Lee Martin set the early pace at Round 3 of the Euro Offroad Series in Germany, the reigning champion heading a Yokomo 1-2 in the first round of 2WD controlled practice. 3/10ths off over the fastest 3-consecutive laps, Marc Rheinard would post the second fastest time in what was a good morning for the Japanese manufacturer with their designer Shin Adachi fourth fastest. Making his EOS debut, Neil Cragg was quick to settle in and with just a single round of free practice to get a feel for the EOS carpet took his Associated to the 3rd fastest time.
Running his fastest three laps in a time of 58.611, Martin summed up his early performance as ‘not bad’. Running a 3-gear gearbox, Yokomo set to release this in March as a CA (Carpet/Astro) version of the YZ-2, he described his car as ‘a little nervous at high speed’. Looking to improve this by changing to a different rear hub, he said the main issue is when he ‘lock(s) on the the brakes the rear becomes unstable’ but apart from this the car is working the rest of the track well. Mechanic for Martin, Adachi said his own car was going well. Racing so as he can ‘test stuff for Lee’, for the final practice he will run a number of new parts to evaluate if they would be beneficial to their lead driver and the rest of the team.
The only one of the factory Yokomo drivers starting out with a standard kit version YZ-2, Rheinard was also happy with his early pace. Using the first of the two controlled practices to break in a new set of the Schumacher tyres he joked ‘I guess thats why Lee was faster than me’. The 4-time onroad World Champion said while the track ‘could do with one or two more jumps’ the ‘layout is nice and quite technical’. For the second & final controlled practice before the drivers switch over to 4WD practice, the German plans to use the track time to run in a second set of rear tyres.
Asked how his first EOS outing was going Cragg replied, ‘Good. I’m enjoying it’. Running the same 3-gear gearbox car he used at the World Championships in Japan, the former World Champion said he hasn’t made any changes to the set-up, instead working on getting the power right. With the carpet surface ‘super grippy like (he) expected’, he said his slipper is too tight. Adjusting it after free practice as well as reducing his ‘punch setting’ on his speedo he said they need to go a bit more on the slipper. For the final practice he will also stiffen up his front shocks to help carry more speed through the corners.
Fifth fastest ahead of Schumacher team-mate Michal Orlowski, Peter Pinisch summed up his performance as ‘so far so good’. Running two cars in free practice, he said the heavier (regular battery) car was better as it was easier to drive than the shortie configured KF2. Describing the left side of the track as ‘too much like touring car’ he said the right side is good to drive for which he needs to find some slow speed steering as the car is pushing. Orlowski said while his car feels OK it is slow. Suffering from too much rear traction he said this is preventing him from being able to push. Planning to go for a bigger (Heavier) battery and move the rear links higher he said with less rear grip it should make it easier to drive.
For Xray, Martin Bayer would be the fastest XB2 Xray in 7th just one position ahead of new team-mate Hupo Honigl. Having had a lean 12-months in the EOS with Serpent, the Austrian is very upbeat about the weekend ahead. ‘From the first time I ran the cars they have felt really good and I am enjoying racing again’. Asked about his XB2 over the two practice runs the former 2WD race winner said ‘its pretty good so I didn’t change anything’. Giving his thoughts on the track, he said the roller off the main straight is an area that he struggling with, adding he needs to improve himself and the car there’. Behind him team-mates Lorenzo Crolla and Martin Wollanka completed the Top 10.