September 16, 2023

Sontag is 2WD World Championship Top Qualifier

Tater Sontag will line-up as Top Qualifier on his 2WD World Championship debut, the 16-year-old securing pole for the title deciding A-Main with a P3 for the fifth & final round of qualifying this morning in Arizona.  With several drivers desperate for a strong round this morning to make the cut for the A-Main, it would be Broc Champlin who came out fastest from Davide Ongaro and Sontag.  Reigning European Champion Marcus Kaerup had been on target to TQ the round until he came upon traffic.  With no call from the race control, onlooker calling for the call to be made by officials for the traffic to open on, as the Dane tried to execute a pass they tangled.  Losing almost 2-seconds, a clearly frustrated Kaerup would finish P5 for the round.  Having TQ’d the opening qualifier Dakotah Phend would need to be marshalled and Q4 pace setter Spencer Rivkin would have a mistake meaning they didn’t better their points tally.  Overall Rivkin will try to defend his World Title from P2 behind Tater and ahead of newly crowned 4WD Champion Ongaro who lines up third followed by Champlin.

Commenting on Q5, Tater said, ‘It went well.  I knew that Spencer and Dakotah were going to  push for the TQ but I could see in my peripheral vision that Dakotah had a bad first lap and then Spencer had a mistake.  After that I just tried to run a decent round and hit my marks like I have been trying to do every other run’.  Asked about the finals, the 16-year replied, ‘I’m going to freshen up my car and just do what I can.  I’ll try to hit my marks and see what happens’.

‘I was going good but made a driver error all on my own’, explained Rivkin.  Looking to the finals, the Team Associated driver who is chasing a third 2WD World Championship Title today, said, ‘Congrats to Tater on the TQ but think we are in a good position.  We are starting P2 and we’ll let it rip.’

Ongaro said, ‘I’m happy with 3rd place in the A-Main.  We arrived at our goal to make the A-Main’.  The Italian continued, ‘I tried for the TQ but I think 3rd place is a better position for the start.  It will be a close race but 2WD you can make more mistakes so let’s see’.

Making it four different drivers to post a TQ run over the five rounds of qualifying, Champlin said, ‘my car car was easy to drive and felt fast.  The run put us 4th for the Mains’.  Confident he can race at the front in the finals,  the Schumacher driver said, ‘there will be a lot of opportunities as everyone is having bobbles over a run so we’ll aim to capitalise on that and try to move forward in the race’.

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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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September 16, 2023

Chassis Focus – Yui Kaino (Yokomo)

Chassis – Yokomo SO 2.0
Motor – Muchmore V2 6.5T
ESC – Muchmore V3
Battery – IP 4800mAh
Tires (handout) – Handout / AKA
Radio/Servos – Futaba / Futaba
Body – JConcepts P2

Image Gallery

September 16, 2023

Sontag flies again in Q3

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.

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September 16, 2023

Sontag’s talent shines with TQ in 2nd qualifier

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’.

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