July 9, 2010

Matias tops penultimate qualifier

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Former Champion Miguel Matias has TQ’d the penultimate round of qualifying here in Portugal this morning ahead of defending Champion Renaud Savoya, ending the Aigoin brothers domination at the top of the time sheets.  The only Portuguese driver to have ever won the European title, he said track conditions were more difficult today but he was very happy to take the round.  Running AKA Crossbrace super soft compound on his Losi he had one stupid mistake as he tried to avoid a back marker who had crashed but other than that the run was good and his RB powered 8ight 2.0EU was working well.

Savoya was slightly disappointed to miss out on TQ’ing a round for the second time but said he is hopeful he can pull it off in the fifth and final round later today.  The factory Mugen driver ran Proline Caliper M3 and was happier with his MBX-6 today having changed sway bars.  Describing his run as safe and clean he said the big challenge are the jumps which have become very unpredictable as the track conditions continually change.

The changing track conditions caught Yannick Aigoin by surprise this morning.  The Losi team driver adjusted the rear roll centres on his 8ight 2.0EU which he said should have given him more rear grip but it didn’t, making the car a bit difficult to drive.  Having TQ’d rounds 1 & 3, he still managed to set the third fastest time.  Working now on his race set-up, he plans to leave the roll centres as is and change diff oils as he believes this will suit the track conditions he expects to face in tomorrow’s finals.

Kyosho’s Jerome Aigoin was fourth fastest despite parking his MP9 on its roof during the run.  The pace setter in Q2 yesterday, he found the track very dusty today but feels a switch from AKA iBeam to Crossbrace worked well in the conditions and for the moment he is happy with his car and just needs to cut out mistakes which have cost him places in the last two rounds of qualifying.

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Spain’s Borja Hernadez ran the same set-up as yesterday on his RB powered Mugen but the rear suspension was now too high for the very loose conditions here this morning.  A handful in the corners, he ended up making two mistakes as a result and was fifth fastest.  Making it three Mugens in the Top 6, 17-year-old Portuguese racer Bruno Coelho backed up his Top 10 run from Q3 to set an impressive sixth fastest time with his Sirio powered example. An experienced onroad nitro racer this is Coehlo’s first full season of off road.

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While his older brother Martin had his worst round of qualifying, Czech teenager Ales Bayer enjoyed his best run setting the 7th fastest time.  Jerome Sartel was back in the Top 10 with 8th, joined by Xray team-mate and 2009 finalist Teemu Leino who was 10th.  In between them was Italian champion Riccardo Rabbitti.  A finalist last year in Austria, the Losi driver had a tough opening day of qualifying making a lot of driver errors.

The round wasn’t good for the star of yesterday’s qualifying David Ronnefalk, the young Swede having a troubled run and ending up only 20th.  2007 Champion Robert Batlle’s event didn’t get any better since yesterday and he finished well down the order for the round.

Results Round 4 of qualifying
1. Miguel Matias (PT) Losi/RB – 8 Laps in 5:22.095
2. Renaud Savoya (FR) Mugen/RB – 8 Laps in 5:22.933
3. Yannick Aigoin (FR) Losi/Novarossi – 8 Laps in 5:23.002
4. Jérôme Aigoin (FR) Kyosho/Novarossi – 8 Laps in 5:24.388
5. Borja Hernandez (ES) Mugen/RB – 8 Laps in 5:25.415
6. Bruno Coelho (PT) Mugen/Sirio – 8 Laps in 5:26.535
7. Ales Bayer (CZ) Losi/Novarossi – 8 Laps in 5:27.388
8. Jérôme Sartel (FR) Xray/RB – 8 Laps in 5:29.024
9. Riccardo Rabbitti (IT) Losi/Picco – 8 laps in 5:29.158
10.Teemu Leino (FIN) Xray/Team Orion – 8 laps in 5:30.468

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July 8, 2010

Aigoin domination continues at 2010 Euros

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It was a good opening day of qualifying for France’s Aigoin brothers as they TQ’d all three of today’s rounds.  Starting the day of with the fastest time Yannick again topped Q3 after his brother set the pace in Q2 leaving the pair 1 & 2 in the overnight qualification ranking with two more rounds tomorrow.

Although his time was 5 seconds off that which he set in Q1, Yannick said he now has a very good feeling with his Losi. ‘Very happy’ to be sitting at the top of the rankings on Day 3 of the event he said while his car was no faster it was now much easier for him to drive. For the morning he wants to try one small change and if that goes well he plans to use the last qualifier to test his race set-up.  Asked about the lack of any serious challenge from his two big rivals Renaud Savoya and Robert Batlle, Yannic replied that he was only focused on how he was going and not on what others are doing but believes in the end that the two of them will be up there.

