Defending 2WD Buggy Euro Offroad Series Champion Jörn Neumann recovered from an error filled opening qualifier in Poland this morning to stamp his authority on Q2 and Q3 running 17 laps runs on both occasions as his rivals could only manage 16 lap times. In the second of the four qualifiers Neumann headed a Durango 1-2 with Hupo Honigl setting the second fastest time closely followed by an impressive run from TLR’s Matt Castellano who is turning out to be a quick learner on this his first time to race on a carpet surface track. For Q1 top qualifier Dustin Evans Q2 got off to a poor start with mistakes on the first two laps costing around 4 seconds. Further mistakes left the American 7th for the round.
In Q3 which was the fastest heat so far it was Darren Bloomfield who was closest to the German. Missing out on a potential 17 lap run due to a bad final lap, the 1:8 Offroad European Champion held on for second just ahead of team-mate Evans. The British ace is so far the only driver to match Neumann in terms of outright pace running a 17.886 second lap in Q2 compared with the latter’s 17.872 set in Q1. The third heat saw a great run from 11-year-old Michal Orlowski who improved his previous best time by 5 seconds to claim fourth for the round ahead of Honigl and Castellano.
2WD Buggy Q3 times
1. Jörn Neumann (DE) – Durango – 17/5:12.993
2. Darren Bloomfield (GB) – TLR – 16/5:01.763
3. Dustin Evans (US) – TLR – 16/5:02.144
4. Michal Orlowski (PL) – Tamiya – 16/5:03.593
5. Hupo Hönigl (AT) – Durango – 16/5:05.651
6. Matt Castellano (US) – TLR – 16/5:06.178
7. Oskar Levin (SE) – TLR – 16/5:09.314
8. Tom Cockerill (GB) – Schumacher – 16/5:12.062
9. Marcus Lübke (DE) – Team C – 16/5:12.481
10.Otto Ausfelt (SE) – TLR – 16/5:15.422
At the opening round of the TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series presented by Horizon Hobby in Poznan, Poland it was Dustin Evans who kicked off qualifying at the top of the time sheets. With the first half of the day set aside for 2WD qualifying the Team Losi Racing ace was the only driver to record 17 laps taking his Orion powered TLR22 to a 17/5:18.462 run ahead of the Durangos of Joern Neumann and Hupo Honigl.
Starting the first of the four qualifier second behind yesterday’s timed practice pace setter Neumann, Evans took control of the 5-minute qualifier when the defending champion rolled on his second lap. Evans said his buggy was ‘real good’ but following Neumann’s early mistake he drove a conservative round knowing that if he kept the run clean he would TQ the round. Describing the run as ‘super consistent’, the American said while Neumann set the fastest lap of the round as he recovered from a number of mistakes he himself didn’t need to push but he is confident that his buggy had more pace should he need it. For Q2 Evans will leave his buggy unchanged instead using the time to get team-mate Darren Bloomfield’s 22, which set the 5th fastest time, to where his is at in terms of set-up. Bloomfield, who had a very long 24 second lap, said he had trouble with his buggy on landing off the jumps but hopes by adding more pack to the rear shocks he should be competitive for Q2.
Neumann, who was the only driver to run a 17 second lap, said his Speed Passion powered DEX210 was very edgy to drive something he put down to new tyres. Having changed the front shocks to a heavier oil for today he said to eliminate this as a potential cause of the buggy being difficult to drive he will revert back to the oil used in timed practice yesterday. Despite running three 21 second laps having put his buggy on its roof the Reedy Race Champion ended the run less than 2 seconds off Evans’ pace.
Team-mate Honigl said his LRP powered example of the DEX210 was also a little edgy on fresh tyres. Driving a ‘careful’ round the former multiple European Champion said the overall result was OK as his lap times were, with the exception of Neumann, good compared to his rivals.
Switching to a new speedo for qualifying having felt he was lacking power in practice yesterday, factory Schumacher driver Tom Cockerill said his Speed Passion powered Cougar SV2 was much better today. Making a ‘stupid mistake’ on his second lap the British driver managed to keep it clean there after admitting he benefited from others’ mistakes. A little edgy on new tyres he will switch to a harder front spring and heavier rear shock oil for Q2.
Making his carpet debut this weekend American factory TLR driver Matt Castellano completed the Top 6 just ahead of young Polish talent Michal Orlowski. Suffering one big mistake that lost him almost 5 seconds, Castellano said his 22 was ‘much better’ and more consistent today after he copied the camber link settings of team-mate Evans.
Having set the pace in 2WD Buggy practice, Team Durango’s Joern Neumann went on to also top 4WD Buggy on day 1 of the TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series season opener in Poznan, Poland. The defending champion of both classes, the German was in a league of his own setting a blistering pace of 52.974 over three laps compared with the second fastest time of team-mate Hupo Hönigl who posted a best run of 54.290.
At the end of practice Neumann said he had to do very little to his Speed Passion powered DEX410 during the evening’s five runs and he was just able to focus on driving it. Pulling off a clean sweep of wins in 4WD Buggy during last season’s EOS, he said with the buggy working perfectly from the first practice run he planned to use his subsequent 5-minute runs to scrub in tyres for qualifying. With the traction low he said the buggy felt safe on a brand new set of the controlled dBoots Nanobytes tyres and so there was no need to run his qualifying sets today.
Hönigl also ran his LRP powered example of the DEX410 the same all evening. Having planned to try a different set-up in one of his runs he said due to also running in 4WD Short Course he didn’t get to give it a try due to a lack of time. The former multiple European Champion said he was happy with how the buggy felt, but the size of the advantage Neumann has he is going to have to up his game tomorrow.
