The first major event of the new 2013 season kicked into life this morning with a record entry descending on the town of Langenfeld, Germany, for the second round of the ‘TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series presented by Horizon Hobby’. Getting the New Year off to a promising start as they chase their first EOS win for the TLR22, Team Losi Racing set the early practice pace with Darren Bloomfield heading the time sheets ahead of team-mates Dustin Evans and Otto Ausfelt with Tamiya’s Lee Martin the best of the rest with the fourth fastest time over three consecutive laps.
In contrast to the fast track layout of the opening round of the EOS held in Poland back in October, the Gerd Strenge designed track is providing drivers with a much greater challenge. Featuring a crossover section, Strenge and members of the AMC Langenfeld club worked in the to early hours of this morning finishing the track build, the Durango designer’s engineering background very evident during the process as everything was accurately measure out and built to the German’s original plans. The hard work has paid dividends with drivers giving the layout a very positive thumbs up.
Running his fastest three laps in a time of 1:07.815, birthday boy Bloomfield said the slower technical layout of the track was much better suited to his driving style than Poland with the British driver adding it requires a ‘neater’ driving style. Describing the layout as ‘fun’, the 1:8 Offroad European Champion said the TLR22 has been good from the first time they hit the track.
Former US National Champion Dustin Evans, who is one of four 2011 2WD World Championship finalist’s competing this weekend, said he was really happy with the start to his event. Having evaluated his TLR22 following Round 1 he came to Germany with an all new set-up and he is really pleased with how it is working. Only 2/10ths off Bloomfield 3-lap pace, Evans was another who said the more difficult track was more suited to his driving style. Driving too hard in the opening practice he said the second run was a lot more consistent adding that the approach for the rest of the weekend due to the track layout had to be ‘go slow to go fast’.
Feeling under weather due to suffering from a cold, reigning European Champion Martin said when he can get it right the track flows well but he needs to work a little on his driving to get to that point. Running his Vega mid motor converted Tamiya TRF201, the Brit who is so far the only driver to beat defending EOS Champion Joern Nuemann in the 2WD Buggy class since the creation of the series said he is pretty happy with the feeling of the buggy and his focus for the moment is on improving the consistency of his driving.
Living just 10-minutes from the new hall in which the event is being hosted and a member of the AMC Langenfeld club, Neumann set the fifth fastest time. The Durango star said while the track is very different to Poland, where he got his title defense off to the perfect start by taking the win, he likes what Strenge has created. Suffering with his DEX210 being too aggressive in the faster corners, the German said they have a little work to do in terms of set-up.
Despite this only being the sixth ever Euro Offroad Series race, the concept of the burgeoning series is proving to be a draw for manufacturers with Yokomo making their series debut in Germany. Heading the team is 4-time reigning Japanese National Champion Naoto Matsukura with reigning back to back Euro Touring Car Series Champion Ronald Volker also racing. World Finalist Matsukura has never raced on a carpet based offroad track but said he is so far enjoying the experience. Happy with the set-up on his mid motor configured B-Max2 MR, the 18-year-old said he needs a little more time to adjust to the high traction. Volker, who last raced a 2WD Buggy as a kid back in 1997, said he is not sure what to expect this weekend but added the track was ‘challenging’. One of the best Touring Car drivers in the World, the German said his EOS debut was not a sign of any addition program to his already very busy schedule but none the less being a racer he wants to try and do well this weekend.
Elsewhere one driver who could spring a surprise and mix it with the international pro drivers is factory Team C driver Oliver Scholz. Becoming German National Champion when he beat none other than Neumann to the title, he has already put himself on the radar of the top drivers with Lee Martin predicting Scholz as ‘one to watch’ this weekend.
With the first part of the day dedicated to 2WD action, drivers will have a third practice session which will be followed by a single round of qualifying before the 4WD classes get their first run on the track with three rounds of practice which bring Day 1 of the event to a close.