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.
Team Yokomo’s Naoto Matsukura has TQ’d the penultimate 2WD Buggy qualifier at Round 2 of the TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series in Germany, the Japanese ace taking Q3 by the narrowest of margins from TLR’s Dustin Evans. The result took some time to be made official as it originally looked like Evans’ penultimate lap hadn’t counted. Manually giving the American what was thought to be a missed lap it resulted in the first 15 lap run of the event but Yokomo did their own calculations which showed the time given wasn’t possible.
With timekeeping pulling up the readings from the loop for Evans TLR22 it was discovered that a blistering final lap from the former US Champion was quicker than the minimum 21-second lap time set in the timing software. Crossing the loop at 5:02.694, the computer discarded the rocket 20.952 second lap allowing Evans to go on to run another lap and stop the clock at 5:24.117. Ultimately it was a bad lap three laps from the end of the run which cost Evans the TQ run as he got out of shape a number of times losing over 3 seconds. and handing the lead to Matsukura. Building on his Top 6 time in Q2, Team C’s Oliver Scholz completed the Top 3 for the round, the German Champion clearly happy with his run.
Having comfortably topped the opening two qualifiers Joern Neumann struggled after switching to a new set of tyres for the run. Expecting to have more grip the Team Durango driver said for some reason the fresh tyres gave him ‘zero traction’ on the wood sections. Struggling through the run the defending champion could only manage the 11th fastest time.
2WD Buggy Q3 times
1. Naoto Matsukura – Yokomo – 14/5:02.614
2. Dustin Evans – TLR – 14/5:02.694
3. Oliver Scholz – Team C – 14/5:04.469
4. Darren Bloomfield – TLR – 14/5:05.468
5. Otto Ausfelt – TLR – 14/5:07.846
6. Lee Martin – Tamiya – 14/5:08.420
7. Christopher Krapp – Kyosho – 14/5:09.854
8. Hupo Honigl – Durango – 14/5:11.158
9. Bjorn Prumper – TLR – 14/5:13.019
10.Oliver Speith – Durango – 14/5:14.090
Day 2 of the ‘TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series presented by Horizon Hobby’ got underway in Germany with the second round of 2WD Buggy qualifying with yesterday’s Q1 pace setter Joern Neumann once again topping of the timing sheets. The Durango driver produced a time of 14/5:05.631 to take the round by 4.5 seconds ahead of Yokomo Naoto Matsukura with TLR’s Dustin Evans completing the Top 3 on what was a much faster track following the overnight removal of a small roller just before the crossover which was causing problems for many of the record entry.
Neumann was happy with his run but said the track change caught him out in the early laps as he over jumped the crossover leading to a moment coming off the following table which lost him some time. With many drivers having trouble correctly clearing the crossover due to the short run up after the rollover, with it removed the defending champion said it was now very easy to give too much throttle and this took a few laps to adjust to. Interestingly Neumann’s team-mate Hupo Honigl who was so focused on trying to put in a clean five minute run after suffering a serious of mistakes in Q1 didn’t even notice the removal of the rollover only becoming aware of the track change after the race when Schumacher’s Tom Cockerill asked him what he thought about it at the end of the run. For Q3 Neumann said the only changes he plans is to fit a new set of dBoots tyres as his DEX210 was starting to understeer a little by the end of the second qualifier.
Despite suffering one very costly mistake that lost him a massive six seconds, Japanese ace Matsukura said he was much happier with his B-Max2 MR today. Adding weight to the buggy, the World Championship Finalist said this helped settle the buggy better on the landings and for Q3 he plans to add further weight. The 4-time Japanese National Champion who has never raced on a carpet offroad track, adding that his confidence and feel for the uniquely European style track is improving every run.
Evans was annoyed with himself after the run saying his TLR22 was easy to drive but he just made too many mistakes. Setting the lead pace he lost it with a mistake after which he tried to push too hard leading to further mistakes. With a 2nd in Q1 and 3rd in Q2, the American said as he is ‘here to try win’ he will now use the remaining two qualifiers to try a some things with a view to finals. The former Reedy Race Champion added he doesn’t need to find much but with a fraction more pace and consistency he is confident he can race with Neumann, the current Reedy Race Champion, for the win tomorrow. Team Losi Racing team-mate Darrren Bloomfield repeated his Q1 performance with another 4th fastest run time. The British driver said he was happy with the speed of his buggy but he just needs to get it to ‘flow better’ through the corners.
Completing the Top 6 in Q2 was factory Team C driver Oliver Scholz despite three mistakes each of which required his TM2 to be marshalled. The 17-year-old German National Champion, who is making his EOS debut, said he is happy with performance of his buggy but hopes he can improve the driver in the remaining two qualifiers. Leaving the buggy the same for Q3 he will try running a new set of the controlled dBoots rear tyres from which he has removed the outside row of pins.
