Joern Neumann has TQ’d the first round of qualifying in both buggy classes at the opening race of the TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series in the Czech Republic, the German ace outpacing TLR’s Oskar Levin in 2WD and his own Team Durango team-mate Hupo Honigl in 4WD.
One second clear of the field in 2WD, the Reedy Race Champion said he was happy with his first qualifier and while he is still fine tuning the set-up on his Speed Passion powered DEX210 he feels he is now heading in the right direction having only been fifth fastest at the end of official practice yesterday. Describing the set-up of his DEX410 as ‘good as always’ the European Champion was annoyed with himself for two ‘stupid mistakes’ one of which required his buggy to be marshaled. Despite the errors he was still a topped the time sheets by 2.8 sec from Honigl. Honigl said he has the speed to match his team-mate but that Neumann is much more consistent and that’s something he needs to work on himself. Fifth fastest in 2WD, the former European Champion said his buggy feels good but a mistake by Truhe at the start of the run led him to make his own mistakes.
Fastest of the TLR22 drivers Levin said other than a small error he was happy with his opening run. With the car to his liking the 17-year-old said he will leave everything as is for Q2 and is confident of improving his time but admitted its going to be difficult to match Neumann pace. Fifth fastest in 4WD, the Swede said considering he is driving a buggy that was designed not long after he was born he is very happy with his run.
Team Losi Racing team-mate Miguel Matias and Otto Ausfelt completed the Top 4 for the round with US star Mike Truhe only 6th fastest. Matias said his 22 is really safe and consistent to drive but he hopes to make some small changes for Q2 in the hope of finding a little more corner speed. Ausfelt said he drove a cautious round having had motor temperature issues which caused his car shut down this morning in practice. A change of gearing for Q1 appears to have solved the issue and the Swede is hopeful of a better second run as the buggy is working really well and he can just focus on driving it now.
Truhe, who was top seed after practice, didn’t get his qualifying off to the best of starts as he crashed on his opening lap. The 2010 Us Champion put the mistake down to nerves but said he knows the buggy has the speed and its just up to him to get the job done. Also racing in 4WD Short Course here in Hrotovice he said the carpet track is ‘so foreign’ that they are just using the event as a learning experience for the rest of the EOS schedule. Setting the third fastest time behind Honigl and Neumann, he said they have discovered he doesn’t have the right inserts but said he will be sure to have them for Belgium.
Carrying the hopes of the TLR squad in the 4WD Buggy class Matias took his XX-4 to the third fastest time despite failing to finish the run as his gearbox seized on the final lap. The Portuguese drivers said he doesn’t think they can get much more from the car in terms of pace but hopes he can complete the full five minutes in the remaining 4 qualifiers.
Behind the factory backed drivers 15-year-old local driver Kaja Novotny marked himself as one to watch for the future as he took his Durango to the fourth fastest time ahead of the Tamiya of Swedish National Champion and experienced international racer Otto Ausfelt.