Despite not being able to improve his time in the second timed 4WD Practice, Joern Neumann ended Day 1 of the TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series at the top of the time sheets. The German was a considerable 1.2 seconds faster than his closest rival Martin Bayer who also failed to better his opening time. Neumann’s Durango team-mate Hupo Honigl was the highest placed improvement to come in closing practice as he moved up to 3rd just ahead of Xray’s Renaud Savoya who knocked 1.3 seconds off his time. Switching to a heavier oil in the front shocks of his XB4, Savoya said his buggy was much better allowing him to go from 8th to 4th fastest.
Having struggled in the first time practice, Robert Batlle was also able to find a large amount of time. Having struggled with his BMax-4, which he said just felt like the chassis was too soft, he gambled on running the shocks softer along with stiffening the roll bars and lowering the ride height and to his surprise he said it worked pretty well. The newly signed Yokomo driver, who despite his impressive 1:8 Offroad CV is a newcomer to 1:10, would set the 9th fastest time again booking himself a spot in the top qualifying heat as he did earlier in 2WD.
Having set the 10th fastest time in the first timed 4WD practice despite not being too happy with the set-up he ran on his Kyosho, David Ronnefalk said the changes he made for the second run made the buggy worse leaving him to drop to 11th fastest in the final practice ranking.
Overall 4WD Buggy Practice Top 10
1. Joern Neumann (DE) – Durango – 3/1:04.567
2. Martin Bayer (CZ) – Xray – 3/1:05.701
3. Hupo Honigl (AT) – Durango – 3/1:05.750
4. Renaud Savoya (FR) – Xray – 3/1:05.801
5. Oliver Scholz (DE) – Team C – 3/1:06.091
6. Jiri Mara (CZ) – Xray – 3/1:06.560
7. Peter Pinisch (AT) – Associated – 3/1:06.846
8. Michal Orlowski (PL) – Durango – 3/1:06.976
9. Robert Batlle (ES) – Yokomo – 3/1:07.221
10.Martin Hansen (DK) – Kyosho – 3/1:07.241
Having set the pace in 2WD Buggy practice Joern Neumann opened the first 4WD controlled practice by setting the pace, the Durango driver 9/10ths of a second faster than his closest rival over 3-consecutive laps. Chasing his 6th consecutive win in the class this weekend in Austria, the defending champion said while he was able to top the time sheets he was not entirely happy with his Speed Passion powered DEX410. Developing understeer over the duration of the run he said this was not good because qualifying was all about the full 5-minutes rather than just 3-laps and he would need to try something different for the final practice.
Once again the closest to Neumann on pace with the second fastest time, Team Xray’s Martin Bayer was pleased with his XB4 saying it was ‘going good’. Happy with the base set-up he established in free practice the Czech who made led a few laps of the A-Mains on his EOS debut at Round 2, said he will make a few very small changes for the second practice just to try and make the buggy a little more comfortable to drive.
Running the same set-up as Bayer except for his front shocks, team-mate Renaud Savoya set the 8th fastest time. The French 1:8 Nitro ace said for the first two minutes his Orion powered example of the XB4 was good but after this the front end became too soft giving the buggy a lack of feeling. Planning to run a heavier oil for his next practice he said it should allow him to run a much better pace. A newcomer to the 1:10 Offroad scene Xray had three cars in the Top 10 with team driver Jiri Mara setting the 5th fastest time.
Hupo Honigl set the third fastest time the Austrian describing his Dual Sky powered Durango as being ‘OK’ but he just didn’t get three good laps together. Liking the track, he said while it was pretty easy to drive it was not easy to drive it at always at 100%.
Backing up his competitive showing in 2WD practice, Team C’s Oliver Scholz took his T4 V3 to the 4th fastest time. Having changed his set-up through out free practice and again for the first timed run, the German teenager said the buggy has been getting better every run. Running a fresh set of the controlled dBoots Nano Bytes tyres, he said he will again run a fresh set of tyres for his next run so as to have two sets of scrubbed tyres for qualifying.
Completing the Top 6 was former European Champion Peter Pinisch, the Team Associated driver saying his 4WD was ‘much better than his 2WD’. Having lost a wheel on the straight and crashed his Centro converted B4.2, the Austrian says the buggy is badly tweaked and this is the reason he could only manage the 14th fastest time. On his B44.2 he ran used tyres in the first time practice and to get a proper comparison will run a new set of tyres for the second run without making any set-up changes.
Setting the 10th fastest time, Kyosho’s David Ronnefalk said it was ‘the best he could do for the set-up he had’. The Swede said he ran too hard a shock and will go softer for his next run which should allow him to push his Lazer ZX5 harder. Having run tyres with the other pin removed he will also try the tyre as it comes out of the packet in the final practice.
