David Ronnefalk is the top seed for qualifying at the 16th running of the 1:8 Offroad World Championships. The former multiple European Champion headed a HB Racing 1-2 as team-mate Ty Tessmann posted the second quickest 3-consecutive laps in Las Vegas. Only 7th fastest in the first of the 2 seeding rounds, he would set the pace by 2/10ths of a second from the reigning World Champion with up & coming talent David Ongaro completing the Top 3, the 15-year-old the only one of two drivers in the Top 10 who failed to improve their time in the final practice.
Making both a suspension and a body change on his Orion powered D815V2, Ronnefalk said the changes ‘felt really good’.The Swede said the suspension change made his car absorb the bumps better while also giving more rear traction.Switching from a JConcepts to a Pro-Line body this made the car ‘a little more stable’.He said, ‘I like both of them.The JConcepts has more corner speed but is a little too aggressive.The Pro-Line is more easy to drive and so I’m more consistent with it’.Continuing to run AKA Grid Iron tyres in super soft since the second round of practice he said ‘they are really good’ and the plan for tomorrow is to wait and see how the track is.With the track getting more bumpy he said ‘you can see a lot of changes in the standings as it get bumpier and we are not starting to see what was expected.I’m looking forward to qualifying’.
‘That was good.The track is getting fun to drive now.You get rewarded for a certain line which is nice’, was how Tessmann summed up the final practice.After his troubles in the first seeding round when he broke a C-hub and had to do the run with a difficult car after a quick repair with a slightly different part, with the correct C-hub back on the car he said it now ‘felt really good’.Running his D815V2 set-up unchanged and again on Pro-Line’s Electroshot tyre, with the event now moving into qualifying the Canadian said, ‘we just have to watch how big the bumps get for tomorrow and then decide what needs to be changed’.
Having backed up his somewhat surprise P3 topping pace with the fastest time in the first seeding round, Ongaro wouldn’t improve on that time.Only 18th fastest in the final practice, the Italian said changing to a wider rear track, while making the car safer to drive, had also made his MBX7R ‘slower’.Feeling that track conditions later in the round also favoured those drivers, the track appear more watered in his opinion, he said he will revert back to his earlier set-up for Q1.Deciding to try a new compound Procircuit have in the Claymore tyre in the final practice he said it felt better than what he ran in the previous rounds and he will use it for the first round of qualifying.
‘I could have gone faster but there was crazy traffic, I even got knocked off the track’, was Boots reaction after the final practice. The Kyosho driver added, ‘there was half a second in there’.In terms of his MP9 he said he ‘left it as is’ and going into qualifying he is ‘pretty happy with where (he) is at’.Describing the car as ‘really consistent and easy to drive’, the European Champion feels he is ‘more comfortable over a longer run than the 3-laps’.Asked about track conditions, he replied ‘for that run the track held a bit more moisture’ but with hotter temperatures forecast for tomorrow he is not sure that is how it will continue.
Only 12th fastest in the morning, Dakotah Phend had a much improved afternoon run posting the 4th fastest time of the round a time that would give him 5th in the final seeding.Having made ‘a couple of changes’ for the 1st seeding round he said the car was better than yesterday and further changes for the second run left him ‘the most confident (he) has been with the car’.Describing his Orion powered 8ight as ’easier to drive’, he said he is also more comfortable with the track but with each run hours apart there are different holes appearingeach time’.Planning to leave the car unchanged for Q1, he said ‘on tyres I will wait and see’.Running on Pro-Line Holeshots, he said he is ’not going to be able to use these (tyres) later in the week’.
Competing the Top 6 for seeding would be Riccardo Berton, 8th fastest in the first run he would post the fifth fastest time in the afternoon.The Kyosho driver said he improved his MP9 with softer shocks but it was a tyre change that made the biggest difference.Winner of the Kyosho Masters here at the RC Tracks of Las Vegas last November ahead of Jared Tebo and Boots, the Italian went from Pro-Line Holeshots to Blockades, with the latter giving better traction as the track dried out towards the end of the 10-minute – the track being watered before the start of each heat.Over a second faster over his 3-laps in the second run, the 17-year-old said for qualifying they will ’stay the same for the first one for sure and then see if we need to change’.
Just 6/1000ths off Berton’s pace, Jared Tebo would end up seventh fastest but the former Top Qualifier feels he is looking ‘really good’ going into qualifying. The Kyosho driver said his MX powered MP9 ‘wasn’t working on the bumps’ but making a roll centre change for the final it was ‘way better’. Describing the car as ‘perfect’, he said with the track starting to get ‘more character’, he is ‘going to get better and better as it gets more rough and you need to drive more precise’. Also using the final practice to run a different engine he said this was ‘so we have a back up motor tuned and ready to go’. Having run Pro-Line M3 Holeshots throughout practice he said he’ll ‘stick with that’ concluding ‘over 10-minutes we are going to be right there’. Behind Tebo, another of the hotly tipped event favourites Ryan Maifield would end up 8th fastest with US National Champion Spencer Rivkin and multiple Onroad World Champion Naoto Matsukura completing the Top 10.