April 20, 2024

Ongaro TQs Philippine Masters as AE line-up 1-2

Davide Ongaro is the Top Qualifier at the Philippine Masters with Alex Bernadzik making it a 1-2 for Team Associated at the conclusion of the four round of qualifying.  As the defending Champion of Asia’s biggest annual 1:8 Offroad, it was a slow start to qualifying for Ongaro but finding his way in the penultimate round he went even stronger in the final round for another TQ run.  This time it was ahead of Bernadzik to secure the overall TQ honours.  Having made a dream start to his Philippine Masters debut by topping the opening qualifier on Friday, Bernadzik will line-up in between two of the greats of the sport, multiple World Champions Ongaro and Atsushi Hara.  Hara is enjoying a great resurgence in form this weekend, the Japanese driver reliving his racing youth in Manila.  Delighted with his P3 starting position, he is most excited for the opportunity to run the 1-hour final tomorrow at the Circulo Verde track.  Another of the race’s rookies this year, Joern Neumann TQ’d the 2nd qualifier this morning but issues in the following two means he will start P4 right ahead of Ryan Lutz who makes it five difference countries represented at the front end of the grid, this year’s race having drivers attend from 16 different countries.

First summing up the final qualifier, Ongaro said, ‘I had some traffic in the beginning but then I was closing the gap on Hara before he let me go.  It was fun to drive with him but once I got in the front I started to drive safe to the end.’  Using the qualifier to try a small change to his set-up he said the plan for tomorrow is to go back to the same set-up as yesterday because many of the changes they made to the set-up since then were to try and compensate for what turned out to be a wheel problem.’  While a regular here at the Philippine Masters, and having shown twice to the World that 1-hour finals are his forte, looking to the main event tomorrow he said, ‘for sure it will be difficult on the car, engine, tyres and us’, joking to Bernadzik, ‘maybe it will be more difficult for Alex.’  Also racing here in eBuggy, Ongaro also took the overall TQ in the category ahead of Neumann, Bernadzik Lutz, Ryan Pavidis and Hara.

Describing his first qualifying attempt as ‘a good clean run’, Bernadzik added, ‘I was a little slow starting off as I was on new tyres because I wanted to scrub them in for the eBuggy mains.  Once they started to come in the car was really good.’   Setting the fastest lap again in Q4, looking to the final he said, ‘I’ve definitely got the pace but I have got to try match his (Ongaro) consistency going into the final.’   Asked about the 1-hour long final, the 2023 Australian National Champion said he had no concerns as this was common race distance at his National Championship.  He added there will be lots of hydration going on between now and tomorrow but he is ‘looking forward to it’, this being his first time to the Philippine Masters.

‘P3 is not bad’, was Hara reaction on the conclusion of qualifying.  Running an Sworkz for his return to 1:8 Offroad competition he said, ‘again the car is just great, and this was my first time to race close with Ongaro.  People say Ongaro is the best in the World and now I feel yes he is’.  Chased down by the Italian in Q4, Hara enjoyed the experience saying, ‘at least it took him 3-laps to pass me so I am happy with that.’  As it was a qualifier, once Ongaro did get within striking distance Hara let him through.  Having been excited about the 1-hour final since his strong opening qualifier he said, ‘I am pretty confident about the final.  Everything is safe, the engine is stable, the tyres work well.  If I drive well I think I can make the podium and that’s would be a win for me.  I have chance to win too if I have luck, its a long race.’

One of the drivers in to hunt for a debut TQ at the race, Joern Neumann said his Q4 effort ‘was not so good because I crashed on the opening lap.  After that I push too hard which maybe was not the best way.’  With no one expected to change tyres just the final, just stopping for fuel,  the factory Sworkz driver said while ‘everything can still happen’ the likely hood of issues in the pits with no tyre changes was much lower so trying to put in a clean 1-hour of racing was going to be key.

