David Ronnefalk denied Lee Martin an early overall TQ at the second round of qualifying at the EOS in Germany when the HB driver set a new fastest time in the penultimate round of 2WD qualifying. Having finished second to Martin in Q1 and then 3rd in Q2 after a number of crashes, Ronnefalk would drive a faultless third qualifier to run the first 16-lap qualifier at the Berlin event. With Ronnefalk and Martin running a very similar pace swapping position at the top of the timing screens it was a late mistake from Martin, who took the opening two qualifiers, that would end his chances of putting the overall TQ beyond the reach of his rivals. Martin Wollanka would enjoy his best run so far to complete the Top 3 for the round while Joern Neumann having posted the second fastest time in previous round would crash leaving the former champion only 9th quickest.
Starting the round with a new set of the championship pre-glued Schumacher hand out tyres, Ronnefalk said he was surprised at how good his Team C ran especially compared with Martin’s Yokomo which was on second run tyres. Having crashed 3-times in Q2 as a result of pushing too hard after an early mistake, the 18-year-old said he backed it down a little for Q3 helped by the fact he could run with Martin without having to push. Having the speed to follow Martin, who as top seed lead away the heat, he said his car was super consistent and they were both ‘super close’ on pace until Martin’s late mistake. The winner of the DHI Cup earlier this month, the 1:8 European Champion said he now hopes he can do another TQ as he has the tie break advantage due to the pace of his Q3 run.
Running a pace just faster than Ronnefalk, Martin said it was all going good until he ‘popped a wheelie’ at the table top having just posted the fastest lap of the round. Landing offline out in the dust he said that was the start of him falling behind Ronnefalk. Pushing to try make back up the tenths lost he said he ‘drove a little too hard’ and ‘started clipping pipes touring car style’ until his YZ-2 got stuck against one on his last lap losing him over 2-seconds.
Having changed the set-up on his all new XB2 chassis, Xray’s Wollanka said his buggy was ‘really good’. Changing his shock package the Austrian said this left him with a more stable rear end as well as giving him more steering. Set to make more minor changes for the final qualifier he said ‘with just a little more steering it (the car) will be perfect’. Behind Wollanka, team-mate Martin Bayer took his example to the fifth fastest time.
Having ran a Top 6 time in Q2, Joakim Nicolaisen would back it up with a 5th in Q3. Leaving his B5M unchanged, the 18-year-old Team Associated backed driver said he was a little more consistent and the result was ‘better than (his) expectations’. Other than a minor incident with a back marker, the Norwegian running in the B Heat, he said the rest of the run was clean. Looking to the final qualifier he said ‘4th would be cool in the next one’. Behind Nicolaisen, AE team-mate & Swiss National Champion Patrick Hofer completed the Top 6.
Having recovered from a below par performance in practice yesterday to take Top 3 finishes in the opening two qualifiers, Neumann would make a diff change on his Yokomo YZ-2 for the round but the results weren’t an improvement. Switching from a gear to a ball diff the German said it made the car ‘too easy to drive’ and combined with a third run set of tyres he was slow even before he hit the piping at the end of the straight and rolled. He will revert to a gear diff for Q4.