Chassis – Kyosho MP9 TKI 4 Engine – Reds WR7 Diamond Tyres – Pro-Line Fugitive X3 Fuel – MLC Radio/Servos – Sanwa Body – Kyosho MP9 TKI 2 Remarks – The current European Champion Elliott Boots is in Sweden defending his back to back title driving the TKI 4 version of the MP9 platform. His car is equipped with the new emulsion shock caps, and also features some new brake pads that are meant to smoothen the braking, especially at high temperatures.
Elliott Boots is fastest at the end of the opening day of the 1:8 Offroad European Championships in Sweden. The Kyosho driver eventually beat David Ronnefalk’s FP2 time in the fourth & final practice with the European and the World Champion separated by a little more than 4/10ths of a second over their fastest 3-consecutive laps. Making it an all European Champions Top 3, Darren Bloomfield would close the day with an improved time to remain third quickest. Knocking almost 3-seconds off his time, young Spanish talent Juan Carlos Canas Carrasco would be one of the key improvers in FP4 with his time putting him fourth fastest ahead of Yannick Aigoin and Robert Batlle who both failed to better their FP3 times.
Summing up his first day at the Gröndal Ring track as ‘not bad’, Boots said, ‘I didn’t think it was that quick because the car was still comfortable to drive’. Having changed to a newer car for FP3 but reporting it felt strange at times, the reigning champion said they stuck with the new car but just reverted to the same set-up as they ran at the Warm-up Race. Winner of that event and happy with his car set-up, the British driver feels he now needs to start ‘switching up a few lines’ adding ‘me and David were holding each other up a bit running next to each other that time’. Suffering a flame out in the extended 9-minute run, he said they had planned to run the full run without stopping and the engine cut was his own fault and not a lack of fuel, as he ‘gunned the throttle’ after a roll. Using the same set of Pro-line Fugitive tyres on his MP9 for all four practice runs he said, ‘they lasted which is good too’. Asked about track conditions he replied, ‘the bumps are appearing, they’re not there yet but I think the they’re going to come out in big pieces’.
While only 4th fastest in the times for FP4 and unable to beat his quickest time set in the first half of the day, Ronnefalk said, ‘Overall it was a good day and the car is working really good’. The HB Racing star driver continued, ‘we tried a bunch of different tyres and now we know what to try in different conditions. Tomorrow I’ll work on consistency’. In terms of the track surface the Swede, who walked the track together with mentor Adrien Bertin immediately after the final practice, said, ‘I walked the track and it is less bumpy than it feels on the driver stand. It is getting bumpy out there so we’ll see if I have to look at changing some of my lines’.
‘It was a good day’ was Bloomfield’s summary of the opening day, the Agama in a hurry to check out a Speedway event taking place within the Gröndals Motorsport Arena in which the RC track is also located. Opting to not change to Beta’s Freeride tyre for the final practice, he instead ran a set of prototype emulsion shock caps reporting them as having ‘mellowed out’ the car over the bumps and ‘help it carry more speed’. With Day 2 opening with a quick 3-minute shakedown run for drivers before going into the two rounds of controlled practice, the British driver will use this to try the different tyre having ran V-Max’s all day.
15-year-old Canas said after his day started out quite bad with him well off the pace he worked his way up declaring himself ‘happy now’. Having attended the Warm-up race, the Mugen driver said there were two problems starting out today, one being his head not being in the game and the other being his engine. Changing to a slower engine he said this helped a lot, the quicker engine having made his car too aggressive to drive. Asked for his thoughts on the track he replied, ‘I like the layout but it is too bumpy’.
Aigoin would opt to make his Xray a little more aggressive for the final practice but said ‘it was too aggressive for me’. On the podium at last year’s championships he continued, ‘I have to accept the Warm-up set-up and drive it’. Describing the track as ‘breaking up a little slower (than at the Warm-up)’ he added, ‘but it will end up as the same bumpy track’. In terms of tyres, the multiple champion said, ‘I’m running (Procircuit) H Block, it works, it’s my favourite tyre and it’s what I always test on’. Endorsing his confidence in the tyres he would switch tyres during the final practice to a smaller pin but said ‘they didn’t feel right’.
