Chassis – Mugen MBX-7R Engine – OS Speed B2101 Tyres – Pro-Line X2 Fugitives Fuel – Flashpoint Fuel 30% Radio/Servos – Hitec Lynx 4S / Hitec HSB-9370TH Body – Pro-Line Predator Remarks – Making his 3rd appearance to the Philippine Masters, Mugen’s Adam Drake is one of the original professional drivers to race the PM. Drake’s MBX-7R has a few minor modifications like the Flashpoint brass pistons and newly designed engine mount. Also following the trend of upping shock oils and diff oils, Drake commented that his car isn’t much different from what he normally runs and has mostly been testing tires, running a different set every run on his buggy.
Kyle McBride is the Top Qualifier for Truggy at the Philippine Masters, the Team Associated driving topping the final two qualifiers to deny first time visitor Ty Tessmann pole position for what is expected to be an endurance test 1-hour Main in Manila. Tessmann set the early Truggy pace doing three in a row in the opening rounds of qualifying but in Q4 McBride’s would force the decision to got to the final round. Setting a new fastest time this was to work to the advantage of the event’s former Buggy Champion. With drops of rain appearing during the fifth & final qualifier, Tessmann struggled with his tyre choice allowing McBride to take the win. The slowest time of the 5-qualifiers it didn’t matter because the Australian had banked the fastest tie breaker time a round early.
On his second visit to what has become Asia’s highest profile annual offroad event, McBride was pleased to get the overall TQ and believes the longer final will suit him. ‘I have driven 1-hour finals a couple of times and usually I’m better on longer runs’. Commenting on the final qualifier, the 21-year-old said, ‘my car was really good, then the rain came which made it really interesting but I managed to keep it clean’, something which saw him the only driver to complete 10-laps. Asked about his game plan for tomorrow’s main he replied, ‘I just going to mount up new tyres, I know my car is good’. In terms of strategy he said, ‘I can run a solid nine minutes so I am going to come in (for fuel) comfortable. It’s not possible to make 10-minutes in this weather so no point in taking extra risks’. He concluded, ‘It should be an exciting race’.
Summing up the final qualifier, Tessmann said, ‘It started off ok and I was cruising around but then it started sprinkling big drops which I was surprised to see and after that it got worse and worse. My tyre compound was super bad in the rain’. Running Silver compound Electro Shots on his XT9 he said for the final ‘I’ll run X2 Blockades and hope it doesn’t rain’. Expecting tyre wear not to be an issue in the final, adding ‘even if they’re slicks they’ll be fine’, he also feels there is no advantage to be gained from stretching his fuel stops. Like McBride he will stick with his regular 8:40 stops. Planning to ‘pressure (Kyle) early in the race and see what happens’, he said, ‘it’s a long race especially for Truggy and I don’t think its something many people have done before in a truck’.
Starting third on the grid, Aaron Stringer said, ‘It’s going to be a long race but I’ll leave my truck as is because its been pretty quick’. The Australian National Champion, who will run AKA’s Impact tyre in the final having run them in the final two qualifiers said his approach to the race is to ‘try not to crash at the start and try keep touch with the leaders’. After that he said the aim is to ‘try to finish’, adding ’60-minutes in this hot weather will be pretty tough’.
‘It a 1-hour final so something is going to happen’ was Atsushi Hara outlook for tomorrow. Putting his OS Speed powered HB Racing truck 4th on the grid, the first time visitor continued, ‘it hot so its going to be tough on the cars and the drivers. It a bit of an endurance test so its going to be interesting’. In terms of his own race, the former Offroad & Onroad World Champion said, ‘my truggy has good speed so I will just put on medium Blockades and just drive’.
Starting fifth on grid, former winner Adam Drake said, ‘the final will be good’. Having been restricted in his tyre choice for qualifying, the Mugen driver continued, ‘we had only one set of the proper tyre we needed but we had to save that for the final’. World famous for his ability to stretch his full mileage to impressive lengths, the American said not having his regular pitman makes long runs a risk. While he has successfully worked with the pitman he has here in Manila before, Drake said his pitman’s limited English is a bit of a communications barrier and so he will run the same fuel stops as Tessmann.
Chassis – Team Associated RC8B3.1 Engine – OS Speed B2101 Tyres – Pro-Line Blockade X2 compound Fuel – VP Racing Fuel 25% Radio/Servos – Futaba 4PX / Reedy RT2207A Body – AE kit body Remarks – ‘The King’, Richard Saxton has made the journey from California to participate in this year’s Philippine Masters and who is enjoying his first ever trip to the Philippines commented that ‘the people are really nice, the track is fun, and I’m having a really great time here.’ Saxton’s Team Associated RC8B3.1 is kit stock besides the Fast Race shock caps, which utilizes a different bladder and have no volume behind the bladder and was seen on Spencer Rivkin’s buggy at the Neo. Also, Saxton is using a +5mm rear shock standoff to fine tune the rear end of the buggy, however Saxton also remarked that he was going to try Kyle McBride’s emulsion shock package in round 4 of qualifying to see which was better.
After a below par performance in the first qualifier of Day 2 of the Philippine Masters following his domination of the opening day, David Ronnefalk bounced back with a new fastest TQ run that all but secures him the overall TQ for tomorrow’s 1-hour A-Main in Manila. Unable to double up on his Q3 TQ, Ty Tessmann would finish 1.5-seconds off his Swedish rival’s pace meaning the Canadian needs to take the fifth & final qualifier in a new faster time something he conceded was not likely. Kyle McBride would complete the Top 3 in a round that saw trouble for Atsushi Hara, his car suffering a flame out, and Aaron Stringer, tyre gluing issues leaving him a non-starter. Enjoying his best run, Adam Drake would claim a P4 ahead of fellow US racers Richard Saxton and Aaron Gomez.
