Top seed for qualifying at Round 2 of the Euro Offroad Series after topping practice yesterday, Lee Martin got 2WD qualifying underway this morning in Berlin by taking the opening round of 2WD qualifying. The Yokomo driver ran 15 laps in a time of 5:02.497 which was 4-seconds clear of David Ronnefalk while a much improved Joern Neumann completed the Top 3 just a further 4/10ths off.
Describing the opening qualifier as always being his least favourite as switching back from running 4WD and having no practice to open the day it’s ‘in at the deep end’, Martin was happy to kick things off with a TQ run. The British ace said his new YZ-2 felt good and was ‘easy to drive’ although it was slow compared to 4WD. Having initially been followed by both Ronnefalk and Robert Batlle before they both made mistakes, he said towards the end of the 5-minutes he started to get a little nervous as he didn’t have anyone to gauge his pace off leading to a few less than perfect laps. With Q1 out of the way and happy with how his equipment is running he said he will ‘continue as is for Q2’.
Ronnefalk was overall very happy with both his car and his own driving with just one mistake over the 5-minutes. Jumping short on table top while matching the pace of Martin and having just set his fastest lap, this lost the Swede almost 3-seconds. Towards the end of the run the HB team driver, who is running a Team C in 2WD, said the TM2 got loose in the rear and to cure that for Q2 he will go up in the geardiff oil.
Having struggled for pace in 2WD practice yesterday leaving him to start mid pack in the B heat, Neumann opted to run the Yokomo YZ-2 in Q1 having also ran a Team C in practice. The German said while he changed the car’s ackermann back to the standard kit set-up as well as running lighter oil in the diff, the improvement in form came mainly from his driving. Having driven ‘way too aggressive’ yesterday, the former champion said he found a good rhythm this morning and planning to leave the car unchanged he is more confident for Q2. The currently teamless driver could have been second were it not for traffic, a marshalled car being placed in his line causing a spin at the wall which cost him 2-seconds.
Running Schumacher’s new Cougar KF2, Michal Orlowski set the fourth fastest time and while ‘a good result’ the Polish driver said his car was ‘not very good to drive’. Lacking rear grip, the 13-year-old said it was very hard to drive and it was thanks to the fact he made no mistakes rather than pace that he got his time. Unsure what to change he said ‘for sure we have to try something’ with him planning to discuss his options with team-mate Simon Moss, the British driver taking 8th for the round.
Also debuting a new car this weekend, Martin Bayer took the Xray XB2 to the fifth fastest time just ahead of team-mate Martin Wollanka. The Czech ace said his run was fine except for a ‘stupid mistake’ on lap 2. Over jumping the table top his car ended up rolling out of lane to another section of track and needing to be marshalled back to the right piece of track he lost over 4-seconds. In terms of his car he said he had a good feeling with it and it was easy to drive however for Q2 he will make a small change to try and get a little more rotation in the corners.
Having run a Top 3 pace for most of the run, Batlle would end up 7th fastest after clipping the piping through the chicane on the penultimate lap costing him 4-seconds. The new Team C signing said his TM2 felt a little stiff and for Q2 he will switch to a lighter shock oil. Behind Batlle the Top 10 was completed by Moss, Miguel Matias and Team Associated’s Craig Drescher.
Defending champion Joern Neumann will be the top seed for Sunday’s 4WD action at Round 2 of Euro Offroad Series with the German topping timed practice from 2WD top seed Lee Martin who also set the early 4WD pace. Fastest in the first timed practice Neumann further improved his 3-consecutive lap pace in the closing round as did Martin, the pair separated by just 0.047 of a second. Making his EOS debut for Team C, Robert Batlle completed a good first day as he backed up his 3rd in 2WD practice also with a Top 3 in 4WD.
Running this weekend as a privateer in terms of chassis, Neumann opted to run the last practice with a used set of tyres joking he ‘didn’t want to have to pay for another new set’. Instead adjusting his Durango by moving the shocks in a hole on the arm so as to increase steering he said the car worked as expected. Set to go back out with the shock position for Q1, as he will have new tyres, he said he is confident that the fresh tyres will further improve the car. Happy with his 4WD he said with the Berlin event now switching back to 2WD, tomorrow being made up of four qualifiers and triple finals, he said he hopes he can turn things around saying most of his problems was down to poor driving.
‘Always trust in Shin (Adachi)’ was how Martin summed up his final practice. Having made many changes to his B-Max 4, he said they reverted back to the first set-up the ran and the car was really good allowing to him to improve his time by 3/10th between the two rounds. Describing the car’s set-up as ‘pretty close now’, the Yokomo lead driver said the plan for Round 1 of qualifying is to ‘just charge the batteries’.
Also moving the front shock in one position on the arm, Batlle said he found the steering he was looking for although for the first few laps the car was a little tricky to drive. Happy with his day, the Spaniard plans to go up in the diffs oils in preparation for the first qualifier.
