Joern Neumann will carry the No.1 starting number on both his buggies in tomorrow’s A-Mains at the Euro Offroad Series opener in the Czech Republic after the German ace completed the double in buggy qualifying. Having secured overall TQ honours in 2WD Buggy from Durango team-mate Hupo Hönigl, the European Champion went on to put in his fastest run of the weekend in the closing heat of the day to be crowned Top Qualifier again from his Austrian team-mate.
Having produced the fastest overall time of the five rounds of qualifying when he TQ’d Q2, Honigl will be hoping he can challenge his, very much on form, younger team-mate over tomorrow’s 3 leg finals but with Neumann still on a high from becoming the first European to win the Reedy International Race of Champions, he will have his work cut out. Neumann was always expected to rule proceedings in 4WD Buggy this weekend especially as the other full factory squad here this weekend, TLR, are using a buggy that hit the market two decades ago.
Despite the age of the his car European Horizon Hobby backed driver Oskar Levin is again the best non-Durango driver with his XX4 set to start 3rd on the grid in front of the XXX4 of former 1:8 Offroad European Champion and World finalist Miguel Matias. Knowing that they have little chance of going for the win the TLR pair are focused on their own private battle for the final spot on the podium but will need to be careful of promising local 15-year-old Kája Novotny whose Durango DEX410 starts fifth in front of the Tamiya of Swedish Champion Otto Ausfelt.
In 4WD Short Course there was further success for the Team Durango squad with Hönigl declared the Top Qualifier over Neumann after the pair tied on points. Mike Truhe’s Losi Ten-SCTE will line up third.
Joern Neumann is the 2WD Buggy Top Qualifier for the opening round of the TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series after the German secured his third TQ run of the day in the fifth & final round of qualifying in the Czech Republic. The Team Durango driver went into the last qualifier with only team-mate Hupo Honigl in a position to deny him the No.1 starting position but the Austrian rolled onto his roof on the opening lap bringing a very premature end to that challenge.
Instead Neumann came under pressure early in the 5-minute heat from TLR’s Mike Truhe. The TLR star’s first experience of racing a buggy on carpet, the American’s confidence on what is an alien surface to the former US Champion has grown with each run and in Q5 we saw for the first time that Durango may not have it 100% their own way in tomorrow’s A-Main. A mistake on his penultimate lap saw Truhe drop to third on the time sheets behind fellow TLR22 driver Oskar Levin, a result that also means he lines up on the grid in fourth position behind the 17-year-old Swedish Champion who is the highest starting non-Durango driver. Having held third in the qualification ranking for much of the day the 6th fastest time in the final two qualifiers drops TLR’s Miguel Matias to fifth on the grid.
Securing second the grid, Honigl said after his roll two corners into the start of Q5 that he reverted to using the run to scrub in his new set of dBoots for the finals, pulling up his LRP powered DEX210 once the controlled tyres started to come in. Able to run a very similar fastest lap time to Neumann during the round Honigl said he is confident he can give his team-mate a good run for his money tomorrow.
Team Durango’s Joern Neumann and Hupo Honigl remain in control of qualifying for the opening round of the inaugural TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series with the duo sharing the honour of topping the time sheets for all of the buggy qualifiers. After 3 of the five rounds of heats, of which two will count towards tomorrow’s grid positions, Neumann has two TQ runs in both 2WD & 4WD Buggy while Honigl has a maximum score in each along with a hat trick of fastest runs in 4WD Short Course.
Holding the fastest lap for both buggy classes, Neumann is clearly the man to beat here in Hrotovice but the German has made some big driver errors which have benefited Honigl who took Q2 in 4WD and Q3 in 2WD.
Behind the Durango squad it is Miguel Matias who is best of the rest with the Team Losi Racing driver holding 3rd in the qualification rankings for both classes. Better known for his 1:8 Offroad achievements, the Portuguese driver who has only recently made a return to electric offroad after a 10 year absence has just recorded his best round of 2WD taking his TLR22 to the second fastest time just short of a 14 lap run. Overall Q3 marked an improvement from the TLR squad with American ace Mike Truhe clocking his fastest run improving his previous best time by over 5.5 seconds.
Joern Neumann has TQ’d the first round of qualifying in both buggy classes at the opening race of the TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series in the Czech Republic, the German ace outpacing TLR’s Oskar Levin in 2WD and his own Team Durango team-mate Hupo Honigl in 4WD.
One second clear of the field in 2WD, the Reedy Race Champion said he was happy with his first qualifier and while he is still fine tuning the set-up on his Speed Passion powered DEX210 he feels he is now heading in the right direction having only been fifth fastest at the end of official practice yesterday. Describing the set-up of his DEX410 as ‘good as always’ the European Champion was annoyed with himself for two ‘stupid mistakes’ one of which required his buggy to be marshaled. Despite the errors he was still a topped the time sheets by 2.8 sec from Honigl. Honigl said he has the speed to match his team-mate but that Neumann is much more consistent and that’s something he needs to work on himself. Fifth fastest in 2WD, the former European Champion said his buggy feels good but a mistake by Truhe at the start of the run led him to make his own mistakes.
Fastest of the TLR22 drivers Levin said other than a small error he was happy with his opening run. With the car to his liking the 17-year-old said he will leave everything as is for Q2 and is confident of improving his time but admitted its going to be difficult to match Neumann pace. Fifth fastest in 4WD, the Swede said considering he is driving a buggy that was designed not long after he was born he is very happy with his run.
Team Losi Racing team-mate Miguel Matias and Otto Ausfelt completed the Top 4 for the round with US star Mike Truhe only 6th fastest. Matias said his 22 is really safe and consistent to drive but he hopes to make some small changes for Q2 in the hope of finding a little more corner speed. Ausfelt said he drove a cautious round having had motor temperature issues which caused his car shut down this morning in practice. A change of gearing for Q1 appears to have solved the issue and the Swede is hopeful of a better second run as the buggy is working really well and he can just focus on driving it now.
Truhe, who was top seed after practice, didn’t get his qualifying off to the best of starts as he crashed on his opening lap. The 2010 Us Champion put the mistake down to nerves but said he knows the buggy has the speed and its just up to him to get the job done. Also racing in 4WD Short Course here in Hrotovice he said the carpet track is ‘so foreign’ that they are just using the event as a learning experience for the rest of the EOS schedule. Setting the third fastest time behind Honigl and Neumann, he said they have discovered he doesn’t have the right inserts but said he will be sure to have them for Belgium.
Carrying the hopes of the TLR squad in the 4WD Buggy class Matias took his XX-4 to the third fastest time despite failing to finish the run as his gearbox seized on the final lap. The Portuguese drivers said he doesn’t think they can get much more from the car in terms of pace but hopes he can complete the full five minutes in the remaining 4 qualifiers.
Behind the factory backed drivers 15-year-old local driver Kaja Novotny marked himself as one to watch for the future as he took his Durango to the fourth fastest time ahead of the Tamiya of Swedish National Champion and experienced international racer Otto Ausfelt.