Matsukura is Top Qualifier at EOS finale

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Naoto Matsukura is Top Qualifier at the Euro Offroad Series season finale.  Making his Kyosho debut in the championship, the Japanese star secured his 7th EOS overall TQ when he topped the times for a third time in the fourth & final round of qualifying at the Hudy Racing Arena.  Lining up behind him will be former team-mate Lee Martin, the Yokomo driver’s quest to add to 4WD Championship to the 2WD title he won at the previous round in Austria, looking good with defending champion Joern Neumann starting fifth. Winner when the EOS travelled to the Slovakian event last season, Martin Bayer will start 3rd while yesterday’s 2WD winner Michal Orloswki lines up fourth on the grid for the triple A-Mains.

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The only driver to run 13-laps in all four qualifiers, Matsukura declared himself ‘happy’ to be starting from pole position having stated after topping practice that he was out to prove a point this weekend.  Making further changes to his Lazer ZX6 for the final qualifier, he said it now had the best balance of stability and steering and he would leave it unchanged for A1.  Stating he is having to drive the car at only 80% due to the difficultly of the high traction, he said his consistency was key to his TQ pointing out that Bayer had similar pace but just crashed too much. Not fearing a challenge from Martin he said a lot would depend how quickly Bayer could get by the British driver.

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While he’s out qualified title rival Neumann,  Martin is taking nothing for granted.  Saying the German’s Serpent ‘is not too bad’ and his own B-Max 4 ‘is also so so’, he continued there ‘could be carnage out there and anything can happen.’  Asked about his plan for the finals he said he would ‘just drive my own race and what happens happens’.

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Neumann said considering he broke in 2 of the 4 qualifiers, two counting for the grid, ‘P5 is OK’.  Describing his SRX-4 as ‘difficult to drive’, the 10-times 4WD race winner continued, that for the race ‘ I have nothing to lose so my approach is maximum attack’.  With both drivers tied on points and having identical results from the previous three rounds once they finish 4th or better the driver ahead will clinch the title.

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Bayer feels its going to be difficult to race Matsukura for the win starting from 3rd.  The former European Champion said his Xray has the speed but so does the Kyosho driver and he’s very consistent too.  Third in the standings, but not in the title hunt, he said he needed to get a good start to get by Martin as soon as possible.

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Taking a hugely popular first EOS win yesterday in 2WD, Michal Orlowski said considering his car was designed for clay he is ‘happy’ with fourth.  A difficult track for his CAT K1 Aero due to its weight distribution, a new car expected for the World Championship which are on astro turf, he said he would just try to run without mistakes and hope those ahead of him trip each other up.

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Matsukura takes Q2 & 3 at Hudy Arena

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Naoto Matsukura took the 2nd and 3rd round of qualifying at the Euro Offroad Series finale at the Hudy Racing Arena.  Having thrown away at TQ run in the opening qualifier when he crashed on his final lap, the Kyosho driver would come back to post two convincing TQ runs leaving the Japanese ace poised to claim the overall TQ in Slovakia.  Behind Matsukura, Q3 would see a repeat of the Q2 Top 3 with Martin Bayer 2nd fastest and Q1 pace setter Lee Martin third.  For defending champion Joern Neumann, the latest two qualifiers would prove challenging.  Suffering a stripped diff gear in Q2, nursing his Serpent home in P12, after rebuilding the diff and fitting all new bearings for Q3.  After just two warm-up laps however one of the bearings would seize leaving the German a non-starter with his hopes a fourth consecutive EOS 4WD title fading and going in the favour of Martin.

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Adjusting his camber for Q2, Matsukura said he was a lot more comfortable with his Lazer ZX6 than in the opening qualifier.  The only driver to run 13-laps in the second round, he would go up in his rear shock oil for the penultimate run. While this made the rear of the buggy more stable, the former 2WD Champion said he had less steering and his time was slower, the Top 3 managing 13 lap runs albeit 5-seconds off Matsukura.  For the final qualifier he said his mechanic will try to find a set-up to get him back some of the steering while maintaining the rear stability.

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‘Think it was ok’, that was how Bayer summed up his latest two qualifiers.  The lead Xray driver said he is losing time at the start of the run as a result of being over cautious with his opening laps but then is able to pull most of it back as he finds his rhythm. Already looking to the finals and currently third in the ranking he said he hopes he can start ahead of Martin as that way he can take the fight to Matsukura for the win.

