Day 1 of the second round of the Euro Offroad Series in Berlin, Germany, ended with TQ runs in 4WD Buggy for Naoto Matsukura and Joern Neumann. Yokomo’s Matsakura looked on for a second TQ run until he lost a front wheel off his B-Max 4 handing Durango’s Neumann, who was 3rd fastest in Q1, the round ahead of Team Xray’s Martin Bayer who was also second in the opening qualifier. Having had similar wheel nut issues to his team-mate in the first round, new Yokomo signing Lee Martin completed the Top 3 in Q2.
Holding the overnight provisional TQ honours, defending champion Neumann said he got lucky in the second qualifier but overall he felt his Orion powered DEX410 was ‘good’. Looking for more steering in the tight corners the German changed from a 1.5 to a 1.3mm front swaybar between qualifying runs which he said was an improvement. Chasing a 9th unbeaten run of 4WD Buggy wins in the EOS this weekend, for tomorrow morning’s third qualifier the World Championship Top Qualifier said he will leave everything as is and just try to put in a clean run.
One of the few drivers to have beaten Neumann in 2WD and having come close to beating him in 4WD on his EOS debut last season, Matsukura was happy with the performance of his car in both rounds. Following the problem suffered by Martin in Q1 which was originally put down to a problem with the cars hex and the Proline wheel they were using not meshing correctly the team switched over to an Associated B44 wheel. While this looked to have cured the issue of the front wheel loosening under breaking for Martin it didn’t for the Japanese driver. Subsequent checks of the World Championship Runner-ups car indicate the problem was infact caused by bad front hub bearings. Happy with the performance of his buggy, Matsukura said he made no changes to his set-up between runs and other than fit new bearings will run it as is tomorrow morning.
Following his DNF in Q1, Martin was pleased to be able to rack up some good points with his third in the second round. Making his Yokomo debut this weekend after a long run with Tamiya, the former European Champion said his buggy was a little under powered and for Q3 he will switch from a 6T to 5.5T motor. Suffering from understeer he will also change to a softer front end set-up copying what Matsukura is running.
Current European Champion Martin Bayer was happy with his first day of 4WD qualifying. The Czech ace said his first run was pretty good with just one small mistake. Improving his XB4-2 by changing the bump steer for Q2, he said the second one was also going good until he crashed. As a marshal went to attend to Matsukura’s three wheeled buggy, Bayer was unsighted resulting in him crashing. Asked about tomorrow he said the plan for now was to go ‘have a good dinner’ and ‘get a good sleep’ and then see in the morning what is the best plan. Team-mate Renaud Savoya posted the 12th and 6th fastest times respectively in his two qualifiers. The 3-time 1:8 Offroad European Champion said he was on for a Top 5 time in Q1 until a mistake. Reducing the power in his Orion speedo setting every run he said this has made the car less aggressive with him liking how it felt in the days final run. Getting more and more confident with it he said for tomorrow the plan is to start pushing a little harder.
Failing to start Q2 after suffering a drive shaft failure on his warm-up laps, new Team C signing Hupo Honigl was fourth in Q1. The Austrian said the car was good but he overdrove. His first big race with the car he said he hopes to make a few set-up changes to further improve the car which he said is still a work in progress project. Top Qualifier in 2WD on his international Team C debut at last weekend’s DHI Cup, Honigl’s new team-mate Oskar Levin also said his car was good but the driving was not. The 19-year-old Swede who posted the 7th fastest time in Q1 said for the remaining two qualifiers he just plans to go for safe runs adding he hopes that is enough for a Top 10 position.
A driver regularly found topping the times in the Euro Touring Series, Yokomo’s Ronald Volker said he ‘can’t believe how well the day went’. Despite having last raced 4WD buggy competitively around 20-years ago, the German opened qualifying with the 9th fastest time and then a very impressive 4th in Q2. Thanking Mibosport’s Michal Bok, who traveled from the Czech Republic just to be his mechanic for the weekend, he said Bok has changed the car every run and it just gets better and better and now its down to him to just drive it to its potential.
Posting the 5th and 8th fastest times over his two qualifiers, reigning 1:8 World Champion Robert Batlle summed his performance as ‘not bad’. The Spaniard said his B-Max 4 was a little tricky in Q1 but curing that for Q2 he now feels it is underpowered. Running a 7.5T motor he will switch to a 6.5T for Q3.
After a terrible opening qualifying ending up only 27th fastest, Schumacher’s Tom Cockerill posted the 5th fastest time in Q2. The British driver said he just drove badly in the first one. Reverting to the set-up he ran in the second of the three practice runs, second time around he said he just kept the run clean which paid off. Admitting to struggling to find a set-up for his K1 Aero he said there is room for improvement tomorrow.
In the Kyosho camp, David Ronnefalk posted the better run with 6th in Q1 but Christopher Krapp was the more consistent and ends the day best placed overall. Ronnefalk was setting the overall fastest pace in practice after reverting to using two coke bottle lids to replace the standard spring preload nut thus allowing his prototype 4WD buggy to run lower. Feeling his short rear drive shafts could pop out for Q1 he changed to lower ones which he said he couldn’t believe how much they changed the reactions of the car. Setting the sixth fastest time he said the front outer wheel was up in the air out of corners. Changing back to the short drive shafts for the final run of the day he said his 3am start to get from Sweden to Berlin this morning caught up with him and he didn’t drive well ending the run 13th fastest. Krapp, who posted the 8th & 7th fastest time, said it as a pretty solid day but added there was way more room for improvement. Setting himself the goal of trying to beat touring car rival Volker he said they are still learning how to best set-up the prototype car but he is hopeful of going quicker tomorrow.
4WD Buggy Q1 times
1. Naoto Matsukura – Yokomo – 15/5:10.598
2. Martin Bayer – Team Xray – 15/5:10.683
3. Jörn Neumann – Team Durango – 15/5:12.523
4. Hupo Honigl – Team C – 15 5:15.711
5. Robert Batlle – Yokomo – 15/5:16.390
6. David Ronnefalk – Kyosho – 15/5:16.592
7. Oskar Levin – Team C – 15/5:16.895
8. Christopher Krapp – Kyosho – 15/5:18.790
9. Ronald Volker – Yokomo – 15/5:19.337
10.Ales Bayer – Team Xray – 14/5:00.976
4WD Buggy Q2 times
1. Jörn Neumann – Team Durango – 15/5:06.846
2. Martin Bayer – Team Xray – 15/5:10.136
3. Lee Martin – Yokomo – 15/5:12.818
4. Ronald Volker – Yokomo – 15/5:15.206
5. Tom Cokerill – Schumacher – 15/5:16.050
6. Reno Savoya – Team Xray – 15/5:16.174
7. Christopher Krapp – Kyosho – 15/5:16.620
8. Robert Batlle – Yokomo – 15/5:18.355
9. Benni Gröschel – Kyosho – 15/5:18.508
10.Peter Pinisch – Associated – 15/5:20.238