Ryan Maifield is on pole position for the 1-hour title deciding final of the 1:8 Offroad World Championships in Sicily. Running in the second of the 30-min Semi Finals, the Team Losi Racing driver ran a faster race time by 11-seconds over that of Top Qualifier & Semi A winner Ty Tessmann to securing the top spot on the 12 car grid ahead of Tessmann and defending champion Robert Batlle. While Maifield took an easy win over Ryan Lutz and Jared Tebo it was the first Semi that provided all the drama with engine wows robbing both Lee Martin and David Ronnefalk the chance to compete in the showdown to become the 15th World Champion.
While Tessmann would lead from start to finish, the HB driver was shadowed for the first half of the race by Martin’s Mugen, admitting afterwards that the British driver was pushing him hard. Tipped by many as having the potential to challenge Tessmann for the title, unfortunately on lap 22 of 47 Martin’s MBX7R would come to a halt on the track with a glowplug failure. While he would get running again the failure had damaged his engine and it cut again forcing him into retirement. Summing up his race as ‘pretty good’, Tessman said he had a couple of mistakes and even after Martin’s retirement he had to push as he chased a fast race time. While his D812 ‘got soft towards the end’ of the race something to be expected in such conditions, he is pleased with the car he has for the final. Like Martin, engine trouble would also be behind the heartbreaking retirement of Ronnefalk. Setting the the fastest lap of the race as he worked his way up from 8th on the grid to 2nd behind Tessmann, the European Champion would suffer a flame out with just 3-laps to go. Losing a minute before he got running again the clock was against the 17-year-old and he crossed the finish 8th. Ronnefalk’s misfortunate handed 2nd to Batlle. Starting from 6th on the grid the Spaniard said the race went better than expected with everything working good. Aiming to start in the Top 5, he said 3rd was good position and he is confident going into the final. Team Associated’s Ryan Cavalieri would book his passage to the Main with third as would Dakotah Phend and Kyle McBride, the latter overcoming a flame-out during his first fuel stop.
A much less dramatic Semi B Final almost looked like a formality for Maifield once proceedings got underway. During the warm-up 2012 Top Qualifier Elliott Boots broke a front shock on his Kyosho resulting in him calling for a 10-minute delay that put him from 3rd to the back of the grid. Running 4th, with three laps to go his leg gave way and he fell on the driver stand causing him to crash on the main straight and eventually drop to 9th leaving him, like in Argentina, failing to progress to the Main. Behind Maifield, Ryan Lutz would have a reasonable lonely race to second with his Durango the only other car to finish in the lead lap. Jared Tebo would complete the Top 3 with a 3-seconds advantage over Carson Wernimont. Just as he did in Argentina, 2010 World Champion Cody King got on top of a disappointing qualifying to claim a spot in the Main with 5th having started the day off in the 1/4 Finals. The faster of the two heats, the top 5 from each Semi in the final to be joined by the next two fastest drivers, that would go to sixth & seventh place finishers Alex Zanchettin, the Italian getting a massive cheer from the local crowd, and Q4 top qualifier Martin Bayer. Commenting on his Semi, Maifield said his JConcepts equipped Novarossi powered 8ight was fast without him having to push it adding that such a package ‘makes (his) job easier.’ Pleased with his performance he said the only issue in the race was his left leg started to go asleep towards the end of the race something he hopes wont reoccur in the Main.