The honour of who will be Top Qualifier in 2WD Buggy at the second round of the Euro Offroad Series is wide open going into the final qualifier after Q2 & 3 went the respective ways of Yokomo’s Naoto Matsukura and Team Xray’s Martin Bayer. Having TQ’d the opening round of qualifying yesterday, defending EOS Champion Joern Neumann had tough runs today managing only a best run of 10th fastest in Q3. EOS race winners Lee Martin and Hupo Honigl claimed second in the two qualifiers putting them both in the mix to claim the overall TQ with Tom Cockerill also in with a chance with Top 3 times in both of the 5-minute encounters.
Winner of the second round of the EOS last season when he made his EOS debut, Matsukura said the return to 2WD after 4WD qualifying started off perfectly as he took his B-Max 2 to the fastest time over team-mate Martin. Liking how his buggy is working on the lower traction conditions, the track having changed a lot with 4WD having run their four qualifiers back to back on it, the second of the runs didn’t go as well. Collecting a buggy that crashed ahead of him, the Japanese ace popped a front camber link. Although it got put back on, the lost time left him only 15th fastest and with a DNF in Q1 the pressure is on for a solid final qualifier. Knowing the ‘next one (is) very important’ he said he has no choice but to go for a ‘safety run’.
‘I expected it in 4WD but not 2WD’ was how a very happy looking Bayer summed up his Q3 TQ run. Having posted two solid opening qualifiers to assure himself of a spot on the A-Main grid, the Czech driver said he tried ‘some crazy changes’ to the set-up of his modified XB4-2 which the team are keeping under wraps. Describing the changes as making the car ‘amazing’ he said it was ‘unreal’ to drive and based on the progress made by the changes they might try some more ideas he has for the final round.
Neumann said running used tyres for Q2 the change in track conditions just left him struggling for overall traction and he ended up only 18th fastest. With new tyres for Q3 he said things were going better until he first spun out on loose tape and then collected Ronald Volker when the touring car ace made a mistake. This cost him around 5-seconds and he ended up tenth. Asked about his DEX210 set-up the European Champion said ‘it could be better’ adding he will make a few changes for Q4.
Honigl, who was on target for TQ’ing Round 3 until he made a mistake, said it was a stupid error. Running just infront of Bayer he said he should have let the Xray driver by but instead lost concentration as he contemplated what to do. Thinking ‘it would be a clever idea’ to run new tyres in Q2 knowing the 4WD running would reduce traction he said the decision didn’t work out. With the Pro-Line tyres used for Q3 the Austrian said the run felt more like proper offroad racing conditions which he excels in as highlighted by his win at the season opener when drivers faced low traction.
‘Better today’ was how Cockerill summed his two 3rd place runs. Top Qualifier at Round 1 of the EOS, the British driver changed the set-up of his Cougar KF from yesterday which he said allowed him to carry more corner speed. Happy with the feel of the buggy he said for the last one he will just fit a new set of tyres, push it and see what he can do.
After a not so great start to the day 2WD action Kyosho’s David Ronnefalk had a good Q3 posting the fourth fastest time. The talented Swede struggled in Q2 saying he couldn’t get out of his 4WD driving mode. Switching from 3000w oil to 5000w for Q3 along with running a longer rear link, he said it made the RB6 easier to drive with more steering out of the corners. One mistake lost him 6 seconds in Q3 without which he would have been right in the hunt so he is confident going into Q4. Team-mate Christopher Krapp, who was 3rd in Q1 yesterday, struggled today. Suffering a broken sensor wire in Q2 in Q3 he caught loose tape and the time lost left him 18th. Describing the traction today as ‘different’, the German said his car is ‘not as fast as yesterday’.
Making his 2WD Offroad debut on carpet Team Associated’s Juho Levanen posted the 5th fastest time in Q3. The Finn, who was feeling very under the weather yesterday, said he feels a lot better today and that was reflected in his driving. Still getting used to the feeling of his C4.2 on carpet he said he hopes he can pull off another Top 5 run in Q4 which should put him in the A-Main.
