Lee Martin goes into tomorrow’s 2WD qualifying at the Nurburgring in Germany as the top seed. The Yokomo driver was fastest in the two rounds of timed practice, bettering his opening 3-consecutive lap time by 0.064 to again top the times from Team Associated’s Neil Cragg. Cragg improved his time too in FP2 but the gap between the two British drivers remained almost unchanged. Having only been 7th after TP1, Bruno Coelho made a big improvement to put his Xray in Top 3 ahead of American AE pairing Ryan Cavalieri and Spencer Rivkin.
On his final practice Martin said, ‘it started really well but went off at the end because of two loose screws in the anti squat blocks’. Using TP2 to run in new tyres, he said his RC Concept powered YZ-2 ‘drives good’ and its down to him to put in a good drive over the 5-minute qualifiers. With the track layout requiring ‘a lot of concentration’ he added ‘its easy to get out of the flow (of the track).
Debuting Associated’s new B6, Cragg said, ‘the car has been good all the way through practice’. Feeling his slipper was not tight enough he said they adjusted it for the final practice but went ‘a little too much’. Hoping to ‘find a sweet spot’ on his slipper for qualifying, the former world Champion was very happy with his 5-minute time. With ‘a lot of places to crash’ he said ‘not crashing is going to be key’ to a good qualifier adding ‘I need to not over jump and make sure I hit the down slopes’.
Opting to not change his car after TP1 despite a lack of high speed steering, Coelho said his improvement came from making less mistakes. Struggling to get in 3 error free consecutive laps he said second time round he made a better job but feels ‘there is still room for improvement’. Closer on pace to his rivals he said ‘we are still too slow compared to them’ stating ‘we need to do something (to the car) to reduce this’. Top Qualifier for the event at the season opener, he said things are ‘completely different in qualifying’ and his aim is to ‘drive safe’.
Fourth fastest Ryan Cavalieri was another driver happier with his driving. The multiple World Champion described his final 2WD practice as ‘really good’ adding he ‘felt (he) drove more consistent’. Looking to adjust his Orion speedo to get it smoother on power, he is also confident that on new tyres he ‘will be a little faster too’. Team-mate and designer of the B6 Kody Numedahl was one of the few leading drivers not to improve on their opening time. Ending up 8th, he felt he ran much the same pace as before adding the key for him was that he was ‘able to run the whole 5-minutes with no mistakes’.
Taking his B6 to the fifth fastest time, EOS debutant Spencer Rivkin said ‘I’m not the fastest out there but the car was easier to drive that time’. Motoring down for TP2, the World Champion said the slower motor ‘made a big difference’ but ‘it took a few laps to get used too’. Happy with his car, he said for qualifying, ‘I still need to work on my driving and make sure I hit my marks’.
Completing the Top 6 ahead of EOS Round 3 winner Marc Rheinard, Michal Orlowski described his pace as ‘not so bad but it could be better’. Happy to have been able to improve his 3-consecutive laps time, the Polish driver feels they still need to work on bettering the steering for what he called the ‘tight & technical track layout’.
Chassis: Team Associated RC10 B6 Motor: Reedy Sonic M3 6.0T ESC: Reedy 410R Batteries: Reedy 39oomAh Radio/Servo: Sanwa/Reedy Remarks – Reigning World Champion Spencer Rivkin is here at the Nurburgring debuting the all new Associated B6. Despite the car coming highly specced as standard, Spencer is still running some option parts such as a brass bulkhead, aluminium steering set, Kashima shock bodies and front and rear sway bars. To lower the centre of gravity he also opted for titanium screws and a steel chassis weights.
Lee Martin has topped the first round of timed 2WD practice at the Euro Offroad Series season finale at Nurburgring. The Yokomo driver, who successfully defended his 2WD EOS title at the previous round, set the fastest three consecutive laps ahead of a trio of Team Associated’s new B6 car after the American manufacturer sprung a huge surprise by turning up unannounced in Germany this morning with its full American factory team. Just half a second off Martin, Neil Cragg would put in the second fastest time followed by the car’s designer Kody Numedahl and multiple World Champion Ryan Cavalieri. Making his EOS debut at the same time as the B6 makes its race debut, reigning 2WD World Champion Spencer Rivkin got his first weekend of racing 1:10 in Europe off to a solid start by rounding out the Top 6 ahead of 4WD World Champion Bruno Coelho.