‘I made one mistake but it was a very big one’ was how brother Jerome summed up sixth fastest time in Q3.  The Kyosho team driver, who has only changed front springs on his car all day, said his MP9 was a little difficult to drive in Q3 due to the extra bumps and he will now need to look at adjusting his set-up for tomorrow.

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Second fastest for the round was David Ronnefalk. The 14-year-old is getting more and more confident around the Guarda track setting the 3rd fastest time in Q2.  Having missed the Warm-up race, the Swede has been focusing on his driving today and trying to be as smooth as possible and this approach looks to be working.  Having stuck with the same set-up on his MP9, the Team Orion backed driver made one small mistake but still managed his best run of the day.

Martin Bayer was back in the Top 3 in Q3.  Having been the closest on time to Losi team-mate Yannick Aigoin in the opening qualifier his 8ight was difficult to drive and he could only managed 10th in Q2.  Switching the Eclipse to Caliber for the last round along with running heavier rear shock oil the Czech driver was able to run again run at the sharp end of the field.

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Fastest of the Mugens with fourth for the round was Borja Hernadez.  The quick Spaniard said his MBX-6 has been good all day but other issues like a stone rubbing the flywheel in Q1 prevented him from setting a decent time.  A mistake on the last lap of Q3 cost him some time but he was pleased to get one good round on the board.  Running AKA iBeam soft compound all day he said medium would have been better for the last run and he will use this in the morning’s penultimate round.

Miguel Matias, who sits third overnight, moved his front shocks back in one hole and said his Losi had good steering again. Opting for a medium compound AKA Crossbrace he said it was not so good.  The only Portuguese driver to have held the European title he said the important thing from today was that he had three good point scoring heats to his name. Tomorrow he said he can push a little harder and play around with finding the right tyres for the finals.

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Defending Champion Savoya hopes to put the day behind him and comeback tomorrow fresh and prepared for the final two qualifiers.  Running Proline Caliber tyres on his factory Mugen he tried the XTR compound in Q3 and said it was not the best choice he had made today.  Despite setting the second fastest time in Q2 he has struggled all day for traction believing he has not yet found the correct foam insert and tyre compound combination yet.

Results Round 3 of qualifying
1. Yannick Aigoin (FR) Losi/Novarossi – 8 Laps in 5:14.814
2. David Ronnefalk (SE) Kyosho/Team Orion – 8 Laps in 5:15.669
3. Martin Bayer (CZ) Losi/Novarossi – 8 Laps in 5:17.371
4. Borja Hernandez (ES) Mugen/RB – 8 Laps in 5:17.551
5. Miguel Matias (PT) Losi/RB – 8 Laps in 5:18.507
6. Jérôme Aigoin (FR) Kyosho/Novarossi – 8 Laps in 5:21.720
7. Davide Tortorici (IT) Hobao/Sirio – 8 Laps in 5:22.632
8. Julien Lattanzio (FR) Mugen/RB – 8 Laps in 5:22.636
9. Javier Puche (ES) Bergonzoni/Novarossi – 8 Laps in 5:23.071
10.Bruno Coelho (PT) Mugen/Sirio – 8 Laps in 5:23.493

Overall results after 3 rounds
1. Yannick Aigoin (FR) Losi/Novarossi – 470pts
2. Jérôme Aigoin (FR) Kyosho/Novarossi – 463pts
3. Miguel Matias (PT) Losi/RB – 460pts
4. Martin Bayer (CZ) Losi/Novarossi – 459pts
5. Renaud Savoya (FR) Mugen/RB – 450pts
6. Borja Hernandez (ES) Mugen/RB – 444pts
7. David Ronnefalk (SE) Kyosho/Team Orion – 441pts
8. Lee Martin (GB) Losi/Novarossi – 433pts
9. Javier Puche (ES) Bergonzoni/Novarossi – 433pts
10.Simon Willets (GB) Kyosho/Team Orion – 428pts

Full results can be found online here.

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July 8, 2010

Aigoin brothers rule in Portugal

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Having watched his brother Yannick TQ the opening round of qualifying, Jerome Aigoin has gone and set the pace in Q2 to give us a repeat of Austria last year where they TQ’d the opening two qualifiers only in the opposite order.  The Kyosho driver said he found a really good rhythm during the run and his MP9 was probably capable of going faster.  Running AKA iBeam medium tyres he said the only set-up change he made was to a harder front spring and the car was perfect.  Feeling the track had better grip but bigger bumps the French driver said he plans to stick with the same set-up for the third and final qualifier of the day.