‘Adrien (Bertin) used to call it a morning run and that is what happen in Q3, I left my car unchanged for that one because I knew mistakes were the problem not the car’, was Ronnefalk’s reaction after Q4. The World Champion added, ‘the temperature went up a little so the car was working even better that time’, a fact highlighted by him laying down a new fastest lap time of 30.181 seconds. Commenting on that lap he said, ‘I didn’t even push at all on that lap. It’s easy to go around but if you push it can bite you so I drove super tight in the corners without pushing too hard’. Looking to the final qualifier, he said, ‘it will not be as late as yesterday but I might have to go down (with the oils). I will also change my motor venturi to get more power but other than that the car is amazing’.
Commenting on his P2 for the round, Tessmann said , ‘we ran everything the same as the first one but I think the tyres were a little too soft that one’. He continued, ‘I didn’t have quite as much grip, it was squirmy I guess so for the last one I’ll try X2 Fugitives to see how they are for the mains so we can try to find a tyre that is more stable for the final’. Asked if the final was now his focus, the former World Champion said, ‘it would be nice to go for the TQ but we need to get ourself ready for the finals’.
‘Same old story, I was going good at the start and then crashed’, was how McBride described his latest run in which he would come up short on the triple costing him 4-seconds. The Associated driver continued, ‘we are pretty much on pace and good for the final’. Looking on target for third on the grid, the 21-year-old from Brisbane plans to use the final qualifier to test saying, ‘I want to make one small change for the last qualifier to try and get see if I can get a little more steering’.
The driver who put the Philippine Masters on the international map setting it up for the growth of the big name drivers in attendance for this the biggest year of the event, Drake was happier with his Mugen for Q4. He said, ‘the balance is better now which made it easier to drive but my tyres were too soft’. He continued, ‘it was dusty but still had really good grip and my tyres got too hot so I have just got to get the tyres figured out’.
Setting the fifth fastest time, Saxton said, ‘Having talked with Kyle about his shock set-up, I saw what he was saying and took his advice so I changed from Fastrace shock caps to Associated production caps with emulsion shocks. Comparing the car to Q3, the ‘King’ continued, ‘my car was easier to drive and it was better over the bumps’. For the final qualifier he plans to continue to head further towards McBride’s set-up.
The showdown between World Champions David Ronnefalk and Ty Tessmann has finally started to heat up at the Philippine Masters as Tessmann registered his first TQ run of the event in buggy. Having reigned over the Truggy class, taking the first three qualifiers, the Xray driver couldn’t match that form in buggy with Ronnefalk stamping his authority on the opening Day’s action. This morning however in Manila, after a good night sleep, the Canadian found his rhythm to put a TQ run on the board as Ronnefalk suffered a tough round and ended up with a P7. With 2 of the five rounds of qualifying to count, Tessmann will now take the fight to his former team-mate over the final two qualifiers. Behind Tessmann, Kyle McBride took second for the round, the Associated driver was 5-seconds adrift. Atsushi Hara would complete the Top 3 with his best run so far ahead of Aaron Stringer, Richard Saxton and Adam Drake.
‘The track was harder to drive but my car was easy to drive so I was just cruising around really’, was how Tessmann summed up his first TQ run. The Canadian, who posted P2 & 3 yesterday, continued, ‘we made a few changes from yesterday to make the steering less aggressive for the high bite and it as a lot better. We also tested a silver compound tyre (Electro Shots)’. Feeling that going in the direction of making the car easy to drive for the high bite conditions was the right way, looking to Q4 he said, ‘we’ll wait to see how the track is and if it loses grip but going by yesterday it’s not going to so we probably stay the same’.
McBride said, ‘my car was really good but I just came in too tight and traction rolled’. The Australian was referring to his mistake he made coming off the main straight when his RC8B3.1 ended up on its roof losing him 3-seconds while he was laying down the TQ pace. He continued, ‘I must get myself a clean run at some stage then I think we’ll be alright’. For his next run, he plans to ‘lift the rear hub up which should help lose a little rear traction and also help on the bumps, apart from that I’ll just go again’.
‘Better, less mistakes’, was Hara’s reaction to his first Top 3 run. Making a tyre change on his HB Racing D817, switching to Pro-Line’s Positron, he said, ‘I had tried them before but the conditions were what they were designed for. They improved my lap times and they are OK when there is no dust but I had some mistakes and got out on the dust. I think it will be more dusty for the next two rounds so I will change to Fugitives but I don’t change the car’.
Stringer said, ‘the car was a bit difficult to drive. I made changes to trying to pre-empt the high grip but my diff oil was too light’. Planning to go up in the diff oils for Q4, the Mugen driver will also change to a harder spring & heavier oil in the rear shocks as well as switch from AKA’s Grid Iron to Impact tyre. Describing the heat as ‘pretty intense’, the 26-year-old from Brisbane said the ‘freight train with everyone except Tessmann’ had ‘slowed us all up slightly’.
Explaining his P7, finishing over 16-seconds off Tessmann, Ronnefalk said, ‘I had a bad start and flipped on the second lap’. Making a similar mistake at the same spot on the track as McBride, he said, ‘this dropped me down into the middle of the pack and while I had some good lap times Ty had a good clean run on his own’. Setting a new fastest lap around the VC Offroad Track in the qualifier, the Swede said he ‘got a bit too excited at the big jump and landed out in the straight’. Making changes to his Orion powered D817 ‘it was more hard to drive’ adding the traction was also a factor. Unlike his rivals, the World Champion is not running Truggy and following this morning’s application of molasses he said ‘you can see how black the track is everywhere today, the car was more clean today after the run’. Switching to the O2 compound in JConcepts Detox tyre he said, ‘I will stick with those, I like them’.