Winner of 2WD yesterday, Naoto Matsukura got 4WD underway this morning at the Euro Offroad Series underway in Poland with a TQ run in the opening round of qualifying. Having set the pace in Friday’s practice, the Yokomo driver survived two mistakes over the 5-minutes to just pip Team Durango’s Michal Orlowski by 4/10ths of a second. Completing the Top 3 for the first of the five scheduled qualifiers was Lee Martin with defending champion Joern Neumann posting the fifth fastest time.
Setting the fastest lap, Matsukura said while his car was fast it was difficult to drive but his mistakes, one of which cost him 6-seconds, were simply down to driver error. With the jumps having all been revised last night following the 2WD action, the Japanese ace said the new launch angle was a big improvement with the cars now more predictable over them. Looking to make his B-Max4 more stable he will make a set-up change for Q2.
Slightly frustrated by a mistake on the wall section on the penultimate lap which cost him the TQ, Orlowski said his DEX410 was perfect. Running on a new set of Schumacher tyres, the 13-year-old said he really liked the feeling of the car on fresh tyres and other than his ‘small error’ his plan for Q2 was just to try and repeat the otherwise clean run.
‘Consistent but I lost a little drive so I couldn’t go any faster’, that was Martin’s summary of the opening qualifier. Finishing 2.2-seconds of Yokomo team-mate Matsukura, the British driver will change both diffs in his B-Max4 for Q2 as well as adding boost to his speedo having run none so far. Also commenting on the improved jumps he said the landings however were still terrible.
Setting the fifth fastest time Martin Bayer said his run was ‘OK’. The only driver to beat Neumann in 4WD in the 4 year history of the EOS, he said his XB4 was ‘super easy to drive’ and as a result his ‘average lap time was too slow’. Planning to make the car more aggressive for Q2, the Czech ace will make a change to the front geometry.
Neumann said his DEX410 was good and so were the first 2/3 minutes of the run until he just ‘drove bad’. Starting the heat 3rd, he said once he caught Matsukura after his crash he just tried to stay behind his rival but he too ended up crashing while on the TQ pace. Happier too with the jumps today having struggled with his 2WD nose diving in 2WD, he said for Q2 he would run his car as is and instead just try to improve his driving.
Completing the Top 6 one-second up on Team C’s Hupo Honigl, Carson Wernimont said ‘things were going pretty decent until the last lap’. At the crossover the Schumacher driver jumped offline and ended up landing on the pipping costing him about 2-seconds. Describing his CAT as ‘pretty good’, the American teenager who yesterday TQ’d 2WD said he could do with getting a little more drive out of the car and for Q2 he will ‘make some diff changes’.