A few thoughts ahead of the World Championships in December; I write this with just less than two months to go before the main event kicks off in December, but first some background and a short summary of the warm up event from yours truly. Originally Brazil was due to stage the 2012 Worlds, however resistance from many insiders ironically foreseeing customs problems saw the event emigrate South to it’s new home – Buenos Aires, Argentina. RC company accountants cried out to avoid a repeat of the fortnight-long practice sessions that occurred prior to the last World Championships in Thailand, the result close to doubling the attendance costs as companies were forced to partake in the ‘arms race’ game of sending drivers to the warm up. The worldwide governing body IFMAR even concluded there should not be a warm up event in order to keep costs under control, but here we are two years later…

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Onto the track, our more informed readers (that’s all of you!) might remember that IFMAR stipulated that should there be a warm up then the track must change a certain amount, whilst there were several stories flying round, it seems certain that the track will be run in the reverse direction for the main event, some say the metal bridge will be moved to another part of the track, others say removed completely. However the corners were already in place, top qualifier David Ronnefalk was heard to say that he thought the layout in reverse might be even better.

We’ve put together a rather crude video in an attempt to show you our interpretation of the layout change, in addition we heard talk of a tarmac section and some additional jumps might be a possibility. The layout upon first glance looks quite easy be it clockwise or anti, however if it runs in reverse for the Worlds the step up jump might prove a bit tricky, as will the double afterwards, its now a blind face jump coming towards you, at the warm up this was the main jump that drivers were already struggling with, carrying enough speed to clear it whilst also trying to find a good landing position for the corner after.

Watch video on YouTube

Those drivers who did attend the warm up will have experienced first hand the details of the track surface and how it behaves, small bumps were the main setup obstacles earlier on, the track deteriorated though and certain sections soon saw cars pitched wildly off course. One wonders what it will be like come December as the sun will be out and temperatures much warmer, one last point on that as well, fuel consumption will be critical – it’s a high speed track with a lot of on power sections. Indeed fuel management came into play already at the warm up, Ronnefalk sometimes half a second quicker than Batlle but having to pit once more, thus eroding some of the advantage of course he crashed more as well which saw him lose out.

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Don’t forget to check out the Main Final video from the Worlds Warm up

Its no secret that many drivers arriving faced huge customs issues, most European guys through unscathed but for a couple, however the majority of the American contingent attending got stuck and spent the next 8 or so hours in a standoff with the Officials. Eventually the situation was sorted, payments were made and they were soon on their way, sadly leaving a very bad first taste of this country.

The race got underway but not so for Jason Ruona of JConcepts, who declined paying the hefty customs fee to release three boxes of tyres, elsewhere fuel from Byron eventually arrived, not so for Sidewinder, lost somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle ? Drivers arriving after this unfortunate event got through much quicker, and I had no issues getting through customs with camera equipment nor my assistant photographer – it would seem that the organisers and local drivers worked to rectify the problem. We spoke at length with the S.American Federation (FAMAR) Chairman Flavio Lombardo who was understandably unhappy with the experiences many had had in customs, however he explained that for the Worlds in December a temporary import will be in place for all those arriving. Thus avoiding a repeat of such events.

It might be worthwhile for those attending to prepare as much as possible in terms of contacts and letters explaining their purpose of the trip. As the main event is an IFMAR sanctioned event with their name on it, they will ultimately be responsible in ensuring the event runs smoothly.

On the subject of drivers, who was there and who wasn’t amongst the European contingent two absentees stood out in everyones’ minds – Elliott Boots and Jerome Aigoin. This sort of track, flat out everywhere hold onto the rear and keep it punched is right up their street. The warm up result may have been quite different if those two Kyosho/Novarossi drivers had attended.

Two missing faces, Elliott Boots & Jerome Aigoin

From a facility perspective the AAPART club have done a lot of work, built a track and podium from scratch including pitting facilities – no mean feat in the time available, they must be commended for their efforts. If we compare to past Worlds facilities, 2010’s Pattaya is still by far and away the standout facility, it may be some time before that standard is equalled or surpassed. The potential for a great Worlds is there, if IFMAR representatives shoulder some of the responsibility in getting it right, in the past, more often failings have been attributed to the host bloc and venue. From a safety aspect, the track & paddock area are fenced in, there were no issues at the warm up and come December there should be helpers checking passes for clearance etc.

The event itself was comparatively under attended, not capturing the vibe of a pre-worlds, more a star-studded club race, it might be the location – effectively as far as you can get from where the majority of elite RC racers reside. However the racing in the final and semis for that matter was great, no doubt the track played a major part in that. In the last 10 years or so, the US style of track building with compact tricky jump sections, large jumps and corners / hairpins has seen its popularity increase whilst the traditional European style of few small jumps more highspeed corners has gone more out of favour. Whilst the US style offers more spectacle – cars constantly flying over jumps, straight out side by side racing has declined, perhaps since drivers tend to spread out a lot during the course of a final, the latter was true though in the final in Argentina but for the first 15-20mins the leaders were bunched tight together and there were real overtaking moves down the inside, round the outside and all sorts. Perhaps the so called ‘European style’ isn’t dead after all…

All in all we can only sit tight and see what happens in December…