Having suffered a speedo thermal shutdown in the opening qualifier yesterday, Tamiya Racing Factory’s Lee Martin was to suffer further electrical wows this time with his batteries lacking power. Running saddle packs in his Vega mid motor converted TRF201 the European Champion said one of the cells went faulty. Still suffering from a cold he only managed 12th for the round. Fellow Brit Tom Cockerill also had electric problems on his Cougar SV2 with a motor wire coming off leaving him one spot behind Martin on the time sheets.
2WD Buggy Q2 times
1. Joern Neumann – Durango – 14/5:05.631
2. Naoto Matsukura – Yokomo – 14/5:10.111
3. Dustin Evans – TLR – 14/5:11.810
4. Darren Bloomfield – TLR – 14/5:12.058
5. Hupo Honigl – Durango – 14/5:15.409
6. Oliver Scholz – Team C – 14/5:16.452
7. Oliver Speith – Durango – 14/5:16.686
8. Christopher Krapp – Kyosho – 14/5:16.772
9. Oskar Levin – TLR – 14/5:18.881
10.Wesley van Helmond – TLR – 14/5:20.558
Team Durango’s Joern Neumann will be the top seed for the first round of 4WD qualifying after he set the pace in both Buggy and Short Course over the three rounds of controlled practice that brought Day 1 of the Euro Offroad Series in Germany to a close. Having TQ’d the first round of 2WD Buggy qualifying earlier in the day, Neumann topped the 4WD Buggy time sheets with a time of 1:01.659 for his three fastest laps ahead of Yokomo’s Naoto Matsukura with team-mate Hupo Honigl posting the third quickest time.
Undefeated in 4WD Buggy since the inception of the EOS, Neumann said his DEX410 was ‘good as always’ with having to make no set-up changes over the three runs. Instead, having had his dominant run of victories in Short Course ended by TLR’s Dustin Evans in Poland, his priority was his truck set-up. Having done a lot of set-up work on the truck since their defeat at Round 1, Neumann tried two different lenghts of shocks with the new shorter version giving him the better feeling around the technical track layout.
Trying a different set-up in each of his three practice runs, Matsukura said he still has a little to find in his set-up as he looks to make the buggy a little easier to drive. Preferring 4WD over 2WD, in which he made an impressive debut by setting the third fastest time in Q1 on his carpet surface debut, the 6-time Japanese 4WD National Champion was despite only 15 minutes of track time just 6/10th off the pace of Neumann, who is widely recognised as the best driver in the world on the uniquely European style off road tracks.
Setting the fourth fastest time, 4/10ths off the pace of Team Durango’s Hupo Honigl, TLR’s Darren Bloomfield was very happy with his pace. Admitting that they are never going to be in contention for the win in the class he said his buggy actually felt good to drive adding that a podium finish is a realistic target. Team-mate Dustin Evans set the 10th fastest time in 4WD Buggy but was more concerned at the improved pace of the Durango drivers in Short Course. Having caught Durango by surprise at the season opener, the American said he is struggling in the tighter sections of the track and right now Durango have regained their advantage.
Making Team Xray’s official EOS debut with the company’s first entry into the EP offroad market, factory driver Martin Bayer was very happy to set the fourth fastest time with the new XB4. Only running one class, the Czech driver is at a major disadvantage to his rivals in terms of track time but declared himself ‘pretty happy’ considering he only ran three batteries today. Classifying himself as still somewhat of a novice in electric offroad, the 1:8 Offroad ace said having no team-mate is making the challenge greater but the target for the weekend is to try qualify for the A-main with anything after that being a bonus. Xray have confirmed that from the next round of the EOS Bayer will be joined by French offroad star Renaud Savoya adding further to the increasing high level of competition of the burgoening series.
Despite having problems keeping the wheels on his Tamiya, Lee Martin set the sixth fastest time. Struggling with tightening the wheel nuts which kept coming undone the addition of a washer appears to have cured the Brtitish Champions problem. Describing his buggy set-up as ‘ok’ Martin said when he is in a good rythm it feels good but he is having trouble with the consistency of putting together clean laps lap after lap.
Behind Martin fellow countryman Tom Cockerill set the seventh fastest time at the controls of the new Schumacher Cat K1. The factory driver made a few changes over the course of practice including running a softer front which was better but with everyone else also improving he said he will change the buggy further for the opening quailfier.
Day 2 of the TLR/Spektrum kicks off with the second of 4 scheduled 2WD qualifiers with 4WD qualifier set to bring proceedings to an end tomorrow evening.