2WD Buggy Q2 times
1. Naoto Matsukura – Yokomo – 14/5:06.587
2. Lee Martin – Yokomo – 14/5:07.472
3. Tom Cockerill – Schumacher – 14/5:10.000
4. Martin Bayer – Team Xray – 14/5:10.476
5. Ronald Volker – Yokomo – 14/5:12.483
6. Hupo Honigl – Team C – 14/5:12.982
7. Benni Groschel – Kyosho – 14/5:14.121
8. Tim Benson – Kyosho – 14/5:14.763
9. Yannic Prumper – Yokomo – 14/5:15.061
10.David Ronnefalk – Kyosho – 14/5:15.119
2WD Buggy Q3 times
1. Martin Bayer – Team Xray – 14/5:03.119
2. Hupo Honigl – Team C – 14/5:03.501
3. Tom Cockerill – Schumacher – 14/5:06.755
4. David Ronnefalk – Kyosho – 14/5:10.156
5. Juho Levanen – Team Associated – 14/5:11.099
6. Lee Martin – Yokomo – 14/5:11.897
7. Kev Lee – Team C – 14/5:12.060
8. Yannic Prumper – Yokomo – 14/5:12.070
9. Benni Groschel – Kyosho – 14/5:12.632
10.Joern Neumann – Team Durango – 14/5:12.645
Despite facing his toughest opposition yet at a Euro Offroad Series race, defending champion Joern Neumann is the 4WD Buggy Top Qualifier at the record entry second round taking place in Berlin, Germany. Having TQ’d last night’s second qualifier, the Team Durango got day 2 off to the perfect start by posting another TQ run in Q3 meaning only Yokomo’s Naoto Matsukura could deny end his 100% record of having started every EOS A-Main from pole position. Topping the opening qualifier yesterday, Matsukura could only manage 8th the final time of asking as his new team-mate Lee Martin TQ’d to secure second overall on the grid. His 9th overall TQ in 4WD Neumann will look to continue his reign over the class in tomorrow’s final and continue to be the only driver to have stood on the top step of the EOS 4WD Buggy podium.
Ending qualifying with the 3rd fastest time in the closing qualifier behind Martin and a very impressive Ronald Volker, Neumann said his Orion powered DEX410 was ‘as always’ very good and it was only a driver error that cost him a third TQ run. Losing 3-4 seconds as a result of the mistake he said he also lost further time as he rejoined directly behind Martin Bayer who had taken up the lead pace. Looking ahead to the finals the 4WD Worlds Top Qualifier said Matsukura is probably his biggest rival in terms of pace but losing a front wheel in Q2 & 3 and an error filled Q4 the Japanese ace will start from 5th on the grid.
Making his race debut for new team Yokomo this weekend, Martin was happy with securing second on the grid. Suffering similar problems to Matsukura in Q1 when he lost a front wheel off his B-Max 4, for the last run the team were taking no risks thread locking the front wheels in place. A significant signing for Yokomo in terms of driver talent and product development, Martin believes the problem lies with the optional 10mm hex they are running on the car which he said has chamfered edges which is causing it to not get enough bite into the wheel. Getting more and more comfortable with his new ride every run for the last one he made his first significant set-up change of the weekend. Adding roll bars and more squat he said the stiffer set-up was good and for tomorrow he will continue to go down the road of making the car harder.
Set to start 3rd on the grid, Team Xray Bayer was understandably annoyed after Q4. The European Champion was on target for a TQ until he collected the Schumacher of Tom Cockerill who crashed and ended up in his racing line. The Czech driver, who finished the run 5th fastest, said the 5-minutes had started out really well and the late incident not only cost him a TQ run but also dropped him from second to third on the grid which he was ‘not happy’ about. Looking to the final Bayer said his LRP powered XB4 has the pace and he just needs to make the best of it.
