The surprise of qualifying, putting his Tamiya second on the grid of world class offroad drivers, World Touring Car Champion Marc Rheinard has won the opening leg of the 2WD Buggy A-Main at the finale of the inaugural TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series in Dortmund, Germany. The German driver was handed the lead of the race on the first run through the double double after Top Qualifier & title hopeful Joern Neumann flipped his Durango off the second double luckily landing on his wheels but dropping him to third behind Team Losi Racing’s Darren Bloomfield. A second mistake by Neumann and then an incident first with Dustin Evans and later with Lee Martin, the other two title protagonists, allowed Rheinard to eventually cross the line 2,5 seconds clear of Evans with Bloomfield taking third just in front of Neumann.
Rheinard described his win as ‘lucky’ saying his Vega converted TRF201 lacked steering after he gambled on running used front tyres. Caught up quickly by Neumann, who like the previous two days of action at the Intermodellbau Hobby Show would set the fastest lap, the Tamiya Racing Factory driver said defensive driving was the only way he could keep his fellow countryman behind him. Eventually Rheinard got his big break on lap 12 of 15 when Neumann tried a move down the inside on Evans that resulted in the TLR22 needing to be marshalled. Neumann waited but the incident cost Evans, who was in striking distance of the Tamiya, 5 seconds and any chance of the win.
Neumann said his opening mistake was his own doing and his Speed Passion powered DEX210 is easily up to the job but he really needs to improve his driving in the remaining two legs. Dropping from second to fourth when he was hit by Martin the lap following his coming together with Evans, the Reedy Race Champion put both incidents down to close racing.
Evans was clearly frustrated at being hit by Neumann. The US Champion said he was patient when he was third behind the German and he should of done the same as the pair were clearly quicker and going to find a way passed Rheinard. Starting from fourth on the grid, Evans said if he can get a clean run he is confident he can challenge for the win in Leg 2 as changes to his Orion powered 22 had improved it a lot since qualifying.
Finishing third 2.2 seconds behind his Team Losi Racing team-mate, who started one place behind him on the grid, Bloomfield said he got lucky as changes to his Orion powered 22 made the rear a little too soft.
Having won a closely fought battle for the 2WD Buggy Top Qualifier honours this morning it was a very different affair in the afternoon at the TLR/Spektrum sponsored Euro Offroad Series, as Team Durango’s Joern Neumann trounced the opposition in qualifying for both 4WD Buggy and Short Course. Having already wrapped up the 4WD Buggy title with TQ’s and wins in the Czech Republic and Belgium, the German ace now wants to complete the 100% perfect score in the class, of which he is the reigning European Champion, and going by his form so far this weekend the battle tomorrow is all about second such is Neumann’s pace.
Describing 2WD qualifying as a challenge, Neumann said both his 4WD Buggy & Short Course Truck were ‘good as always’ adding that there was not much more he can do to improve them. On target not only for a hat trick of race wins tomorrow, the first European winner of the prestigious Reedy Race is now clearly poised to became a triple champion of the inaugural EOS.
Wrapping up the pole position in Q3, Neumann used the fourth & final qualifier to scrub in a new set of dBoots tyres and fighting with an edgy DEX410 this was the only time his name wouldn’t be top of the time sheets. That honour instead went to Tamiya’s Lee Martin who was fastest ahead of factory Yokomo Touring Car driver Yannic Prumper with Neumann third having posted a new outright fastest lap of 19.205.
All baring a major disaster, the top step at the podium presentation in Dortmund tomorrow evening already has Neumann’s name on it, but the race to see who will stand each side of him should produce some good racing. Better known as one of the World’s top touring car drivers Prumper will start second on the grid. Breaking his chassis in Q2, which because he has no spare he had to glue back together, the young German was the only other driver to record 16 laps when he finished second to Neumann in Q3.
Managing only fourth fastest as his best run prior to TQ’ing Q4, British Champion Martin will line up third on the grid with his Tamiya in front of the Durango of Hupo Honigl with fellow Brit Darren Bloomfield completing the front end of the grid in fifth as the highest placed Losi driver.