Having impressed in 2WD Buggy, Robert Batlle struggled with his 4WD Yokomo. The Spaniard said the buggy was just too soft and he could not run string two corners together without the buggy rolling. Need to create a completely different set-up he said he doesn’t think he will have time to get it all done for the final practice. 16th fastest, the 1:8 World Champion said making the Top 10 and therefore a place in the top heat for qualifying was now a tall order.
Team Durango’s Joern Neumann will be the top seed for qualifying in 2WD Buggy at the Euro Offroad Series in Austria, the German improving his pace from the opening timed practice to go 2/10ths quicker over 3-consecutive laps in his second run. Unable to improve on his opening time, Team Xray’s Martin Bayer would maintain second ahead of Team C’s Oliver Scholz who improved by almost 6/10ths.
The second timed practice saw the majority of drivers improve their times with Renaud Savoya who was only 16th fastest first time round moving into the Top 10. Setting the 8th fastest time behind his 1:8 nitro rival Robert Batlle both drivers will be seeded in the top heat for tomorrow’s 2WD Buggy qualifying.
Another big improver was TLR’s Dominic Bauer, the 17-year-old Austrian improving from 10th fastest to 5th fastest. Better known as a 1:8 Nitro driver, he said a switch to a softer insert in the dBoots Blockpass front tyre made his TLR22 much more responsive to drive.
Overall 2WD Buggy Practice Top 10
1. Joern Neumann (DE) – Durango – 3/1:06.876
2. Martin Bayer (CZ) – Team Xray – 3/1:07.798
3. Oliver Scholz (DE) Team C – 3/1:08/027
4. David Ronnefalk (SE) – Kyosho – 3/1:08.341
5. Dominic Bauer (DE) – TLR – 3/1:08.355
6. Hupo Honigl (AT) – Durango – 3/1:08.520
7. Robert Batlle (ES) – Yokomo – 3/1:08.894
8. Renaud Savoya (FR) – Team Xray – 3/1:09.223
9. Michal Orlowski (PL) – Durango – 3/1:09.263
10.Marcus Lubke (DE) – Team C – 3/1:09.631
The opening round of timed practice at Round 3 of ‘TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series presented by Horizon Hobby’, which is making its first visit to Austria, it was defending champion Joern Neumann who set the pace ahead of Martin Bayer who put in a very impressive performance on what is his first 2WD appearance in the series. A finalist on his EOS debut at Round 2 in Langenfeld in January Germany National Champion Oliver Scholz completed the top 3 times for the 3-consecutive fastest laps.
A new venue on the EOS calendar, the carpet track, which has been prepared by the MRC Bruck/Mur club at their impressive indoor facility in the town of Leoben, has been meet with a very positive reaction from drivers with Neumann describing it as one of the best he has raced on. The Team Durango driver who, after being defeated in 2WD Buggy at Round 2 has done a lot pre-event testing with the DEX210 together with Hupo Honigl, said a change to a softer front spring and oil after free practice made it much easier to drive. Happy that he now has a good set-up, Neumann said he will switch tyres for the second timed practice to help him decide on which of the controlled dBoots from tyres he will choose for tomorrow’s qualifying. Having run the Nanobyte pin tyre he will now try the Blockpass block tyre. Team-mate Honigl, who is feeling under the weather with cold like symptoms, set the 4th fastest time and described his buggy as being ‘OK’. Running Blockpass he will try the Nanobyte for the next practice, the best time from the two timed runs determining the heats order for qualifying.
‘Surprisingly good’ was how Team Xray’s Martin Bayer described his pace. The Czech driver who competed only in 4WD when he made his EOS debut in Langenfeld, is running a kit standard TLR22 as the kit he ordered, the details of which he wasn’t willing to disclose, didn’t arrive in time for the event. Having to pick up the TLR kit from his local Hobby shop, he said having made a few changes for the practice he will revert back to the set-up he ran in free practice as it felt more comfortable to drive which will be important over the 5-minutes. Only his 3rd ever time to race a 2WD buggy, his first run on carpet being at the start of the year when he raced a Durango at the DHI Cup, he said his only concern is the lack of spares he has with him for the 22.
Making his 1:10 electric buggy race debut, Bayer’s factory Xray team-mate Renaud Savoya was 16th fastest of the 90 entries saying he has a lot to learn about 2WD. Running a Kyosho, the 3-time 1:8 Offroad European Champion lost a wheel in the first controlled practice so expects he can improve next time out. Focusing on his shock set-up, the French ace said he is still learning about 2WD and in terms of set-up said he needs to find the correct piston set-up to run for this track. Running Orion electrics which up to now he has used without drag brake he plans to try it for the next run due to the high grip levels.
Finishing 6th at Round 2, Team C driver Oliver Scholz was very happy with his prototype 2WD buggy. Planning to leave everything as is for his second timed practice, he said switching to the Blockpass front tyre had made the buggy easier to drive without affecting his overall speed. With the track having been changed slightly with the addition of some extra jumps after open practice, the 17-year-old said it was a really good track but the addition of the double at the dBoots corner is causing him a little trouble and he needs to work on a better line there.
