September 11, 2023

Ongaro takes opening qualifier at Worlds

David Ongaro has taken the opening round of qualifying at the World Championship in Arizona.  The Team Associated driver, who was second fastest in practice, took the first of the five rounds of qualifying ahead teenagers  Tater Sontag and Marcus Kaerup.  Leading out the field as Top Seed for qualifying, Dakotah Phend would end up on his roof in the whoops section early in the run forcing Ongaro to go the long way around his TLR as he went to the top of the times sheets.  With the drivers super close on pace, a moment would then drop the Italian back off the top as Kaerup, Sontag and Dustin Evans all took turns at setting the TQ pace.  In the end a late charge from Ongaro gave him the TQ by just 6/10oths over Sontag with Kaerup 1.9-second further back.  Running in the second fastest heat Ty Tessmann would post the fourth fastest time ahead of Evans who gave away a potential TQ run with a late mistake at the end of the main straight.

‘A close one’, was Ongaro’s reaction to his TQ run.  He continued, ‘I had a few bobbles on my opening lap and then when Phend flipped I had to go around but my car was comfortable to drive’.  The back to back 1:8 Buggy World Champion added, ‘It’s hard to not make mistakes and everyone is super close.  For the next one we will just put on another set of new tyres and thats it.  Try to make no mistakes’.

16-year-old Sontag described his opening performance as a ‘really clean run’.  Changing the diff oils on his TLR for Q1 he his buggy was really good and he was able to just focus on hitting all his likes but he would experience some issues with laps traffic at the end that cost him time’.  Planning to leave his car unchanged for Q2 he will also run the same set of tyres saying they wants to ‘see how they are aging’.  Summing up his qualifier team-mate Phend said, ‘the whoops were never an issue before but that time they got me twice.  I need to clean her up for the next one’.

2022 European 4WD Champion Kaerup described his Q1 as ‘very clean’ adding ‘I didn’t want to do anything silly and just stay calm but Davide (Ongaro) came like a rocket ship at the end’.  The 15 year-old Dane is looking to get a few more solid runs in to getting settle and if that goes well he might consider going ‘all out’ for the last two.

In the same heat as team-mate and defending Champion Bruno Coelho, Tessman was happy with Q1 saying ‘a good opening run always  makes you more confident going forward’.  While admitting he still needs to find more speed, the Xray driver said his buggy was ‘100 times better than early practice’.  Asked what they are lacking he replied, ‘we need more turn in the 180 degree corners but we are working on getting that and its better each run’.

Completing the Top 5 ahead of Michal Orlowski, Evans, ‘I got to the lead and then hit the pipe at the end of the straight’.  He continued, ‘the double at the end of the straight is tricky and I was trying to keep a tight line to get it right but I turned to early’.  The Reedy team driver said, ‘5th for a round at the World Championship with a crash shows I have the speed so I am confident for the next one but I need to decide what tyre choice to make for it’.

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