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