17-year-old David Ronnefalk is the Top Qualifier of the 33rd running of the 1:8 Offroad European Championships, the rising Kyosho star securing the honor in style as he claimed his third TQ run of the French event in the fifth & final round of qualifying. Setting the third fastest time in Q5 behind Team Associated’s Yannick Aigoin, World Champion Robert Batlle ends qualifying 2nd overall with arch rival Renaud Savoya completing the Top 3 despite a disappointing final heat in which he could only manage the 12th fastest time. A great final qualifier to the fifth fastest time by defending Champion Darren Bloomfield ensures the very relieved TLR driver will line up in the Semi Finals, the performance injecting a new lease of confidence in the British driver for tomorrow’s big day.
Ronnefalk, who when he TQ’d the European B Championships went on to become the 2009 Champion, was delighted to claim the honor of Top Qualifier in the premiere event. Running his final qualifier after Savoya and Batlle, the only drivers who had a chance of denying him the overall TQ but failed, the Swede said he knew that he had the overall TQ before he started his run but added that he still wanted to finish qualifying in style by topping the round. Suffering one bobble after the ripples section, Ronnefalk said the run was otherwise perfect and without the moment he thinks he could have equaled his Q1 time, which remains the fastest of the weekend. Looking forward to the final, last year’s Runner-up, who made it clear at the beginning of the week that he is here for revenge, said his AKA shod Orion powered MP9 has performed perfectly all week and he expects it to be no different for the finals although they will use the Semis practice to ‘try a few ideas’.
Suffering a mistake on his final run when his view was blocked by a marshal attending another car, Batlle said missing out on the TQ was not a big problem. The Spaniard who is chasing a third European title said ‘everything is very close’ adding that being separated by 1 second after 5-minutes is ‘nothing’. A lot happier with his Novarossi powered MBX-7 having struggled earlier in the event to get comfortable with the buggy, he said they don’t plan any big changes for the finals with just a few final adjustments to try and make the buggy a little more consistent for the longer runs, the Semi finals being 20-minute affairs while the title deciding Main will be run over 45-minutes.
Savoya said he was ‘obviously disappointed’ by missing out on the overall TQ but added that it was better to try a set-up with the final in mind rather than stay with the same buggy to get a position that will make little difference to the outcome of tomorrow’s racing. Wanting to try something different the ‘Shark’ said they went a little too much with the changes. Trying a harder rear shock spring and harder Sweep tyres it made his Orion powered XB9 lack rotation and was forcing him to drive a safe run. Very happy with the buggy in Q4, which he TQ’d, he said they will revert to this set-up for the Semi practice as it was very consistent but they will make a few small tweaks to try and find a little more steering.
Ending qualifying fourth in the overall ranking, 2006 Champion Aigoin said his nVision powered Associated was the best it has been all week. Reverting to a previously used set he said they found a really good balance and he is looking forward to the finals. While decided on the tyre he will use, Procircuits Hot Dice, he is not yet sure which compound to use and will use the Semi Practice to do back to back comparisons. Asked about strategies for the finals, Aigoin said with tyre wear low and run time not a huge issue he said unless someone can do an Adam Drake on their run time, the final should be a straight race with the fastest driver the winner.
Enjoying by far his best qualifier setting the 5th fastest time behind Xray’s Martin Bayer, and less than a 1/10 of a second ahead of HB’s Teemu Leino, Bloomfield ‘woohoo’ reaction to the result summed up his relief. Switching to AKA’s Enduro tyre he said it transformed his Novarossi powered 8ight. While all his rivals buggies worked on a small pin tyre on the unique chalk surface track, his couldn’t get his chassis to work but switching to the big block Enduro pattern he said as soon as he hit the track it was a case of ‘oh yeh’ this is good. The tyre gave the 3.0 version of the 8ight much better steering and overall he was able to drive much smoother rather than having to use the throttle to control the steering. Bloomfield said he now needs to pick himself up after the disappointment of the past few days but with great encouragement from former World Champion and AKA front man Mark Pavidis he says he is confident he can carry his Q5 form into the Semi finals.