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‘Difficult’ was Martin’s response.  The Yokomo driver said he is ‘not comfortable enough’ with the car and is ‘holding back so as not to crash’.  Making set-up changes each round he said they are are not taking away the problems.  Set to make more changes for the fourth & final qualifier he is also fitting a fresh rear wing to his B-Max 4 as the original one is ‘pretty beat up’.

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Having broke his Xray in the warm-up for Q1, and then started too slowly and had to give way to both Matsukura and Martin in Q2, Miguel Matias said his P4 run in Q3 was ‘pretty consistent’.  Only his third electric race of the year, he declared the result as good for him highlighting that he is getting faster every time he runs.

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One of the stars of EOS round 2 in Berlin, Patrick Hofer posted the fifth fastest time.  The Swiss Team Associated driver put his improvement down mostly to better driving but also removing an extra row of pins from his tyres he said this made his B44.3 easier to drive.

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AE team-mate Joakim Nicolaisen completed the Top 6.  The 18-year-old, who said 2WD is normally his better class, said freshening up the diff for Q2 seemed to make his B44.3 feel more consistent but added he probably drove it better too.  Also 6th in Q2, he said he would leave his car as is for the last one and ‘see how it goes’.  Changing from a centre diff to a slipper the third qualifier Ryan Cavalieri found the change a big step forward but unfortunately had a DNF as he lost a dog bone.

View the complete event results here.

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Martin tops opening 4WD qualifier in Slovakia

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Title protagonist Lee Martin has taken the opening round of 4WD qualifying at the Euro Offroad Series season finale in Slovakia.  Chasing the championship double, the 2WD Champion topped the times from last year’s Hudy Racing Arena winner Martin Bayer and qualifying top seed Naoto Matsukura.  With Martin himself somewhat surprised by the result, it was a significant first strike for the Yokomo driver as title rival & defending champion Joern Neumann set the fourth fastest time.  With both drivers coming into the event tied on points, the title will effectively be decided by which of the two driver finishes higher in this evening’s A-Main.

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‘I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t super fast but we were in the right ball park and the others crashed too much’, that was how Martin summed up his TQ run.  While he would get his B-Max 4 up on two wheels, unlike his rivals he didn’t need to be marshalled over the 5-minutes.  Looking to the second of the four qualifiers, the British driver said ‘we need to do some work and make it (the buggy) a little better for the next one’.  Team-mate Marc Rheinard, a former 4WD European Champion, would post the 7th fastest time.  The German said his B-Max 4 was difficult to drive but overall the biggest problem was he ‘just made too many mistakes’.

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Posting a new fastest lap of the event in the first qualifier, the only driver to run a 23-seconds lap, Bayer said his XB4 was ‘really good’ but with himself and Matsukura pushing each other so hard at the front they both made mistakes.  Securing his only EOS win here last year, he said himself and Matsukura are faster compared to the others and planning to leave his car unchanged he would bring back his driving a notch to cut out the mistakes, him need to be marshalled three times in Q1. Team-mate Martin Wollanka would set the 5th fastest time.  The Austrian said his XB4 was easy to drive at the start but towards the end got more difficult and he is not sure if it was down to the car’s set-up and just his driving style changing over the course of the qualifier.

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Throwing away a TQ run on the final lap when he traction rolled his Kyosho and lost over 5-seconds, Matsukura said traction had increased a little compared to practice.  Causing his Lazer ZX6 to be edgy the World Championship runner-up said he was constantly having to try catch it from traction rolling, unfortunately not able to do so on the last lap.  For Q2 he will make a camber change to try and make it somewhat more comfortable to drive.

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‘Better than expected’ was how Neumann described his qualifying pace.  The Serpent driver said he was surprised both by finishing fourth and how his buggy felt to drive.  Changing from a carbon to an alloy chassis for qualifying, the 3-time consecutive 4WD champion said his SRX-4 had less traction as a result and it was now ‘easier to drive’.  With one 3-second mistake, he said he would leave the buggy unchanged and just try to make the next one a clean run.

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Winner of yesterday’s 2WD action, Schumacher’s Michal Orlowski completed the Top 6.  The 13-year-old said while the run contained two mistakes they were ‘too slow’.  Suffering with too much rear grip and struggling with how the CAT K1 Aero is bouncing on the flat jump landings he said they had no choice but to try something different for Q2.