Setting the third fastest time with his aging Losi buggy, Dustin Evans sat out the final practice saying he knew his first timed run was decent and he wanted to save the buggy for tomorrow. Admitting he has no chance of running with Neumann, he said buggy actual felt ‘pretty good’ but his main focus this weekend is 2WD Buggy and 4WD Short Course in which he ended both classes second fastest. With a ‘better’ set-up this year for his Losi Ten-SCTE, the American split the Durangos in practice, Hönigl fastest and Neumann third, and is confident that he now has a package to challenge for a win in the class having struggled last season to be a match for the Durangos duo.
A late arrival to the event flying in today from the UK, Danny McGee took his Tamiya 511 to the fourth fastest time being the only driver in the Top 6 to improve their time in the final practice run. Happy with his 4WD the British driver said having only arrived in time for the final 2WD practice which he said didn’t go very well his main focus is on getting that car sorted for tomorrow morning’s open practice.
Just behind McGee was fellow British racer Tom Cockerill who didn’t have a great day. Only going the full distance in his fourth practice run, the factory Schumacher driver suffered a lot of unusual breakages but this aside he said his Cat SX3 felt pretty good. Reverting to the set-up he started the day with for P5 he said that proved he made progress over the day as it was not as good as what he ran in P4 and he will revert back to that for the first qualifier tomorrow.
Impressing in 2WD Buggy earlier in the day Polish talent Michal Orlowski carried his form through to 4WD posting the 6th fastest time with his Tamiya TRF511. Running the same set-up through the evening the 11-year-old said it felt ‘very good’ so there was no need to change anything. Behind Orlowski former German National Champion Benni Gröschel and Czech racer Kája Novotny set the 7th and 8th fastest times respectively.
Joern Neumann got his title defense of the TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series presented by Horizon Hobby off to a positive start as he put his Durango top of the time sheets in practice for the opening round of season No.2 of the series which got underway today in Poznan, Poland. Setting the fastest three consecutive laps, making him top seed for tomorrow’s four rounds of qualifying, the German outpaced the Team Losi Racing pairing of Dustin Evans and Darren Bloomfield who set the 2nd and 3rd fastest times respectively.
Running as part of a hobby exhibition which is expected to attract in the region of 30,000 visitors over the weekend, Neumann was pleased with his Speed Passion powered DEX210 but said he is having a little trouble with judging the jumps due to the height of the drivers stand which is positioned up on the balcony that runs around the outer wall of the large hall in which the event is taking place. Making only a shock oil change to his buggy, going to a lighter oil in the rear, Neumann said he used practice to evaluate tyres. While drivers must run a Nanobyte tyre from official tyre supplier dBoots on the rear, this year they can choose between two control front tyres for 2WD Buggy. Testing the pin type Nanobyte and staggered Blockpass, Neumann said the Blockpass was much easier to drive event though it gave his buggy a little less steering. Team-mate Hupo Honigl, who set the 4th fastest time, also tried both but said he preferred the aggressiveness of the Nanobyte which he described as a ‘man tyre’. The Austrian is running his buggy pretty much the same as at the inaugural EOS season finale in Dortmund, Germany, and he is happy with his pace so far. Both drivers are running alloy chassis plates that are 8mm longer than of the standard kit buggy.
Despite breaking a front shock tower in the first timed practice when he jumped his Orion powered TLR22 up on to the corner table top leading on to the main straight a little too hot, Evans said his buggy was really good and he believes over 5-minutes he has a really competitive package. Describing Neumann’s 17.660 fastest lap as ‘one hero lap’, the 2011 US National Champion said the addition of the dBoots Blockpass this season is a big positive for him and he is much more comfortable with his buggy on that tyre pattern. Only his third time to ever race on a carpet track, Evans said he is able to drive with good consistency and he is looking forward to the opening qualifier in the morning.
Running a ball diff as opposed to the gear diff that Evans is running, Bloomfield said he preferred the feeling of the Nanobyte but found they wear too quick and so for Q1 he will run the Blockpass. Just back from a tour of the United States, the 1:8 Offroad European Champion is struggling a little with jet lag but said he has found a good starting base for qualifying. Only competing in 2WD Buggy this weekend, he will spend the evening helping Evans and Matt Castellano with their 4WD cars with both running 4WD Buggy and Short Course. Experiencing his first ever offroad race on carpet Castellano described it as ‘way different’ adding that the corner speeds were so much faster than on dirt. Setting the sixth fastest time in practice he said he is ‘having fun’ and just needs more time to learn the uniquely European style track along with working on his consistency.
In between all the factory drivers setting the 5th fastest time was one of Poland’s emerging young international talents Michal Orlowski. Just 11-years old and better known for his efforts in the Euro Touring Series, it turns out he is also a dab hand at offroad holding the reign of Polish Indoor National Champion. Running a Vega converted Tamiya similar to that used by factory TRF driver Lee Martin to win round 2 of last season’s EOS, Orlowski is very happy with how the mid mount motor buggy is working around what is a very fast track.
Factory Schumacher driver Tom Cockerill, who took a front corner off his Cougar SV2 in his first timed practice run, set the 7th fastest time. The British driver, who likes the flow of the track, said his buggy was consistent but was lacking a little in power and for qualifying has decided to change speedo. Looking to shave a few tenths off his lap times he said he hoped most of that would come from the new speedo.
With 2WD practice complete, the drivers will now turn their attentions to five rounds of 4WD practice with the final two runs set to determine the heat order for qualifying.