Cragg TQs opening qualifying at Hudy Arena
Neil Cragg has TQ’ed the opening round of 2WD qualifying at the Euro Offroad Series in Slovakia. Only 7th fastest in practice, the Team Associated driver put in a faultless drive to top the times ahead of Martin Bayer after a late mistake from the top seed. Behind them, Kája Novotný recovered from a first lap error to complete the Top 3, his Xray posting the fastest lap of the opening qualifier. For Michal Orlowski he too would have to recover from a costly mistake at the same place as Novotný, getting by Lee Martin in the final minute to open his qualifying with a P4.
‘That was a bit more like it’, was Cragg’s reaction to taking the TQ, the British driver initially thinking he had got a P2 for the round. He continued, ‘I am really pleased to be honest. I made no mistake and changed the car back to my German set-up which gave it ridiculous corner speed’. He said however, ‘the flat landings now worry me but I can’t get one without the other. I can’t find a happy medium but I would always go for the corner speed. I just need to be careful on the landings’.
‘Argh, a mistake, I was too nervous’, explained Bayer. ‘I made a mistake and to try and come back I tried to force but kept hitting the track markers so I got slower and slower’. The Xray driver continued, ‘All 10 drivers are covered by 7-seconds (over 5-minutes) which is not normal. Even the best laps are very close. I will try not to make mistakes in the next one’. Novotný said, ‘I had a horrible first lap. I made a mistake at the corner table top and was lucky to get out of there but it cost me 3-seconds otherwise it was a good run’.
Pleased with how he ended his run in terms of his driving it was the early part of the heat that was the problem for Orlowski. ‘I made two costly mistakes at the table top but I managed to get my head down and started putting in good laps. It was not the best start but we have good pace now and I feel confident with the car’, said the Schumacher driver. For Q2 the Pole concluded, ‘I will stay with the same set-up and get more confident in my driving and not crash’.
‘No progress has been made yet’ was Lee Martin’s reaction to getting a P5 for Q1. Having struggled with a lack of corner speed in practice, the Yokomo driver continued, ‘Marc (Rheinard) tried a different spring and went a bit faster so I am going to try that for the next one. I might try a different diff too’. Suffering two ‘little errors’ over the 5-minutes the European Champion said, ‘the big problem is just corner speed’. Behind Martin, Adam Izsay completed the Top 6 followed by Joona Haatanen, Hupo Hönigl and Jörn Neumann.
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