Round 5 Qualifying Top 12
1. David Ronnefalk – Kyosho/Orion – 8/5:21.42
2. Yannick Aigoin – Associated/nVision – 8/5:24.42
3. Robert Batlle – Mugen/Novarossi – 8/5:25.29
4. Martin Bayer – Xray/LRP – 8/5:25.33
5. Darren Bloomfield – TLR/Novarossi – 8/5:26.88
6. Teemu Leino – HB/LRP – 8/5:26.95
7. Jerome Sartel – Agama/Bullitt – 8/5:27.18
8. Andres Marcelino – RB/RB – 8/5:27.85
9. Joern Neumann – Durango/Picco – 8/5:27.96
10.Christoffer Svensson – Kyosho/OS – 8/5:29.76
11.Elliott Boots – Kyosho/Novarossi – 8/5:30.28
12.Renaud Savoya – Xray/Orion – 8/5:30.52
Top 16 (Direct Semi Final Qualifiers)
1. David Ronnefalk – Kyosho/Orion – 528 pts
2. Robert Batlle – Mugen/Novarossi – 523
3. Renaud Savoya – Xray/Orion – 523
4. Yannick Aigoin – Associated/nVision – 519
5. Jerome Aigoin – Kyosho/Novarossi – 515
6. Martin Bayer – Xray/LRP – 513
7. Lee Martin – Mugen/Beat – 513
8. Joern Neumann – Durango/Picco – 512
9. Renaud Monin – Mugen/Bullitt – 502
10.Jerome Sartel – Agama/Bullitt – 497
11.Elliott Boots – Kyosho/Novarossi – 496
12.Christoffer Svensson – Kyosho/OS – 496
13.Darren Bloomfield – TLR/Novarossi – 492
14.Neil Gragg – Associated/LRP – 490
15.Bryan Baldo – Mugen/Novarossi – 489
16.Miguel Mathias – TLR/RB – 487
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Friday, July 12, 2013
Xray’s Renaud Savoya became the first home driver to top the time sheets in qualifying at the 1:8 Offroad European Championship in Reims, the 3 time Champion TQ’ing the penultimate round from fellow Frenchman Yannic Aigoin with Germany’s Joern Neumann completing the Top 3. Overnight TQ holder David Ronnefalk, who set the pace in 2 of yesterday’s 3 qualifiers, had a ‘bad round after two crashes left the Kyosho driver to complete Q4 only 13th fastest.
Savoya, who has steadily moved to the top starting off qualifying with a run to 6th in Q1, then 3rd in Q2 and 2nd in the closing run of yesterday’s action, was very happy with the result admitting that it didn’t feel like a TQ run as his Orion powered XB9 was pushing a little. Having made a number of small changes to his set-up last night, the ‘Shark’ also tried a harder compound of Sweep’s Micro Contact tyre in the warm-up for the heat but said it didn’t work and he changed back to the same compound he ended on yesterday. While the changes gave the buggy more traction and overall grip he plans to change the rear shock set-up to try reduce the amount the buggy is squatting.
Team Associated’s Aigoin said his run was ‘OK’ adding that it was the first time he got a full clean round without any traffic issues. Switching back to the clutch/gear ratio he started qualifying with having changed this for Q3, he said he was much happier with the feeling it gave. The 2006 Champion said while his Centro RC8 is ok, for the final qualifier he will revert to the set-up he ran in controlled practice but with a slightly different rear geometry to be sure that this works how he expects it to do for the pending finals.
Durango’s Neumann, who after a solid start to qualifying with 4th in Q1 didn’t have a good Q2 & 3, was pleased to be back at the sharp end of the times. Just 1.3 seconds off Savoya’s pace, the reigning Electric 4WD Offroad European Champion said changing to lighter diff oil on his prototype chassis had improved it at the end of the straight, the point at where he says he is losing most of his time. While the change was a step forward, it still wasn’t fully what he was looking for and for Q5 he will fit a 2mm spacer to the front of the buggy to raise the suspension arms hoping this might help him find the corner speed he is lacking.
Setting the fourth fastest time despite after losing 3 seconds due to a mistakes, Mugen’s Robert Batlle was a lot happier with his MBX-7 today saying the ‘car looked really good’. After discussing possible set-up solutions with team-mate Lee Martin, the World Champion followed the direction the British ace took for Q3 when he switching to running lighter oil in the diffs. Opposite to the direction the Spaniard had been going yesterday, he is now confident he has a buggy he is a lot more comfortable with and with a clean run he has the pace to TQ the final qualifier.
Martin, who posted the 5th fastest time, switched from Proline’s Ion tyre to Big Blocks for today and was pleased with how they worked although he said he still needs to get more rotation into the buggy. Planning to try Proline’s Blockade for his final run, the World Championship finalist said he will also change the anti squat saying that hopefully having run three tyre patterns he will be able to judge the one that will best work with the set-up direction he has taken.