One of a number of drivers to break during the first of the two time practices, Martin summed up his TP1 with ‘it was ok’. The double winner at the Nurburgring back in September when it hosted the season opener, Martin would break the bulkhead on his YZ-2 after crashing off a jump, something he said was down to him ‘trying too hard’. Impressed that he was still able to manage a 19.9 second lap with the broken bulkhead, his fastest lap a 19.472, he said his buggy is working well and the focus now is on getting the jumps right. Happy with his lines, on the track which he designed, he said at the start of the run it is ‘taking a few laps to get (his) eye in’ in terms of the jumps but once he does his times are good. Declaring ‘Neil is fast too’, he added ‘ but I expected that’.
‘A pretty good start for the B6 platform’, was how Cragg summed up his morning. With two free practice runs before the first timed round, he said ‘we have only had to make a few tiny changes’ to the car. Pleased with the car, the British driver, for whom this is only his second EOS outing, was also happy with his own driving saying ‘the driver is OK too’. Commenting on the track he said it was ‘tight and technical’ and that ‘there is a lot more in it than you think’ with the key ‘not to over drive it’.
The man responsible for designing the B6, Numedahl described his car as ‘pretty easy’ to drive. Having conducted pre race testing at 702 Raceway in Las Vegas in preparation for the event he said the EOS carpet was less grippy than he remembered, his previous EOS outing being at the Hudy Arena last season. Describing the track at 702 Raceways as ‘double’ that of this weekend, he said that helped them work on a set-up that has made the car easy to drive and they only thing they have had to do was ‘a little tuning on the steering’. ‘On a different programme’ to the rest of the team, the Californian will ‘try more risky stuff’ in terms of set-up over the course of the event to build up information.
Managing to complete only half the practice due to loosing a screw out of the bottom of his B6, Cavalieri said the laps he did do had went well. Comparing the new car to the B5 which he raced previously in the EOS, he said it was ‘pretty good right now’. Pleased to have been as quick as he was the ‘short time’ he ran he said there was more to come and overall he is just getting quicker with the more track time he gets.
Runner-up to Martin on the last visit to the legendary 1:1 race venue, Michal Orlowski would post the 5th fastest time. The Schumacher star, who has been on the podium every race this season, improved his car from free practice with it having better rotation in the timed run. Still looking to make the Cougar KF2 easier to drive, feeling it is rolling too much in the chicane he will change the rear shock position for the final practice.
Describing the Nurburgring facility as ‘incredible’, adding ‘its a great place to have (an RC) event’, Rivkin was happy with his first taste of the EOS. Asked about the carpet track, the Arizona driver said ‘I’m liking it’. Happy with his car having tested it with the team on carpet prior to travelling out to Germany, the Reedy backed driver said his biggest issue so far was that he ‘tried to be a big shot running the biggest motor’ which was wrong and with a ‘slightly slower motor’ he ‘should be good’ for the final practice.
Top Qualifier last time round at the Nurburgring, Coelho said things ‘were not perfect’ and they ‘still need to improve the car’. The Xray driver, who is in contention to claim the 4WD title, said his Hobbywing powered XB2 is ‘missing steering in the high speed corners’. Behind Coelho, young Finnish talent Jonna Haatenen was 8th fastest ahead of Round 3 2WD winner Marc Rheinard. The Top 10 was completed by the Xray of Martin Wollanka.
Venue – Nürburgring Race Hosts – capricorn NÜRBURGRING GmbH Country – Germany Location – Nürburg (120 km northwest of Frankfurt) Direction – Anti-Clockwise Surface – Carpet
Having made a very successful first appearance on the Euro Offroad Series back in September when it hosted the Season #5 opener, the Nurburgring finds itself hosting the EOS much sooner than anticipated as it becomes the first venue to ever feature twice in the same season. Following issues with the track build at the originally planned season finale in Austria, such was the public reaction to the first visit to the legend 1:1 racing circuit that when Uwe Rheinard asked about the possibility of return to the Nurburgring they welcomed the idea with open arms. Again running alongside the EOS is a 1:1 race event, the VLN Championship attracting close to 200 cars which will be racing together in an endurance race on the legendary Nordschleife circuit.
In terms of the 24 X 30 metre track layout, drivers face a much more challenging track than the previous visit. Pretty much a local event for EOS Round 3 2WD winner Marc Rheinard, the Yokomo driver headed up the track build but it was back to back EOS Champion Lee Martin who penned the layout which has so far being receiving positive feedback from racers. Commenting on the layout, Martin described it as having ‘both technical and high speed sections’ adding ‘I think it’s a bit better than the tracks we normally use’. Asked about the build he said, ‘I got a text from Marc on Wednesday with the dimensions asking me to design a track. He gave me a good 20-minutes to come up with something’. Sketching two designs, he said, ‘I think he (Marc) built it pretty close to the design and the layout works well’.
