Bryan Baldo has ended Day 2 of the 1:8 Offroad European Championships in Sacile, Italy, as the fastest driver around the Ongaroring but it is fellow countryman & Mugen team-mate Robert Batlle who is the top seed as the event moves into qualifying tomorrow. Baldo put in an impressive 3-consecutive-laps in the second of the day’s two timed practice rounds with a time of 1:53.059, bettering Batlle’s TP1 topping time by over a second. Behind Baldo, Italian Alex Zanchettin posted the second fastest time of day practice with a 1:53.507 in TP2. However using EFRA’s tie-break, points awarded each round, the TLR driver is ranked 4th behind Kyosho’s Riccardo Berton. An improved TP2 would see defending champion David Ronnefalk post the 6th fastest time which was good enough to seed the HB/HPI Racing driver 10th.
Showing great consistency, his second practice time was only 2/10ths off his opening pace, Batlle said he was going for a better time over his last three laps of the 8-minutes but he ran out of fuel with just one corner to go. Fitting a softer rear rollbar to his MBX-7R as well as switching to Procircuit’s blue compound Hot Dice tyre, the ’07 & ’11 Champion said he was ‘happy with (the) consistency’. Believing he has ‘good speed’, he is ‘confident with the car’ and will start qualifying with it unchanged and focus on putting in a clean first round.
Changing the set-up on his MBX-7R for the final practice to less rear anti-dive, Baldo said this improved it a lot. Also going for a harder compound Procuit Hot Dice tyre, which made for more stability through the corners, the older of the two Baldo brothers said he was very comfortable now with the car. Asked how he liked the track, his own family’s track hosting next year’s Euros, the 23-year-old said at first he found it a bit difficult but having adapted his driving he now really likes it. Hoping there is no overnight rain, rain drops falling on a number of occasion over the day, he said he wont change anything for Q1.
Freshly crowned European B Champion Berton would make a front shock tower change to his MP9 for the final practice. Running the new taller tower in combination with Kyosho’s longer shock, this brought a big improvement over the bumps. Having felt after TP1 there was more time to be gained from his driving in the centre section, with the new suspension set-up the 16-year-old achieved this. ‘Very happy’ with his day, having stuck with Pro-Line’s Blockade tyre for TP2 he plans to make the switch to X2 Suburb for Q1.
Only 20th fastest in the first timed practice, Zanchettin was much happier with his 8ight 3.0 after a change of tyres and running less rear toe-in. The reigning Italian National Champion switched from Holeshot to Suburb which made the car a lot more consistent it being ‘really easy to drive but still fast’. With the track improving, the 20-year-old said it was now more like the Warm-up Race and going into qualifying he was ‘happy for the moment’.
Behind Zanchettin in the seeding, HB team-mates Renaud Savoya and Teemu Leino would end up fifth and sixth with their TP1 times despite TP2 proving much faster for a number of drivers. Lee Martin would post the fourth fastest time, a tenth up on Ronnefalk. Seeded 7th, the Mugen driver said ‘finally we got to the point we needed to be’. Having felt he had good pace yesterday, he put the improvement mainly down to reverting back to the same tyres he was good on before, X2 Blockades, he said he also changed his set-up to be closer to that of team-mate Batlle which helped too. Describing the track as ‘more rutted now’ he feels his MBX-7R is not rolling enough and for tomorrow he will go ‘a touch softer’ with his shock oils.
With the sixth fastest time from the two timed practices, Ronnefalk declared himself a lot more confident about qualifying following his second run. Changing to AKA’s Chain Link tyre, having had to wait for the track to be clean enough to use the tyre which he also ran at the Warm-up Race, the Swede the result saw his Orion powered D815 being the best its been so far. The only change he made, he said it was ‘really good’ and he feels ‘really safe with the car’. Having been on for a 1:53 pace until a mistake on his third lap the 19-year-old will continue with the car unchanged going into Q1 in the morning.
Son of event organiser Mauro Ongaro, 14-year-old Davide would see his car transformed by a simple body change. Describing his Mugen as ‘so so’ in the first round, a switch from the standard Mugen to a DT Racing bodyshell his LRP powered MBX-7R was ‘way more stable’ Having been concerned by his lack of pace in TP1, with the car ‘less edgy’ and him able to post the 7th fastest time in the second round he was now ‘super happy’ and will keep it the same for Q1.
