October 6, 2015

Tebo to defend World title as Top Qualifier


Jared Tebo will defend his 2WD Offroad World title from the front of the grid after a dramatic finish in the final round of qualifying at the Yatabe Arena.  Going into the fifth qualifier only Tebo and Neil Cragg were left in contention for the overall TQ and with both making mistakes it looked like star of the event Spencer Rivkin would post his first TQ run.  Such a result would have led to a double celebration at Team Associated as it would mean 2005 champion Cragg with take the overall TQ due to previous results.  It was not to be however as Rivkin would have issues passing Naoto Matsukura with the resulting rollover enough to allow a recovering Tebo snatch the round and a second consecutive overall World’s TQ.  Lining up behind the Kyosho driver will be a trio of Associateds with 2011 Top Qualifier Cragg 2nd, Rivkin an very impressive 3rd and Ryan Cavalieri fourth.  Interestingly for an event that created a lot debate when it was announced it would be run on astro turf, with home advantage one of the big arguments against the artificial surface, no Japanese driver has made the final, most notably Naoto Matsukura, with the 10 car line up a split of five from offroad racing powerhouse nation American and five Europeans.


Commenting on his final qualifier, Tebo said ‘I was really nervous at the start and had one mistake which was a decent size crash’. Having made changes to his RZ6 for the morning’s practice run going in the wrong direction he said based off this he was able to better the car for the final qualifier.  With ‘the rear end a lot more stable’, he said after the crash he ‘got the head down’ and admitting to benefiting from Rivkin’s late incident he added it was ‘nice to finish out with a TQ’.  Happy with his ‘charge’ the American said it showed his ‘mental side is strong’.  Asked about the finals, which take place later today, he replied ‘I like starting up front, I can set the pace and do my job. I just need to keep it rubber side down and the pressure is on them ‘.


Asked about his final qualifier, Cragg replied, ‘I just had one crash in front of the drivers start but it was enough’.   The British driver continued, ‘lining up second is probably not the worst spot on this track’.  Asked about the finals he predicted ‘chaos’ adding his approach would be to ‘race close and clean and not crash and see how we go’.


A driver who  admits himself his World Championship is ‘exceeding all expectations’, Rivkin, despite Matsukura costing him a TQ run, described Q5 as ‘amazing, I was in the lead until the last 3-laps’.  Commenting on the incident, the 16-year-old, who since being signed as the driver to fill the void following the departure of his TLR bound mentor Ryan Maifield has taken on a impressive level of professionalism, said ‘I could have been a lot worse’.  He continued, ‘I am not mad at losing the TQ as second is still a great result’.  A driver who has consistency drilled into his approach for this event, the Arizona driver said its worked well so far and he has no plans to change it for the finals.


Despite a roll over on his second lap Cavalieri felt he ‘drove really good’ adding the round was also ‘by far the best (his) car  has been’ highlighted by him achieving his best overall time of the 5 qualifiers.  Asked about the final, the current US National Champion replied ‘I think I’m am about were I need to be to contend for the title’.  Commenting on his fourth place starting position he said ‘there are two guys who really want it and a new guy starting ahead of me so the plan is to sit back, wait and be patient’.


Lining up fifth on the grid will be reigning European Champion Lee Martin.  The Yokomo driver said a bigger front wing and different springs for Q5 made his YZ-2 better in some sections but it jumped a little awkward.  Feeling a mistake by Xray’s Martin Bayer, the Czech driver also making the A-Main in 9th position, helped him as he could do his own thing, the Brit said 5th for the round was not bad.  Asked about his plan for the final, the Vice World Champion gave a very simple reply ‘wait for the drama to happen’.


Putting his Serpent sixth on the grid, Joern Neumann is another who plans to wait for mistakes up front.  The German saying ‘everything can happen. For sure one final they will crash.’  Making reference to the last World Championship when Cragg went from 10th on the grid to finish second in A1, he said ‘they crash, maybe I’m lucky too’.  Asked about his car he replied, ‘Its good, easy to drive and the lap times are there’.  Behind Neumann the grid is completed by Maifield, the America getting a podium from 6th on the grid in Chico, young Schumacher star Michal Orlowski, Bayer and Associated designer Kody Numedahl, the B5M the best represented car in the final.



View the complete final overall standings after 5 rounds here (PDF).

View our full event image gallery here.



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