‘Smedium’ was how Lutz described his final nitro buggy qualifier.  The Kyosho star tried his clay set of tyres he intends to run in the final.  He didn’t sauce the tyres but said to be on pace for a qualifier that’s what they need.  Asked if he had a strategy for final given tyres appear they won’t be an issue with no stop required, he said it would be nice to have strategy as a strategy but for him it was going to be a strategy out of necessity due to him being ‘harder on the throttle’ so his run time needs managing.

April 20, 2024

Chassis Focus – Ryan Pavidis (Sparko)

Chassis – Sparko F8
Engine – O.S. Speed 2104
Fuel – Not disclosed
Tires – Hotrace Sahara
Radio/Servo – Futaba 10PX / MKS 599
Body – JConcepts S15 / Protek RC Wing

Remarks – Ryan has built his buggy using Klinik titanium turnbuckles and screws.  He is also using front spindles from AMR and shocks caps & DLC coated shock shafts from RC Project.

April 20, 2024

Chassis Focus – Logan Toia (HB Racing)

Chassis – HB Racing D8WS
Engine – O.S. Speed Ongaro
Fuel – Merlin
Tires – JConcepts
Radio/Servo – Sanwa M17 / Sanwa PGS-XBII
Body – JConcepts S15 / Razor wing

Remarks – Logan is running a number of carbon parts on his buggy from New Zealand based RMD Speed.  The buggy is also equipped with an aluminium front bulkhead brace from Optima and a JConcepts radial bearing set.

April 20, 2024

Ongaro comes good in Q3

Davide Ongaro finally came good at the Philippine Masters with the Team Associated driver topping the third & penultimate round of qualifying in Manila after a rocky start to the 12th edition to the race.  A crash with a turned over car in Q1 and his wheels struggling with the Asian heat in Q2, a new set of wheels for Round 3 seemed to put the double World Champion’s quest for another win in the capital city back on track.  Ongaro would post the fastest qualifying time so far heading home the Sparko of Ryan Pavidis with Ryan Lutz completing the Top 3.  Having TQ’d the opening qualifier and backed that up with a P2 in the second round, Alex Bernadzik would struggle on his third attempt coming away with a P4 ahead of top local Dino Jacinto.  After topping Q2, Joern Neumann would suffer a flame out in the final half minute but afterwards the German admitted he was struggling with the hotter conditions.  After two impressive Top 3 runs, Atsushi Hara said his chances of continuing that form ended on the first lap after he opened the heat with a series of first lap mistakes.

‘Finally it was good to drive and I had no traffic this time’, was how Ongaro described his TQ run.  He continued, ‘I was a bit lucky with a marshal on the straight but overall now I am happy and I’m getting used to the layout’.  Asked about his wheel issue, he replied, ‘our wheels are too soft for this temperature so we changed to different wheels and everything start to work.’  Looking to the final qualifier, the overall TQ wide open, he said, ‘We will try something different because now that we have found the problem and can try to improve the set of the car more.’

Pavidis was pleased with his effort explaining, ‘we put more grip back into the car and I was way more comfortable with it’.  The 22-year-old continued, ‘it is pretty racey now.  It’s not super quick but I can drive it.’  Running Hotrace’s clay compound Sahara tyre here at the Circulo Verde track, he said the only thing he will change on the car for the final qualifier is to fit a fresh set of tyres.

‘An improvement’, was how Lutz summed up his P3 run.  The Kyosho driver and current points leader of the Asian Buggy Championships having won the season opener in New Zealand, asked if the improvement was his or JQ’s idea he joked, ‘we’ll say it was his idea.’  Asked if he planned to go safe or try more set-up changes for the last round, he said, ‘we are going to try something in eBuggy and see how that feels and then we might transfer it over the nitro car.’

Reacting to his run Bernadzik said, ‘that was not very good’.  He continued, ‘I don’t know what it was but it felt slower and for the last one we will make a few changes to get more grip.’