Winner of the Euro B Championships when it was held at the Ongaroring in 2013, Marco Baruffolo was 8th fastest in the day’s closing action. The TLR driver said a combination of changing tyres and better driving led to his 4-second improvement. Switching from medium Grid Iron to Chain Link tyres he said his Picco powered 8ight had more traction and steering. In terms of his driving, the 17-year-old said he drove ‘cleaner lines’. Looking to further improve his corner speed by getting the car to turn in faster he will switch to a softer front spring for Q1.
2013 Podium finisher Martin Bayer was just behind the two Italian teenagers on pace, the Czech driver making improvements after switching from Holeshot to Handlebar tyres. Giving him more corner speed and making his FX powered XB8 easier to drive, he said running in the second heat the track was changing so much by the time the fastest guys were out on track later in the round. Overall however the former Electric Offroad European Champion said things were going ‘pretty ok’ and ‘comfortable with the car’ he would just wait to see how tomorrow goes when he will run in the same heat as Ronnefalk and Baldo and his Euro Offroad Series rival Joern Neumann.
Chassis – Agama A215 Engine – Bullitt 220 Tyres – Beta Freeride Medium Soft Fuel – Piranha Radio/Servos – Sanwa/KO Propo Body – Kit
Remarks – Another racer to have attended the warmup race, the 2012 European Champion has made no changes to his setup since arriving back at the Ongaroring. The only new part on the car is Agama’s newly released lexan wing which makes the car’s handling more lively while giving it less side bite. Having tried V-Max tires he felt they had more steering and side bite than the Freeride but the latter had more forward traction and so has chosen for them.
Chassis – Mugen MBX7R Engine – Ultimate M-4R Tyres – Procircuit Hot Dices Blue Fuel – Nitrolux Radio/Servos – Futaba/Highest Body – Delta Plastic
Remarks – Former World Champion and two time European Champion Robert Batlle is running the same setup and configuration on his MBX7R that he used at the warmup race. The only change being that he is now using a Delta Plastic body shell which he says has more stability than the kit body. If the track conditions remain the same, the Spaniard is not planning to change anything on the car for the rest of the event.
As proceedings at the 1:8 Offroad European Championships got official it was Robert Batlle who would set the pace in first timed practice in Italy. The Mugen driver topped the first of the two rounds that will be used to seed the heats for qualifying, with a three consecutive lap time of 1:54.128. Behind the 2011 Champion it was newly crowned European B Champion Riccardo Berton who was second fastest with a time of 1:55.068 with 3-time champion Renaud Savoya third quickest. For defending champion David Ronnefalk, who set the fastest lap time in free practice yesterday, it was not a good first round as he failed to get in three clean laps and was classified 62nd.
‘Super good’ was how Batlle described his run, the only issue over the 10-minutes being an error of his own doing when he over jumped a section. ‘Super happy’ with his MBX-7R having found the ‘right set-up’, the Mugen driver said all he needed to do now was ‘something with the tyres’ which he added are ‘still not 100%’. Describing the track as being ‘a little better than yesterday’, the former World Champion set the fastest lap of the round as one of only two drivers to run a 37-second lap time commenting that his ‘speed is good enough’ and he just needs to get a better feeling from his tyre choice.
Although the third of his consecutive three laps was ‘not very clean’, Berton was pleased to end up second fastest. The Kyosho driver said a switch to medium compound Grid Iron to Blockade for the counting round, he said the change gave him better overall traction. Asked about the track the 16-year-old said while it didn’t have a lot of jumps he liked it, adding that he feels there is more time to come from him by better driving the centre section of the track. Planning to try a soft compound Grid Iron in the second timed practice he is confident he is already in good shape for qualifying.
