Naoto Matsukura is Top Qualifier for 4WD Buggy at the season finale of the Euro Offroad Series in Wels, Austria. With a 100% TQ recorded in 2WD, starting every EOS encounter he has contested from pole, the Yokomo driver secured his first overall 4WD TQ when he topped qualifying at the Modelbau Wels Hobby Show for a third time this morning. Topping the round again ahead of defending champion Joern Neumann, Q3 saw the Japanese driver become the first driver to run 16-laps over the 5-minutes. Behind Neumann, title rival Martin Bayer completed the Top 3.
With four 2WD TQ’s to his credit, newly crown series champion Matsukura declared himself ‘very happy’ to finally TQ 4WD having come close to denying Neumann in the past. Describing his B-Max 4 as easy to drive, he was also pleased with the fact that he has been running error free runs all morning, errors in each of the A-Mains costing him the overall win in 2WD yesterday. Feeling traction was higher in the third qualifier he said this created a small amount of understeer and although not a huge issue he said he will discuss with Shin Adachi whether or not to make a small set-up adjustment for Q4.
After a DNF in Q1, Neumann has had to start his heats from the back of the pack which he said makes it hard to gauge his own pace against Matsukura. Admitting the Yokomo driver was a little faster, the World Championship Top Qualifier said for the final qualifier he will start directly behind him and is confident he should be able to deny him a clean sweep. Closing in on a third consecutive title with his only challenger Bayer losing out on the bonus championship point for the TQ, the German said his Orion powered DEX410 feels good and there is no need to make any set-up changes.
Although he set a new fastest lap in Q3, Bayer said he is fighting with his car and the track layout. The European Champion said his car is better suited to more open tracks like that used for Round 3 at the Hudy Arena where he became the first driver to beat Neumann in 4WD. Losing out in the 180 degree corners, the factory Xray driver said his LRP powered XB4 is ‘way too stable’ and it ‘doesnt want to turn’. For the fourth & final qualifier he will try a different top deck hoping the flex improves the slow corner speed of the car.
Setting the fourth fastest time, Team C’s Hupo Honigl was content with his pace describing the run as ‘pretty good’. While ‘the gap to the Top 3 is pretty big’ he added that his 4WD is ‘still a new car’ and needs more time. The Austrian said it is improving every run and he is confident for next season’s EOS they should have a much more competitive package for 4WD, his 2WD proving ultra competitive through this season.
Michal Orlowski continued his strong showing posting the 5th fastest time. The 12-year-old said he is just going out and driving and trying to keep things clean adding he hasn’t made any changes to his car since the start of qualifying.
Having suspected a servo problem in Q2, with a new one fitted for Q3 Lee Martin posted the 6th fastest time. While the servo change did ‘slightly’ improve the feeling of his Viper B-Max 4, the multiple European Champion said the buggy still doesnt feel right. ‘Nervous to drive’, he said it is hard to predict what its going to do each corner.
4WD Buggy Qualifying Round 3 – Top 10 times
1. Naoto Matsukura – Yokomo – 16/5:19.707
2. Joern Neumann – Durango – 15/5:00.861
3. Martin Bayer – Xray – 15/5:01.535
4. Hupo Hoingl – Team C – 15/5:06.720
5. Michal Orlowski – Durango – 15/5:08.283
6. Lee Martin – Yokomo – 15/5:09.692
7. Ronald Volker – Yokomo – 15/5:12.888
8. Martin Wollanka – Xray – 15/5:14.568
9. Oliver Scholz – Team C – 15/5:15.063
10.Shin Adachi – Yokomo – 15/5:16.161