Making his debut in the ‘TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series presented by Horizon Hobby’ Team Yokomo’s Naoto Matsukura has made an instant impact on the series with the Japanese ace backing up his Leg 1 win yesterday with another impressive win in Leg 2 this morning to wrap up the overall win in 2WD Buggy. Having TQ’d the biggest class of the EOS, 140 drivers contesting 2WD Buggy at the second round of the series in Langenfeld, Germany, the 4-time Japanese National Champion once again led the high quality international field from tone to tone even with a mistake on lap 13 of 15 which cost him around 2 seconds. Such was his lead Matsukura still took the win by over a second from defending champion Joern Neumann for whom this is only his second ever defeat in the class, Tamiya’s Lee Martin the only other driver to beat the German which was incidentally also at the second round of the season. Setting the fastest lap in Leg 2 Team Losi Racing’s Dustin Evans had to settle for third, a mistake on his final lap allowing championship standings leader Neumann back through to second.
Having never raced on a carpet offroad track Matsukura was delighted to take the win adding that it was the ‘perfect result’ for the new B-Max2 MR. The 19-year-old said the second Leg was a lot more difficult than Leg 1 in which he put in a flawless drive admitting that his nerves got the better of him resulting in his crash three laps from the finish. With one win out of the way the World Championship finalist said he now wants to go for the double, his B-Max4 lining up second behind Neumann for this afternoon’s 4WD Buggy A-Main finals. Team Yokomo’s first experience of the Euro Offroad Series and obviously encouraged by their pace especially considering how much more experience their rivals have with racing on European style Indoor offroad tracks team manager Robert Itoh said he hopes to be able to have Matsukura contest the rest of the series.
Set to go head to head with Evans in the third leg to decide who will get the overall runners-up spot, Neumann said his Durango was difficult to drive in Leg 2 but ultimately he just made too many mistakes. Planning to run a harder rear shock set-up on his DEX210 the winner of the season opener said he hopes this will be enough to keep Evans, who set the fastest lap in Leg 2 and starts directly behind him, at bay.
Evans said his TLR22 is the best it has ever been on carpet but he just can’t seem to run a mistake free run on the high grip surface. Following Matsukura’s mistake, the 2011 US National Champion who was running second at the time said he went all out for the win but over did it. If he can eliminate the mistakes he said he knows he has the speed to beat Neumann.
2WD Buggy A-Main Leg 2 Result
1.(1) Naoto Matsukura (JP) – Yokomo – 15/5:19.430
2.(2) Jörn Neumann (DE) – Durango – 15/5:20.640
3.(3) Dustin Evans (US) – TLR – 14/5:00.960
4.(4) Lee Martin (GB) – Tamiya – 14/5:02.273
5.(6) Darren Bloomfield (GB) – TLR – 14/5:04.825
6.(8) Christopher Krapp (DE) – Kyosho – 14/5:08.745
7.(10)Tom Cockerill (GB) – Schumacher – 14/5:13.602
8.(5) Hupo Honigl (AT) – Durango – 14/5:15.140
9.(7) Oliver Scholz (DE) – Team C – 13/5:01.414
10.(9)Otto Ausfelt (SE) – TLR – 12/4:23.604
Chassis Name – Team C TM2 Motor – Team Orion ESC – Team Orion Tires – dBoots (handout) Radio/Servos – Sanwa/Thunder Tiger Remarks – Scholz is running a prototype version of the recently released TM2 from Team C, which is essentially the same car as the production version with the exception of the rear top plate and the anodising. In only his second run with the new car the German National Champion has fitted his car with extra weight to the chassis including a self made aluminium plate on the bottom front of the car. Oliver’s car is also one of the few here in Germany running a front winglet, which seems to be working having taken the car to 3rd place in the first A-main.
Joern Neumann has claimed TQ honours at the second round of the 2012/13 ‘TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series presented by Horizon Hobby’ in both 4WD Buggy & 4WD Short Course but the final buggy qualifier saw Naoto Matsukura out pace the German setting the stage for a thrilling battle tomorrow between the Durango and Yokomo factory drivers. The only driver to run a 19-second lap in the final qualifier, the Japanese ace outpaced the series’ defending champion by 1 second with a 15/5:07.512 run which was the fastest time set over the four rounds of qualifying.