Savoya’s reaction to his time, the HB driver running early in the round, was ‘Good, I’m happy’. Having set a 37.8 second lap in the morning’s final free practice, the French ace said he found the track a little more difficult today. Switching to a different rear hub on his Orion powered D815 for the timed practice this resulted in the car rolling more and be ‘not that easy to drive’. With the car handling as it was he was ‘surprised’ by his Top 3 time but he still plans to switch back to the original hubs he ran. Running on JConcepts Reflex tyre he will change to the bigger pinned Remix which also has a ‘zig zag side pattern’ which should give better side bite. Winning his last Euros title in 2010 he is also considering running a lexan wing in TP2.
Savoya’s HB/HPI Racing team-mate Teemu Leino would post the 4th fastest time after discovering his radio was set 20% off full steering lock. Correcting it for the first timed round, the Finn said his Novarossi powered D815 was ‘really good’. With the increased steering he now needs to make the rear end more stable which would allow him to push harder. Set to make a rear toe change he added ‘its difficult to find the best way as part of the track is super slick with others having super high traction’.
A somewhat surprise runner-up at last year’s European Championships held in Germany, Martin Wollanka said just getting to know the track more had helped him to the fifth fastest time. Having missed the Warm-up Race, the factory Xray driver said yesterday was his first time around the Ongaroring adding he still has a bit more to learn as he is still ‘sometimes landing strange’. Making a shock set-up change after free practice he said his FX powered XB8’15 is driving well helped also by an ‘aero change’ having switched to a lexan rear wing. Running Pro-Line’s Lockdown X2 tyre, he plans to try a rear geometry change for TP2.
Completing the Top 6 was Alessandro Stocco. The 21-year-old said other than one mistake his run was pretty clean and he feels his TLR ‘is good for qualifying and not just three laps’. Switching from Pro-Line’s X4 Ion to X3 Suburb tyre, he said his 8ight 3.0 was more consistent and while he had to compromise by losing some outright speed it was still good.
Running Associated’s new RC8 B3 ‘pretty much as you can buy it’, Neil Cragg said his run to the 7th fastest time was ‘surprisingly good to be honest’. The British driver said in free practice they were trying too many different tyres which left them ‘all over the shop’. Opting for Pro-Line’s Blockade tyre in X1 compound for TP1, which he described as a ‘solid tyre’, the former Electric Offroad World Champion also went up in diff oils which was ‘a step in the right direction’. For his next outing he plans to make a rear droop adjustment. Behind Cragg, TLR’s Ricardo Monteiro, Mugen’s Bryan Baldo and Xray’s Miguel Matias completed the Top 10.
Chasing a third consecutive title at the 35th running of the Euros, Ronnefalk said he ruined his first three laps with a mistake of his own and then on his second attempt had issues with traffic before running out of time. Running heavier shock oil today in his HB D815, he said the buggy was better. Still looking to make the car a little easier to drive, he said it has a lot of side bite making him afraid to go too hard into the corners. Having started the day running on AKA’s new as yet unnamed pattern and compound in the final free practice, he switched to the Enduro for the TP1 saying he it suited today’s track conditions better.
Warm-up race winner Elliott Boots would post the 12th fastest time, the Kyosho driver feeling his still has a bit in hand in terms of set-up. He said while his three laps were clean he admitted he is ‘not the fastest out there’. Having changed little on his Reds Racing powered MP9, the British driver has been waiting for the track to come to him saying after TP1 that it is ‘getting there’. ‘Playing the long game’, he said it hard to know what others are doing with tyres adding he is ‘not yet playing’ the additive game.
Chassis – HB D815 Engine – Orion 321 Factory Tyres – AKA Enduro Soft Fuel – Runner Time Radio/Servos – KO Propo Body – JConcepts Silencer
Remarks – Current European Champion David Ronnefalk is running his first Euros with the HB D815. Using a similar setup as in the warmup race he has mounted a 4mm longer chassis plate which makes the car more stable and he is also using an old HB rear shock tower which is lower and prevents the car from rolling so much in the corners. In terms of set-up changes he is waiting for the track to come to his car and has only adjust the oils in his car for the hotter conditions. Playing with tires he has found a good setup with his AKA Enduro but will try Chainlinks, both in soft compound.
Remarks – Newly crowned French National Champion is running a standard 2015 version of the Xray XB8. Having raced at the warmup he started the event with the same setup but as the track is now a lot smoother than at the race in May he has since changed springs and gone to a softer rear diff and harder centre diff oil.