Jared Tebo has taken the opening qualifier at the 1:10 2WD World Championships in Japan. The Kyosho driver who ruled yesterday’s practice proceedings would be the only driver to do 18 laps of the Yatabe Arena track with the sports future stars Spencer Rivkin and Michal Orlowski completing the Top 3. Some big names to hit problems in the first of the five qualifiers were former Champion Ryan Cavalieri, the Associated driver popping a dogbone, and Ryan Maifield, the TLR driver breaking his rear suspension at the table top.
Despite making the perfect start to his title defence Tebo said he ‘was nervous and didn’t drive well’. Making one ‘pretty big’ mistake, which required his shaft driven RZ6 to be marshalled, the American said said a change to the car after the morning’s final practice had improved it but he plans another for Q2. Feeling the track had a little more grip for Q1, he said the change is in part to keep up with track conditions but also due to the newness of the car. Having had little time to test the car but managing some carpet testing prior to travelling to Japan, he said the astro turf is unique with the rear end of the car needing a completely different set-up. Overall he said the biggest improvement will come from him putting in a clean 5-minute run.
‘I didn’t expect anything like that finish’, that was Rivkin’s reaction to his impressive performance. Having got into the top heat by ending practice 10th fastest, the 16-year-old said ‘before the run everyone told me don’t crash’ and heeding the advice that is what he did. Coming upon a group of cars while on TQ pace, the American showed great patientce for what he described as a ‘hectic couple of laps’. Having been looking for more speed yesterday, he said ‘Sean C (from Reedy) hooked me up with a bigger motor’ with the Reedy unit giving him the ‘extra power if needed’ making the car overall safer to drive. ‘Looking forward to Round 2’ he said with his car working good he will leave it unchanged.
14-year-old Michal Orlowski took a similar approach to Rivkin saying ‘I just wanted a good run with no mistakes’. A clean qualifier, the Schumacher star said he got lucky as a few drivers crashed in front of him but in terms of his KF2 the car was working really well. With no set-up changes planned for Q2, the Polish driver said he just needed to drive it and try to get two more such runs on the board, 3 of the 5 rounds to determine the line-up for the finals.
A driver who surprisingly didn’t feature on the radar in practice yesterday, Lee Martin would open with a positive 4th. ‘We are moving forward’, was the Yokomo driver’s reaction to the run. Running in the second fastest heat, the European Champion said a ‘rethink’ this morning led him to revert to his set-up from home. While he is still not confident with the car, the Brit said he knows from his base set-up what changes are needed adding while they are ‘a few runs behind’ they are also just a few steps away from getting the car he wants.
Running in the same group as Martin, Martin Bayer would get a P5 from Q1. The Xray driver said he had a good start but towards the end of the heat he came up on traffic leading to a crash. Taking 2-laps to get back into his rhythm he said he was happy to get a fifth. Describing his XB2 as good and easy to drive when asked what the plan was for Q2 the friendly Czech driver reply ‘have lunch’.
After pushing Tebo for the TQ run early on, a mistake would leave Neil Cragg with a 6th for round 1. Summing up the run the Associated driver said ‘I had just one big crash in the middle, I nailed them cones’. Despite this the 2005 World Champion said he’d ‘take a 6th for the first round’, and knowing that he can run with Tebo he is confident for Q2 adding his modified B5M is ‘good’.
With Maifield going out after just one completed lap, it was Dakotah Phend who would be the top TLR driver for Round 1. Posting the 7th fastest time by 0.066 from Kyle McBride, the 18-year-old said he ‘had a couple of mistake on (his) own’ but overall the run went good. Changing his TLR22 development car set-up for the qualifier he said they where good and it ‘was on pace’, a fact that was highlighted by him being the only driver along with Tebo to run a 17.21 second lap. A driver who did attend the Warm-up Race he is getting more comfortable with the car every run.