Matsukura sends out message in 4WD practice

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Naoto Matsukura has topped 4WD practice at the season finale of the Euro Offroad Series in Slovakia.  Having opened Season #4 of the EOS in Poland with a double win for Yokomo but then splitting with the team, the series returning Japanese driver said his blistering pace in the second of the timed practice was a message to his rivals that he and his Kyosho team are a force to be reckoned with in this world championship year. Although free practice pace setter and last year’s Hudy Racing Arena round winner Martin Bayer had problems in TP2, Matsukura would end Day 1 of the event an impressive one and a half second’s faster than the Xray driver who in turn was 1.1 seconds faster than Schumacher’s 3rd placed Michal Orlowski. 3-seconds off Lee Martin would be the fastest Yokomo with the fourth fastest time.

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‘Car is perfect, just need to freshen it up for Sunday’, that was Matsukura’s reaction to his pace. Running eight 24-second laps over the 10 laps he completed in TP2, his rivals struggling to manage just one, he said going a little harder in he rear shock oil had improved his Lazer ZX6.  With the car featuring a new chassis plate for his event, he said the shock change gave more stability both in the corners and on the landings.  Seeking confirmation that 3 out of 4 rounds count for the overall championship, this being only his second outing, he said ‘I have no championship to worry about but still we can show that I can also win in red’ referring to his Kyosho team clothing.

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Finishing the final practice with only 2WD due to a pin breaking in the front centre drive shaft, Bayer said he was happy with his speed, his fastest time set in TP1.  With the track getting faster each run but only Matsukura able to go faster he said his XB4 feels good and has the speed.  Happy that he can run clean laps over 5-minutes, the Czech driver says he is confident for Sunday.

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Dremeling the pins on his tyres for the final round, Orlowski said it was an improvement but while less edgy he was still getting it up on two wheels through the corners.  Planning to start qualifying with the car unchanged, the 13-year-old said his focus would be to try to keep the 5-minutes clean.

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A slightly dejected Lee Martin said his B-Max 4 was still the same despite changes made after free practice.  With the car still bouncing on the flat landings, the title hopeful said they they didn’t yet have a solution to the problem but said at least they had a day to brainstorm and come up with something.  Team-mate Marc Rheinard would post the 6th fastest time.  The new Yokomo offroad team recruit, said while his car was not too easy to drive it was ‘not bad’.  While ‘it could be better’ he said the key thing come qualifying was going to be to drive 5-minutes without mistakes.

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Ending the day 5th fastest, Miguel Matias said he is still playing catch after his brake issues but his Xray was pretty consistent.  ‘Lacking a little speed’, the Portuguese driver said this was compounded by the fact he ran new tyres each run so as to have them broken in for qualifying, used proving better on the new carpet tiles being used here at the Hudy Racing Arena.  Team-mate Martin Wollanka would make it three XB4s in the Top 10 as the Austrian posted the 7th fastest time.

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One of three US Team Associated drivers making the trip to the EOS Season finale, Ryan Cavalieri would end practice 8th overall.  Having struggled in free practice, the former World Champion said a different front end set-up on his Orion powered B44.3 had made it more comfortable to drive on a surface that is completely alien to the Californian based driver.  Describing this final practice as ‘pretty decent’, he is confident they have now found the right direction to go with set-up adding ‘we’ll have it figured out for Sunday’.  While Kody Numedahl is only doing 2WD, team-mate Carson Wernimont would complete the Top 10 times ahead of defending champion Joern Neumann.  Wernimont said he was ‘struggling with everything on the track’ adding he needed to find a better overall balance.  The 18-year-old added ‘we are still putting bait on the hook and throwing the line in the water and we’ll catch something sooner or later’.

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‘Compared to Naoto and Bayer I am way too slow’, was how Neumann put his pace into perspective.  The German said he is ‘losing time everywhere’ and he has ‘tried everything already to try improve it’.  He said there is some time in pushing harder but at the risk if damaging the buggies weak point, the diff gear.

View the event image gallery here.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Chassis Focus – Ryan Cavaieri

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Chassis: Associated B44.3
Motor: Orion 5.5
ESC: Orion
Batteries: Orion 4500mah
Radio/Servo: Airtronics

Remarks: At his first EOS race of the season, former World Champion Ryan Cavalieri is running a pretty standard version of the B44.3, which features a full Lunsford titanium screws and turnbuckles set, JConcepts Silencer body and steering bellcranks and some shock limiters for the high bite conditions.

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Video – 4wd Controlled Practice Rd1

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Bayer heads 4WD free practice in Slovakia

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Having topped 2WD timed practice, Martin Bayer carried his form over to 4WD with the Xray driver heading the times after three rounds of free practice. Double winner at the Hudy Racing Arena last year, the former European Champion would record the fastest 3-consecutive laps in the second practice with Kyosho’s Naoto Matsukura closest, only 0.235 of a second off.  Although over 1.4 seconds off Bayer, reigning champion Joern Neumann would complete the Top 3, the German happy to be faster than his only title rival Lee Martin who ended up fourth.

