February 22, 2014

Phend TQ’s first round of Buggy at DNC


Team Losi Racing’s Dakotah Phend best mastered slick conditions at the Dirt Nitro Challenge to TQ the opening round of Buggy qualifying which saw drivers struggle with a track that has become highly polished. Phend topped the times by 3 seconds from Serpent’s Mike Truhe, the pair the only two drivers to complete 10-lap runs over the 7-minutes. For defending champion Ryan Maifield, who is running in the third fastest heat it was a terrible start to the event with him failing to finish the round after suffering an engine flame out. Last year’s Top Qualifier Jared Tebo also had a difficult opening heat, the Kyosho driver struggling with ice like conditions and only able to post the 19th fastest time.


Phend said he ‘did a lot of sliding around’ on the ‘really polished’ surface but was happy with how he dealt with the conditions. Describing his 8ight 3.0 as ‘awesome’ and planning to leave it as is for Q2, he said while controlling the slide was ok what made conditions tougher was the small holes that are starting to appear which catch the buggy and throw it around. Running Pro-Line M3 Holeshot tyres, the 17-year old expects the holes to be a lot bigger for the second round which he feels should improve grip levels.


Truhe, who is making his nitro race debut for Serpent this weekend, was clearly pleased with his opening run. Running in the second fastest heat he topped the group to take the provisional TQ for the round but had it not been for a crash on his final lap it could have been a ‘different story’ with which to kick off his new deal with Serpent. Truhe said his TOP powered Cobra-B 2.0 ‘felt real good’ with the chassis ‘really well balanced’ something he said was key to him being able to run so well on the ‘slick surface’. Running Pro-Line M3 Blockades he said they worked well but for Q2 he will try Holeshots as he feels a smaller pin would ‘maybe give better control of the slide’.


‘Crazy’ was how European Champion Ronnefalk summed up how slippery the track had become, the Swede putting in a strong run to set the third fastest time. Planning to run the soft compound of AKA’s new Catapult tyres on his MP9, he said listening to drivers from the previous heats coming off the drivers stand complain of the lack of grip, they made a ‘lucky’ last minute switch to the supersoft compound. While he liked the forward traction the tyre gave he felt they were a touch loose in side bite and so for Q2 he will consider trying something different. Describing his set-up as ‘overall good’, he said they maybe ran the rear shock a little too soft and they will change this for Q2 along with switching to a softer clutch on his Orion engine to suit the low traction conditions.


Setting the fourth fastest time, Ty Tessmann said the track was ‘so loose’. Although he ‘didn’t get the rhythm section right every lap’, the factory HB driver said he didn’t crash so in the end it was a good opening run. Expecting the track to break up causing conditions to get even worse, along with the round most likely being run in the dark due to two long delays to the schedule, he plans to try a number of different things on his D8 for Q2.


Making it two European’s in the all important Top 12, 12 drivers directly qualifying into the A-Main, Team Xray’s Renaud Savoya posted the fifth fastest time. The 3-time European Champion said he knew from his mechanic Jérôme Treignier running earlier in the round that conditions had become very difficult. Based on this he ‘drove safe’, an approach that netted him a ‘good’ result. Having struggled to get a feeling with his tyres in practice due to the wet conditions caused by the watering of the track before runs, he said today with no watering his Sweep tyres suit the conditions really well. Running silver Exagon on his Orion powered XB8, the softest compound Sweep offers, he said for Q2 he plans to run everything the same and instead focus on trying to put in another strong run to lock himself in to the Main.


Running a rather unique supercross line through the right hand side hairpin, throwing up a nice rooster every lap, Carson Wernimont described conditions as ‘scary’. Setting the sixth fastest time, the Mugen driver said the lack of grip really surprised him but able to run clean laps he said towards the end of the run his soft AKA Grid Iron tyres started to feel pretty good. Planning just a few small tweaks to his set-up to make his MBX7 a little easier to drive he said there is ‘no real way around the track conditions’ and one just has to ‘drive through it’.


Running a prototype of Team Associated’s upcoming new RC8 platform, Ryan Cavalieri posted the 7th fastest time ahead of Mugen’s Barry Pettit. Describing the track as ‘a lot slicker’, the 4-time 1:10 electric offroad World Champion said his buggy ‘felt pretty good’ and he was able ‘to keep it under control’ for the most part. Running a ‘bunch of solid laps’, Cavalieri was running an overall TQ pace until he got it wrong just the once through the rhythm section. Despite this he declared it ‘a solid run’ adding that the ‘new car is a lot better’ than its predecessor. Running a used set of soft AKA Impact he said the fact they were scruffed they worked well for the condition but for Q2 he will change to the supersoft compound. Team-mate Maifield summed up his run as ‘shit’. Making an ‘educated guess’ on what tyre to run based on what they ran last year when he won the event he used some colourful language to highlight that they ran the complete opposite tyre to what they needed. Running red compound JConcepts Metrix tyres he said they will go for a softer compound. In terms of his engine flame, his engine also stopping during his warm-up laps, he said they are not sure what caused this.


Setting the 9th fastest time, Richard Saxton was the surprise of the opening qualifier. Running the same prototype RC8 that was raced at last weekends Montpellier Grand Prix by Yannic Aigoin, Saxton said he ‘had the luxury’ of running earlier in the round when temperatures were lower. Running in the same heat as Dylan Rodriguez, last years finalist missing out on practice due to school and therefore not getting seed for the heats, Saxton said this benefited him a lot as he could use the Las Vegas driver to gauge his pace. Also running in the Legends class at this year’s DNC, he said while he ran a faster time then, together with the new car’s designer Josh Alton they were able to come up with a good set-up for the car for his Pro Buggy class qualifier that made the buggy easier to drive.

Joseph Quagraine

Completing the Top 10 was Mr. JQ Products Joseph Quagraine. The Finn, who has been based out in the US for the past couple of weeks, said coming off the drivers stand after his heat he was annoyed with his run expecting it would be only good for a Top 30 time. Running in the same heat as Maifield, he said watching the fastest two heats run he couldn’t believe how drivers struggled with the conditions. Clearly pleased with his 10th for the round he said he will ‘keep trying’ and hopefully be able to back it up with another good qualifier in Q2.

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