Having set himself a personal goal of making the B final, Euro Touring Series Champion Ronald Volker described his run to the 2nd fastest time in Q4 to secure 4th overall on the grid as an ‘Awesome feeling’. After an error filled Q3, the World class touring car driver put in a very impressive Q4 adding he never expected to end up only 2/10ths of a second off a TQ run in a class he doesn’t race. The Neumann equivalent of the ETS, the Yokomo ace having won the title for the past three season, he said he is really looking forward to racing against some of the World’s top offroad drivers tomorrow.
Matsukura, who is one of only three drivers to haven beaten Neumann in the EOS in 2WD, said he has the speed but lacked luck in qualifying. Heading the times in Q3 before he lost his wheel, he said with two DNF’s the pressure was on for a good finish in the last one to make the final and this led to a number of driver errors. As witnessed at the 4WD World Championships in Chico, the 1:12 World Champion is not afraid to charge and he doesn’t see his 5th place starting position as being a big issue for the finals.
Another multiple former European Champion making his first international debut with a new team, Hupo Honigl will start 6th on the grid. The Team C driver said his car is ‘not far off the pace’ adding the gap to is ‘actually less than expected’. The Austrian said he needs to find the last 5% in terms of set-up and for the finals plans to runner thinner sway bars to get more steering. With three Yokomo’s starting ahead of him he joked once their wheel nuts fall off a podium should be no problem.
Renaud Savoya will line up 7th with his Xray. The multiple 1:8 European Offroad Champion enjoyed his best run of qualifying in the last round when he posted the 4th fastest time. Describing yesterday as not so good, he said a change of power settings and motor helped him finally start to get comfortable with the Orion powered XB4. Having run a 6.5T motor with Pro Stock firmware for the last round he switched to a 5.5T motor with Modified class set-up which he said gave him a much better feeling with the car. Still somewhat a novice in electric offroad racing, he said he just needs to get more and more 1:10 running under his belt with which further improvements will come.
Kyosho’s Christopher Krapp will make it two ETS race winners in the final. The German had a strong opening run to the day setting the fourth fastest time in Q3. Lining up 8th on the grid he said his biggest problem was his low heat ranking as a result of a poor practice. With no top drivers in his group he said he was racing himself where as in the Top heat he would have been able to better gauge his pace and push harder. Changing the rear toe on his prototype car he said this gave him more steering and he is looking forward to a good run in the finals. Unfortunately for team-mate David Ronnefalk he missed the cut claiming the honour of BQ. The Swede was on a good run in Q3 but collecting the upside down Yokomo of arch 1:8 Offroad rival Robert Batlle on the straight he broke the front shock tower and had to limp to the finish ending up 11th fastest. In Q4 the 1:8 European Champion started well but with his car difficult to drive he cased the table top losing him a lot of time and he ended up only 19th. Overall Ronnefalk said the biggest problem is he needs more track time with the tyres and EOS style track as at home when they run indoor it is with slick tyres.
For 1:8 World Champion Batlle it was a troubled morning with speedo and motor issues. Losing power and more critically brakes the Spaniard said it was a struggle and as a result of failing to break the Top 10 this morning will line up 9th on the grid. Fitting all new electrics to his B-Max for the finals he hopes this will give him a chance to go for a Top 5 finish.
Completing the grid after a strong morning is Team Associated’s Peter Pinisch. The former European Champion started the day with 7th in Q3 and 6th in Q4. Improving his B44.2 with a small set-up change he said the biggest improvement came from the driver joking that he is used to only practicing on Fridays not qualifying and so he wasn’t in race mode. Starting from 10th, the Austrian said he is just going to enjoy the finals as he cant lose ground.
