Martin Bayer has claimed both his and Xray’s first Euro Offroad Series victory, an unexpectedly easy win in A3 giving the Czech driver & his XB4-2 the overall win at the Hudy Arena. Becoming only the fifth different winner of the championship’s largest class, Bayer’s surprise win, his first win expected to come in 4WD, ends the winning streak of Naoto Matusukra the Yokomo driver finishing second overall after struggling in the third leg. Finishing second in the final 2WD encounter, Team C’s Hupo Honigl completed the podium in Slovakia.
‘Amazing, the class I didn’t expect to do so well in and I win’, that was Bayer’s reaction to his popular home win. Admitting the deciding Main was a lot more straight forward than expected, he said that he went into race with the strategy of keeping his buggy on four wheels and waiting for other’s mistakes. After the thrilling A2 encounter, he knew that Matsukura’s ‘super aggressive driving style’ would make it near impossible to run the full race without error on what has been a difficult track. On the opening lap thats exactly what happened, Matsukura rolling on the landing after the tricky finger jump in front of the drivers stand giving Bayer’s No.2 starting Xray a lead he would never relinquish. 3-laps later a further mistake, which saw the Top Qualifier needing to be marshalled, would give Bayer the big break of the race allowing him to cruise to that first win.
Matsukura, who posted the fastest lap of the race by over 1/2 a second, said he had no comeback from his two early errors this time round for Bayer. Fitting a new set of tyres to his B-Max2 MR he said it made it very edgy and he wasn’t able to push like he did so easily in A2. While disappointed at not being able to pull off the perfect record in 2WD, having done so in qualifying with three TQs from three appearance, the 4WD Vice World Champion said Martin won 2WD this time but I will win 4WD later’, the action at the Hudy Arena now switching to the 4WD finals.
Honigl said overall in terms of the championship 3rd was an OK result. Having TQ’d the second qualifier, the Austrian said based on his opening two qualifiers he was confident he could have challenged for his second win but he lost his edge from Q3 onwards. With 4WD Qualifying being run between Q2 and Q3 of 2WD qualifying, the former European Champion said the track lost traction for the second part of qualifying and the finals and with that he lost pace.
A drivers whose form went the opposite direction to Honigl’s, Schumacher’s Tom Cockerill was delighted to claim fourth overall. Just scrapping into the final winning the tie break with Xray’s Renaud Savoya for 10th position, the season opener’s Top Qualifier said after a ‘shit start to the weekend it finished pretty good’. Turning his fortunes around by going with his DHI winning set-up on his Cougar KF half way through qualifiers, he said in A3 he just capitalised on everyone else mistakes of which he said ‘there were a lot’. The result was fourth for the leg which gave him fourth overall on tie break with Miguel Matias and fellow Brit Lee Martin.
Elsewhere it was an event to forget for defending champion Joern Nuemann. Breaking his DEX210 in the warm-up for A3, which he was allowed extra time to repair, the race would not see his luck change. Contact with Cockerill while battling over 5th would send his buggy rolling across lanes and into the path of the three way battle for second between Honigl, Matsukura and David Ronnefalk. Unfortunately Ronnefalk’s Kyosho made a direct hit breaking the shock tower on the RB6 and ending the Swede’s challenge for an overall poduim finish. In the end the German would finish the leg 9th having popped a ball cup after contact with Lee Martin on the straight but overall he goes away with a 10th for the 3rd round of the championship.
