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
EOS debutant Naoto Matsukura has won the first leg of the 2WD Buggy A-main with a dominant performance in Germany. Having secured overall TQ honours earlier in the day the factory Yokomo driver took his B-Max2 MR to a tone to tone victory ahead of defending series champion Joern Neumann with German National Champion Oliver Scholz working his way up from 7th on the grid to complete the Top 3.
A flawless drive from the Japanese ace his rivals were not able to pull off such a clean race. First to hit trouble was Team Durango’s Joern Neumann, a mistake on the second lap allowing TLR’s Dustin Evans and Tamiya’s Lee Martin through. Evans would hold the No.2 spot for next five laps but coming through the crossover section his TLR22 traction rolled leaving the American requiring to be marshaled. Having got back passed Martin earlier this allowed Neumann back up to second. Up front however Matsukura was clearly in control of the race with Neumann’s best efforts not enough to close the gap the pairing separated by 1.6 seconds at the end of the five minutes.
The win is a huge confidence boost for Matsukura who is experiencing European style indoor offroad racing for the first time but the 19-year-old will have to wait till tomorrow to see if he can secure the overall win as the action in Langenfeld now reverts to 4WD with four rounds of qualifying set to bring Day 2 of the EOS Round 2 to a close.
In the 2WD Short Course class, the Top Qualifier also took the win in Leg 1 with local driver Michael Rybski taking his Losi to a 4.5 second winning margin over Tom Bujara with reigning champion & EOS track designer Gerd Strenge taking third from 10th on the grid.
2WD Buggy A-Main Leg 1 Result
1.(1) Naoto Matsukura (JP) – Yokomo – 15/5:15.081
2.(2) Jörn Neumann (DE) – Durango – 15/5:16.682
3.(7) Oliver Scholz (DE) – Team C – 15/5:21.234
4.(4) Lee Martin (GB) – Tamiya – 14/5:00.962
5.(3) Dustin Evans (US) – TLR – 14/5:03.572
6.(5) Hupo Honigl (AT) – Durango – 14/5:05/380
7.(8) Christopher Krapp (DE) – Kyosho – 14/5:09.178
8.(9) Otto Ausfelt (SE) – TLR – 14/5:09.460
9.(6) Darren Bloomfield (GB) – TLR – 14/5:11.142
10.(10)Tom Cockerill (GB) – Schumacher – 10/3:39.386
Chassis Name – Durango DEX210 Motor – Speed Passion Competition 3.0 ESC – Speed Passion Reventon Pro Tires – dBoots (handout) Radio/Servos – Futaba Remarks – The reigning EOS Champion is running an unchanged DEX210 from the car he ran at the opening round of the series in Poland, which he won. The only difference is that he is now running Futaba radio equipment following a change of sponsor. In terms of setup the Reedy Race Champion has positioned the battery slighter further back in the car to help give more traction on the slippery wooden surfaces.
Chassis Name – Yokomo B-Max 2 MR Motor – Nosram Pure Evolution 2 ESC – Nosram Comet Tires – dBoots (handout) Radio/Servos – Sanwa Remarks – Japanese National Champion and World’s finalist Naoto Matsukura is making his and the car’s international carpet offroad debut and having TQ’d the event it seems to be going rather well. The Yokomo B-Max 2 has been around for some time, but its mid motor MR configuration is only new and is designed specifically for high grip conditions such as this carpet surface. Naoto is running the standard kit car with Nosram electronics.
Japan’s Naoto Matsukura is the 2WD Buggy Top Qualifier for the TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series Round 2 in Langenfeld, Germany, after the series debutant backed up his Q3 topping run with an even faster 5-minute pace in the fourth & final qualifier. The Yokomo driver, who has never raced offroad on a carpet & wood surface track before, took Q4 ahead of Tamiya’s Lee Martin after both Joern Neumann and Dustin Evans with whom he was swapping the lead pace each made costly mistakes. Finishing on the same points as Neumann’s Durango which TQ’d Rounds 1 & 2 of qualifying, Matsukura secured pole on tie break thanks to his Q4 pace and will start ahead of the reigning champion for what is an interesting grid line-up with four different buggies filling the Top 4 places. Third on the grid will be Evans’ TLR22 while the No.4 will be carried by Martin’s TRF201.
Matsukura was understandably ‘very happy’ to take the TQ saying he actually likes the high grip surface more than clay adding that his touring car experience benefited him. The 4-times reigning Japanese National Champion said the result is great for the new B-Max2 MR buggy and he hopes he can convert the TQ into a win. Asked about the finals the 19-year-old said on pace he thinks himself and Neumann are very closely matched with his advantage being in the corners and the Germans strength being the jumps. With all the drivers saying passing will be difficult Matsukura said starting at the front is going to be a huge advantage.
Neumann agreed with his fellow World Championship finalist that overtaking will be hard but added that running the full 5-minutes without a mistake was just as hard and the race would be decided by who made the least amount of mistakes.
Evans said the technical design of the Gerd Strenge built track was going to make for ‘pretty exciting racing’ with the key to passing being to force the driver in front of you into a mistake. Although his buggy started to push in the final laps of the last qualifier due to his front tyres going off, Evans is confident he his buggy is a match for the two starting ahead of him and it will come down to who drives the cleanest finals.
The first A-Main will take place later this evening with Legs 2 & 3 scheduled for tomorrow.