Rounding out the Top 6 in Free Practice, a slightly dejected Batlle wasn’t happy with his final run. The Spaniard said, ‘we tested different things, we changed the anti-squat and camber links and it was slow and not consistent so we will go back’. The Spaniard concluded, ‘the base set-up is not bad but we need to improve it a little bit so we will try again tomorrow’.
Chassis – HB Racing D817 Engine – Team Orion CRF Factory RS V3 WC Tyres – JConcepts Stalkers R2 Compound Fuel – Runner Time Top 25 Radio/Servos – Sanwa/ Highest Body – JConcepts Silencer Remarks – Reigning World Champion David Ronnefalk is running a D817 equipped with carbon radio tray stiffeners that are meant to improve the responsiveness of the servos under stressful conditions. He is also using 20° caster blocks and the new HB wing.
Darren Bloomfield was quickest in the latest round of practice at the European Championships in Sweden, the Agama driver topping the times for FP3 from reigning champion Elliott Boots. While improving on his time from the opening practice, the British driver finding over 2-seconds, he couldn’t better David Ronnefalk’s pace from the second round which still stands as the fastest 3-consecutive laps of the Gröndal Ring track. The first time we got an official time for Boots as he ran without a transponder in the first two, the Kyosho driver ran almost an identical time with a 2:01.630 compared to Bloomfield’s 2:01.613. Behind the two Brits, Xray’s Yannick Aigoin would set the the fourth fastest time overall ahead of Robert Battle. Portuguese driver João Figueiredo had a good FP3 run to complete the Top 6 with one round of free practice remaining that will bring Day 1’s proceedings to a close.
‘The car was a lot better’ was how Bloomfield summed up his latest run. The 2012 Champion, continued, ‘we lowered the rear hinge pin height which made it more stable in the rear end. That’s it really’. Happy with his car he added, we could do with losing a bit of initial steering so we’ll look at that for the next one’. Running on Beta’s V-Max tyre in the first three runs, he also plans to switch to their Freeride tyre saying, ‘its a bigger block tyre so it should pedal through the bumps better’.
On his FP3 run, Boots said, ‘I ran a new car that one having run an old car before but it felt different’. The Warm-up Race winner continued, ‘I’m not sure if its the track or the car but it did some strange things but other than that its got the pace’. Asked if he would switch back to his old car, drivers having to tech which chassis they will race by the end of today, he said, ‘We’ll play around with the decision before we decide but we’ve got until the end of the day to make up our mind’. On track conditions Boots said, ‘its breaking up now that was catching me out in a few places’.
Summing up his run, his best three laps 5-seconds off his PF2 time, Ronnefalk said, ‘I changed to a harder compound tyre and it wasn’t good. The car was sliding and catching the ruts and I crashed a couple of times. This left me in a bunch of cars and it not an easy track to run alongside other cars. I knew the tyre was wrong’. Running the O2 version of JConcepts new Kosmos tyre, he is considering trying two different tyre options in the final practice which is a 9-minute run compared the previous 5-minute rounds. Also switching engines, trying a 3-port Orion compared to the 7-port he ran in the first two practices, he said, ‘it felt good but the driving style is a little different compared to the 7-port so I will give it another go in the last one’.
Having struggled with what direction to go with set-up in the morning, Aigoin said, ‘we went all the way back to our warm-up set-up’. 3rd fastest for FP3, the popular Frenchman continued, ‘we have nothing except this, so the work for 2-months at home was wasted’. Happy with how the car is now running he said, ‘we can always improve but the pace is good and I’m getting old so being up the the kids is OK for me’. With track conditions at the Warm-up ‘a lot bumpier’, he said, ‘the car is easy to drive so maybe it is better for now to make it more reactive. We will change some small details so to have a little less rolling and a little more steering’.
‘Much better than before, we changed so many things’, was Batlle reaction after FP3. The Mugen driver continued, ‘We tested so many things at home and put what we thought would work into our plan and we now have a good set-up. From today it’s now just small details’. Making the move from long time tyre sponsor Procircuit to AKA for the 2017, he switch to their Zipps tyre for the third round finding then an improvement but adding they would work better if the track was cleaner. A driver notorious for playing the long game he concluded, ‘there is still a week to go’.
