April 29, 2016

Martin fastest, new Associated off to impressive start


Lee Martin has topped the first round of timed 2WD practice at the Euro Offroad Series season finale at Nurburgring. The Yokomo driver, who successfully defended his 2WD EOS title at the previous round, set the fastest three consecutive laps ahead of a trio of Team Associated’s new B6 car after the American manufacturer sprung a huge surprise by turning up unannounced in Germany this morning with its full American factory team.  Just half a second off Martin, Neil Cragg would put in the second fastest time followed by the car’s designer Kody Numedahl and multiple World Champion Ryan Cavalieri.  Making his EOS debut at the same time as the B6 makes its race debut, reigning 2WD World Champion Spencer Rivkin got his first weekend of racing 1:10 in Europe off to a solid start by rounding out the Top 6 ahead of 4WD World Champion Bruno Coelho.


One of a number of drivers to break during the first of the two time practices, Martin summed up his TP1 with ‘it was ok’.  The double winner at the Nurburgring back in September when it hosted the season opener, Martin would break the bulkhead on his YZ-2 after crashing off a jump, something he said was down to him ‘trying too hard’.  Impressed that he was still able to manage a 19.9 second lap with the broken bulkhead, his fastest lap a 19.472, he said his buggy is working well and the focus now is on getting the jumps right. Happy with his lines, on the track which he designed, he said at the start of the run it is ‘taking a few laps to get (his) eye in’ in terms of the jumps but once he does his times are good.  Declaring ‘Neil is fast too’, he added ‘ but I expected that’.


‘A pretty good start for the B6 platform’, was how Cragg summed up his morning.  With two free practice runs before the first timed round, he said ‘we have only had to make a few tiny changes’ to the car.  Pleased with the car, the British driver, for whom this is only his second EOS outing, was also happy with his own driving saying ‘the driver is OK too’.  Commenting on the track he said it was ‘tight and technical’ and that ‘there is a lot more in it than you think’ with the key ‘not to over drive it’.


The man responsible for designing the B6, Numedahl described his car as ‘pretty easy’ to drive.  Having conducted pre race testing at 702 Raceway in Las Vegas in preparation for the event he said the EOS carpet was less grippy than he remembered, his previous EOS outing being at the Hudy Arena last season.  Describing the track at 702 Raceways as ‘double’ that of this weekend, he said that helped them work on a set-up that has made the car easy to drive and they only thing they have had to do was ‘a little tuning on the steering’.  ‘On a different programme’ to the rest of the team, the Californian will ‘try more risky stuff’ in terms of set-up over the course of the event to build up information.


Managing to complete only half the practice due to loosing a screw out of the bottom of his B6, Cavalieri said the laps he did do had went well.  Comparing the new car to the B5 which he raced previously in the EOS, he said it was ‘pretty good right now’.  Pleased to have been as quick as he was the ‘short time’ he ran he said there was more to come and overall he is just getting quicker with the more track time he gets.


Runner-up to Martin on the last visit to the legendary 1:1 race venue, Michal Orlowski would post the 5th fastest time.  The Schumacher star, who has been on the podium every race this season, improved his car from free practice with it having better rotation in the timed run.  Still looking to make the Cougar KF2 easier to drive, feeling it is rolling too much in the chicane he will change the rear shock position for the final practice.


Describing the Nurburgring facility as ‘incredible’, adding ‘its a great place to have (an RC) event’, Rivkin was happy with his first taste of the EOS. Asked about the carpet track, the Arizona driver said ‘I’m liking it’.  Happy with his car having tested it with the team on carpet prior to travelling out to Germany, the Reedy backed driver said his biggest issue so far was that he ‘tried to be a big shot running the biggest motor’ which was wrong and with a ‘slightly slower motor’ he  ‘should be good’ for the final practice.


Top Qualifier last time round at the Nurburgring, Coelho said things ‘were not perfect’ and they ‘still need to improve the car’.  The Xray driver, who is in contention to claim the 4WD title, said his Hobbywing powered XB2 is ‘missing steering in the high speed corners’.  Behind Coelho, young Finnish talent Jonna Haatenen was 8th fastest ahead of Round 3 2WD winner Marc Rheinard.  The Top 10 was completed by the Xray of Martin Wollanka.

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