Setting the second fastest time was defending champion Renaud Savoya.  Changing everything on his car after a disappointing opening round he said it was a gamble that was going to be either ‘good or shit’ and thankfully it was better.  Changing to softer shock oil and a softer front diff, he said his MBX-6 felt much quicker although this wasn’t reflected on the time sheets. A clean run he said his second was slightly lucky as many of his rivals made mistakes during their runs but he is confident that he has a good base set-up now on which he can build for the the remaining three qualifiers.

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Making it two Kyoshos in the Top 3 young star David Ronnefalk set the third fastest time with his Team Orion powered MP9.  The Swede said he did little to his car and that the improvement was down to better and smoother driving from him.  Running an AKA Cityblock/iBeam tyre combination the only change he made was to switch to a medium compound.

The pace setter in Q1 Yannick Aigoin was happier with his car but said the driver was not so good this time. The former 2 time Champion made a mistake on the double which meant he had to settle for fourth. The best of the Losi drivers in Q2, he said he chose too soft a tyre, but the car is getting better so he is happy.  Fellow Losi driver Miguel Matias ended up just behind him, the Portuguese driver also making a driver error. Moving the top of the shocks out one hole all round he said his 8ight lost a lot of steering. The local ace also said the track conditions were a lot worse than this morning.

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The first time we have seen Xray inside the Top 10 so far in the event, Jerome Sartel enjoyed a ‘really good run’ with his 808.  The French driver said he made too many mistakes in Q1 but ran a much cleaner second round making only two small mistakes to end up 6th.  With a good feeling for the car after switching to softer diff oils and roll bars he said he now needs to increase his level of driving but he feels he has the pace to finish in the Top 10 come the end of qualifying.  Just 3/100th behind Sartel was team-mate Teemu Leino who was the only Xray driver in last year’s final.

Completing the Top 10 Graham Alsop was eight fastest with his Hot Bodies ahead of Borja Hernadez and Martin Bayer who was second fastest in Q1.

After a terrible Q1, 2007 Champion Robert Batlle was on a good run but made a mistake on the last lap. Unfortunately for him the marshal was attending to another car and didn’t see his Ultimate Racing backed Associated for some time and the incident ended up costing the Spaniard 8 seconds.  Batlle completely changed his RC8 and said the car is very close to the perfect set-up so despite the last lap incident he is positive he can end Day 3 of the championships on a high note by setting a competitive time in Q3.

Results Round 2 of qualifying
1. Jérôme Aigoin (FR) Kyosho/Novarossi – 8 Laps in 5:16.446
2. Renaud Savoya (FR) Mugen/RB – 8 Laps in 5:16.712
3. David Ronnefalk (SE) Kyosho/Team Orion – 8 Laps in 5:18.466
4. Yannick Aigoin (FR) Losi/Novarossi – 8 Laps in 5:18.647
5. Miguel Matias (PT) Losi/RB – 8 Laps in 5:20.110
6. Jérôme Sartel (FR) Xray/RB – 8 Laps in 5:20.882
7. Teemu Leino (FI) Xray/Team Orion – 8 Laps in 5:20.916
8. Graham Alsop (GB) Hot Bodies/RB – 8 Laps in 5:21.654
9. Borja Hernandez (ES) Mugen/RB 8 Laps in 5:21.764
10.Martin Bayer (CZ) Losi/Novarossi – 8 Laps in 5:22.047

Full results can be found online here.

View our event image gallery here.


July 8, 2010

Oxygen and engine power

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One of the big challenges facing drivers here in Portugal is the location of the track in terms of altitude. Situated over 1000 metres above sea level drivers have been complaining of a lack of power from their engines, a problem that directly relates to our height. The higher up you go the less Oxygen in the air. With Oxygen being a vital component of the internal combustion engine firing process, the manufacturers have had to make special preparations for this Euros.

A new name in the engine world and competing in their first European Champion is Tecnopower but the man behind the newcomer is one of the best known figures in the r/c engine industry.  Rody Roem, the man who created RB engines, is here looking after two drivers who are running the company’s first release, the B01-21 Buggy engine.

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Speaking with the Dutchman, who is a former 1:8 Nitro Onroad World Champion, he said being so high up makes engine set-up very difficult as there is simply not enough oxygen in the air. To overcome this problem as much as possible the B01-21 engines used here feature a newly designed combustion chamber insert that produces more compression and therefore power. The increased height and different shape compensates for the lost power one would get with the standard chamber. The team also runs 6 millimeter Venturi inserts to round up the overall package. Tecnopower also have with them new stainless steel glowplugs which according to Rody do away with problems often seen with regular plugs like rust patterns in wet races or when fuel quality is changing.

