Savoya TQ’s penultimate qualifier
Xray’s Renaud Savoya has TQ’d the penultimate round of qualifying at the 1:8 Offroad European Championships in Austria while great rival & defending champion Robert Batlle had his run to the 3rd fastest time struck off after his Mugen was deemed to be too wide in post race scrutiny something his Mugen team firmly dispute as the buggy was running the same set-up as yesterday when the MBX6R had no problems with passing through the box being used by race officials.
Having last TQ’d a round of qualifying at the Euros in 2010, when the event was also held in Austria, Savoya was very happy with his return to the top of the times with the result putting the French ace in with a chance of being overall Top Qualifier, an honour he secured en-route to claiming two of three consecutive European titles. After watching video footage of his 9 laps in 5:27.733, the factory Xray/RB driver said while his XB9 looked fast but hard to drive it didn’t feel that way from the driver rostrum as he was quite happy with the feeling. Switching to a harder compound Sweep Double Action tyre for the round he said it made the car better through the concrete block section but he think the best gain in time can come from him adapting a smoother style of driving around what is a very fast track. Although he has a chance of the overall TQ, Savoya plans to use the last heat to test Sweep’s Exagon tyres as preparation for the finals. The change of tyres will require some small set-up changes so as the car can get the best from the new pattern.
Fastest in the opening qualifier yesterday TLR’s Darren Bloomfield set the second fastest time despite a first lap, first corner crash but even with this felt a TQ run was possible until he got caught up in traffic near the end of the run that cost him over a second. Traffic had been a problem for quite a few drivers many of whom feel that the heats should for the future be based on the fastest 12 from practice being in the top heat and the next 12 in heat 2 and so on. As one driver put it ‘its frustrating for us but it must also be frustrating for the guy who spends most of the run looking behind him’. Other than the crash which cost him around 3 seconds, Bloomfield said the development version of the 8ight was working really well a statement he backed up by setting the fastest lap for the round with a 35.788 lap.
Getting 3rd for the round after Batlle’s disqualification the Top Qualifier for the last two European Championships Jerome Aigoin said a hat trick of overall TQ’s was now not possible. His best round of qualifying so far, the recently crowned French Champion said he made a small mistake but overall he was happy with the run. Still running the same set-up as he came to these the 32nd running of the Euros with, the factory Kyosho/Novarossi driver said everything with his buggy, engine and tyres was good and if he can finish in the Top 5 at the end of qualifying he will be happy. This would put him up at the front of the grid for the Semi from where all 12 drivers including the Top Qualifier will have to progress to the Main event.
Team Losi Racing’s Miguel Matias took his RB powered 8ight to the fourth fastest time despite having to deal with traffic, any delays on the high speed track, where the times are very close, costing valuable places in the qualification ranking. Switching to an FTW Night Hawk bodyshell, which he borrowed from fellow Portuguese driver Ricardo Monteiro, the former champion said it gave him the steering he was looking for particularly in the infield but on the two high speed corners it made the buggy a little too sensitive and planning to play it safe for the final qualifier he will revert to his standard Losi bodyshell.
Behind Matias was the totally rejuvenated Joseph Quagraine. The JQ Products boss & founder said he hasn’t enjoyed his racing as much as he has here in Fehring for about 5 years. Changing nothing on his Yellow Edition ‘The Car’ since getting here the Finn is currently well inside the Top 10 and looks set to make it directly into the all important Semi Finals.
For Kyosho team-mates Elliot Boots, the Round 2 Top Qualifier, and David Ronnefalk, the fastest man in Q3, their fourth qualifier was their worst round so far. Boots was on a TQ pace with his Novarossi powered MP9 until he crashed on his 3rd lap losing 4 seconds while Ronnefalk, who made some changes to his Orion powered MP9 which he didn’t like, had a disastrous final 46 second last lap after he crashed in between the two big jumps and out of site of the marshals. Losing almost 10 seconds he finished 15th fastest.
Qualifying Times Round 4
1. Renaud Savoya (FR) – Xray/RB – 9/5:27.733
2. Darren Bloomfield (GB) – TLR/Novarossi – 9/5:28.878
3. Jérôme Aigoin (FR) – Kyosho/Novarossi – 9/5:30.161
4. Miguel Matias (PT) – TLR/RB – 9/5:30.983
5. Joseph Quagraine (FI) – JQ/JQ – 9/5:31.509
6. Elliot Boots (GB) – Kyosho/Novarossi – 9/5:32.066
7. Yannick Aigoin (FR) – Associated/Novarossi – 9/5:32.244
8. Jörn Neumann (DE) – Durango/Picco – 9/5:33.344
9. Ignacio Candel (ES) – Mugen/RB – 9/5:35.306
10.Peter Pinisch (AT) – LRP/LRP – 9/5:35.452
11.Neil Cragg (GB) – Associated/LRP – 9/5:35.589
12.Ari Heinonen (FI) – Kyosho/Alpha – 9/5:36.403
View complete event results here.
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