Bloomfield Top Qualifier in Austria
Team Losi Racing’s Darren Bloomfield is the Top Qualifier at the 1:8 Offroad European Championships, the British ace wrapping up the honour in Fehring, Austria, in style when he took his Novarossi powered 8ight around the high speed track in the fastest time of the 32nd running of the event in the fifth & final round of qualifying. Having set the pace in yesterday’s opening qualifier, Bloomfield was already assured of his first overall Euros TQ before his final heat as challengers David Ronnefalk crashed on his run and Renaud Savoya got T-boned as he was on a TQ pace. In the group that would bring qualifying to a conclusion still to run Bloomfield drove a ‘nearly perfect’ 5-minute run to once again post the fastest lap of the round and a new outright fastest run time.
Changing to soft compound AKA Enduro tyres, having used super soft in his previous four heats, Bloomfield said they ran the harder tyre with a view to the finals and the results were very promising. Running a development version of the 8ight which was brought over for the race with 1:8 offroad star Adam Drake on Monday and features new geometry, Bloomfield said the set-up they ran in qualifying is his race set-up so he is very confident for tomorrow. The man doing all the work between runs on Bloomfield’s car, Drake was very happy with both his driver and the performance of the car and looking forward to the finals said they only changes he envisaged would be related to the weather as this would determine the tyre compound and the weight of shock oil they would choose. Qualifying third at last year’s event, only to suffer two engine flames outs in his Semi while holding a bump up position, Bloomfield added that his engine is returning ‘excellent’ run time a factor that played a huge part in Batlle’s victory 12 months ago.
Only fifth fastest in Q5 after another ‘usual mistake’, Kyosho’s Ronnefalk was surprise to secure 2nd overall and pole position in the B Semi-Final. Having lowered the rear camber link on his MP9 he said it was better in the fast sweepers and also in the 180 corners as he slides around more and he could steer it on the power. Also running soft compound AKA Enduro tyres the 16-year-old, who is the defending Junior Champion, said they felt ‘really good’ and he was able to use them to post his fastest lap of the event. Having coming to Austria looking to be secure a Top 5 starting position in the Semis due to the grid layout of the track, the Top 5 starting on the straight with 7th to 12th starting around the corner in front of the drivers stand, the talented Swede said the event has gone better than planned so far and he is really looking forward to his Semi.
Starting behind Bloomfield in the Semi A will be Batlle. Chasing his third European title and Mugen’s fifth consecutive win, the Spaniard was second fastest in the closing qualifier to claim third in the final ranking but were it not for his Q4 disqualification he would have secured pole in the Semi B. Commenting on his DQ, which was due to his Mugen being deemed too wide, he said it was very frustrating to put in a lot of hard work in preparation for the event and then making sure everything is perfect in terms of the rules, exactly as it was for all previous rounds, only to have someone’s interpretation of the rule result in disqualification. Earlier in the event Joseph Quagraine raised the matter of the angle of the box through which the car must pass with EFRA’s Carlos Gomez but his concerns were dismissed. Looking ahead to tomorrow Batlle said he thinks overall they are in much better shape going into the finals day than a year ago when he pulled off a very tactical victory over Top Qualifier and pole position holder Jérôme Aigoin, the Kyosho driver claiming 7th in the final qualification ranking.
Set to line up second behind Ronnefalk in the 20-minute Semi B, Renaud Savoya after topping Q4 said he was going for the overall TQ in the final round and it was ‘very disappointing’ when someone else denies you that chance. Having not looked like a TQ challenger yesterday the ‘Shark’ turned things around today and was on target for a second TQ run until he was T-boned by German driver Carsten Kelleher mid way through the run causing the two cars to tangle costing the factory Xray driver valuable seconds leaving him to post only the 12th fastest time. Planning to test Sweep Exagon tyres in his final heat Savoya was forced to run Double Action once again as with the Exagon fitted to his RB powered XB9 the car wouldn’t pass through the technical inspections width box. Savoya said they will work on the car to make it narrower as the Exagon will have better wear for the final.
Some of last year’s title contenders to miss the Top 16 Semi final cut in Austria are podium finisher & 3-time champion Daniel Reckward who could only manage 25th overall as he struggled to find a good set-up for his Mugen although the German did manage to post his first Top 10 time in the final qualifier. Fellow German Marcel Guske, who TQ’d the final qualifier last year and finished 4th in the final, has fared even worse than his former team-mate with the recently signed TLR driver ending up down in 88th position.
Qualifying Times Round 5
1. Darren Bloomfield (GB) – TLR/Novarossi – 9/5:26.276
2. Robert Batlle (ES) – Mugen/Novarossi – 9/5:30.915
3. Jérôme Aigoin (FR) – Kyosho/Novarossi – 9/5:32.602
4. Joseph Quagraine (FI) – JQ/JQ – 9/5:33.424
5. David Ronnefalk (SE) – Kyosho/Orion – 9/5:33.625
6. Jérôme Sartel (FR) – Agama/Bullit – 9/5:34.242
7. Daniel Reckward (DE) – Mugen/RB – 9/5:35.068
8. Ignacio Candel (ES) – Mugen/RB – 9/5:35.138
9. Yannick Aigoin (FR) – Associated/Novarossi – 9/5:35.207
10.Neil Cragg (GB) – Associated/LRP – 9/5:35.593
11.Martin Wollanka (AT) – Xray/RB – 9/5:35.829
12.Renaud Savoya (FR) – Xray/RB – 9/5:36.377
Final Qualification Ranking (Top 16)
1. Darren Bloomfield (GB) – TLR/Novarossi – 553 pts
2. David Ronnefalk (SE) – Kyosho/Orion – 547
3. Robert Batlle (ES) – Mugen/Novarossi – 546
4. Renaud Savoya (FR) – Xray/RB – 545
5. Elliot Boots (GB) – Kyosho/Novarossi – 544
6. Miguel Matias (PT) – TLR/RB – 544
7. Jérôme Aigoin (FR) – Kyosho/Novarossi – 544
8. Joseph Quagraine (FI) – JQ/JQ – 540
9. Jörn Neumann (DE) – Durango/Picco – 539
10.Borja Hernandez (ES) – LRP/Alpha – 531
11.Yannick Aigoin (FR) – Associated/Novarossi – 529
12.Neil Cragg (GB) – Associated/LRP – 526
13.Christoffer Svensson (SE) – Kyosho/OS – 524
14.Teemu Leino (FI) – HB/LRP – 520
15.Jérôme Sartel (FR) – Agama/Bullit – 518
16.Ignacio Candel (ES) – Mugen/RB – 518
View complete event results here.
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