Yannick Aigoin is the Top Qualifier here in Portugal and going on the form of the previous four European Championships, is on target to lift his third EFRA title. Since 2006, when Aigoin last won the Euros, the Top Qualifier has gone on to take the overall victory. The factory Losi driver secured the No.1 spot after recording his third TQ run of the five rounds in the last qualifier of the event, much to the delight of Losi top man Bill Jeric who has traveled over from the US to support his drivers.
Commenting on his Q5 run, Aigoin said he made a stupid mistake in the chicane but otherwise the run was good following the change of oil in the centre diff of his Novarossi powered 8ight 2.0EU. Reminded by David Spashett of the fact that the Top Qualifier has gone on to win the previous 4 championships, the French ace said he was just ‘very happy’ to have stage 1 of his campaign complete.
Second at the end of qualifying was Yannick’s twin brother Jerome. The Kyosho team driver was fourth fastest in the last qualifier but thanks to his Q2 TQ run will start pole in the Semi B Final. The brothers achieved the same 1-2 qualifying result in 2006 in Spain where Yannick took his second title but on that occassion Jerome didn’t make it passed the Semi’s, something he hopes will not befall him again tomorrow. Jerome is very happy with the set-up on his MP9 saying it may be lacking a little speed but its easy to drive which is going to be important for what he expects are going to be very difficult conditions in tomorrow’s finals.
The only driver to deny the Aigoin’s total domination of qualifying with his Q4 TQ run, Miguel Matias took third overall. Carrying all the hopes of a home win here in Guarda, the 2003 Champion did not have a good last round when he collided with a back marker who crashed ahead of him. The Losi/RB driver said he is very happy with third and his goal for tomorrow is to bump up to the Main. He said if that is successful he can then start to think about achieving a dream result.
For defending Champion Renaud Savoya he is obviously disappointed with fourth having been the Top Qualifier for the past two years but the Frenchman hasn’t given up on taking his third consecutive title just yet. Having looked at the qualification ranking after four rounds he said he was unable to improve his position and so used the round to test a cut Proline Caliper M2 tyre. Very happy with his MBX-6 he has struggled to get a tyre to his liking and his latest attempt also didn’t work, the car lacking traction and steering. Summing up his day the ‘Shark’ said ‘I would prefer not to TQ and instead take the win. Tomorrow is another day so lets see what happens’.
The final qualifier saw Jerome Sartel put in a very competitive run finishing second just one second adrift of Yannick Aigoin. The French Xray driver said his 808 has been really good all week but this was his cleanest run of the event and he was very happy with it. Changing to a harder front insert and adjusting the rear shocks to a more upright position, he said he had more steering and the car was better over the bumps. Having not made the final since 2007 Sartel, who ended up 6th overall behind Martin Bayer, said he hopes he can end that run of bad luck tomorrow.
Q5 signaled a big turn around of fortunes for Darren Bloomfield and outgoing European Junior Champion Elliot Boots, the British pair setting the 3rd and 5th fastest times for the round. Losi driver Bloomfield, who finished 7th last year, finally found some grip and a more controllable car and declared after the run that his Euros campaign could really start now. After terrible runs in the opening four heats the 21-year-old just missed making the Semis securing pole for the 1/4 A Final but with a good car now he is confident he can progress. For Boots the first four qualifiers also proved difficult but taking a totally different approach for the final qualifier the 17-year-old produced his first competitive 5 minute run. Changing to a more ‘relaxed’ RB engine in his Mugen MBX-6 he also backed off from his attacking driving style and the combination worked. Describing this as his worst Euros so far he said making the 1/4 is not such a bad thing as it will give him extra needed track time.
While Day 4 of the 30th running of the European Championships is over for the big names its the start of the lower finals from which 8 lucky drivers will get to progress to the big day here in Portugal tomorrow. Our coverage which has been made possible thanks to Team Durango, LRP and Mugen, will continue with news from the 1/4 finals right through to the deciding race of the 2010 Championships.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.