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Describing his XB4 as ‘super good’, Bayer added ‘it’s a bit difficult to drive but has very good speed’.  Making little changes throughout yesterday’s open practice he said having been pleased with how the buggy ran in the first practice today he hasn’t had to make any further set-up changes.  While he failed to improve on his time in the final free practice, he feels he also has a very strong car over 5-minutes highlighting the fact he was the only driver to run 12-laps over the 5-minutes.

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Having made small adjustments to his Lazer ZX6 including going down in the front shock oil weight and up in the rear, Matsukura said the buggy was ‘so good’.  With the shock change reducing the car’s tendency to want to traction roll on the high bite conditions the Touring Car World Champion said he would leave the car unchanged and use the first timed practice to see how the car runs on new tyres having done all of free practice on used tyres.

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Looking at the time sheets, Neumann initial response was ‘I don’t race against them I race against him’ referring to Lee Martin.  The German said with his SRX-4 ‘very easy to flip’ in the first two practices he made a shock set-up change for the final run with the traction roll much more manageable now.  Planning to further stiffen up the front shocks, he said his biggest concern for the rest of the weekend is the ongoing problem of stripping one of the diff gears adding he hopes he has enough to see him through Sunday’s qualifying and finals.

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‘Struggling a little bit’ was how Martin summed up his 4WD performance.  The British driver said ‘I am a little too far away from where I want to be as we can’t get the car to feel right’.  He added the problem is his B-Max 4 III is struggling to land the jumps with it bouncing on the flat landings.  Happy with how the buggy is cornering but having no confidence when jumping he said Shin Adachi tried a different shock piston in his final practice that seemed to improve things and he plans to try that in the first timed practice.  Posting the 9th fastest time team-mate Marc Rheinard also reported the same problem.

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Setting the fifth fastest time Michal Orlowski said his Schumacher was ‘not super good but not super bad’.  The 13-year-old Polish talent said his CAT K1 Aero doesn’t have enough steering but at the same time also wants to traction roll.  Still looking to find a better set-up for the tricky conditions, he said his three laps pace is ‘OK’ and so for the first timed practice he would just try to drive around the issue to register a time for hopefully a place in the top qualifying heat.

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Completing the Top 6 Miguel Matias said his turn around in form came from an electrics change. Struggling with no brakes all day yesterday from his Orion electrics, the Portuguese driver switched to ORCA and, now able to get his Xray XB4 stopped, he immediately made a huge step forward.  Running a very similar set-up to team-mate Bayer he said having now found his rhythm around the track he would make a few small adjustments to the set-up to get it to better suit his driving.  Behind him team-mate Martin Wollanka would end up 7th.

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Eight quickest, Team Associated’s Carson Wernimont said he got his B44.3 to corner better in the last one through a shock position change but is now struggling with jumping and landing.  What the change gave in cornering it took away in how shocks work the jumps adding he needs to find a ‘happy medium’ but he has a few ideas for his shocks for timed practice.  Team-mate Ryan Cavalieri would end up 12th.  The multiple work champion described his performance as ‘mediocre’. Describing the level of grip as ‘crazy’, he continued, ‘I have never driven 4WD on anything like this before and it is way more challenging out there than it was in 2WD’.

View the event image gallery here.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Chassis Focus – Lee Martin

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Chassis: Yokomo YZ-2
Motor: Muchmore 6.0
ESC: Muchmore
Batteries: Protek RC 4700 mah
Radio/Servo: Sanwa/Xpert

Remarks: Already crowned champion for the EOS Season #4, Lee Martin is in attendance here at the Hudy Racing Arena running his race-winning YZ-2.  The buggy sports a new beautifully machined slipper plate – meant to better the look of the car and dissipate the heat.  It also features new aluminium servo supports.

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Bayer tops timed 2WD practice at EOS finale

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Martin Bayer has topped timed practice for 2WD at the EOS season final with last year’s Hudy Racing Arena winner setting the fastest 3-consecutive laps from Yokomo’s Lee Martin. Third fastest in free practice, the Xray driver improved by over a second to put himself top seed for qualifying with the morning’s pace setter Martin just 0.021 off.  Behind them, Schumacher’s Michal Orlowski would complete the Top 3 ahead of the Associated of former Top Qualifier Carson Wernimont.  For former champion Joern Neumann the two sessions would see the Serpent driver end up only 13th fastest two positions behind US star Ryan Cavalieri.

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Changing to stiffer suspension arms and a different front shock set-up, Bayer said his prototype XB2 was ‘super twitchy to drive but fast’.  Setting out to get the buggy that way, the Czech driver said he wanted to have the most available outright speed he could get and for qualifying he would then just pull back a little in terms of his driving.

