Naoto Matsukura took a tone to tone victory in the first A-Main at the Euro Offroad Series in Berlin but the Japanese ace almost threw it away in what was a clearly dominant performance. Top Qualifier for the 2WD Buggy encounter, the Team Yokomo driver had a commanding lead over the No.2 starting Durango of Joern Neumann but with three laps to go he made a mistake that required marshaling. However such was his lead over the three way battle for second place that even with the loss of 4-seconds he was able to hold on to take albeit a narrow 6/10ths of a second win over Neumann with Hupo Honigl third and Lee Martin fourth.
Setting the fastest lap of the race, Matsukura broke clear of the high quality field but as the attention focused on the battle behind him he said his right eye watered up leading to his error as he struggled to see. Relieved to have gotten away with the incident, he said lowering the rear camber link on his B-Max 2 for the final cured the understeer he had in the final qualifier. Very comfortable with the speed and consistency of the car he is confident going into tomorrow second A-Main when he hopes to wrap up his second EOS win in as many appearances in the championship.
‘I tried my best’ was how Neumann summed up the race. Saying he almost got lucky with Matsukura’s mistake he admitted there was nothing he could do to keep up with Matsukura. Also admitting former team-mate Honigl was faster than him he said the Austrian just couldn’t find a way passed. Running a fresh set of the series’ handout Pro-Line tyres the German said this was maybe not the best option. Able to match Matsukura on outright speed, his fastest lap being a 21.095 compared to the 1:12 World Champions 21.087, he said he just lacked overall consistency.
Honigl clearly enjoyed his race but was a little frustrated at not being able to get by Neumann. The Austrian said the three different brands of cars in the battle for second had advantages on different sections with his DualSky TM2 V2 so much faster than Neumann’s DEX210 in the fast corners. Really happy with the set-up of his Team C chassis the winner of the EOS season opener said he will leave it as is and just hope tomorrow he can find some way to get passed Neumann.
Martin also struggled with the lack of opportunity to overtake saying if he had have made a move he would have taken them out. Even when Neumann clipped the piping forcing Hupo to check up he said he couldn’t avoid making contact with the Team C. Unlike the 3 drivers that finished ahead of him who will not change their set-up for A2, the World Championship runner-up plans to try a softer oil in the shocks of his Viper powered B-Max 2 to make it more reactive.
After a superb performance in Qualifying in which he TQ’d Q3 to secure 3rd on the grid it was a ‘terrible race’ for Team Xray’s Martin Bayer. On the opening lap the Czech driver landed his XB4-2 out of lane and up against the track piping. Losing over 4-seconds and dropping to last he then had issues with the braking on his buggy eventually crossing the finish line seventh.
2WD Buggy A-Main Leg 1 Result
1.(1) Naoto Matsukura (JP) – Yokomo – 15/5:03.444
2.(2) Joern Neumann (DE) – Team Durango – 15/5:04.099
3.(4) Hupo Honigl (AT) – Team C – 15/5:04.612
4.(5) Lee Martin (GB) – Yokomo – 15/5:05.779
5.(6) Tom Cockerill (GB) – Schumacher – 15/5:07.792
6.(7) Christopher Krapp (DE) – Kyosho – 15/5:09.176
7.(3) Martin Bayer (CZ) – Team Xray – 15/5:14.374
8.(9) Yannic Prumper (DE) – Yokomo – 14/4:56.201
9.(10)Kev Lee (GB) – Team C – 14/5:01.019
10.(8)David Ronnefalk (SE) – Kyosho – 7/2:38.684