Behind the pair, who are clearly in a different league to the rest of the 4WD field competing in Langenfeld, TLR’s Dustin Evans backed up his second fastest time in Q2 with third in the final qualifier to put his aging buggy 3rd on the grid. Team-mate Darren Bloomfield took his example of the buggy which was designed before some of tomorrow’s A-Finalist were born to 7th in the final qualification ranking.
Durango will have the largest presence in the final with Neumann’s team-mate Hupo Honigl set to line-up fourth where they will be joined by Round 1 podium finisher Michal Orlowski, who has since switched from Tamiya to run as part of the newly formed Team Durango Poland squad, set to carry the No.8 on his DEX410 while young local racer Oliver Speith completes the line up for the main event.
Struggling with a cold all weekend which he openly admits is effecting his performance Tamiya Racing Factory’s Lee Martin will line up fifth on the grid one spot ahead of Martin Bayer. Giving Xray’s new XB4 its EOS debut the Czech driver, who steered the buggy to a win recently in the popular Czech based Mibocup, could be one to watch tomorrow with the former 1:8 Offroad European Championship podium finisher getting more and more comfortable with the buggy every run.
Responsible for the creation of Schumacher’s new Cat K1 buggy, Tom Cockerill made a good come back after two difficult opening qualifiers to set the sixth fastest time in Q3 & 4 which scraped the British driver through to ninth on the grid.
In 4WD Short Course, Neumann will start on pole position ahead of Evans who at the opening race of the season in Poland brought an end to Durango’s domination of the big truck class. Evans managed a TQ run in Q3 but overall Neumann easily dominated proceedings but in the last qualifier the American posted the only 20-second lap of the day hinting that he might have just at the right time found the form he surprised Neumann with at Round 1 of the EOS.
Team Durango’s Joern Neumann continued his reign as the master of 4WD buggy in Euro Offroad Series taking the opening two rounds of qualifying in Germany but the German had to work a lot harder for it than normal with series debutant Naoto Matsukura looking like he could be a serious treat to the European Champions undefeated winning streak. An early mistake in Q1 by Neumann put Matsukura on the TQ pace but holding a comfortable margin the Japanese ace threw it away with errors on his final two laps. In the second qualifier, the 6-times Japanese National Champion looked like an even more serious treat as he went the top of the timing screens on shear pace but again a mistake was to be his undoing.
Running a fresh set of the series’ controlled dBoots tyres in Q1, Neumann said his DEX410 was a little edgy and this is what led to his early mistake. Lowering his ride height for Q2, he said the tyres where much better second time round but chasing his fifth consecutive 4WD win he admits that he has a real challenger this weekend in the 19-year-old who has already beaten him in 2WD buggy with a win in Leg 1 of the A-Main which was run earlier today.
Setting a new fastest lap of 19.856 in Q2, Matsukura has shown he has the pace to run with Neumann and the three time 1:12 World Champion doesn’t lack confidence in his own ability saying he wants to do the double this weekend. Describing his buggy as a little difficult to drive for Q3 he will change to a harder shock set-up which he hopes will help eliminate some of his errors.
With this race marking Xray’s official EOS debut, factory driver Martin Bayer put in two solid qualifying runs despite having been twiddling his thumbs for much of the day as he is only racing 4WD Buggy. The Czech ace managed the 6th fastest time in his first qualifying joking that after a long day of watching 2WD qualifying and the first round of finals it took him the first 4-minutes of the heat to get his head into gear again after yesterday’s practice. Leaving the buggy pretty much unchanged for Q2, Bayer said his focus is on reducing the number of driver mistakes but improving his time and breaking into the 15 laps he said things are improving with every run.
4WD Buggy Q2 times
1. Jörn Neumann (DE) – Durango – 15/5:07.723
2. Dustin Evans (US) – TLR – 15/5:14.040
3. Naoto Matsukura (JP) – Yokomo – 15/5:14.113
4. Hupo Honigl (AT) – Durango – 15/5:14.275
5. Martin Bayer (CZ) – Xray – 15/5:20.793
6. Lee Martin (GB) – Tamiya – 15/5:23.457
7. Michal Orlowski (PL) – Durango – 14/5:03.279
8. Darren Bloomfield (GB) – TLR – 14/5:04.288
9. Oliver Scholz (DE) – Team C – 14/5:11.070
10.Oliver Speith (DE) – Durango – 14/5:12.185