April 20, 2024

Chassis Focus – Ryan Lutz (Kyosho)

Chassis – Kyosho MP10 TKi3
Engine – Alpha Plus Falcon
Fuel – Not disclosed
Tires – AKA Lux
Radio/Servo – Futaba 10PX USLE / Futaba HPSCB701 (Steering) / HBSCT702 (Throttle)
Body – Kyosho

Remarks – Ryan says he is running a pretty much standard out of the box car here in Manila.

April 20, 2024

Neumann takes Q2 at Philippine Masters

Day 2 of qualifying at the Philippine Masters kicked off with another of this year’s event rookies posting a TQ run as Sworkz’ Joern Neumann topped the second of the four qualifiers from Q1 pace setter Alex Bernadzik.  Having seen his Q1 run derailed when he collected another buggy that was on its roof and dropping him back to a P6, the German would have a similar scare in Q2 as he came upon a broken buggy towards the end of the qualifier but this time he got round it without much delay.  At the finish he had 1.7-seconds from a very quick Bernadzik who put in a strong recovery drive following his copybook mistake to the one he survived at the end of his Q1 run yesterday to hang on to the TQ.  Backing up his P2 from yesterday, Atsushi Hara would complete the Top 3 followed by defending Philippine Masters Champion Davide Ongaro, the double World Champion still yet to find his rhythm here in Manila.  The two Ryan’s completed the Top 6, Lutz finishing ahead of Pavidis.

Clearly pleased with his effort, Neumann said, ‘the car was good yesterday too but I hit a flipped car.  In practice this morning we made one small change and I might go a bit more with that change for the next one but the car is already good enough so the main focus is just to try and repeat what we did in Q2.  His first time to the Circulo Verde track he said, ‘It is really nice to drive.  They say last year’s track layout was more difficult but I still feel this is difficult so having a really good car is a big help’.

Asked about his run, the Australian taking his Team Associated to the only 35-second lap of the track in Q2, Bernadzik said, ‘I had the same crash as the first qualifier, I again went too hard over the the big mound and traction rolled’.  Happening on the opening lap and dropping him to last, he said, ‘the car came on really good towards the end’ a statement that was backed up by his impressive fastest lap coming on his final lap.  Only changing to a slight thicker rear sway bar for Q2, he said he plans to keep everything the same for the penultimate round of qualifying.

‘Not bad for an old man’ was how Hara summed up his P3 time.  The legend of the sport continued, ‘the car is really good, it is better than me, I am not consistent enough.’  His first major international 1:8 Buggy race in a number of years, he is really enjoying being back in the thick of it saying, ‘I have the feeling of racing I had at Worlds, I am so enjoying this’.  Asked if he planned any changes for Q3, the former Philippine Masters winner said, ‘I changed nothing from yesterday, I’m on the same tyres, engine, everything, I just need to work on my consistency not the car.’

Ongaro’s reaction after Q2 was, ‘we are struggling a lot’.  The Italian explained, ‘I think the wheels are too soft.  At the start it is ok then every lap it is more slow’.  With a one hour long final deciding the Philippine Masters tomorrow in some pretty hot and tough conditions, he has not choice but to change wheels saying, ‘we will change wheels for the next one and see if this fixes the problem.’

Summing up his run to P5 as ‘decent’, Lutz added, ‘It was a clean run overall’.  One of the drivers who is part of the Invisible Speed car set-up courses, the Kyosho driver said it is time to ‘put the book into practice’ with Invisible Speed founder JQ also offering advise on how to work around what the Finn said is the American ‘not having the right tyres with him’.  Asked what his issue is, Lutz said, ‘I need to find a way to carry more corner speed’.

Having freed up the rear on his Sparko buggy for Q2, Pavidis said while it felt better the lap times were not good.  Losing over 5-seconds with a mistake on his second last lap when he landed hard and ended out in the dust leading to his crash, he said he is ‘not sure what to do for the next one’ to improve his car.   He concluded, ‘I will probably make it a bit more safe so I can push.’