Davide Ongaro delivered a TQ run in the second round of qualifying at the Euros in Sweden, the Team Associated driver going fastest from top seed David Ronnefalk. Third fastest in the opening qualifier, the Italian would have a 1.5 second advantage over Ronnefalk, the HB Racing star again suffering costly mistakes over the 5-minutes. After almost a 5-hour wait between Q1 and the second of the day’s three qualifiers, Kyosho’s Riccardo Berton would complete the Top 3 as team-mate Elliott Boots had a tough round. The reigning champion would end up 13th fastest after ‘loads of crashes’ with the Q1 Top Qualifier putting part of his struggle down to tyres saying, ‘they worked this morning but not now’. Having opened qualifier with a P4, Mugen’s Juan Carlos Canas wouldn’t have a good Q2 getting a drive through penalty for stopping on track as he tried to allow a gap between himself and Ronnefalk at the start.
‘I’m really happy’ was Ongaro’s reaction to his TQ run, the Las Vegas Worlds star adding, ‘the car now works better than the first one after we changed the rear roll bar’. The 15-year-old continued, ‘I just want to drive smooth and get to the finish without mistakes and in the end it was fast’. Describing the track as ‘worse than before’ he said it wasn’t too much of an issue yet and for the last of the day’s qualifiers he will just change tyres. Opting for the unusual choice of AKA’s Moto tyre, he will stick with it for Q3 but use a brand new set and use the track time to break in the tyre for tomorrow, the tyre proving quicker on its second run.
‘Another OK run I would say’, was how Ronnefalk summed up Q2. The World Champion continued, ‘the car didn’t feel good in the warm-up laps and I crashed loads of time so I told myself to do the best I could, but after a couple of laps I crashed. I knew the speed was there so I just tried to keep it on the wheels but I rolled in a second crash an lost the TQ. With 2 crashes 2nd is not bad’. Asked about what he felt he needs to do to improve his car for his third attempt, the 20-year-old said, “me and Adrien and the rest of the team will have a chat about what to change for the last one because it is too difficult to drive right now’.
Improving on his P6 in Q1, Berton said, ‘That was a good run’. Changing from X2 to X1 Lockdown tyres on his MP9, the 18-year-old said these ‘feel much much better’ allowing him to push more in the corner. Also feeling the addition of anti squat improved the car, for the final qualifier of the day he plans to try a lower Kyosho body to try further improve corner speed.
Setting the fourth fastest time João Figueiredo was pleased after struggling in Q1. The Kyosho driver said, ‘the car was really bad in the first one, the changes were not so good, but we went back to normal shocks and its better. It is still edgy but I think that’s now down to tyre choice’. Having been running big shocks with emulsion caps he removed them for Q1 but didn’t like the feeling and now has reverted back to the standard shocks and towers. Having run a medium compound Amazzonia tyre from Hotrace he will switch to a hard compound for the next one. The Portuguese driver concluded, ‘the track has a lot of grip now so it is getting tricky out there’.
‘Definitely going better today’, was Bayer’s reaction to setting the fifth fastest time. The Xray designer said, ‘I tested many things but have gone back to what I arrived here with on Tuesday’. The Czech driver added he felt ‘the track is better today’ describing it as more clean and having less bumps after overnight work on it. A former podium finisher, his focus now is on his shocks saying, ‘I still need to work on the shocks, the balance of the car is good but I’m not happy with my shock set-up’. On tyre choice, having tried different options yesterday, he has returned to Pro-Line’s new Buck Shot tyre which he ran on Tuesday saying ‘they are really good’.
Bayer’s Xray team-mate Martin Wollanka would complete the Top 6 for the round. Also a Euros podium finisher, the Austrian said his car is ‘working better and better each run’ but he was ‘not expecting such a result’. Trying to give himself room to the car in front of him at the start of the heat, he didn’t realise the clock had already started and the waiting had left him with a 43 second first lap costing himself around 2-seconds. For Q3 he plans to go up in the front diff oil.
Chassis – Mugen MBX-7R Engine – Ultimate M3T Tyres – ProCircuit Addictive P2 Compound Fuel – Nitrolux Radio/Servos – Sanwa/ Highest Body – Ultimate Remarks – Spanish upcoming talent Juan Carlos Canas is running the MBX-7R from Mugen, equipped with a number of option parts such as Ultimate shock pistons and bladders, high traction differentials and front & rear CVD’s. He is also using a 40g rear weight on the chassis and a JConcepts lexan wing.