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Not surprised by Bayer topping the times, Martin said, ‘we have a very similar pace and I always expected Martin to be fast here’.  With both himself and Bayer he only drivers to run a 24-second lap time, the Season #4 champion was happy with his performance saying his YZ-2 ‘feels nice to driver, jumps good and has plenty of grip’.  Going on to describe the buggy as ‘pretty consistent’ he feel he is going to be strong over 5-minutes and with it ‘all good’ he will ‘run with it for Q1’.

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Setting his fastest time in TP1, Orlowski was very happy with his  KF2 having left it unchanged from free practice.  The 13-year-old said his second run was slower as he used the track time to scrub in a set of the Schumacher tyres for qualifying. A track with minimal tyre wear he said new tyres are slower hence his reason to break in tyres.  Setting the 6th fastest time Simon Moss also recorded his best time in the first run.  The British driver cut an extra row of the outside pins off his rear tyres for TP2 but said this left him with a very loose rear end.  Peter Pinisch would make it three Schumacher’s in the Top 10 with the 8th fastest time.  The Austrian would make a front wishbone adjustment for the final practice as he looked for better balance off the jumps but will revert back as the longer wheel base left him with less steering.

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‘Starting to turn things around in the last one’, that was Wernimont’s reaction to his P4 time.  Making a steering geomtry change, the 18-year-old said this ‘helped quite a bit with getting more steering’.  Also making up a front wing for his Reedy powered B5M, he found this also helped improve the buggy.  Now with more corner speed for qualifying, which takes place in the morning, he might consider going up in the rear diff oil.  Team-mate Kody Numedahl broke into the Top 10 for the first time, the AE designer ending up 7th quickest.  He put his improvement down to ‘just getting more used to it (the track)’ adding in terms of the car he might copy Wernimont and add a front wing for Q1.

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Ending up fifth fastest Naoto Matsukura said he had ‘maximum push’.  Running a lightweight RB6 featuring X-Gear shock towers, that he claims help overall stability, the Japanese ace said changes made to get more steering were ‘not good’. Asked about changes for Q1, the 4 time EOS race winner said they now planned to start qualifying with a completely different set-up.

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Ending up half a second slower than he was in free practice, Cavalieri described his final practice as ‘brutal’.  11th quickest, the American said it was an ‘up & down run’ with him laying down the pace before experiencing ‘trouble with other people on the track’ and then breaking his B5M after 7-laps.  Setting his fastest lap the lap before he broke, he said his ‘car is ‘pretty fast’ and he was just short on luck in the timed practice.

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The driver with the most EOS wins to his credit, notching up six 2WD victories, Neumann had a tough timed practice.  Lasting just a lap in the first run before breaking a front arm he said in the second he was just too slow with his Serpent edgy to drive.  Looking to tomorrow the German said they, team-mate Hupo Honigl only 23rd, need to come up with a new plan of attack.

View the event image gallery here.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Chassis Focus – Naoto Matsukura

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Chassis: Kyosho Ultima RB6
Motor: Muchmore 6.5
ESC: Muchmore
Batteries: Muchmore 4500mah
Radio/Servo: Sanwa/Xpert

Remarks: Making his return to the EOS after a two race absence, last season’s 2WD champion Naoto Matsukura is debuting with his new Kyosho team. Racing the Ultima RB6 the buggy features a prototype lightweight chassis and titanium screws. Being assisted here by X-Gear’s very own Yusuke Kobayashi, he is using front and rear shock towers, prototype springs and full aerodynamics from the Japanese company.

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Video – 2wd Controlled Practice Rd1

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Friday, May 15, 2015

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2015/16 Championship Standings after Rd3

4wd Buggy Class
1. Coelho Bruno - 464pts
2. Martin Lee - 460pts
3. Wollanka Martin - 456pts
4. Rheinard Marc - 449pts
5. Neumann Jörn - 442pts
6. Orlowski Michal - 440pts
7. Bayer Ales - 432pts
8. Risser Nico - 426pts
9. Bayer Martin - 421pts
10.Hönigl Hupo - 414pts

2wd Buggy Class
1. Martin Lee - 464pts
2. Orlowski Michal - 458pts
3. Rheinard Marc - 457pts
4. Wollanka Martin - 452pts
5. Coelho Bruno - 451pts
6. Haatanen Joona - 442pts
7. Neumann Jörn - 440pts
8. Bayer Martin - 437pts
9. Hönigl Hupo - 426pts
10.Nicolaisen Joakim - 423pts

Modified Truck Class
1. Neumann Jörn - 468pts
2. Ernst Scotty - 434pts
3. Eriksen Per - 425pts
4. Nicolaisen Joakim - 304pts
5. Zambrzycki Bartlomiej - 303pts

Stock Truck Class (After 2 rounds)
1. Bujara Tom - 308pts
2. Eriksen Per - 294pts
3. Pfeifhofer Stefan - 156pts
4. Billino Björn - 153pts
5. Kobbevik Magne - 153pts

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