Joern Neumann and Jared Tebo complete the podium at the 2011 IFMAR 4WD Electric Buggy World Championships joining three time 4WD World Champion Ryan Cavalieri, who successful pulled of the Worlds double in the second of the A-main. With Cavalieri sitting out the third main it was left to four drivers to battle it out for the final two podium places with Neumann pulling off a last lap last corner pass on Top Qualifier Ryan Maifield to win. Added to his 3rd place finish in Leg 2, the win secured the runners-up spot for the Team Durango driver who tied on points with Kyosho’s Jared Tebo, the American who was only fifth for the leg, having to settle for the final step on the podium.
After the tough luck he suffered in A1 when his motor failed while he held a 5-second lead, Neumann said he was delighted to finnish runner-up as his target coming to Finland was to make the A-Main. Never expecting to be such a strong contender for the title he paid tribute to his Durango team and team-mates who he said all worked well together. Asked if he would have done anything different in the finals the 20-year-old joked he ‘maybe should have change motor before the first A-Main’.
Third on the podium in 2WD, 2007 Champion Tebo said he felt he had a better chance at the 4WD title but in the end it ‘just wasn’t really’ his week. Pleased to come away from the bi-annual event with two podium places he said the event marked a big move forward for his team with who he feels he has built up a strong communication between him and Japan.
His second time being Top Qualifier in 4WD, Maifield had little to show for his qualifying efforts as he ended up fourth overall. Looking like he might end the event with a win and put the disappointment of the opening two mains behind him, he had that and a place on the podium snatched from under him by Neumann just at the line. Suffering a steering servo fault in the practice final and from a loose slipper in A1 Maifield said the day didn’t go his way and while very disappointed said ‘that’s racing’. One of the biggest stars of the offroad scene, the Team Associated driver must now wait two years to have another go at claiming his first ever World title. With the 2013 Worlds set to be staged in his home country, the American will be more determined than ever to get the job done.
Making his first Worlds final former European Champion Hupo Honigl had a great third leg finishing 3rd which was good enough to place the Team Durango driver 5th overall ahead of Neil Cragg. In with a chance of making the podium Cragg failed to finish the final encounter dropping him to sixth overall, the same result the British ace achieved in 2WD.
For Cavalieri becoming double World Champion will bring many rewards one of which was an opportunity to test 1:1 scale motorbike engined buggy at the adjacent kart racing track. Under the watchful eye of Ford World Rally team driver Mikko Hirvonen and his co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen, who were patrons of the Electric Buggy World Championships, he aquitted himself well once he got the hang of getting started. Cavalieri’s first full size motorsport encounter lead to a que of drivers willing to pay for a go with Tebo the first in line. 1:8 Buggy World Champion Cody King was the first to find the limits spinning off backwards into the tyres but no damage was done. Getting the biggest cheer as he got strapped in for his run Naoto Matsukara was the only one to acknowledge the onlookers before pulling up after just two laps saying ‘enough, enough’. To top of what have been a truly world class organised event Hirvonen, having got some last minute tips from Cody King, showed his skills behind the wheel much to the appreciation of the large gathering of r/c racers.
Red RC would like thank everyone of the 100 volunteers in the Vaasa club who helped put on an event that sets a new standard for our sport. Sadly one of the main people responsible for bringing the 2011 Worlds to Finland informed us that they don’t intend applying for future IFMAR events feeling the sports governing body did little to support their efforts.
Ryan Cavalieri is the new 4WD World Champion, becoming only the third driver in the 26-year-history of the IFMAR Championships to win both the 2WD & 4WD title at the week long event. The factory Team Associated driver secured his fourth World title by backing up his victory in the opening leg of the A-Main with a more convincing win in Leg 2.
The race saw Top Qualifier Ryan Maifield lead the opening laps but just like in the first encounter the American got it wrong at the double allowing Joern Neumann to take the lead. Looking like the German might get justice for the earlier cruel luck, it wasn’t to be for the highly talented Team Durango driver. Chased by Cavalieri, Neumann made a mistake on his eighth lap allowing the No.3 car to go to the front and take a 2-second win over Jared Tebo to wrap up his third 4WD World Championship.
After the race Cavalieri said doing the double felt as good as winning his first title did back in 2003 but being a few years older now he appreciates what he has achieved a lot more. Having always aimed to win at least one World title since he was a kid he said he never thought about doing the double before but said getting it done felt ‘awesome’. Becoming the second most successful driver in electric offroad after the legend that is Masami Hirosaka, Cavalieri made a better start and said once he hit the front and knew the title was his for the taking he drove a safe race not wanting a repeat of the 2005 Worlds.
Receiving congratulations from 3 time Touring Car World Champion Marc Rheinard, Cavalieri joked with the German that he was delighted to give the Tamiya driver motivation to go for a fourth title. Cavalieri will be a spectator for the third A-Main which will determine the final podium places as the excellently organised 14th World Championship comes to a close in Vaasa, Finland.