Team Durango’s Joern Neumann got his 2013 season off to a good start with the German posting a TQ run in the opening round of 2WD Buggy qualifying for Round 2 of the TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series in Langenfeld, Germany. The defending champion and current standings leader took his DEX210 around the Gerd Strenge built track in a time of 14/5:12.707 almost 5-seconds clear of arch rival Dustin Evans with EOS debutant Naoto Matsukura putting in an impressive first qualifying on a European carpet track to set the third fastest time.
Having struggled with too much steering in early practice, Neumann was much more confident with his buggy in the opening qualifier with changes made in the final practice giving him a set-up that was a lot less aggressive for the technical track layout. The Top Qualifier & winner of the opening round of the second season of the EOS in Poland, he admitted that in the early part of the run Lee Martin had a similar pace to him until the Tamiya came to a halt just before the 4-minute mark. Despite Martin’s pace, the European Champion being the only driver to have beaten Neumann to date in the 2WD Buggy class of the EOS, the Reedy Race Champion said he will leave his set-up the same for tomorrow’s second qualifier.
Martin, who was the early pace setter in the 5-minute run before crashing, suffered a broken cooling fan which would caused the speedo on his Vega converted TRF201 to thermal out. Feeling under the weather, the Brit said his buggy feels Ok but he can’t push super hard but he plans to leave it the same for Q2 hoping that with a good night sleep he will be feeling better and thus drive better in the morning.
Dustin Evans also hopes to benefit from a good nights sleep. The American summed up Q1 by saying the ‘result was good, driving not very good’. Starting to suffer from the onset of jetlag, the Team Losi Racing star said his 22 felt pretty good but he just made too many mistakes. With the track open for free practice in the morning ahead of the second 2WD Buggy qualifier, Evans said he plans to use the opportunity to run a few small set-up changes and see what effect they have.
Getting his head around running offroad on a high grip carpet track and starting to really enjoy the experience Matsukura was pleased to set the third fastest time. The Japanese National Champion said while he had to save his Yokomo a number of times from traction rolling overall he was happy with how the buggy is performing, his B-Max2 MR setting the fastest lap of Q1. Losing over 4 seconds when he collected a buggy that had crashed ahead of him, he said he plans to leave everything the same for Q2 as there is still a bit of time to be found in his driving.
Having set the early pace in practice Darren Bloomfield would set the fourth fastest time after moments with both his fellow Brits cost him time. On the opening lap factory Schumacher driver Tom Cockerill crashed on the table top costing the TLR driver 2 seconds and when Martin’s Tamiya came to a halt in the middle of the track in front of the 1:8 Offroad European Champion he lost further time. A bad last lap brought the total time lost to around 7 seconds but the birthday boy said he has the buggy to challenge for a TQ run and the plan for Q2 is to ‘just charge up the battery and put it back down on the track’.
Behind Bloomfield team-mate Oskar Levin set the fifth fastest time. Running in the second fastest heat, the Swede said he tried to drive a clean run and while his 22 felt ‘great’ he didn’t quite manage the error free run he was looking for. Planning on leaving his set-up as is for tomorrow, the 18-year-old is confident if he can clean up his driving he has the pace to run a Top 2 time saying on carpet beating Neumann is not so easy. Fellow countryman and TLR team driver Otto Ausfelt took his example of the 22 to the seventh fastest time just behind Cockerill’s Cougar SV2.
Having missed the opening two rounds of practice due to work commitments, factory Kyosho driver Christopher Krapp was very happy to set the 8th fastest time on only his second battery around the challenging track. Driving his Orion powered RB6 the German, who is better known for his Touring Car achievements which include an ETS race win and being twice a Worlds finalist, said he just needs more track time. Gluing up the walls on his set of dBoots controlled front tyres for Q1, he said the buggy felt really good. Getting seeded on his first and only practice run on the track he said running in the third fastest heat is a slight disadvantage due to traffic but the German is confident he can build on his Q1 performance tomorrow.
Former multiple European Champion Hupo Honigl set the ninth fastest time the Austrian saying he just made too many driver errors. Making it five TLR22s in the Top 10 young Dutch driver Wesley Van Helmond set the 10th fastest time ahead of factory Team C driver Oliver Scholz. The German National Champion was on a Top 4 pace until a crash lost him a massive 10-seconds and he will certainly be one to watch over the remaining 3 rounds of qualifying.
2WD Buggy Q1 times
1. Joern Neumann – Durango – 14/5:12.707
2. Dustin Evans – TLR – 14/5:17.570
3. Naoto Matsukura – Yokomo – 14/5:18.321
4. Darren Bloomfield – TLR – 14/5:18.629
5. Oskar Levin – TLR – 14/5:21.374
6. Tom Cockerill – Schumacher – 13/5:01.184
7. Otto Ausfelt – TLR – 13/5:01.717
8. Christopher Krapp – Kyosho – 13/5:01.759
9. Hupo Honigl – Durango – 13/5:02.433
10.Wesley van Helmond – TLR – 13/5:04.769