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Eight fastest Ryan Cavalieri said, ‘we have a lot of improvement to do’.  Describing the track as ‘so out of the range’, the Associated driver continued, ‘we are like a small boy in a big town and we are lost’.  Suffering one 3-second mistake he said cutting those out would be a help but in terms of his B44.3 set-up they ‘still need to figure out a few things’.

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Completing the Top were up and coming talents Joona Haatanen and Frederik Hovgaard, both running in the 3rd fastest heat.  11-years-old, almost set to turn 12, Haatanen said his run was ‘ok’ except for some issues with traffic.  Suffering from the same problem as most of the field, too much traction, the Finn said he would also like to get his B44.3 to land better but for now he would just try focus on adapting himself and try to drive around the problem as best he can.  A former EOS A-Finalist, 15-year-old Hovgaard was happy with his opening run, the Dane describing it is as ‘decent’.

View the complete event results here.

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Video – 2wd A-main Leg 3

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Orlowski joins winners’ list at EOS finale

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Michal Orlowski has joined the Euro Offroad Series winners list, the up & coming Polish talent wrapping up 2WD at the Season finale in Slovakia with a second win in A2 at the Hudy Racing Arena. Securing his first TQ start of the championship earlier in the day, the 13-year-old, who has been part of the EOS since its first race back in 2012, becomes only 6th different driver to stand on the top step of the podium.  His win over Lee Martin, this season’s champion winning A3, also marks the first win for British manufacturer Schumacher.  Making his debut for the Yokomo offroad team at the event, Marc Rheinard would complete the podium ahead of last year’s winner Martin Bayer.

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‘I’m in shock’, that was Orlowski response to his first international race win.  Having secured his first Modified A-Main start in the Euro Touring Series two weeks ago, he said its been a good few weeks with everything starting to be coming good and off to Japan for the Worlds warm-up he hopes he can continue to build on today’s success.  A former champion of the ETS’ Hobby class aged just 8-years old, he said today’s win was particularly special as it was with a 2WD buggy, a Tamiya Madfighter, that he got his start in the hobby.  After a flawless A1, A2 looked to be going the same way until a mistake on the last lap, luckily Miguel Matias was on hand to quickly get him back on his way ahead of Martin.  Commenting on the mistake he said ‘I’m not sure what happened but it was my mistake, I closed my eyes when it happened’.  Describing his Cougar KF2 as ‘perfect’ having to make no changes throughout qualifying and the finals, he said that was down to hard work on the first day and input from Schumacher design engineer Tristram Neal. His first time to attend an EOS event, Orlowski said Neal’s input played a huge part in today’s result which sees him finish as this season’s overall championship runner up.

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Although his key purpose of travelling to EOS finale is to try and do the title double by winning the 4WD title, Martin said while he always wants to win second today was ‘OK’.  Wrapping up his first EOS title with a win at the previous round in Austria, the Yokomo lead driver said they ‘didn’t quite hit the set-up on the head’.  He said if the track had had landing jumps like in Austria they would have been much stronger but they never got a handle on getting the YZ-2 landing on the flat and when they did it was at the cost of corner speed.  Missing a round of the British 1:8 Offroad Nationals to make this event he said hopefully tomorrow in 4WD that decision will prove to have been worth it.

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Having been a B-Finalist at this event last year, Rheinard described his first outing with Yokomo as having gone ‘better than expected’.  His first outing with his new buggies, the reigning 1:12 World Champion said to finish on the podium was ‘not bad’ but said he needs more practice as his timing on the jumps was his biggest issue not the car.  Set to attend the World Championship Warm-up race at the Yatabe Arena early next month, the German said today’s result was an encouraging starting point to go into the astro turf based event with.

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Having done the double at his Xray team’s home event last year, Bayer said after his bad start to the day it was always going to be hard to fight at the front.  ‘Overall happy with the performance’ of his XB2 prototype he said he couldn’t fault the car adding that in terms of speed it definitely had a podium if not a chance at the win in it.  Starting from 7th on the grid, the Czech driver found himself pushed out wide at the first hairpin of both opening mains making a good overall result even more difficult.  Enjoying a good A3, finishing second inbetween the two Yokomos, he said all considered fourth wasn’t the worst result.

