Lee Martin lead a Yokomo 1,2,3 in the first round of the 2WD qualifier at the Euro Offroad Series in Germany. The reigning champion set the pace over Marc Rheinard by 1.8-seconds, the pair being the only drivers to make 16 lap, with a much improved Carson Wernimont a further 3-seconds back. For EOS debutant Neil Cragg, his first qualifier started off well with him in contention for the TQ until he had a marshalled car put out in front of him, then on target for a Top 3 he would crash himself on his final lap to end up 9th.
‘Not too bad but going from 4WD practice to 2WD qualifying and starting first the only thing you expect is to mess it up’, was how Martin summed up his opening qualifying. Describing the early laps as ‘super close’, the current points leader, who could secure his second consecutive title tomorrow with a third win of the season, he said ‘then everyone started making mistakes’. With the pressure off as a result, he was able to pace himself over the rest of the qualifier. In terms of his RC Concept powered YZ-2, he said his ‘shocks needed a rebuild’ and thats what he will do for Q2, leaving the set-up unchanged.
‘The speed is there, I just had one crash too many’, was how Rheinard viewed his Q1 performance adding ‘it took a while to get into 2WD again after running 4WD’. Finding one of the rear arms on his YZ-2 to be ‘tight’ after the qualifier, he will fit new arms adding other than that the only aim is to ‘catch Lee’.
Wernimont declared his Q1 as being ‘Way better than practice’. The American, who will spend the next week in German and make his ETS debut next weekend, said in practice his ‘car wasn’t good and the driver didn’t turn up’. Copying his team-mates set-up he said his YZ-2 ‘now feels really good’ despite him not having the prototype rear hubs being used by Martin & Rheinard. Given a set for last week’s Reedy Race of Champions, but running his Worlds car at the EOS he forgot to remove the hubs from his dirt car before leaving California. On the qualifier itself he sad it started off a little slow but as he got comfortable with the improved set-up he was able to push more. Set to leave the car unchanged for Q2 he will make a speedo change looking to get more top speed.
Ending up the closest challenge to the Yokomos with the 4th fastest time, Xray’s Martin Bayer said he ‘was just too slow but had the speed’. With a faster lap time than the three ahead of him the Czech driver said, ‘I just drove too careful at the start. I was scared to make a mistake but shouldn’t have been cause the car is good’. Leaving his XB2 unchanged for Q2 he will instead ‘push a little more’.
New team-mate Hupo Honigl response to how his run to 5th had gone was answer with a big smile. One of the key drivers in instigating the setting up of the EOS back in 2011, the Austrian said even with ‘millions of small mistakes’ he was still able to get a good time. Admitting his first big race with a new car added pressure leaving him ‘not happy with (his) driving’ he added its good for his confidence as he knows there is a lot more to come. Having had problems with the roller after the straight in practice he said after running 4WD it is no longer an issue as having been scared of it before he is now ‘punched’ over it.
Giving an account of his first EOS qualifier, Cragg said ‘I set off great but then a marshal went and put a car out in front of me’. Losing almost 2-seconds, the former World Champion said this left him third a result that would have been ‘super dialled’. On the last lap however he would have a ‘big ass crash’ of his own doing which ‘lost (him) a few years’. Hoping his P9 ends up being his dropped score, he said with his B5M working good he just need to ‘try to do better’ in the next one.