Chassis – Associated RC8B3.1 Engine – LRP ZZ.21C Square Stroke Tyres – AKA Moto Soft Long Run Fuel – Runner Time Radio/Servos – Sanwa Body – JConcepts Remarks – Young Italian star Davide Ongaro is running a B3.1 from the Team Associated powered by the latest LRP square stroke engine fitted with an old traditional style cooling head instead of the standard low profile one. His car is only equipped with a couple option parts, such as +5mm FastRace rear shocks standoffs and JConcepts titanium steering turnbuckles.
Elliott Boots has TQ’d the opening round of qualifying at the 1:8 Offroad European Championships in Sweden. The reigning champion took the first of the five scheduled qualifiers at the Gröndal Ring from top seed David Ronnefalk, the Swede costing himself the TQ after tangling with Neil Cragg on the last lap, the final separation 2/10ths of a second. Behind the two established title contenders, Davide Ongaro would open with a P3 run ahead of fellow up & coming teenager Juan Carlos Canas. The big turn around from his pace in controlled practice yesterday would come from Darren Bloomfield, the former champion posting 5th fastest ahead of 2015 Euro B Champion Riccardo Berton.
‘Better than expected’, was Boots reaction to his opening qualifier. The Kyosho driver continued, ‘I didn’t think it was a good run. I had a mistake on the straight which needed a marshal and I had a few sketchy laps’. The British driver said however he did benefit from having ‘a clear track most of the run so I stayed out of trouble’. Having struggled yesterday to decide on which tyre to use, he would choose Pro-Line’s X1 Suburb tyre for Q1 saying, ‘they felt pretty good, it made it easier to drive which I was looking for. It’s still edgy but that’s just the track’. In terms of his MP9 set-up, he said, ‘we changed a few things and went back more to our basic set-up and it was good’.
Ronnefalk summed up Q1 as ‘overall a good run’. The World Champion added, ‘on the last lap I caught cars which was bad timing. I thought I was alright and I would be ok to pass but I was too close to Neil (Cragg) and we touched in the air. It was totally my fault and I’m sorry for that. It was a good run till then as my laps were all 40-seconds before that’. Having ran all his practice runs in the No.10 spot of the tracks rather large driver stand, he said it took a bit of time to get used to being over on the opposite now in the No.1 position, he continued, ‘Overall I just wanted to put in a decent run. It’s a bummer but 2nd is still good if you look at the big picture’. In terms of his car, the HB Racing driver said, ‘I felt the shock package was too hard in the shakedown this morning but we left it as it was because the temperature would go up and it came good’. On tyres he used JConcepts’ Metrix tyre for Q1.
‘Good, we improved the tyre and the car’, was Ongaro’s view of his first qualifying attempt. The Team Associated driver said switching from AKA Enduro tyre to their Moto had made the car more easy over the bumps. Feeling the rear of his car is rolling too much for Q2, the World Championship finalist will change to a harder rear roll bar. While making ‘2 0r 3 small mistakes but nothing major’, the Italian was happy with his driving over the 5-minutes.
Fourth fastest Canas reported the feeling of the track was more aggressive today making his Mugen more difficult to drive. The Spaniard also had to deal with brake issues with the brakes set too much to the front and this gave him issues at the end of the straight as they locked up braking caused him to lose steering’. For Q2, the 2016 Euro A Finalist & Euro B Champion will switch to a harder front rollbar to improve the steering. On his driving over the 5-minutes, the 15-year-old said, the approach for today is too be ‘very smooth & safe’ to get into the Semi and then tomorrow he can push.
Bloomfield described his P5 time as, ‘Pretty good compared to yesterday’. The Agama driver continued, ‘we changed quite a bit but the biggest change was to go back to the standard shock caps’. Having run prototype Emulsion caps he said the lack of rebound with that set-up had caused the car to be lazy and ‘not very accurate’ but now with 50% rebound it ‘stops all that rolling around’. Also going down in the centre diff oil, the British driver said with it now ‘driving more like a front wheel it’s more driveable’. Having crashed 4-times in the warm-up for his heat, he said ‘when I came in for fuel I told myself don’t crash and see where I end up’. With no set-up changes planned for Q2, he will ‘clean it and watch what the track is doing’, drivers in the Top 3 heats having almost 5-hours between their first and second runs due to a change in the running order for Q2. Bloomfield said because it was a brand new car just a few days ago he’ll use that time to check over everything.
