October 4, 2015

Drivers give first impressions of Worlds track


Drivers got their first taste of the 1:10 Offroad World Championship’s contentious astro turf track this morning at the Yatabe Arena with the overall layout getting a positive reaction however the track’s washboard section has been widely branded as ‘a stupid’ feature.  A completely new track build to that used for the warm-up and having had no running drivers reported the astro turf needs more time to get a groove however in terms of outright 2WD lap times it was the defending champion Jared Tebo who set the pace from former champions Neil Cragg and Ryan Cavalieri.  Over 3-consecutive laps it was Cragg who laid down the early pace ahead of Japanese star Kohta Akimoto.


A driver whose extensive preparation for the event hasn’t gone unnoticed, Tebo’s first reaction to the track was that ‘the layout is faster than it first looks’.  Describing the ‘turf’ as ‘weird’, the Kyosho/Orion star put this down to the different sections of the green astro turf having been ‘laid backwards’.  Overall liking the layout to drive, the American did add that it was going to make for ‘difficult racing’.  One of the few drivers to like the five section rubber strips, describing it as ‘pretty cool’, he said ‘at least its one section that can offer mistakes’.  Tebo’s Kyosho team-mate Naoto Matsukura, who is being heavily tipped for success in 4WD later in the week, the Japanese driver posted the fourth fastest lap time but was lacking any sort of consistency saying his car was ‘maximum soft’ and had too much roll.


2005 World Champion Cragg was ‘pretty happy’ with his opening practice saying he felt ‘pretty comfortable’ so it was a ‘thumbs up’ start to proceedings.  Asked about the layout, the Associated driver replied ‘it is what it is but at least it has plenty of features’.  The British driver added ‘I’m not sure about the ripples’ but felt he did ‘better than (he) thought’ through the section when it ‘caught a few others out’.


Team-mate Cavalieri said ‘everything is fun except for the black strips’.  The 2011 World Champion likes the flow of the track and said once he gets the washboard figured out it should be more enjoyable.  Commenting on his modified B5M, of which the AE are not allowing photos, the reigning US National Champion said it felt ‘pretty decent’ and the plan for the day’s four other practice runs was to ‘change one thing here and there’ as they get used to the track.


Heading the efforts of the Yokomo team, owners of Yatabe Arena, Lee Martin ran the fifth fastest lap time.  The reigning Euro Offroad Series champion, a championship run on carpet tracks, and winner of the new season’s opening round 2-weeks at the Nurburgring, the British ace is one of the 2WD title favourites.  Giving his initial thoughts on the track, he said ‘the astro is strange’ adding ‘it is not laid in sequence’.  In terms of the layout he described some of the jumps as ‘a bit odd’ pointing out the blind spot on the approach to the table table.  In terms of his car he raced his EOS car with the Warm-up set-up but the car had ‘too much punch’ and for the next practice he will switch to his ‘Worlds car’ to see how it feels.


Third fastest over 3-consecutive laps, Ryan Maifield initially responded with a silent look when asked for his thoughts on the track.  Describing the track as ‘really weird’ he said driving it felt like you had a broken servo.  The Team Losi Racing driver said this is was due to the astro having no groove yet adding he was ‘not sure how long that takes’.  Commenting on the washboard the American replied the ‘rubber things are stupid’.  Asked if they would be key to a lap, he said it was key not to crash there but the key was going to be putting clean laps together for the entire 5-minutes.


Elsewhere HB’s Canadian star and reigning 1:8 World Champion Ty Tessmann, who ran a Top 10 lap time, described the track as ‘pretty fun’.  Running a pre-production version of HB’s upcoming 2WD kit release he said he has ‘just moved around weight for astro’. Pointing out that unlike most other manufacturers they don’t have an ‘astro turf chassis’ plate, he said the track was a little slower than he thought it would be and so he will make changes for this for the next practice.


Another of the European’s expected to feature strongly, Joern Neumann ran the 7th fastest time over 3-consecutive laps.  The Serpent driver described the track as ‘tricky for everybody’, adding the grip is different with some sections having very high grip while others he is struggling for steering.  Describing the washboard as ‘stupid’, the German continued ‘for what, there is no need for this’.

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