A clean sweep of the opening three qualifiers at the Euro Offroad Series season opener in Poland this morning have secured Naoto Matsukura an early overall TQ for 4WD. The Yokomo driver secured his second ever EOS pole position in the 4WD class, having TQ’d last season’s final round, by topping Q3 ahead of defending champion Joern Nuemann having also beaten the German in Q2. A repeat of the Q2 Top 3 Lee Martin would again post the third fastest time.
Changing to a lighter shock oil on his B-Max4, Matsukura said with a more stable car he was able to run a clean Q2 in which he was the only driver to run 17-laps. Despite a mistake in Q3 at the crossover which lost him over a second the Japanese ace ran a faster time again being the only one to manage 17-laps. Clearly the quickest driver, setting the fastest lap in each of the qualifying rounds, he said ‘car is good, me not good’. Having been unable to get the win when he TQ’d in Austria last season due to too many driver errors, the Vice-World Champion said this time round his approach would be to just put together two ‘safe’ 5-minutes of driving.
Another driver not happy with his driving is Neumann. The 10-time EOS 4WD race winner and 3-time consecutive champion said his Durango DEX410 is good and the problem is ‘just the driver’. In Q2 mistakes lost the German 6-seconds while in Q3, while overall a better run, he again made errors which cost him over 2-seconds. Playing the tyre strategy game, drivers allowed 3 sets of Schumacher tyres for qualifying and an extra set for the A-Main, he is confident that come the final on new tyres he can match Matsukura.
Changing the diffs and adding boost to his speedo for Q2, Martin said his B-Max4 was ‘a little faster and still consistent but it still needs more’. Still losing drive for Q4 he will make a rear roll centre change as well as trying a different rear shock spring. Describing team-mate Matsukura as being ‘up the road’ in terms of his pace and Neumann as being ‘a little faster’ he said over the remaining two qualifiers he hoped to be able to catch up and be ready for the finals.
Top Qualifier in 2WD yesterday, Carson Wernimont enjoyed his best 4WD run in Q3 setting the 4th fastest time. Having made diff changes to his CAT K1 Aero after Q1, he said this improved the car on acceleration but a number of ‘dumb mistakes’ meant he would only post 7th for the round. Leaving the car the same for Q3 he said in terms of the set-up it now very close and he ‘just need(s) to drive it’.
Martin Bayer, who finished runner-up to Neumann in last season’s championship, said changes made for Q2 improved his Xray but he still has to find a way to make it more aggressive. On target for a Top 3 time in the second qualifier, contact with Team Durango’s Michal Orlowski on lap 10 would lose him over 2.5 seconds and drop him to 15th. Describing Q3 as ‘good’, the former European Champion would set the 5th fastest time but with a set-up change planned for Q4 he hopes to close the gap to the Top 3. Team-mate Martin Wollanka, who was second fastest in seeding practice, posted his best round in Q3 with P6.
After a good start to 4WD with second in Q1, Orlowski has two tough rounds. In Q2 he had ‘too many mistakes’ and ended up 12th while in Q3 while on Top 4 pace the wiring to his motor came undone at the speedo with a minute to go.