‘It was a safe run. Sixth is not so bad’, was Berton’s view of Q1. The Kyosho driver continued, ‘the car was better than yesterday. We changed back to the CP1 set-up because it worked better’. For Round 2 of qualifying the teenager will run anti-squat saying ‘the other Kyosho drivers are using it and like it so it should make my car better on the bumps. Behind Berton, Mugen’s Robert Batlle posted the 7th fastest time ahead of Xray’s Martin Bayer and TLR’s Renaud Savoya with Yannick Aigion completing the Top 10 with his Xray.
David Ronnefalk is the top seed at this year’s European Championships in Sweden, the HB Racing driver topping controlled practice with his time from the first of today’s two runs. Also topping the second 9-minute run, the Swede would end Day 2 of the event fastest from reigning Champion Elliott Boots. Second fastest in CP1, like Ronnefalk, the British driver would also fail to better that time posting third fastest time for the final practice. After a troubled opening seeding run, Robert Batlle would be the only driver in the Top 6 to set their in CP2 posting the 2nd fastest time for the round which was good enough to seed the Mugen driver third. Batlle’s improvement would demote fellow Spaniard Juan Carlos Canas Carrasco from third to fourth with Portuguese duo João Figueiredo and Carlos Durães completing the Top 6 ahead of French driver Rayan Medjoubi.
Producing another sub 2-minute time for his 3-consecutive laps, the only driver to do so throughout both free & controlled practice, Ronnefalk summed up his day as, ‘Pretty good’. The World Champion continued, ‘I tried two different sets of tyres. The best where the Metrix in a harder compound and I also ran Reflex in R2 compound. We left the car as is and I think this one was better than the last one. The track is even more rough and I basically had the same speed, and the consistency is there’. On the track surface, the 2-time European Champion said, ‘the track is getting rougher but it’s still way better than the Warm-up (race). They will fix some spots and put more material in the worst parts but I like it as it is’.
Well short of matching his CP1 time, Boots said, ‘we changed quite a lot on the car and it wasn’t better, it was worse. We also tried a different tyre’. He continued, ‘the track is fast, grippy and edgy so it’s hard to find the right set-up on tyres. For the shakedown in the morning I will try something else again and decide (on what tyre to use). We need to find something to get on the pace’. While feeling he is missing out on outright speed compared to Ronnefalk, asked if he still felt he had the better consistency, the Kyosho driver replied, ‘not too much in that one, my consistency was better before’.
Having flamed out twice in CP1 due to a glowplug problem, Batlle said, ‘this time we figured out everything’. Changing to a different shock set-up on his MBX-7R, the former World Champion said, ‘it helped me a lot, while it is impossible to drive comfortably on this track the car as now as comfortable as I can expect it too be’. Winning the last of his two European titles in 2011, while the Spaniard feels he is ‘missing a few tenths’ the base set-up is now good and on consistency he said ‘it is super nice, I could do 8 or 9 40-second laps in a row’.
Using the final practice to try a different tyre, Canas didn’t like the feeling it gave. Switching from Procircuit’s Addictive tyre to their H-Block, the teenager said it gave him too much side grip for his liking and he will go back for the start of qualifying tomorrow. Last year’s finalist would also use CP2 to try running a carbon front shock tower switching away from the alloy one he had been used with the chance of giving him smoother steering and he will stick with this for Q1. In terms of consistency, Canas believes he is not only fast over 3-laps but that the speed and consistency is there for qualifying but was quick to emphasise how running 5-minutes on the track is ‘not easy’.
Opening CP2 with two good laps, Figueiredo said, ‘At the beginning I was super fast and was on for a 2:00 but had a small mistake on my 3rd lap’. Having changed to heavier shock oil in his Kyosho, he said overall the car was better and faster but as the run went on the car got more difficult. Putting this down to his diff oils, he will for tomorrow do as he did with the shocks and go up in the oil weight.
‘So far so good’ was how Durães summed up his P6 in seeding. The Serpent driver said having struggled yesterday, a change of shock pistons for controlled practice as well as a change of tyre made his car ‘more comfortable’. Switching from AKA Zipps to Impacts, for the final practice he would try running a softer shock oil but said, ‘I think I will go back as it was easier to drive before’. Asked if he feels he can match his 3-lap seeding pace with a strong qualifying run, Durães said, ‘single lap times are not my goal as being consistent is most important and I think my consistency is OK’.