January 4, 2013

Neumann tops first qualifier in Langenfeld

Team Durango’s Joern Neumann got his 2013 season off to a good start with the German posting a TQ run in the opening round of 2WD Buggy qualifying for Round 2 of the TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series in Langenfeld, Germany. The defending champion and current standings leader took his DEX210 around the Gerd Strenge built track in a time of 14/5:12.707 almost 5-seconds clear of arch rival Dustin Evans with EOS debutant Naoto Matsukura putting in an impressive first qualifying on a European carpet track to set the third fastest time.

Having struggled with too much steering in early practice, Neumann was much more confident with his buggy in the opening qualifier with changes made in the final practice giving him a set-up that was a lot less aggressive for the technical track layout.  The Top Qualifier & winner of the opening round of the second season of the EOS in Poland, he admitted that in the early part of the run Lee Martin had a similar pace to him until the Tamiya came to a halt just before the 4-minute mark.  Despite Martin’s pace, the European Champion being the only driver to have beaten Neumann to date in the 2WD Buggy class of the EOS, the Reedy Race Champion said he will leave his set-up the same for tomorrow’s second qualifier.

Martin, who was the early pace setter in the 5-minute run before crashing, suffered a broken cooling fan which would caused the speedo on his Vega converted TRF201 to thermal out.  Feeling under the weather, the Brit said his buggy feels Ok but he can’t push super hard but he plans to leave it the same for Q2 hoping that with a good night sleep he will be feeling better and thus drive better in the morning.

Dustin Evans also hopes to benefit from a good nights sleep.  The American summed up Q1 by saying the ‘result was good, driving not very good’.  Starting to suffer from the onset of jetlag, the Team Losi Racing star said his 22 felt pretty good but he just made too many mistakes.  With the track open for free practice in the morning ahead of the second 2WD Buggy qualifier, Evans said he plans to use the opportunity to run a few small set-up changes and see what effect they have.

Getting his head around running offroad on a high grip carpet track and starting to really enjoy the experience Matsukura was pleased to set the third fastest time.  The Japanese National Champion said while he had to save his Yokomo a number of times from traction rolling overall he was happy with how the buggy is performing, his B-Max2 MR setting the fastest lap of Q1.  Losing over 4 seconds when he collected a buggy that had crashed ahead of him, he said he plans to leave everything the same for Q2 as there is still a bit of time to be found in his driving.

Having set the early pace in practice Darren Bloomfield would set the fourth fastest time after moments with both his fellow Brits cost him time.  On the opening lap factory Schumacher driver Tom Cockerill crashed on the table top costing the TLR driver 2 seconds and when Martin’s Tamiya came to a halt in the middle of the track in front of the 1:8 Offroad European Champion he lost further time.  A bad last lap brought the total time lost to around 7 seconds but the birthday boy said he has the buggy to challenge for a TQ run and the plan for Q2 is to ‘just charge up the battery and put it back down on the track’.

Behind Bloomfield team-mate Oskar Levin set the fifth fastest time.  Running in the second fastest heat, the Swede said he tried to drive a clean run and while his 22 felt ‘great’ he didn’t quite manage the error free run he was looking for.  Planning on leaving his set-up as is for tomorrow, the 18-year-old is confident if he can clean up his driving he has the pace to run a Top 2 time saying on carpet beating Neumann is not so easy.  Fellow countryman and TLR team driver Otto Ausfelt took his example of the 22 to the seventh fastest time just behind Cockerill’s Cougar SV2.

Having missed the opening two rounds of practice due to work commitments, factory Kyosho driver Christopher Krapp was very happy to set the 8th fastest time on only his second battery around the challenging track.  Driving his Orion powered RB6 the German, who is better known for his Touring Car achievements which include an ETS race win and being twice a Worlds finalist, said he just needs more track time. Gluing up the walls on his set of dBoots controlled front tyres for Q1, he said the buggy felt really good.  Getting seeded on his first and only practice run on the track he said running in the third fastest heat is a slight disadvantage due to traffic but the German is confident he can build on his Q1 performance tomorrow.

Former multiple European Champion Hupo Honigl set the ninth fastest time the Austrian saying he just made too many driver errors.  Making it five TLR22s in the Top 10 young Dutch driver Wesley Van Helmond set the 10th fastest time ahead of factory Team C driver Oliver Scholz.  The German National Champion was on a Top 4 pace until a crash lost him a massive 10-seconds and he will certainly be one to watch over the remaining 3 rounds of qualifying.

2WD Buggy Q1 times
1. Joern Neumann – Durango – 14/5:12.707
2. Dustin Evans – TLR – 14/5:17.570
3. Naoto Matsukura – Yokomo – 14/5:18.321
4. Darren Bloomfield – TLR – 14/5:18.629
5. Oskar Levin – TLR – 14/5:21.374
6. Tom Cockerill – Schumacher – 13/5:01.184
7. Otto Ausfelt – TLR – 13/5:01.717
8. Christopher Krapp – Kyosho – 13/5:01.759
9. Hupo Honigl – Durango – 13/5:02.433
10.Wesley van Helmond – TLR – 13/5:04.769

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