October 8, 2015

4WD gets underway at World Championships


With drivers having had a day off to recover from their 2WD exploits it is back to business this morning at the Yatabe Arena as the 4WD World Championships got underway with the first round of practice.  With the astro turf track undergoing two changes from that used in 2WD it was Xray’s touring car ace Bruno Coelho who found the best early footing in the high traction conditions as he lay down the early pace over 3-laps.  For defending champion Steven Hartson it was not the start the Associated driver was looking for with the American set to change car for the second practice.


In what is only his second international 1:10 Offroad event, the Portuguese driver making his debut at the recent Euro Offroad Series season opener in Germany and impressing, Coelho said it was ‘a super good start’.  With team-mate Martin Bayer posting the third fastest time, the current European Nitro Touring Car Champion said his XB4 was good but like everyone else they need to improve it for the high traction levels.  Asked about the track he said the new layout now had ‘two blind spots, but every time I mention blind spots people say its just offroad’ jokingly adding ‘offroad must be for blind people’.  Asked about the rubber strips which have been moved to run around the near left corner leading to the chicane before the straight, he feels now everyone has to do it the same ‘one, one, one’ approach and so there is ‘no big performance advantage like in 2WD’.


Newly crowned 2WD World Champion Spencer Rivkin was in the same frame of mind that helped him in 2WD saying ‘I was just getting the feel for the car and track’.  Asked what he thought of the track changes, the large roll over having been moved from in front of the drivers stand to the centre section after the table top, the 16-year-old replied ‘its pretty cool’ adding he likes the strips as ‘you need to be patient in there’, patience having paid off for the new Associated star in 2WD.  Commenting on his car he said ‘it wasn’t bad but we’ll make it better for the next one’.


Unfortunately for defending champion Hartson, he didn’t share the same feeling for his car describing it as ‘no good’.  The Californian said it ‘wasn’t what he hoped for’ and he will now switch to his second car which is ‘a standard car from back home’.  Describing the track as ‘fun and flowing’ he said ‘just the whoops felt worse to me as they really upset the car’.


The driver with the most titles to his credit, three time 4WD Champion Ryan Cavalieri described the track as ‘pretty fun’ and he ‘like(s) the changes’ adding that it was ‘a lot better than (he) was expecting’.  Overall a track that is ‘easier in some areas’ he said it is ‘not as risky as the 2WD layout’.  In terms of his car, the Associated driver said for a first run it was ‘not too bad’.


Top Qualifier at the last World Championship, Joern Nuemann response to his first practice was ‘its very edgy’.  The Serpent driver said the new layout was ‘OK,(and) better than expected’.  Looking to make his car more stable he plans to remove another set of pins from the handout Schumacher Wide Stagger Rib front tyre.


Top Qualifier in 2WD earlier in the week, Jared Tebo reaction to the track was ‘really grippy’.  Finishing runner-up to Rivkin in 2WD, the Kyosho star said, ‘the 2WD track was more fun but its alright’.  On the moving the strips, where he took an early advantage over his rivals in 2WD, to the corner he said ‘they’re ok, but you need to be patient with them’.  Recording the 7th fastest 3-laps the 2007 4WD Champion said ‘it was pretty edgy’.


TLR’s Ryan Maifield said his 22-4 was really easy to driver but added the end of straight was an area that he needed to work on.  Describing 4WD as being ‘more sensitive to wheel inputs at speed’ he said ‘you need to be careful how you send it in end at the end of the straight’.  Describing it as a positive opening run, the Arizona driver who was the only TLR to make the 2WD final, said it was a ‘surprisingly better start than 4WD adding the 2WD track time had helped’ adding ‘I wish they ran 4WD first honestly’.


Current Euro Offroad Series Champion Lee Martin had similar views about his opening 4WD practice.  A driver who was one of the favourites for 2WD but struggled, the Yokomo driver said ‘I think we are a little better than 2WD’ adding ‘its a more positive start, the car feels less alien’.  Feeling the diffs in his YZ-4 took a while to come in he said when they did ‘it was not too bad after but (he) didn’t get any clean laps’.  For the second practice the British driver said they still had to get things right with the front tyre in terms of cutting pins and gluing.  On the track changes he said the ‘rubber strips are still annoying’ but continuing ‘they are less critical’.


Having never featured in 2WD, Canadian star Ty Tessmann was much more upbeat saying ‘It’s a lot closer, I’m not so far of the pace so I’m happier with that’.  The HB driver said the track is ‘more fun than 2WD’ and the whoops are ‘not nearly as difficult’.  More positive about 4WD he said he needed to work on the roll over jump as he was flat landing it in the first practice.

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