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There is no shortage of support from engine manufacturers here in Guarda. Defending champions RB have Eric Aita and Anthony Abisset on hand to look after the large number of drivers using their engines.  Novarossi’s interests are being looked after by Bernard Durand from Racing Experience while Alberto Picco from Picco, who produce engines for a number of brands, is pitting for Riccardo Rabitti.  Also on site are Team Orion’s engine project leader Adrien Bertin, Reds Racing’s Mario Rossi, formerly of GRP engines, and Gino Voghera from Sirio.

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July 8, 2010

Yannick Aigoin heads Losi 1-2 in opening qualifier

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Yannick Aigoin headed a Team Losi 1-2 in the opening round of qualifying for the 2010 EFRA 1:8 Off Road European Championships here in Portugal.  The French ace set the pace from team-mate Martin Bayer who was just 7/10 adrift, the pair being the only drivers to record a 37 second lap during the round.

Aigoin, who ran Procircuit Marathon tyres on his Novarossi powered 8ight, said the track conditions had deteriorated since yesterday and his suspension set-up was not perfect but overall it was not a major problem for him.  Runner up last year, the former Champion said the event is proving a real challenge in terms of set-up as both the track and the weather conditions are constantly changing and it is hard to predict the correct things to change.  With the running order changing for the second round of qualifying, the top drivers have over a four hour wait until they are back on track so most are waiting til nearer that time to see the condition of the track and then make set-up and tyre choices accordingly.

Bayer described his first run as ‘a perfect start’ and felt the track was much cleaner than yesterday.  Running Caliper M2 tyres, he described his Losi as easy to drive and very consistent but the Czech ace believes the second run is probably going to be a very different challenge.  Only 19th fastest for the first round Darren Bloomfield described the run as frustrating saying the track conditions are so random.  Having set the fastest lap time in yesterday’s practice and ended up fourth overall, the British driver had two crashes, both of which he put down to the surface breaking up. One of these was as a result of a stone which his Losi duly dug out of the track.

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Setting the third fastest time, Kyosho’s Simon Willets said his run was ‘not bad’.  Running soft AKA Cityblock tyres on his Orion powered MP9, the UK driver retained the set-up used yesterday but just pushed a little harder today now that times count.  Willets thinks he will not change much in terms of set-up but closer to the time will speak to Mark Pavidis regarding what tyres to choose for Q2.  One of three ex-racers behind AKA, former World Champion Pavidis is over from the US to support the growing number of drivers using their tyres.  Team-mate Jerome Aigoin was fifth fastest, a position he seems keen on, having been fifth in both timed practices yesterday.  TQ’ing Q1 last year in Austria, the twin brother of Yannick said the track was very different to yesterday offering a lot more grip but he is pleased how it went.  In between the two Kyosho drivers with the fourth fastest time was yesterday’s pace setter Miguel Matias with his Losi.

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Heading the Team Associated challenge with the sixth fastest time was Neil Cragg.  The British Champion was first out on track along with Matias in the top group and found the track a little slippy. Running Revolver M3 tyres, he said he lacked a little steering, forcing him to ‘drive it like he stole it’, the more aggressive style helping him to make the corners.  For team-mate Robert Batlle the day did not start out well as he struggled around in only the 13th fastest time, one place behind Electric Touring Car World Champion Marc Rheinard.  The Spaniard said his car had a complete lack of grip but he is not sure why that is.  Using Caliber M3 tyres he could not make the double due to his lack of grip.  A switch to softer shock oil is one change he will make but after that he is undecided but said at least he has plenty of time to make the call.

Driving the Agama Racing A8-Evo, Dani Vega was an impressive 7th fastest for the opening qualifier.  Having switched back from the Losi Active diff he tried yesterday to the standard Agama kit diff he said the car was so much better. Running AKA iBeam medium compound, the 1999 Champion said his focus for the rest of the day will be to tune his driving to the buggy rather than making big set-up adjustments.

Having driven conservatively yesterday 1:10 Off Road ace Lee Martin set the 8th fastest time with his Losi.  The British driver said he is still gaining confidence with the heavier 1:8 buggy but was pretty happy with his run this morning and hopes to build on that later today.  For now he plans to make no changes to his 8ight.