Completing the Top 6 just ahead of Jerome Aigoin was new Italian rising star Davide Ongaro. The 12-year-old was Top Qualifier at the European B Championships earlier in the year and is making his Euro A debut here in France. Running an RB powered Mugen, he put his run down to better driving. Describing it as a ‘good and clean heat’, he said he has changed his driving to be a little less aggressive. Very happy with his ProCircuit Hot Dice equipped MBX-7, he said he hasn’t changed the set-up since the start of qualifying and he plans to continue as is for Q5.
Ronnefalk, who still has the fastest qualifying time set in Q1, crashed on his opening lap at the triple/double feeling that the surface in the jump has changed from yesterday and this is was caught him out. Trying to pull back the lost time he said a second crash when he tried to avoid Neumann, who was leading the heat, finished the run but still using the same set of AKA Hadlebar tyres he ran all day yesterday he said they had gone past their best and so the run would probably have been slow even without the incidents.
Round 4 Qualifying Top 13
1. Renaud Savoya – Xray/Orion – 8/5:23.16
2. Yannick Aigoin – Associated/nVision – 8/5:24.27
3. Joern Neumann – Durango/Picco – 8/5:24.42
4. Robert Batlle – Mugen/Novarossi – 8/5:24.91
5. Lee Martin – Mugen/Beat – 8/5:26.78
6. Davide Ongaro – Mugen/RB – 8/5:27.85
7. Jerome Aigoin – Kyosho/Novarossi – 8/5:28.42
8. Martin Bayer – Xray/LRP – 8/5:28.74
9. Neil Gragg – Associated/LRP – 8/5:29.76
10.Miguel Mathias – TLR/RB – 8/5:30.04
11.Renaud Monin – Mugen/Bullitt – 8/5:30.05
12.Andres Marcelino – RB/RB – 8/5:30.20
13.David Ronnefalk – Kyosho/Orion – 8/5:30.30
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Friday, July 12, 2013
Swedish ace David Ronnefalk holds the overnight TQ at the 1:8 Offroad European Championships after he topped a second round of qualifying in Reims, France, taking his Orion powered Kyosho to the fastest time in Q3 by 4-seconds from Xray’s Renaud Savoya with Lee Martin taking his Mugen to third. Setting the 12th fastest time, the closing heat of the day saw defending Champion Darren Bloomfield post his best round with the British driver confident he can build on that in tomorrow’s final two qualifiers.
Missing out on his morning time by 2-seconds due to the track being slower, Ronnefalk described the third of his 5-minute heats as ‘the cleanest run of the day’. The 17-year-old said his MP9 was very easy to drive as his Super Soft compound AKA Handlebar tyres started to become slicks, this being the same set of tyres’ fifth run on the unique chalk surface track. Having kept his MP9 the same all day last year’s runner-up said he will now use the morning’s qualifiers to break in new tyres for the finals, all drivers having to progress from the Semi finals into the 45-minute title deciding Main, irrespective if they are Top Qualifier.
Improving every round Savoya was pleased with his progress over the day. The ‘Shark’ pushed a little harder in Q3 but adding more rear brake to his Orion powered XB9 he said it was too much and it felt like he was handbraking into the corners. Making the buggy a little difficult to drive the 3-time champion said he was still able to record his fastest lap of the 3 qualifiers despite the track getting slower over the day. ‘As we have seen from the first day tyres are key to this event’ and the French ace plans to try a different foam combination in his Sweep tyres tomorrow having secured a Top 16 in the qualification ranking therefore booking himself a spot in the Semi finals.
2WD Electric Offroad European Champion Martin was much happier with his Q3 performance. Changing to softer diff oil all round on his Beat powered MBX-7 along with switching to a harder compound Proline Ion tyre he said it was a big improvement although he said they still need to find more to get closer to Ronnefalk’s pace. Tomorrow the British driver said he might try a different tyre pattern to see how it works on his improved handling chassis. For Martin’s team-mate Robert Batlle 2 mistakes, one of which required marshaling, left the Q2 pace setter 8th fastest. The Spaniard is still struggling to get a level of grip he is comfortable with. With his place in the Semis secured he said they will try something very different in the penultimate qualifier in terms of set-up to try get more mechanical grip from the buggy.
Jerome Aigoin took his Kyosho to the fourth fastest time just ahead of his twin brother Yannick. Despite ‘one little mistake’, Jerome said the run was not so bad adding that he is ‘too slow for the moment’ and the goal for tomorrow is to find more speed. Yannick was happy with his pace leading Savoya, the pair running in the same heat, until two ‘bad’ final laps. Having only had time to change the clutch on his nVision powered Centro RC8, the change in heat order not allowing him time to make any set-up changes, he said he didn’t like the change of ratio and clutch and he will revert to the previous version for Q4.
