January 5, 2013

Chassis Focus – Naoto Matsukura

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.

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January 5, 2013

Matsukura is 2WD Top Qualifier at EOS

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.

2WD Buggy Q4 times
1. Naoto Matsukura – Yokomo – 14/5:00.195
2. Lee Martin – Tamiya – 14/5:04.407
3. Hupo Honigl – Durango – 14/5:06.232
4. Christopher Krapp – Kyosho – 14/5:07.591
5. Dustin Evans – TLR – 14/5:07.726
6. Tom Cockerill – Schumacher – 14/5:10.452
7. Otto Ausfelt – TLR – 14/5:12.216
8. Bjorn Prumper – TLR – 14/5:12.550
9. Benni Groschel – Durango – 14/5:14.604
10.Markus Metsch – – 14/5:14.762

2WD Buggy A-main Grid
1. Naoto Matsukura (JP) – Yokomo – 310 pts
2. Jörn Neumann (DE) – Durango – 310
3. Dustin Evans (US) – TLR – 306
4. Lee Martin (GB) – Tamiya – 302
5. Hupo Honigl (AT) – Durango – 302
6. Darren Bloomfield (GB) – TLR – 302
7. Oliver Scholz (DE) – Team C – 301
8. Christopher Krapp (DE) – Kyosho – 299
9. Otto Ausfelt (SE) – TLR – 298
10.Tom Cockerill (GB- Schumacher – 298

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January 5, 2013

Matsukura TQ’s Round 3

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

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January 5, 2013

Neumann again in Q2

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

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January 5, 2013

Neumann fastest in 4WD practice

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.

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