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Fastest of the Mugens and completing the Top 10 for Q1 were Daniel Reckward and defending champion Renaud Savoya.  Savoya said he went with too hard a tyre and had no traction.  After a disastorious opening lap, on which he lost over 3 seconds, he said he had to switch to a safe driving style which was ultimately slower.  Chasing his third consecutive European title here the Warm-up race winner is going to give the set-up on his MBX-6 a full rethink.

Results after Round 1 of qualifying
1. Yannick Aigoin (FR) Losi/Novarossi – 8 Laps in 5:09.008
2. Martin Bayer (CZ) Losi/Novarossi – 8 Laps in 5:09.772
3. Simon Willets (GB) Kyosho/Team Orion – 8 Laps in 5:11.724
4. Miguel Matias (PT) Losi/RB – 8 Laps in 5:12.183
5. Jérôme Aigoin (FR) Kyosho/Novarossi – 8 Laps in 5:12.857
6. Neil Cragg (GB) Associated/Reedy – 8 Laps in 5:13.700
7. Daniel Vega (ES) Agama/Team Orion – 8 Laps in 5:13.771
8. Lee Martin (GB) Associated/Reedy – 8 Laps in 5:14.750
9. Daniel Reckward (DE) Mugen/RB – 8 Laps in 5:16.664
10.Renaud Savoya (FR) Mugen/RB – 8 Laps in 5:16.803

Full results can be found online here.

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July 7, 2010

Practice time is up

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Practice for the 2010 EFRA 1:8 Off Road European Championship is complete and the more serious business of qualifying gets under way tomorrow here in Portugal.  After two rounds of timed practice, drivers had one final, untimed run on the track, bringing Day 2 of the 30th running of the championships to a close.

The man who set the pace in the timed practice, Miguel Matias used the final bit of track time to try a complete change of set-up on his RB powered Losi.  The Portuguese driver opted for an American style set-up running 10 degree hubs on the front, which he said made the car feel more aggressive.  Happy that the car felt quicker than in the first timed practice, the former Champion plans to stick with the set-up for the first of the 5 qualifiers.

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Yannick Aigoin, who set the pace in the second timed practice, said he used the run to confirm his tyre choice for the morning and says he can now just focus on driving.  Fellow Frenchman and defending Champion Renaud Savoya said they found a better overall package and his Mugen is working well over the bumps but lacks forward bite and plans some shock adjustments.  The ‘Shark’ said he knows he is not the fastest at the moment but he is very happy at how consistent he can lap the Guarda track.

The man with the fastest lap for the day with a 37.111, set in the first timed practice, Darren Bloomfield had some problems adjusting to his new position on the drivers rostrum.  Originally running No. 11 in practice he has been reseed No.1 for his heat, the British driver switching from one end of the rostrum to the other made the track look very different.

Robert Batlle’s final practice did not go well as he hit problems and had to pull up early. Having changed to a harder spring the clutch failed to work properly but the Spaniard is confident that his Associated has a better balance now after they made adjustments to the shocks.

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Dani Vega, who posted the 9th fastest time in second timed practice, tried a Losi Active diff in the front of his Orion powered Agama but it did not work, robbing the car of corner speed.  Planning to switch back to the standard Agama kit diff for tomorrow, the former Champion said he is pleased with the progress he has been able to made with the car.

At Kyosho, Jerome Aigoin is confident for tomorrow having changed very little on his Novarossi powered MP9 all day.  His young Swedish team-mate David Ronnefalk, who runs Orion engines, said the last practice was a chance for them to get the car right after it was undriveable in the second timed practice. Switching from AKA Crossbrace to a mixture of Cityblock on the front and iBeam on the rear and running less droop the talented 14-year-old was much happier now about his chances having been 11th fastest in the first run of Day 2.

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Although he didn’t feature strongly on the time sheets, outgoing European Junior Champion Elliot Boots has been mentioned by a number of key industry figures as one to watch here.  The 17-year-old Mugen driver said the last run of the day was the best the car has been so far.  Removing the rear overdrive from his MBX-6 it improved things giving the car more drive out of the corners. The British driver said that with the track conditions deteriorating he had to pick his lines a lot more carefully and keeping it smooth was key to get a good run.

Elsewhere Riccardo Rabitti was very much happier with his Picco powered Losi and expects to be competitive in qualifying.  Having pushed too hard in the second timed practice the Italian Champion said he made too many mistakes but he has got it together now. Being supporting here by Alberto Picco, the man behind the Italian engine company, Rabitti is very happy with his fuel economy saying he spoke with a number of his rivals and they are not able to match his run time.

Tomorrow schedule, which kicks off at 09:00, is made up of 3 of the 5 qualifiers, the best three of which will determine the starting order for the semi finals.

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