Behind the famous offroad racing brothers, 28-year-old Renaud Monin completed the Top 6. The Paris resident was very happy with his Mugen saying he had gone with the wrong tyres in the opening two qualifiers. Fitting Beta’s Enforcer tyre on the front and Freeride on the rear he said they made the Bullitt powered MBX-7 very stable and he is confident that he can do better and improve on his pace tomorrow.
One of the most spectacular drivers in 1:8 offroad, Elliott Boots equaled his best run of the day with another 10th fastest time just ahead of JQ boss Joesph Quagraine. The Kyosho driver said he was on for a good run until a mistake but admits his biggest problem is that he is struggling to get to terms with the track as he can’t find a good rhythm.
Fellow Brit, Bloomfield said his TLR was ‘a lot better’ in Q3. Having run Super Soft compound AKA tyres so far he said going against the thought that harder tyres mean less grip he switched to soft and immediately his 8ight 3.0 had more traction. Admitting the wasted too much time trying to get the buggy to work on Super Soft he said for Q4 he will try a medium compound.
Round 3 Qualifying Top 12
1. David Ronnefalk – Kyosho/Orion – 8/5:21.76
2. Renaud Savoya – Xray/Orion – 8/5:25.75
3. Lee Martin – Mugen/Beat – 8/5:26.04
4. Jerome Aigoin – Kyosho/Novarossi – 8/5:26.30
5. Yannick Aigoin – Associated/nVision – 8/5:27.16
6. Renaud Monin – Mugen/Bullitt – 8/5:28.24
7. Nicolas Rodriguez – Hongkor/Falcon – 8/5:29.22
8. Robert Batlle – Mugen/Novarossi – 8/5:29.24
9. Joesph Quagraine – JQ/JQ – 8/5:29.46
10.Elliott Boots – Kyosho//Novarossi – 8/5:29.77
11.Bryan Baldo – Mugen/Novarossi – 8/5:30.41
12.Darren Bloomfield – TLR/Novarossi – 8/5:30.71
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Thursday, July 11, 2013
Mugen’s Robert Batlle has TQ’d the second round of qualifying at the 1:8 Offroad European Championship, the World Champion topping the times by just 4/10ths over Q1 pace setter David Ronnefalk with 3-time former Champion Renaud Savoya completing the Top 3. Once again defending champion Darren Bloomfield struggled, the TLR driver only able for the 38th fastest time due to ‘struggling for grip’.
Batlle, whose TQ time was 5-seconds off Ronnefalk’s morning pace, described the run as ‘not so bad’. While his Novarossi powered MBX-7 now has good forward traction the Spaniard said he doesn’t have the grip he would like to have and as a result he is still not 100% comfortable with the buggy. Describing the track as a ‘little slower’ than Q1 in which he was second fastest, the 2011 European Champion said they’re definitely going in the right direction with the set-up but with the track changing so much each run it is hard to know what to do for Q3 which brings Day 3 of the event to a close.
Ronnefalk said he had ‘good pace but just needs to stay on his wheels’. The Kyosho team driver was on another potential TQ run but threw it away with a late mistake at the triple-double section. Describing the track as ‘more slippery’ and pointing out that his fastest lap was a second slower than his morning time he said the key to the loose conditions is not to push too hard as it only ends up costing time. In terms of his set-up he said he doesn’t plan to make any changes to his Orion powered MP9 and instead just put in a clean round.
‘Better and better, following the plan’ was Savoya’s summary of his run to the third fastest time. Running Sweep’s Mirco Contact tyre on his XB9 he said his buggy was faster even though the track was slower so he is ‘really happy’ with where they are at now. Struggling a little with his clutch which was causing the Orion powered buggy to run-on slightly in the corners he will fit a harder clutch for Q3 which he said should disengage quicker and alleviate the small problem. Planning to leave his chassis set-up as is he said the aim for Q3 is to get another strong round which will allow them to use tomorrow’s two remaining qualifiers to test some things with a view to the finals.
Fourth fastest Jerome Aigoin said considering his lack of grip the run was not so bad. Changing to AKA’s Handlebar tyre, which he was happy with in yesterday’s practice, he said compared with the Wishbone he ran in Q1, it left his Novarossi powered MP9 with no traction. Reverting to a plan of just keeping the thing on four wheels for the 5-minutes, he said he needs to work on his set-up if he is to attempt to become overall Top Qualifier in his home country adding that he also needs to get his head in better order too for the remaining qualifiers.