Putting in impressive runs in Q1 & 2 when he posted the 4th & 3rd fastest time respectively with the aging XXX-4, Team Losi Racing team-mate Mike Truhe is the best placed American driver lining up in sixth ahead of former European Champion Marc Rheinard, who considering his surprise 2nd on the grid in 2WD, didn’t do as well as expected on the high grip carpet track. Rheinard is one of three factory touring car drivers to make the A-Main with Kyosho’s Christopher Krapp getting the 10th and final spot.
Having BQ’d in 2WD, Schumacher’s lead driver Tom Cockerill ensured the British manufacturer is on the grid for the main 4WD event with his Speed Passion powered CAT SX4 set to carry No.8 tomorrow. Also making the show on his European indoor offroad debut is Associated team boss Brent Thielke whose Reedy powered B44.1 is the only buggy from the World’s most winning offroad manufacturer with team-mate Tony Truman taking the unenviable BQ ahead of TLR’s Dustin Evans where he will be joined by the third of the AE drivers Paul Bradby who starts 5th.
In Short Course behind Neumann team mate and title rival Hupo Honigl will start 2nd followed by Bjorn Prumper, older brother of Yannic. Horizon Hobby Germany backed Prumper is top Losi lining up ahead of factory drivers Dustin Evans and Mike Truhe with Russian driver Dmitry Malyshko completing the top 6.
Joern Neumann is Top Qualifier for tomorrow’s title deciding A-Main after the Team Durango ace set a new fastest time in the final round of 2WD Buggy Qualifying at the TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series finale in Dortmund, Germany. A major boost for the championship protagonist, whose two title rivals will start the deciding race from the middle of the grid, the German claimed pole position on tie break with Marc Rheinard and Darren Bloomfield thanks to his Q4 time which was just .065 shy of being the only 16 lap run of the event.
Very happy to claim the extra championship bonus point that goes with taking overall TQ honours, Neumann was even more happy to finally put together a clean round. The fastest man on track every round, mistakes meant the 21-year-old ended up with 2nd, 3rd and 4th fastest time in the opening three rounds. Expecting his greatest challenge this weekend to come from Lee Martin following his win at the preceding round in Belgium, Neumann said he was happy to have Rheinard and Bloomfield start behind him as it gives him a buffer over Dustin Evans & Martin who start 4th & 5th respectively. Aware of the potential challenge that could come from Rheinard, whose touring car driving skills are an advantage on the carpet track, Neumann said he is very comfortable with the handling of his Speed Passion powered DEX210 and should he come under any pressure he is confident he can safely defend.
Never expecting to find himself in the hunt for the overall TQ of an international 2WD Buggy race going in to the final qualifier, Rheinard was very happy to find himself 2nd on the grid. The 3-time reigning Touring Car World Champion said his dBoots tyres reached their best in the final qualifier but added if he can prepare the extra set issued to all A-Main drivers correctly he is planning to give Neumann a run for his money tomorrow. Tamiya Racing Factory team-mate Martin wishes he could switch position with Rheinard. The reigning European Champion said his Vega converted TRF201 feels good and has put his below par performance down to him not gelling with the track layout. Although he faces a major task tomorrow if he is to deny Neumann the overall title, the Englishman said all he needs to do is repeat what Evans pulled off in Belgium when he won the second A-Main from 5th on the grid.
Lining up behind his Losi/Orion team-mate Bloomfield, who was the most consistent driver in qualifying before breaking his 22 in Q4, Evans said he was frustrated to be starting 4th having enjoyed a TQ run in the second qualifying. Although he finished runner-up in Belgium from 5th on the grid, the US Champion said the track at the Intermodellbau Hobby Show is a much tougher challenge and so such a result is only going to be possible if other make mistakes.
Two big name casualties of the final round of qualifying were Associated team-manager Brent Thielke whose idler gear stripped and needing a good result the DNF dropped him to 12th in the qualification ranking. The American will start 2nd in the B-Main behind factory Schumacher driver Tom Cockerill who lost out on the final A-Main grid position on a tie break with Oskar Levin and 16-year-old local kid Oliver Speith whose mid motored Kyosho will carry the No.10 tomorrow.