May 15, 2015

Bayer heads 4WD free practice in Slovakia

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Having topped 2WD timed practice, Martin Bayer carried his form over to 4WD with the Xray driver heading the times after three rounds of free practice. Double winner at the Hudy Racing Arena last year, the former European Champion would record the fastest 3-consecutive laps in the second practice with Kyosho’s Naoto Matsukura closest, only 0.235 of a second off.  Although over 1.4 seconds off Bayer, reigning champion Joern Neumann would complete the Top 3, the German happy to be faster than his only title rival Lee Martin who ended up fourth.

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Describing his XB4 as ‘super good’, Bayer added ‘it’s a bit difficult to drive but has very good speed’.  Making little changes throughout yesterday’s open practice he said having been pleased with how the buggy ran in the first practice today he hasn’t had to make any further set-up changes.  While he failed to improve on his time in the final free practice, he feels he also has a very strong car over 5-minutes highlighting the fact he was the only driver to run 12-laps over the 5-minutes.

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Having made small adjustments to his Lazer ZX6 including going down in the front shock oil weight and up in the rear, Matsukura said the buggy was ‘so good’.  With the shock change reducing the car’s tendency to want to traction roll on the high bite conditions the Touring Car World Champion said he would leave the car unchanged and use the first timed practice to see how the car runs on new tyres having done all of free practice on used tyres.

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Looking at the time sheets, Neumann initial response was ‘I don’t race against them I race against him’ referring to Lee Martin.  The German said with his SRX-4 ‘very easy to flip’ in the first two practices he made a shock set-up change for the final run with the traction roll much more manageable now.  Planning to further stiffen up the front shocks, he said his biggest concern for the rest of the weekend is the ongoing problem of stripping one of the diff gears adding he hopes he has enough to see him through Sunday’s qualifying and finals.

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‘Struggling a little bit’ was how Martin summed up his 4WD performance.  The British driver said ‘I am a little too far away from where I want to be as we can’t get the car to feel right’.  He added the problem is his B-Max 4 III is struggling to land the jumps with it bouncing on the flat landings.  Happy with how the buggy is cornering but having no confidence when jumping he said Shin Adachi tried a different shock piston in his final practice that seemed to improve things and he plans to try that in the first timed practice.  Posting the 9th fastest time team-mate Marc Rheinard also reported the same problem.

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Setting the fifth fastest time Michal Orlowski said his Schumacher was ‘not super good but not super bad’.  The 13-year-old Polish talent said his CAT K1 Aero doesn’t have enough steering but at the same time also wants to traction roll.  Still looking to find a better set-up for the tricky conditions, he said his three laps pace is ‘OK’ and so for the first timed practice he would just try to drive around the issue to register a time for hopefully a place in the top qualifying heat.

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Completing the Top 6 Miguel Matias said his turn around in form came from an electrics change. Struggling with no brakes all day yesterday from his Orion electrics, the Portuguese driver switched to ORCA and, now able to get his Xray XB4 stopped, he immediately made a huge step forward.  Running a very similar set-up to team-mate Bayer he said having now found his rhythm around the track he would make a few small adjustments to the set-up to get it to better suit his driving.  Behind him team-mate Martin Wollanka would end up 7th.

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Eight quickest, Team Associated’s Carson Wernimont said he got his B44.3 to corner better in the last one through a shock position change but is now struggling with jumping and landing.  What the change gave in cornering it took away in how shocks work the jumps adding he needs to find a ‘happy medium’ but he has a few ideas for his shocks for timed practice.  Team-mate Ryan Cavalieri would end up 12th.  The multiple work champion described his performance as ‘mediocre’. Describing the level of grip as ‘crazy’, he continued, ‘I have never driven 4WD on anything like this before and it is way more challenging out there than it was in 2WD’.

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