The second of the famous racing Aigoin brothers Yannick posted the 5th fastest time. The humorous Team Associated driver said he was pleased to see he ‘can still drive 5-minutes without mistakes’ adding his time could have been better but for traffic over his last two laps which he said caused him to struggle to keep his rhythm. Having made some small changes to the rear shocks and toe of his Centro chassis RC8 he said it helped make the buggy a little faster and for Q3 he will make some further adjustments to try and make the rear even more stable. The two time former champion also plans to run a different clutch for his next run.
Completing the Top 6 was 16-year-old Oscar Baldo. The Spanish Mugen driver suffered 3 mistakes in Q1 but having made his Procircuit shod MBX-7 more stable for Q2 by running heavier diffs and roll-bars he was able to complete a clean round. Declaring his run as a ‘very good result’, he doesn’t plan to make any changes for Q3 other than choosing the right compound of Hot Dices tyre for the conditions.
22-year-old Christoffer Svensson was pleased with his run to the 7th fastest time, the Swedish Kyosho driver saying his OS powered MP9 ‘felt really good’. Having driven a little too reserved in Q1, he said he pushed much harder second time round but conscious that he needed to keep the run clean he started to hold back a little by the end but he is happy that both he and the buggy are capable of more.
Behind Svensson, Martin Bayer took his LRP powered Xray to 8th for the round. Third quickest in Q1, the Czech driver said the track changed a lot from the morning and his XB9 was ‘pretty loose’. For Q3 the former podium finisher plans to come up with a completely different set-up.
Elsewhere Team Durango’s Joern Neumann, who was 4th in Q1, was on for another competitive run until he hit traffic. The German said he thought the slower driver would open up so he could pass but he didn’t and the pair ending up crashing. Mugen’s Lee Martin suffered ‘one stupid mistake’ at the triple which cost him 4 seconds and left him 13th. The British ace said he is not sure he picked the right compound of Proline Ion tyre for the run saying he needs to find more forward traction for the next one.
Round 2 Qualifying Top 12
1. Robert Batlle – Mugen/Novarossi – 8/5:24.87
2. David Ronnefalk – Kyosho/Orion – 8/5:25.26
3. Renaud Savoya – Xray/Orion – 8/5:25.67
4. Jerome Aigoin – Kyosho/Novarossi – 8/5:26.15
5. Yannick Aigoin – Associated/nVision – 8/5:26.32
6. Oscar Baldo – Mugen/Novarossi – 8/5:28.07
7. Christoffer Svensson – Kyosho/OS – 8/5:28.24
8. Martin Bayer – Xray/LRP – 8/5:28.61
9. Renaud Monin – Mugen/Bullitt – 8/5:28.85
10.Ari Heinonen – Kyosho/Alpha – 8/5:29.66
11.Neil Cragg – Associated/LRP – 8/5:29.98
12.Jerome Sartel – Agama/Bullitt – 8/5:30.50
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Thursday, July 11, 2013
The statistics for equipment at this year’s European Championships, as provided by the host Reims EMC Club, show that reigning World Champions Mugen are again the most popular chassis with the Japanese company represented this week in France by 33 drivers with Kyosho the next most popular choice with 29 followed by defending European Champions TLR whose 8ight is being run in Reims by 23 racers. Represented by 17 drivers Xray is the fourth biggest brand.
In terms of powering their buggies Novarossi remain the most popular choice among the 171 officially listed entries. The reigning World & European Champion’s engines are fitted to 46 buggies with France’s RB the second most popular choice with 24 users followed by OS with 18 and Orion with 15.
With a total of 16 tyre brands being used at these, the 33rd running of the Championships, it is defending Champions AKA who have the largest share of the field with 52 users followed by Procircuit, the tyre choice of World Champion Robert Batlle, and Beta which are each providing traction to 27 drivers. Proline are the fourth biggest supplier with 21 drivers.
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Chassis Name – Team Associated RC8 / Centro conversion
Engine – nVision
Fuel – Meccamo
Tires – ProCircuit Hot Dices
Radio/Servos – Spektrum
Remarks – Two-time European champion Yannick Aigoin is running the Centro conversion on his Associated RC8 buggy. With the engine mounted 10mm further forward and the rear offset increased by 8mm, through a new rear upright and mounting it to the wishbone so that it is shorter, the car is working well for the Frenchman. In terms of setup it is almost identical to that used in his National Championship but he has slightly tweaked the diff oils for the conditions. In terms of tires, like all his ProCircuit team mates he has tried the different options of tires available to him but has reverted to the Hot Dices which he says just work the best.
Thursday, July 11, 2013