Joern Neumann is the top seed for qualifying at the season finale of the Euro Offroad Series in Austria. The Team Durango driver putting both his buggies top of the timed practice time sheets on the opening day of the Modelbau Wels event. Unable to better the 3-consecutive laps time he set in the first of the two timed runs, the German will lead away the first round of qualifying from Team Yokomo’s Naoto Matsukura who was able to improve his 2WD slightly on his final practice run with team-mate Lee Martin also improving to move up to third ahead of 2WD title contender Hupo Honigl. In 4WD the second timed practice saw little change at the top with the four unable to better their times, the biggest improvement coming from Yokomo’s Shin Adachi would ended the day 5th fastest, the same position he would claim in 2WD.
While not bettering his 3-consecutive lap time, Neumann did improve on his fastest lap time in the final practice getting down to a 20.766 which was 2/10ths faster than the best lap of Matsukura. Cutting the outside pin of his rear Pro-Line Pin Point tyre in the search for better steering at the centre chicane he said while it fractionally improved his DEX210 he said it might be at the compromise of overall traction when he has to run the tyres for a second time. With this in mind he said he will not make a decision on where to cut his marked sets of tyres until the morning. On his 4WD the defending champion said he has ‘crazy steering’ even after cutting three of the outside pins from his front tyres. With the 2-inside rows also cut he said he is afraid to cut any more as he needs some pins left. Instead he will try a heavier oil in his front diff of the DEX410.
Changing springs on his 2WD, Matsukura said it felt better overall but at the cost of traction. Describing his B-Max 2 as feeling a little loose he said he is waiting on ‘Shin (Adachi) to decide what is the best change to make for this’. Happy with changes made to his 4WD which made it easier to drive he said with a few more little tweaks it should be good for qualifying. Martin said his 2WD was ‘overall not too bad’ and while the buggy was landing the jumps better it was ‘still not super’. The World Championship runner-up said they still have a bit of work to do to get the car competitive for tomorrow’s qualifying. Commenting on his 4WD he said it ‘doesn’t feel right’. ‘Quick one lap’ he said the next lap it feels different so he is going to ‘give it to Shin to get him to get it to work’.
Putting in a full run this time in 2WD to post the 8th fastest time, Martin Bayer will carry the No.3 on his 4WD in qualifying. The European Champion said step by step he is improving his XB4. improving his best lap time by half a second in TP2, he said while the car is ‘super easy to drive’ he is lacking consistency something he said is down to him lacking rotation on the many 180 degree corners. On his 2WD he said a lack of steering is the main area he needs to work on as the prototype buggy ‘doesn’t rotate’.
In a change to the regular race schedule of the Euro Offroad Series, tomorrow will see only 2WD run with the overall champion set to be crowned tomorrow night in Wels. Sunday will then be an all 4WD affair which will decide if Neumann or Bayer are Champions.