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Finishing up fifth overall on his EOS debut for Kyosho, Naoto Matsukura said he just didn’t have car this weekend. Winner of the season opener with Yokomo, he said his RB6 is quick as proven by a recent win at Yatabe, but the track this weekend was too different and they never found a set-up to suit.  Having topped 4WD practice, the 4WD World Championship runner-up said he was looking forward to tomorrow’s 4WD action adding the result would be a very different story to 2WD.

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Ending his second ever EOS outing sixth, Ryan Cavalieri was at a loss to explain why having started off so well in the first A-Main that his buggy as ‘weird’ to drive in A2 & 3.  The factory Associated star said at the start of A1, him running second for a time, his B5M was ‘really on point’ but ‘then just lost it’.  Not driving the same way for the rest of the finals despite him looking over the car and finding nothing obvious standing out as a cause for the ‘weird handling’ the American said it was unfortunate as he was really starting to get to terms with the high traction conditions.  Behind him Schumacher’s Simon Moss would finish 7th with Kody Numedahl, former champion Joern Neumann and Round 1 Top Qualifier Carson Wernimont completing the final order.

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View the complete event results here.

View the event image gallery here.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Video – 2wd A-main Leg 2

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Video – 2wd A-main Leg 1

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Orlowski wins A1 with flawless drive

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A flawless drive from Schumacher’s Michal Orlowski netted the 13-year-old a convincing win in the opening A-Main at the Euro Offroad Series finale. Leading away the world class field, the Top Qualifier would get his break when champion Lee Martin made a mistake on lap 6 of 13 allowing him to take his first A-final win by over 6-seconds. Dropping to third behind Ryan Cavalieri, Martin would get back his starting position when the multiple World Champion would make a mistake on the penultimate lap leaving him to complete the Top 3. Having started third Marc Rheinard would finish 4th ahead of last year’s event winner Martin Bayer.

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Chased initially by Martin’s Yokomo, Orlowski described his first TQ start as ‘stressful’.  Coming under ‘a lot of pressure from Lee’ he said after the British ace made a mistake he felt like he slowed down but looking at the lap times afterward he laughed that 2 laps later he set the fastest lap of the race.  Describing A1 as the ‘perfect race’ he said ‘hopefully I can repeat it in A2 and get another win’.

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While Orlowski drove a flawless 5-minutes, the same couldn’t be said for his rivals.  Martin said his YZ-2 again suffered a bad landing and hitting the barriers and in terms of his chances of going for the win ‘that was it, gone’.

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Describing Bayer’s start as ‘aggressive’, Cavalieri said he retook the Xray when the Czech driver made a mistake working his way up to second as others did the same.  Catching Orlowski ‘slightly’ he said their speed was very similar so the gap never got any smaller.  In the final minute the American said ‘all of a sudden the car started to feel a little weird’ leading to him crashing and dropping back behind Martin.

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Battling with Martin for third, Carson Wernimont said his race was going pretty well but on the penultimate lap his B5M’s electrics shutdown at the end of the straight. Asked what caused the problem he was still trying to figure out what went wrong.

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View the complete event results here.

View the event image gallery here.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

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2014/15 Final Championship Standings

4wd Buggy Class
1. Martin Lee - 460pts
2. Neumann Jörn - 459pts
3. Bayer Martin - 459pts
4. Orlowski Michal - 449pts
5. Wollanka Martin - 449pts
6. Hofer Patrick - 445pts
7. Hönigl Hupo - 441pts
8. Adachi Shin - 435pts
9. Nicolaisen Joakim - 432pts
10.Haatanen Joona - 427pts


2wd Buggy Class
1. Martin Lee - 465pts
2. Orlowski Michal - 456pts
3. Neumann Jörn - 456pts
4. Bayer Martin - 451pts
5. Moss Simon - 443pts
6. Hönigl Hupo - 437pts
7. Wollanka Martin - 436pts
8. Nicolaisen Joakim - 435pts
9. Adachi Shin - 432pts
10.Haatanen Joona - 426pts


4wd SC Truck Class
1. Neumann Jörn - 468pts
2. Zambrzycki Bartlomiej - 461pts
3. Fedorenko Vladimir - 455pts
4. Chub Dmytro - 454pts
5. Eriksen Per - 453pts

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