Joern Neumann is the 4WD Top Qualifier for Round 2 of the EOS after the defending champion took a closely contested fourth & final qualifier in Berlin. Top Qualifier & winner when the championship visited the German capital city last year, the German went into Q4 as the only driver who could deny Lee Martin his second overall TQ of the weekend coming out with the required result despite both Martin and David Ronnefalk swapping the TQ pace with him over the 5-minutes. Neumann’s 10th EOS pole position in 4WD it will be yesterday’s 2WD winner Martin who will start second, the Yokomo driving losing out on the tie as they both had two TQ runs each, with Ronnefalk making his HB debut in the championship from third on the grid.
Chasing a fourth consecutive EOS title in 4WD, Neumann said he went into the final qualifier with nothing to lose as worst case scenario he was secured second on the grid thanks to his Q2 & 3 results. Making a slight mistake on lap 9 when he landed offline off the table top dropping him to 3rd he said after that he just went for it, his next five laps all being 18-seconds. Knowing it was very close he could never let up and getting the job done was also important as it also gains him the extra championship point on offer for the TQ. Asked about the finals he said ‘things (are) looking good’ adding that passing was going to be difficult so making ‘no mistakes’ would be his focus.
Setting the fastest lap of qualifying in Q4, Martin said traffic on the last lap cost him the chance to TQ adding, without this maybe it could have been my fastest. Losing almost a second to Neumann on the last lap as a result, he said his B-Max 4 is working good enough for the win but he has just got to keep driving it around and see what happens a strategy that worked out well for him in 2WD as his challengers all suffered errors.
Having been in the mix to TQ the final qualifier Ronnefalk said his car was ‘super fast’. Improving the car by going up in the rear diff oil, the HB driver said this made the car easier to drive despite its short wheelbase. Describing it as a little inconsistent and needing full concentration to drive at 100% he said a longer chassis for carpet racing is something the team should investigate. Having challenged Martin in 2WD only to suffer crashes the 18-year-old is hoping for better finals this afternoon adding ‘4WD is always more intense’.
Making changes to his Team C for the final qualifier Robert Batlle struggled with too much steering. Having posted the 3rd fastest times in Q2 & 3, the Spaniard still claimed his best ever EOS starting position lining his TM4 up fourth. Set to go back to his Q3 set-up, the former 1:8 World Champion said his aim is to just try not to crash as he knows he is not in the hunt for the win. While he would be happy to hold onto fourth, hopefully that approach might bring him his first podium finish.
Behind Batlle, Team Associated’s Patrick Hofer completes the top half of the grid on what is proving a strong weekend for the Swiss Champion. Former winner Martin Bayer will line up sixth.