October 24, 2014

Martin tops 2WD practice at EOS season opener

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Lee Martin got the new season of the Euro Offroad Series underway in the best way possible way as he topped 2WD practice in Poznan, Poland.  The Yokomo driver headed a 1-2 for the Japanese manufacturer with defending champion Naoto Matusukura posting the second fastest time over 3-consecutive laps.  Winner of last year’s ‘Hobby’ hosted event Hupo Honigl took his Team C to the third fastest time with an impressive performance from Schumacher’s of US driver Carson Wernimont securing him fourth in the reseeding for tomorrow’s 2WD qualifying.  Having TQ’d here 12-months ago it was a tough practice for Wernimont’s team-mate Tom Cockerill, the English driver only able for 11th fastest.

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His first trip to the Polish race, which has kicked off the EOS Championship for the past 3-seasons, Martin described his practice as having gone ‘pretty good’.  After starting off open practice with his own B-MAX2, the British ace switched to a car built by Shin Adachi which he said he could immediately tell had better potential than his own car.  Making a few tweaks to the set-up, the former race winner, his single EOS win coming as a Tamiya driver, said the car now feels good.  With the EOS switching this season to a handout Schumacher tyre, Martin said in 2WD they gave better front to rear balance.  Commenting on the layout of the 158 metre track he said the jumps were not his preference, a feeling echoed by many competitors, as they all have flat landings.  With the rear of his buggy bouncing too much on these landings this is one area after he gets the chance to brainstorm with Adachi that he will try to improve in terms of his set-up for qualifying.

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Having changed the rear shock position and played around with adding weight to the front of his B-MAX2, Matsukura was content with his practice.  The newly crowned Touring Car World Champion believes his buggy is good enough for qualifying and he will leave it the same for at least the first of the six rounds.  Asked about the track the Japanese driver, who along with Joern Neumann is the only multiple 2WD race winner, said he likes the layout but along with team-mate Martin said the flat landings make it difficult.

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Not a fan of the layout, describing it as having ‘no flow’, Honigl said moving the shock tower to the back of his TM2 V2 it was a lot better.  Admitting that the track layout does not, like previous EOS tracks, favour the layout of his buggy, he said since the set-up change he has just concentrated on driving the track. Describing the car as ‘still ok’ he said it was hard to get the right balance between being punched and being smoooth but overall things looked pretty decent for qualifying.

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Having made his first EOS appearance at last season’s EOS finale in Austria, Wernimont was very upbeat about how his practice had gone.  A carpet novice compared to his rivals this weekend, he said his Cougar KF is ‘super easy to drive’ and he has ‘just got to put the laps in’.  Having been in the UK for testing prior to travelling out to Poland, he said the base set-up he ended up with there is working good here with him making little or no changes.  Decribing the layout as ‘fun’ he said it was more technical than what he experienced in Austria and that suits his driving.

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A podium finisher here last year, Team Durango’s Michal Orlowski posted the fifth fastest time.  The 13-year-old, started out the day with a lightweight DEX210 with a short battery layout but this proved very nervous to drive.  Switching then to a Durango 4WD with the front transmission removed this would prove squirmy under acceleration.  Making a third car change to a standard ‘heavy’ DEX210 with a long battery he said this was much better for the track. Going up in the front shock oils for the final practice, he said this gave greater stability and better corner speed and he is happy the car is ready for qualifying.

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Team-mate to Honigl, Oliver Scholz described his practice as having gone ‘fine’.  The German said his TM2 V2 didn’t start off very well but after standing up the front shocks, together with adding rear toe-in and toe-out to the front, he was ‘happy now’.  Another driver not a fan of the flat jump landings he said the track is more high speed than he likes.

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Posting the 7th fastest time, like Orlowski, Neumann switched between his regular 2WD Durango and the adapted 4WD chassis.  Happy with the car in the morning’s open practice he then switched to the 2WD DEX410 which he described as being ‘not so good’. Reverting back to his DEX210 for the final practice he would get only 3-laps with it before breaking it.  He said for the few laps he did it felt ‘OK but pushing a little’.  Looking to find more steering, the German plans on making a setting change ahead of Q1.

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The only driver to beat Neumann last season in both 2WD and 4WD, Martin Bayer set the 8th fastest time ahead of Xray team-mate Martin Wollanka. With the full Xray team putting in a number of late nights of practice at the Hudy Arena in the lead up to Round 1 of the EOS, Bayer described his early pace as being ‘pretty ok’.  Running a prototype chassis, the Czech driver said he is having to ‘wait too long’ for the buggy to turn into the corners on a track he described as ‘tight’.  Set to change his set-up he said finding steering would make the car a lot easier to drive.  Behind the two Xray’s Belgium’s Nicolas Risser, who was a double A-finalists at this race last year, completed the Top 10 seeding with his Team C buggy.

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