2WD Buggy Overall Result
1. Martin Bayer (CZ) – Xray – 2 pts
2. Naoto Matsukura (JP) – Yokomo – 3
3. Hupo Hönigl (AT) – Team C – 5
4. Tom Cockerill (GB) – Schumacher – 9
5. David Ronnefalk (SE) – Kyosho – 11
6. Miguel Matias (PT) – Xray – 11
7. Lee Martin (GB) – Yokomo – 11
8. Peter Pinisch (AT) – Team Associated – 12
9. Martin Wollanka (AT) – Xray – 14
10.Joern Neumann (DE) – Durango – 17
2WD Buggy A-Main Leg 3 Result
1.(2) Martin Bayer – Xray – 13/511.474
2.(3) Hupo Hönigl – Team C – 13/5:15.697
3.(1) Naoto Matsukura – Yokomo – 13/5:23.607
4.(10)Tom Cockerill – Schumacher – 12/5:02.428
5.(5) Lee Martin – Yokomo – 12/5:03.811
6.(6) Martin Wollanka – Xray – 12/5:04.859
7.(9) Miguel Matias – Xray – 12/5:10.094
8.(7) Peter Pinisch – Team Associated – 12/5:23.864
9.(8) Joern Neumann – Durango – 11/5:12.424
10.(4)David Ronnefalk – Kyosho – 5/2:00.682
Martin Bayer won a thrilling second 2WD A-Main at the Euro Offroad Series in Slovakia this morning, his win over Naoto Matsukura putting the Xray driver ‘back in the game’ as the overall winner of the 3rd round of the championship will be decided in the third main. Taking the lead on the opening lap the Czech ace lead from start to finish but mistakes by both him and the hard charging A1 winner Matsukura meant the race would be a last lap dash to the line. Team C’s Hupo Honigl would complete the Top 3.
Finishing third in A1, having led yesterday’s encounter for a time, Bayer was delighted with his A2 win but admitted to finding the race stressful. Moving to the front on the opening lap after a mistake by Matsukura, who would drop to the rear of the field, he said after pushing hard for a few laps he then took the approach to drive safe. Having set the fastest lap of the race, this change of driving style only ended up leading him to make a number of errors. Coming short on a number of jumps, he said he could see the recovering Matsukura, a driver famed for his hard charges, was ‘super fast’ and closing quickly and this caused the stress levels to get pretty high. Relieved to get to the finish, Matsukura getting right within striking distance until an error one corner earlier, Bayer said he was ‘very happy to be back in the game’ and looking forward to challenge for his & Team Xray’s first ever EOS victory.
Matsukura was clearly frustrated with his driving directly after the race. Chasing a perfect score this weekend, looking for a third win in as many EOS appearances, the Top Qualifier said everything was there in terms of his equipment and it was just stupid mistakes that cost him the win. Able to quickly catch back up to Bayer after each one of his errors, he said this was the most frustrating thing as he kept throwing away his recovery with another ‘stupid mistake’.
Finishing a distant third, Honigl said he hadn’t much to say about the race other than he was ‘very disappointed with (his) driving’. The Austrian, who won the season opener, said he ‘made too many mistakes’ which was totally down to his driving as his TM2 V2 as really good as highlighted by it recording the 2nd fastest lap of the race, only Bayer going quicker.
Benefiting from a multiple car pile up, David Ronnefalk held second for three laps early on before slipping back to 9th by the end of the 5-minutes. The Kyosho driver said having had good steering in A1 when he finished 2nd, today he had ‘zero steering’. Unable to do anything about catching Bayer, the Swede said he just tried to hold on to his position but with no speed he quickly got caught up. Making a few small mistakes he started dropping back down the order before an incident with Martin Wollanka left him frustrated leading to further errors that dropped him to ninth, the last finisher.
For defending champion Joern Neumann, the race ended in retirement. The Durango driver said he made a perfect start going from 8th to 4th but with Wollanaka, who was running second, getting out of shape and coming across his path he would drop to last. One lap later a bad landing would see the German pop out a drive shaft ending his race.
2WD Buggy A-Main Leg 2 Result
1.(2) Martin Bayer – Xray – 13/5:22.651
2.(1) Naoto Matsukura – Yokomo – 13/5:26.029
3.(3) Hupo Hönigl – Team C – 12/5:01.899
4.(9) Miguel Matias – Xray – 12/5:08.092
5.(7) Peter Pinisch – Team Associated – 12/5:08.776
6.(5) Lee Martin – Yokomo – 12/5:09.586
7.(6) Martin Wollanka – Xray – 12/5:09.994
8.(10)Tom Cockerill – Schumacher – 12/5:11.959
9.(4) David Ronnefalk – Kyosho – 12/5:18.337
10.(8)Joern Neumann – Durango – 3/1:20.733
It’s the deciding day of Round 3 of the Euro Offroad Series at the Hudy Arena in Slovakia. After last night’s opening leg of Mains in 2WD buggy, Day 3 gets underway with the continuation of the 2WD finals. Once the remaining two rounds of mains, all drivers getting triple mains, are complete the prize giving will bring the first part of the day’s proceedings to a close. The second half of the day will see attention switch to 4WD again with three rounds of Mains to be run.