David Ronnefalk has set the early pace in practice at the 1:8 Offroad European Championship according to the official timing with reigning champion Elliott Boots looking quick but opting to not run a transponder in the first two rounds of practice. Recording a time of 2:00.952 for his best 3-consecutive laps of the Gröndal Ring’s unique surface in the second of the runs, Ronnefalk was fastest from Darren Bloomfield who posted his quickest time in the opening practice. With Ronnefalk’s advantage 3-seconds, Italian Riccardo Berton completes the Top 3, 2/10ths of a second off Bloomfield with Swedish female racer Jessica Pålsson next up with the fourth fastest time.
‘Both rounds were really good’, was Ronnefalk’s reaction to his early performance. The HB Racing driver said, ‘tyres are the main thing we are working on because other than that I am very comfortable with the track and I know the car is very good here’. With Jason Ruona making the trip over from the US to support their driver, the World Champion has two new tyres available to him for the event. With the Stackers having made their debut at the recent US Nationals, the new Kosmos hit the track for the very first time this morning with Ronnefalk happy with the additions. He said, ‘I think these are what we were missing and they fill in the gap for the European and Asia drivers who have requested this tyre of tyre’ adding, ‘the Kosmos is similar to an Impact/Blockade’. Planning to run a different engine so to have a second one ready as a spare, on track conditions he said, ‘it is starting to break through the hard top surface so I think the bumps will start appearing now’.
‘It seems good’ was how Bloomfield summed up his start to practice adding, ‘its a better start than I thought’. The Agama driver said, ‘We struggled at the Warm-up with 1 or 2 things so its good to up there and still not be totally happy with the car because when you find it you know its going to be even better’. Highlighting Boots lack of a transponder and conceding his fellow countryman is most likely faster, the former European Champion said, ‘I have a touch too much steering and I have changed the front all I can so I will look at the rear for the next one’. Asked his thoughts on track conditions he said, ‘Its rough but it is offroad and since the warm-up they improved a lot the jumps. The are way more doable now’.
A very pleased looking Boots described his morning’s runs as having been ‘very good’. He continued, ‘everything is all good. We’ve made no drastic changes and focused just on being on track again and get used to the place again’. Having run Proline’s Blockades tyre in the opening practice he switch to Fugitive lights for the second run, the Kyosho driver saying, ‘we went to the same tyre at the Warm-up and it gave me more of a feeling I was looking for, before it was more edgy but I’m comfortable with it now’. Planning to have a transponder in for the next one, the Warm-up Race winner said, ‘the surface has loosened up now so its nicer to drive’.
Finishing on the podium at the Warm-up Race behind Boots and Ronnefalk, Robert Batlle summed up the first half of practice as ‘not bad’. The Mugen driver continued, ‘we are just trying to find a way to make the car more comfortable for the bumps and for me to also get used to the track’. The former World & European Champion added, ‘the surface here is quite difficult and we are not used to it but we have a plan to follow and tomorrow we will choose what configuration of set-up we will use’.
On the podium at the Euros last year in Spain, multiple champion Yannick Aigoin had admitting to struggling to get his head around the kind of set-up it takes to get the car to work on the unique surface. The Xray driver said, ‘we are trying to decide which way to go with the set-up. We did a lot of testing since the warm-up to find the right compromise. The Warm-up set-up was completely wrong at home but good here’. Trying to deal with the surface and the ‘super high speed’ layout, the offroad veteran said its like nothing compared to track in France and while they had a good base set-up at the Warm-up he is fighting taking that direction again in his head.
With Team Associated on the podium at last year’s championship thanks to Neil Cragg, they will be looking to better that result this year. Now with World Championship star Davide Ongaro joining Cragg, they have one of their best line-ups for targeting the 1:8 title. Ongaro described the second practice as ‘better than the first one’ having switched from AKA’s Citybeam to soft Impact tyre. Asked if he liked the track layout, the teenager replied, ‘Not so much but it is better than the Warm-up race for sure’. For the 3rd of his four practice runs today he will remove the 30grams of weight he is running in the rear of the car as well as switch to Associated’s emulsion shock caps along with using the track time to run on a set of Zipps tyres.