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.
Tater Sontag backed up his impressive TQ run in the second round of qualifying at the World Championship by again going fastest in Q3. The Team Losi Racing driver would improve by 3-seconds on his early pace saying afterwards he didn’t do anything different and again focused on hitting his marks for the 5-minutes. 7/10ths off the teenager, Davide Ongaro enjoyed his best run with the second fastest time. A strong finish saw the Italian post the fastest lap with an 18.539. A good round for the TLR team, Brennan Schimmel was third fastest ahead of team-mate Colle Tollard who, having suffered big mistakes in the opening two rounds, had a solid run but lost P3 with a bobble on the final lap. Reigning World Champion Spencer Rivkin took 5th with a clean drive ahead of fellow 4WD podium finisher Michal Orlowski. Having taken the opening round of qualifying, once again Dakotah Phend had a rough 5-minutes needing to be marshalled twice. Another needing to be marshalled was Top Seed Aydin Horne after he put his Team Associated on its roof in the jumps section at the end of the main straight.
16-year-old Tater Sontag’s talent shown through in the second round of qualifying at the 2WD Worlds with the TLR driver putting in a TQ run ahead of Broc Champlin and Aydin Horne. Going over a second quicker than the pace set by team-mate Dakotah Phend in the opening qualifier, Sontag was 8/10th quicker than Champlin’s Schumacher in a round that saw the Top 3 from Q1 all have bobbles. Phend would need to be marshalled in the front of the driver’s stand, Spencer Rivkin would fly off the track at the end of the straight and Ongaro also had a lap that cost him 3-seconds. The Italian ended up best of the trio with a P7 for the round behind 2017 Champion Ryan Maifield.
A hugely popular TQ performance, Sontag explained, ‘we made a small camber link adjustment and that gave me a super stable car so I could just focus on hitting my marks for the 5-minutes. I had no mistakes but did have to single single the front jump to avoid traffic’. He continued, ‘My P4 in the first round was a confidence builder and with the change to the car (for Q2) I got a couple of extra tenths out of it’. Looking to Q3, the Michigan driver said, ‘I’ll keep the car the same and just run different tyres’.
Reacting to his improvement in Q2, Champlin said, ‘I felt the car was good in the first one but I made dumb mistakes so the goal was to stay on four wheels for the 5-minutes in that one. I had no mistakes just a couple of bobbles’. A good round for Schumacher with Ryan Cavalieri getting a P4 from the second fastest heat, Champlin said he would most likely leave his LD3 prototype the same for Round 3 and instead focus on his driving and try to ‘keep it clean’.
Top Seed Horne said his Team Associated was ‘a lot easier to drive’ second time round. He continued, ‘I was able to push the whole round but I did loose corner speed so I need to try to find a balance in the set-up between the two’. On his own driving the American said, ‘It took a while to get the good laps going. I’m not the strongest out of the gate so I’ll try to start better the next one’.
‘I feel the car has been pretty good the whole time but was a little off on raw speed on lap times but that time I extract more from the car and feel more confident. For sure we have more potential’, was Cavalieri’s thoughts on Q2. The multiple World Champion continued, ‘we made a small change before Q1 but the car is unchanged since then. I definitely have a little more to come’.
Dakotah Phend has taken the opening round of qualifying at the 2WD World Championship in Arizona. Having just scrapped into the top heat after setting the 10th fastest time in yesterday’s two seeding rounds, the TLR driver would TQ the first of the five scheduled rounds of qualifying from reigning World Champion Spencer Rivkin and newly crowned 4WD Champion Davide Ongaro who sat at the top of the timing screen for much of the opening round. The Top Seed for qualifying Aydin Horne would open his account with a P7 behind former World Champions Ryan Cavalieri (P6) and Ryan Maifield (P5) with young TLR driver Tater Sontag fourth fastest.
Reacting to his Q1 performance, Phend said, ‘we made a couple of small changes and it was not quite what we were looking for. We went in the wriong direction with the change’. The ROAR National Champion continued, ‘I was able to manage it and put on a bit of a push at the end and overall it was a clean run apart from a few pipe rubs. We try something different for the next one but the result is a good start’.
‘Hard’ was how Rivkin summed up the opening qualifier. The Team Associated driver explained, ‘I didn’t think the car was very good at all. I drove the best I could with what I had and a couple of others’ mistakes benefited me. It was a nice start off with a good result because it means I have a good position on the driver stand for the next one’, the American having to drive Q1 from the far left side of the driver stand. Looking to Q2, he said, ‘we need to look at the rear setting the others (team drivers) are running and take their comments & feedback into our program and hopefully get ourselves a better car for the second one.’
Ongaro was pretty pleased with his run having struggled in the final practice this morning. The Italian said, ‘we tried a few things from Aydin’s (Horne) set-up especially in the shocks and it was way better’. On his own performance over the 5-minutes having been on target for a TQ run, he said, ‘Broc was recovering from a mistake and was pushing behind me and then I made a small bobble before the start but I am confident in the car now so all is OK’.
‘Pretty bad honestly’, was Horne’s reply when asked how he felt Q1 went. Finishing just ahead of Schumacher’s Broc Champlin (P8), the 21-year-old Team Associated driver continued, ‘I was on second run tyres and it was squirmy. It was hard to drive and unpredictable so we need to work on making it easier to drive on older tyres’.