastest on his first attempt, Ronnefalk said, ‘Watching other heats before ours nobody was getting a better time so I expected the vision to be worse. I didn’t get three laps in the first one but this time I could get 3 decent laps which was good enough for 2nd’. The 1:8 Offroad World Champion feels ‘there is more speed out there because the vision in some sections made it hard to see so I know the car is really good’. He continued, ‘Tomorrow is going to be about keeping the car on four wheels but it’s good to know I have a fast car if I need to push so I have a good feeling for qualifying’.