Ending up the highest seeded driver not to improve on his opening time, Martin Bayer still declared himself quite happy with how practice had gone. The Xray driver said his pace was effected by his tyres which he was running for a third time but having improved the car’s steering with a front shock position and removing the sway bar the Czech driver thinks on new tyres all will be good for qualifying.
Fifth fastest Hupo Honigl said he ‘tried to push too hard all day’ and he ‘need(s) to calm down’. Also suffering from a head cold, the new Serpent signing said his Durango set-up is good and the improvement needs to come from him.
Completing the Top 6 ahead of Martin Wollanka and fellow Swede Oskar Levin, HB’s David Ronnefalk was pleased with his performance. Running behind Neumann for the start of the run he said he was happy that he was able to run with the champion. Losing contact with the German after a mistake at the double half way through the 5-minutes he said with 3-fast laps to his credit he used the rest of the run to see how hard he could push resulting in the 18-second lap time. Running on new tyres he said he was surprised at how comfortable his D413 was and having some quick drivers to follow for the first qualifier he was pleased with his start to the weekend.
Having topped 2WD practice at Round 2 of the Euro Offroad Series in Berlin earlier in the day, Lee Martin carried that form through to 4WD with the Yokomo driver setting the pace in the classes free practice. Setting his best 3-consecutive laps in the second of the 3 rounds, the British driver set the pace from defending champion Joern Neumann although the gap between them was just 0.006 of a second. 2/10ths off them, Hupo Honigl completed the Top 3 followed by Robert Battle, David Ronnefalk and Martin Bayer.
Having made little changes to his new YZ-2 during practice, it was opposite in 4WD with Martin making significant changes to his B-MAX 4 for each run. Changing diffs, shocks and the steering set-up, he said they all brought benefits but so far they are ‘not marrying up right yet’. Getting good steering in the car for the last round he said the rear end became the problem and they have yet to get a good balance front to rear. Planning to go back on the diff changes, add more toe, and adjust the front shock position for the first of the two timed practice which will determine the order for the qualifying heats, he hopes this will give him the car he is looking for.
Running a standard kit version Durango DEX410, Neumann, who uncharacteristically struggled in 2WD, summed up his performance with ‘4WD is good’. Making only a small front roll bar change, the German’s only concern is the high tyre wear, something he said is being caused by the carpets low traction. Other than fit new tyres for timed practice the 3-time back to back champion will leave the car unchanged.
Running a DEX410 from when he was team-mate to Neumann at Durango which having loaned to a friend he had to get back for his participation in last weeks Reedy Race as he doesn’t yet have a 4WD from new team Serpent, Honigl was pleased with his runs. Hoping to get his first SRX-4 once the four pre-production cars that exist are finished with at the Nurnberg Toy Fair, he said the Durango is a car he knows works and so there were no surprises. Having started out with a modified rear end that worked well on the dirt at OCRC as the batteries sit wider apart he said it doesn’t suit the carpet and for the second practice he reverted back to the standard chassis. The change gave the car less roll as well as better rotation in the corners. For the first timed practice the Austrian will test gluing up his tyre side walls.
Having had a good run in 2WD practice, former 1:8 Offroad World Champion Batlle described his 4WD pace as ‘not bad’. Like in 2WD, the factory Team C driver said his 4WD was also pushing a little on the front but having made small changes over the three runs the car was at it best in the third run. With his tyres pin well worn going into the last free practice he said he is hopeful a fresh set of tyres for timed practice will cure the slight understeer.
Ronnefalk described his D413 as ‘really good’ adding ‘it was actually better than I though it would be’. Debuting the car on carpet at the DHI Cup and struggling a little with it, the Swede has since been able to make a few improvements and now he is a lot more comfortable with the car. Having changed to a stiffer shock set-up during practice he said for timed practice his only plan was to fit a new set of the pre-glued handout Schumacher Mini pin tyres.
One of the championship only three winners in 4WD, Bayer said he came into the event expecting more traction and so he still working on getting a set-up he is comfortable with. With the Top 6 covered by 7/10th over 3-laps, Martin’s time being a 57.971, the Xray driver said its very close and if he can find more steering through the 180 degree corner,s pointing out the track has many, he should be right in the mix at the front. Behind Bayer, team-mate Martin Wollanka set the 8th fastest time followed by Yokomo’s Shin Adachi and Team C’s Nicolas Risser.
Chassis: Schumacher Cougar KF2 Motor: Speed Passion ESC: Speed Passion Batteries: NVision Radio/Servo: Sanwa/KO Propo Remarks – Young polish driver Michal Orlowski is running the brand new Cougar KF2 from Schumacher for the very first time here in Berlin. The car features an all new motor mount, paired with a new transmission housing. The rear arms are now held in place by a pivot system, and the slipper now features three pads. The front top deck has been removed – although it is still available as an option part – and the new alu chassis is strengthened with two side stiffeners. Michal was using the “shorty” battery pack conversion but the stock car would normally use saddle packs.