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