Setting the 5th fastest time Kyosho’s David Ronnefalk described his practice as ‘not so bad, not so good’. While the high grip levels are new to many drivers this weekend, for Ronnefalk the traction is not that high for him as he is used to racing on carpet with slick tyres and additive back in Sweden. His first international race without his regular mechanic (his dad unable get time off work), he said having glued up the walls of his front tyres his Orion powered Ultima RB6 was better at the start of the run than in open practice but his geardiff got hot and started to slip causing him to start flipping a lot. For the next practice he will revert to a ball diff which he said should cure the problem.
Having originally signed for Team Yokomo to contest the Spanish National Championship, 1:8 Offroad World Champion Robert Batlle is making his EOS debut at the request of Yokomo HQ in Japan and out of the box he has been very impressive. Getting his first taste of racing on carpet this morning, he was immediately on the pace and in the opening timed practice posted the 6th fastest time. Running a B-Max2 MR, which Naoto Matsukura used to win Round 2 of the series, he said it lacked a little steering but he has since discovered the high grip is causing the servo saver to over work and he will remove it for his next run. Having only previously raced the buggy once before which was on dirt when he finished 4th overall in Round 1 of the Spanish Championship, he said he really likes the carpet as it gives a feeling more like that of his nitro buggy.
The Top 10 was completed by TLR’s Bjorn Prumper, Associated’s Peter Pinisch, Round 1 Podium finisher Michal Orlowski and Austrian Dominic Bauer who was just fractionally quicker than Team Losi Racing’s Oskar Levin. Unfortunately due to a recent family bereavement TLR’s Darren Bloomfield was not able to attend this weekend’s EOS.
This weekend (8-10 March) the third round of the ‘TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series presented by Horizon Hobby’ travels to Leoben in Austria where some of 1:8 Nitro Offroad’s biggest names are set to try their hand at 1:10 Electric Offroad including newly crowned World Champion Robert Battle and multiple European Champion Renaud Savoya. Arch rivals in 1:8, both drivers are newcomers to 1:10 and will be looking to impress in particular against 1:8 racing peers Darren Bloomfield and David Ronnefalk who are experienced electric offroad competitors.
Winning his World crown in Argentina in December with Mugen, Batlle has only started racing 1:10 offroad racing after signing a deal with Team Yokomo Spain at the start of this year. Competing in the opening round of the Spanish 2WD Nationals last month, the 25-year-old acquitted himself well finishing fourth overall but faces another new challenge this weekend as he gets his first experience of racing on an indoor carpet track. Admitting that the move into 1:10 will be a long-term learning process due to it being a completely new class to him, the 2-time European Champion will still be keen to try & finish ahead of Savoya with whom he has had many fierce battles in 1:8.
A 3-time 1:8 Nitro European Champion, the Euro Offroad Series will also be a new experience for Savoya but the French ace has the benefit of joining up with his Xray team-mate Martin Bayer. A leading driver on the international 1:8 scene, Bayer made a strong debut in the EOS managing to lead a number of laps in the 4WD A-Main at Round 2 in Germany with Xray’s new entry into 1:10 offroad, the XB4.
Having competed in the EOS Pilot race back in 2011, which took place in his home country of Sweden, Kyosho’s Ronnefalk returns to the EOS having gained a lot of 1:10 experience and success. Better known for his 1:8 Offroad achievements including finishing runner-up at the 2012 European Championship after a great battle with EOS regular Bloomfield and finishing fourth at the World Championships, in 1:10 the 16-year-old finished second to EOS race winner Lee Martin at the European 2WD Championships last year and is sure to be a podium contender in Leoben.
The current Nitro Offroad European Champion, Bloomfield will be the benchmark for the invasion of 1:8 drivers this weekend. Contesting his second season of EOS, the Team Losi Racing driver sits third in the standings in 2WD Buggy and enjoyed his first podium finish in the series last time out.
The first time for the EOS to visit Austria, two drivers who will be looking to put in a strong performance at their home event are former 1:10 European Champions Hupo Honigl and Peter Pinisch. Driving for defending champions Team Durango, Honigl claimed a podium finish on the 4WD Buggy podium at the season opener in Poland and will be looking to add a 2WD podium this weekend. Like Ronnefalk, for Team Associated’s Pinisch this will be his first EOS outing since the Pilot Race and the veteran will be aiming for a strong run on the carpet surface.
Having won 4WD Buggy at his home event, Round 2 in Langenfeld, EOS Champion Joern Neumann goes to Austria chasing a 6th consecutive win. The German ace remains unbeaten in the first two seasons of the series in 4WD but having been defeated by Yokomo’s Naoto Matsukura at Round 2 in 2WD he will be more determined than ever to do the double this weekend and extend his lead at the top of the points standings in both buggy classes.