Maifield Top Qualifier as Yokomo qualify 1-2 in China
Ryan Maifield is the Top Qualifier for the 2WD Offroad World Championships in Xiamen, China. The Yokomo driver claimed his first 2WD Worlds’ pole position when he TQ’d the fifth & final round of qualifying ahead of team-mate Lee Martin who will line up second. Having initially struggled with the challenging Xiamen ARC International Raceway track, Maifield finally turned things around at the close of the second day of the event when under the floodlights he topped Q3. Kicking off finals day with a P3 in the penultimate qualifier, the American delivered his second TQ run in the final qualifier but with the running order reversed for Q5 he had to wait to see what Martin could do in the second fastest heat. For a time it looked like Martin would secure his first Worlds TQ as he ran more than 1-second up on Maifield’s pace but with just under 2-minutes on the clock he would crash coming onto the straight handing to overall TQ to his new for 2017 team-mate. Behind the Yokomos it is Team Associated’s Ryan Cavalieri who will start third, the Q2 pace setter’s unable to challenge for the TQ in the final qualifier as he managed only P14. The only other driver to TQ a round, Schumacher’s Michal Orlowski saw his challenge for the TQ end with a mistake in the jumps section that knocked a front shock of his car so he starts fourth with Bruno Coelho completing the top half of the grid ahead of Dakotah Phend, David Ronnefalk, Jared Tebo, Joern Neumann and Kyle McBride.
Despite taking the TQ, Maifield said, ‘I am very annoyed at myself. Why can’t they just tell you you are done. I crashed on my cool down lap but didn’t know it was and got pissed that I had thrown way a TQ run and then drove my car off the track and now I’ve got to rebuild it’. With his car requiring a new chassis following him driving it off the track, he continued, ‘why can’t they let you know what is going on’. Looking to the finals, he said, ‘I’m just going out there and do what I can do. I think there are couple of guys who are faster but I have been pretty good at not crashing so lets see what happens’. Asked about track conditions, he replied, ‘there is only one race and its racing the track. Yeah there will be others on the track but if you are too concerned about other people you lose focus on the main competition which is the track’. He concluded, ‘I am going to try keep a cool head and drive my own race and see what happens’.
‘I just tensed up a little that run’ was Martin’s reaction after missing out on his first Worlds TQ. The reigning European Champion continued, ‘I got the jump wrong and it cost me around 3-seconds which was enough to be pipped for the TQ. At least it fell to Ryan and not somebody else’. Runner-up at the 2013 Worlds in Chico when he finished ahead of Maifield and behind Jared Tebo, when asked about his thoughts for the finals the British ace replied, ‘we start 1-2, we’ll see what we can do. Ryan is going to drive his race and I’m going to drive mine’.
Asked for his reaction after the final qualifier Cavalieri said, ‘God damn the track has changed a lot today’. The Associated driver continued, ‘we are definitely going to have to look over a couple of different things and make some changes for the final. We need to get the car more stable in he rear’. ‘Looking forward to racing’, the 2011 Champion said ‘I just going to be patient. The rhythm section is going to be the hardest. We’ll have to see who is going to be conservative and who is going to just jump it. You are going to need to be fully alert going through there’.
‘It will be interesting’, that was Orlowski’s thoughts ahead of the finals. The 16-year-old continued, ‘the track is getting harder to drive as it has more dust on it. I think the jump section will be challenging as some are doing it single single while others are doubling all them so it will be difficult to race out there’. Having topped seeding practice he added, ‘I have had good pace in my car from the beginning so I have the car. I’m looking forward to the finals and to the racing’.
While making his first 2WD Worlds final with 5th on the grid, reigning 4WD Champion Coelho said, ‘I can’t say I am that confident for the final’. Having set the pace in free practice, the Xray driver continued, ‘the track has changed a lot over the last two days and the grip is getting worse and worse so we are struggling for rear traction on power and in braking. It is even more loose today so we will completely change the set-up. We have nothing to lose. It is only counts to finish first all the other places are like last place’.
A driver who ended qualifying with an ever improving form posting the 3rd fastest time in the final round, Phend said, ‘it is getting better every round. It’s going to be pretty hectic out there in the finals’. The lead TLR driver continued, ‘everyone is making mistakes and the mistakes are going to cause pile ups so you have to try get through it and there will be a lot of luck involved’. Having made ‘a couple of changes’ to his car for the final qualifier that gave him more grip he said, ‘I should have made them a round earlier but I didn’t expect the track to go downhill that quickly’.
View our event image gallery here.