The 2015/16 Euro Offroad Series reaches a conclusion this weekend (29-April/1-May) with the deciding of the 4WD champion the main order of business for the weekend. With Season #5 successfully kicking off at the legendary Nurburgring last September, the Championship finds itself returning to the famous 1:1 race circuit after problems with the original Austrian location. The perfect stage for the high profile 1:10 Offroad Championship, the first visit on the same weekend as the Blancpain GT Championship running on the Grand Prix circuit, some of the world’s best rc drivers will again enjoying racing alongside the rumble of Porsche, Audi & BMW GT cars who this time round are racing on the iconic 20.8 km long Nordschleife circuit. Having made his EOS debut on the first visit to the Nurburgring, it is World Champion Bruno Coelho who comes into the fourth & final round as the 4WD championship leader. Missing the podium then, the Portuguese driver has since won everything with only reigning champion Lee Martin now able to deny Coelho an EOS title in his inaugural season.
While Martin was able to successfully defend his 2WD title at the penultimate round, the Yokomo lead driver, after a perfect start to the season when he won the opening round, hasn’t been able to match Coelho, finding himself third at the next two outings. Needing to TQ & win, and for Coelho to finish outside the Top 3, the British driver faces a challenge but finding himself in a similar position last season when he went into the final round sitting second he managed to get the job done. With Round 3 marking a first EOS win for Yokomo team-mate Marc Rheinard the break through in form could prove vital to Martin in helping his cause of preventing Coelho from getting on the podium.
While Sunday’s 4WD action takes centre stage, the battle for the final 2WD win of the season is a far more open affair with a number of very strong contenders. Back to back champion Martin together with Rheinard will be chasing repeat wins but a number of others will be determined to end their campaign’s on the top step of the podium. Having capped of last season with a breakthrough victory, Schumacher’s international star Michal Orlowski has stepped onto the podium every race and wants it to be the top step this time round and deny Yokomo a 1-2 in the championship.
Making his EOS debut at Mulheim Kaerlich in January, where he qualified 3rd, former World Champion Neil Cragg is back for a second go at the EOS as preparations for a full programme next season. The factory Team Associated driver had the speed but mistakes cost him in the finals and he ended up 5th but with his team manager Craig Drescher having had time to analyse their debut performance expect a much stronger package this weekend. A manufacturer that has put a lot of effort into nurturing a number of young drivers, Associated are starting to see the rewards of that in particular young Finnish cool operator Joona Haatanen. Watch too for Norwegian Joakim Nicolaisen.
Elsewhere former 2WD race winner Hupo Honigl’s second trip of the year to the Nurburgring sees him with a new team. Joining Xray for 2016, the Austrian enjoyed a strong debut with the Slovakian manufacturer in Mulheim qualifying 4th. After a tough 2015 season in which he fell off the A-Main radar, the result from his Round 3 showing should boost the Austrian’s confidence. Last year Coelho surprised the EOS regulars by taking the 2WD TQ for Xray. The man to beat in the newly introduced for this season Stadium Truck class, former multiple EOS Buggy Champion Joern Neumann has endured a second tough season and for the one time king of indoor carpet tracks a podium finish would be a great finish to the season for the Serpent driver.
The Euro Offroad Series is set to finish where it started with the organisers forced to find a replacement venue for the fourth & final round in Austria after issues arose regarding the preparations of the temporary Mattsee venue. Having opened Season #5 with a very popular first visit to the famous Nurburgring racing circuit last September, the EOS will now return to the German venue where the 4WD Buggy Champion will be crowned. Able to retain the original April 29 – May 1 date, the season finale perfectly coincides with Round 2 of the the full size VLN Endurance Championship which will host a 4-hour race on the legendary 20.8km Nordschleife circuit.
While the 2WD title of the Yokomo, Xray, Schumacher & Serpent backed championship was settled at Round 3 in Muelheim Kaerlich with Yokomo’s Lee Martin successfully defending his crown, the return to the Nurburgring will decide the 4WD title. Back in September, when it hosted the season opener, it was reigning champion Martin who took victory but the race also marked the EOS debut of 4WD World Champion Bruno Coelho. The Xray driver impressed and despite his limited experience secured third on his first appearance. Since then Coelho has secured two wins leaving him to head the standings going into the season finale with the title now set to be settled between him and Martin on the Sunday at the Nurburgring.