Making his final appearance at the controls of a Durango at Round 2 of the Euro Offroad Series, Joern Neumann signed off on the ultra successful partnership by taking the 4WD win in Berlin. With an announcement on which manufacturer the German ace will join imminent, the win brings his total of wins from the 13 EOS races run since its creation in 2012 to a very impressive 11. Having racked up his 10th TQ in qualifying, Neumann sewed up the overall victory with a win in A2 over Lee Martin putting the 3-time back to back champion top of the points table. Second overall in the German capital would go to the weekend’s 2WD winner Martin and A3 winner while David Ronnefalk’s debut for HB would see him complete the podium.
Having been somewhat lucky to get away with a last lap error in A1 to take that leg, the second A-Main was a more straight forward race for Neumann although he did again have his moments at the table top. Running a set of third run tyres, he said the first three & a half minutes were very good but then his Orion powered DEX410 started to develop understeer allowing Martin, who was on second run tyres, to close the gap. With new tyres making for an edgy car, Neumann made his tyre choice on the grounds of having a safe car was better than speed as they still had to get by him on the track where overtaking was very difficult. Finishing second to Naoto Matsukura at the season opener, the Japanese ace’s new programme with Kyosho not yet fully known, Neumann said today’s win was very important for the championship hinting that he would need some time to get his new team’s cars upto their full potential. Having enjoyed all his EOS success, with Durango, he was also happy to finish his last race using the car with a win.
Taking an easy win in A3 after Ronnefalk caught the corner on the step up, Martin declared himself ‘pretty happy’ with his overall 4WD performance over the weekend. Describing A3 as a ‘nice tone to tone win’, he said ‘I had the pace to fight with Joern for the win and thats something I haven’t had up to this race so we have made good steps with the car’. Equalling his previous best 4WD finish he said ‘we will be stronger next time’.
His first EOS appearance with his new chassis sponsor HB, Ronnefalk was very happy to finish on the podium. The 18-year-old said his D413 had the speed but added he also ‘knew it was going to be impossible to pass without a mistake from Lee’. Waiting for the British driver to make that mistake he said it didn’t happen and instead he made a mistake of his own half way into the encounter. Pleased with the improvements he made since the DHI Cup earlier in the month, the Swede said he would now report back to the car’s designer Torrance Deguzman and use the knowledge gained from the weekend to be even stronger for Round 3 in Wels, Austria.
Recording his best EOS finish and also making a debut for a new manufacturer, Robert Batlle said his car was super good in the third A-Main. Having got a slightly lucky second in A1, the Spaniard went into the closing race with a chance of a podium finish but a mistake on lap 7 allowed Patrick Hofer by and despite numerous attempts to get back by the Associated driver he couldn’t, eventually pulling off in final minute after further mistakes. Having struggled for forward traction throughout the day, he finally cured this for A3 by going up in the oil in the centre diff in the TM4 summing up the weekend as one in which he ‘did a lot of learning’. He hopes to pull everything he discovered about his new cars to got use at the next round with the 2012 1:8 World Champion setting himself the target of a podium finish in 4WD and a Top 5 in 2WD.
Behind the four full time Pro drivers, Patrick Hofer would finish a very strong weekend with 5th position overall. Having also made the A-Main in Saturday’s 2WD action, the Swiss driver had a great run in A3 to finish third ahead of Xray’s Martin Wollanka and Serpent’s Hupo Honigl, the latter completing the Top 6 in the overall results.
Joern Neumann survived a last lap error and benefited from great sportsmanship from Lee Martin to win the opening 4WD A-Main at the Euro Offroad Series in Berlin. Top Qualifier for the race, Neumann looked on target to for a tone to tone win despite being shadowed every lap by Martin. On the final lap however the defending champion would jump short at the table top putting his Durango out of shape on the landing while Martin who had no such issues carried his momentum and ran into the back of the German. Not at fault for the incident, Martin would still wait to allow Neumann to resume the lead. This would allow David Ronnefalk to join the battle but two corners later with the three cars covering the same piece of track Martin would land on the rear wing of the Swede’s HB causing it roll but again the British ace waited. While Neumann continued the second incident gifted Robert Batlle second as Ronnefalk got third leaving Martin fourth.
Commenting in his win, Neumann immediately complimented Martin on his ‘good sportsmanship’ adding ‘I know other guys wouldn’t have waited’. Moving in on claiming his 11th EOS victory in 4WD, he said the previous 4:50 of the race had gone pretty much to plan with him able to control the gap between himself and Martin. Clipping his DEX410 off the down ramp of the table top as he went ‘too short’ he said this caused the car to bounce a little but while Martin went for the pass ‘there was no room’. Hoping to not make the same mistake in A2 he did admit luck was on his side to get away with his A1 error.
Coming in for great praise in the pits after the encounter for his sportsmanship, Martin said Neumann after his mistake came across his line and he couldn’t avoid hitting hom. ‘With so much controversial hacks recently’ he said he didn’t want to add to it bringing further negativity to the sport so he waited. Of the second part of the incident he said ‘I gave Batlle a birthday present’. With all three cars going into the one corner side by side he said on the landing after the single he crashed into the rear of the D413 but there was nothing he could do to avoid it. Having gone into A1 with the plan of waiting for Neumann to make a mistake, he said A2 he would do the same only ‘hopefully the next mistake doesn’t involve me’.
Ronnefalk said the mistake up front was what he was waiting but unfortunately Martin made contact with him. Describing the incident as ‘a bummer’ he said having passed the Yokomo driver he then went to make a move on Neumann but his view was blocked by a marshal, something he felt probably also contributed to Martin making contact with him. Describing his car as ‘really good’ he said unfortunately the layout makes it ‘so hard to pass’ and so his plan for A2 was again going to be to drive his own race and hope for mistakes from the two starting ahead of him.
‘Fishing time’ said a very happy Batlle after the race. Starting fourth. the Spaniard said starting the final lap he thought that was where he was going to finish but all of sudden he was second. Having run with the leaders early in the race the Team C driver said he had dropped back as his car is still continuing to lose forward traction as the race progresses. Believing it could be motor or diff related he will run a smaller pinion for A2 to get the motor to run cooler. If that doesn’t help for A3 he will run a heavier centre diff.
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.
Chassis: Yokomo B-Max 4 III Motor: Reedy ESC: Speed Energy Batteries: Reedy Radio/Servo: Sanwa Remarks – Flying all the way from Japan, Yokomo’s team driver and engineer Shin Adachi is running a modified version of the B-Max 4 III. The aluminium caster blocks have been modified to be brought 2mm backwards, and the rear arms are those from the recently released YZ-2 2wd buggy. In order to limit the weight, aluminium centre driveshafts as well as titanium screws and titanium turnbuckles have been installed on the car.