September 16, 2023

World Champion finally delivers in Q4

Defending World Champion Spencer Rivkin finally delivered a TQ run at his home track of Hobby Action RC Raceway, the Team Associated fastest in the penultimate round of qualifying at the 2WD World Championship.  The American who opened the day with a P2 in qualifying behind Dakotah Phend reversed that order in the final round of the day with a 3.2-second advantage over the TLR driver.  Aydin Horne would complete the Top 3 ahead of Schumacher pairing Ryan Cavalieri & Michal Orlowski.  Having TQ’d both Q2 & 3, Tater Sontag made ‘a couple of bad decisions’ in his driving that left him almost a lap down on Rivkin’s time.  Currently it is Sontag’s Q3 which remains the fastest round of qualifying with one more round to go in the morning.

An up & down day for the American, a relieved looking Rivkin said, ‘We have been dialling in the power and set-up all day and made a super small tweak for that one but the main thing was making sure I was hitting my marks one turn, one lap at a time’.  Admitting it had been a difficult day, he said it was ‘good to end it on a good note’ and he was now ‘ready for dinner’.  With one more round of qualifying asked about it he replied, ‘I’m not thinking that far ahead but there is going to be a big battle tomorrow no doubt about it’.

After opening his day with a TQ run, Phend was pleased to close it out with a P2 after finishing well down the order in the other two qualifiers.  On his Q4 performance the US National Champion said, ‘I just drove around and a lot of people made mistakes.  It was a clean run but I was on a slower pace.  We need to get more speed for tomorrow’.  Asked about the risk of making the car faster versus having a clean run, the track catching out pretty much every driver, he replied, ‘It is a balance for sure’.  On the final qualifier he said, “I just need to make the last round count so I can start up front’.

‘I had no grip that round.  The rear end was all over the place but it is the best I have driven so I guess you need to take the good with the bad’, was Horne’s summary of fourth round effort.  The Team Associated driver added, ‘I didn’t have the speed and had to be so careful with the throttle but others had problem and I was there at the end’.  Also with a P3 from Q2, the Qualifying Top Seed will be looking to better his P7 from the opening round in the morning and lock in a good grid starting position in the A-Main.

Winning his last World title when he did the double in Finland in 2011, reacting to his run to the fourth fastest time Cavalieri said, ‘It ended up being good’.  Running together with team-mate Orlowski in the second fastest heat, he explained, ‘We were both on a good pace but made a error on the same lap.  Luckily we bounced back.  At the end I wasn’t thinking the run was good enough for a Top 5′.  Having had a promising P4 run also in Q2 he said in Q3 he ran a different set of tyres and he felt they faded half way through the run’.  Tomorrow he will break in as new set in the morning practice round so he has a fresher set for Q5.

Posting his best run of the day in Q4, Orlowski said, ‘the day didn’t start too well.  I was chasing the perfect car for the track but the conditions are weird.  I decided to give up on making changes to the car and run with what we’ve got.  It was not perfect but I got an OK run’.  He added, ‘I made a mistake at the start of the straight and Ryan made one at the end of the straight.  That cost us a Top 3’.  Sitting 16th in the current qualification ranking, count a P30 from Q2, the Polish driver said the plan for Q5 is to put in ‘a clean run and make it into the show’.  Behind Orlowski fellow Europeans Bruno Coelho, Joern Neumann and Davide Ongaro competed the Top 8 for Q4.

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