4WD Buggy A-Main Grid
1. Joern Neumann (DE) – Team Durango – 310 pts
2. Lee Martin (GB) – Yokomo – 307
3. Martin Bayer (CZ) – Team Xray – 306
4. Ronald Volker (DE) – Yokomo – 304
5. Naoto Matsukura (JP) – Yokomo – 302
6. Hupo Honigl (AT) – Team C – 301
7. Renaud Savoya (FR) – Team Xray – 300
8. Christopher Krapp (DE) – Kyosho – 299
9. Robert Batlle (ES) – Yokomo – 297
10.Peter Pinisch (AT) – Team Associated – 297
4WD Buggy Q3 times
1. Joern Neumann – Team Durango – 15/5:08.662
2. Martin Bayer – Team Xray – 15/5:10.605
3. Lee Martin – Yokomo – 15/5:14.556
8. Christopher Krapp – Kyosho – 15/5:15.779
4. Hupo Honigl – Team C – 15/5:16.348
6. Renaud Savoya – Team Xray – 15/5:17.745
7. Peter Pinisch – Team Associated – 15/5:18.380
8. Benni Groschel – Kyosho – 15/5:19.047
9. Jiri Mara – Team Xray – 15/5:19.363
10.David Ronnefalk – Kyosho – 15/5:20.095
4WD Buggy Q4 times
1. Lee Martin – Yokomo – 15/5:10.977
2. Ronald Volker – Yokomo – 15/5:11.234
3. Joern Neumann – Team Durango – 15/5:11.401
4. Renaud Savoya – Team Xray – 15/5:12.308
5. Martin Bayer – Team Xray – 15/5:12.313
6. Peter Pinisch – Team Associated – 15/5:12.717
7. Hupo Honigl – Team C – 15/5:12.809
8. Naoto Matsukura – Yokomo – 15/5:13.973
9. Christopher Krapp – Kyosho – 15/5:14.109
10.Michal Orlowski – Team Durango – 15/5:14.755
Delighted with his new rides, the British vice World Champion is running here the newest version of the mid-motored 2WD buggy from the Japanese company. Lee is running a few options on his car, such as a brass bulkhead to add weight to the front end and a carbon strap for his batteries, in addition to the LMR Electra wing he designed and produced himself. Maybe even faster in terms of raw speed than Q1 TQ Neumann, he said he’s very satisfied with his performances as this is the first time for him running the new cars on carpet, having only tried them on astroturf before, and happy to have a big team to share information with.
For Season #3 of the Euro Offroad Series one of the key changes was the controlled tyre. Having supported the previous seasons of the EOS for the 2013/14 championship, Pro-Line made a major commitment by coming onboard as the official controlled tyre provider. Debuting their all new carpet tyre, carpet off road racing being rather unique to Europe, at the opening round of the EOS in Poland in October driver feedback showed the tyre needed some tweaking and following the input of racers Pro-Line have come to Berlin with an improved tyre that immediately got a thumbs up from racers.
In addition to changing the tyre both in design for the 2WD front and in compound for both front & rear, the commitment to give racers a quality tyre is very clear and this weekend they have also flown over Product Development Engineer Matt Wallace from California. Talking to Matt he said they have put a big effort into the development of their carpet tires since EOS Round 1 including building a carpet track inside the factory to start an intensive testing programme to achieve two main goals: better tire wear and higher traction. To do so, they developed a revised Z3 compound and worked on the molds themselves.
The front 2WD Wedge-Squared mold is brand new, the main difference being the addition of more pins to achieve more steering and make for better durability. The tire also now has a rounder shaped carcass which gives better flex further improving the steering offered by the tyre.
The 4WD front Pin Point mold has been modified to obtain a thicker carcass, to create less flex and less ballooning of the tire for improved stability. This change also gives better overall front to rear balance of grip.
It is the second day of action at the Euro Offroad Series in Berlin with proceedings getting underway with the continuation of 4WD Qualifying. With the opening day ending last night with the first two rounds of 4WD, drivers have two more chances this morning to improve their current qualification ranking with 2 of 4 rounds counting overall. At the end of the 4WD qualifying the first race action of the weekend will take place with the running of the first round of the triple leg finals for the lower finals. At midday drivers will revert back to 2WD for the second of the qualifiers, the first having taken place in the first half of yesterday. Once all three remaining qualifiers are completed determining the final grid line-up the day will culminate with a full round of 2WD finals ending with leg 1 of the A-Main.