The first day of qualifying at the 1:8 Offroad European Championships produced TQ runs from three different drivers with Robert Batlle the latest driver to top the time sheets around the Ongaroring. Running the fastest 5-minute time of the day, the Mugen driver topped Q3 from Elliott Boots and defending champion David Ronnefalk both having topped the earlier rounds. Fastest in the opening qualifier it is Boots who leaves the track holding the provisional overnight TQ with the remaining two rounds of qualifying scheduled for tomorrow.
Having crashed in both of the earlier qualifiers, claiming a 7th & a 5th, Batlle said no mistakes was the key to his TQ run. Having run the same set-up on his Mugen in all three rounds, the 2-time Champion said it was ‘super nice’ to drive and in Q3 he did not have to push a lot to achieve the time. Describing it as having ‘good speed and consistency’, the Spaniard said thre track is starting to get more bumpy now making it difficult adding these are the type of conditions he prefers. Sitting third in the provisional qualification ranking, he said with three good runs he can tomorrow use the remaining two rounds to work on a set-up for the finals.
Close to backing up his Q1 performance in the second round until late mistakes, Boots described his third qualifier as ‘better’. With ‘no mistakes as such’, the Kyosho driver said he was ‘not quite as quick on a few laps’ and had to roll over one jump due to a backmarker. 1.3-seconds off Batlle’s pace, the British driver was ‘pleased there was not much in it because (he) was very comfortable with the car’. Another driver who hasn’t changed his car’s set-up over the day, he plans to ‘keep going with it the same’ for tomorrow. Making a big impression in practice and the opening two qualifier Boots’ Kyosho team-mate Riccardo Berton didn’t have a good third qualifier, after just one lap he crashed in the chicane and broke a steering arm.
‘Once again I guess’, that was Ronnefalk’s reaction to again tangling with a backmarker. Happening halfway through the run and costing him around 2.5 seconds, said with Boots and Batlle running before him he knew he needed a good run and that the incident had cost him the TQ. Like in the previous round which he TQ’d despite getting spun round by a backmarker, he would finished the run off with a last lap that was a new fastest time for the track, posting a 37.345. With a 3, 1, 3 for the three qualifiers he said this already gives him a good starting position for the Semis allowing him to run a second Orion engine tomorrow and test tyre options in preparation for Saturday’s finals. In terms of his D815 set-up he said the buggy is really good and he doesn’t need to change anything for the finals.
Backing up his Q2 Top 3 pace with fourth, Martin Bayer said the run was ‘pretty good’. Making a small set-up adjustment to his FX powered Xray, he didn’t like the change and will revert back for the morning. Running Pro-Line Surburb X2 tyres, he said while they felt ok they were sliding a little on the growing number of exposed rocks and so he will try something different for Q4. Only 14th in Q1, the two time podium finisher said he just needs one more good run to book himself directly into the Semis.
Behind Bayer, it was his Xray team-mate Yannick Aigoin who posted the fifth fastest time. Making a ‘bad tyre choice in Q1’ and then suffering from a combination of poor driving and his XB8 not having a good balance in Q2, the former Champion said he ‘went back to basics’. Running his standard set-up and switching to Pro-line’s X2 compound Bow Tie tyre he said things were much improved. While he had ‘no big crashes’ he said for Q4 he would try to further improve his driving and with the car now having a good base set-up he would just make some small adjustments.
Finishing ahead of 2012 Champion Darren Bloomfield, Joern Neumann was happy to complete the Top 6. Having been 8th in Q1, the Serpent driver would crash in the second qualifier leaving him 14th fastest. Describing his Maxima powered Cobra 2.2 as feeling alright, the German is looking for a little more steering in the bricks sections. To try improve on this he will further reduce the car’s rear toe-in. Getting out of shape half way through Q3 losing over 2-seconds, the multiple electric offroad European Champion said his lap times are ‘OK’ and he feels with a clean run he has got Top 5 pace.
Chassis – Team Associated RC8 B3 Engine – LRP ZX.21C Tyres – Pro-Line Blockade X2 Fuel – LRP Radio/Servos – KO Propo Body – Kit
Remarks – Former Electric Offroad World Champion Neil Cragg is running the all new RC8 B3 from Team Associated. Having driven the new car for the first time at a test following the warmup race, since then his father Mick has changed the setup completely searching for more rear traction. Changing the rear and centre diff oils, they have also raised the inside roll centres and are running a shorter rear chassis brace. Having played around with different tire patterns, such as the Fugitive and Lockdown, he has reverted back to Blockade. A big change also came from a new LRP engine they are testing which gives more linear power delivery which in turn makes the car easier to drive in the low grip conditions.
Remarks – Creator of THECar, Joseph Quagraine is running his White Edition with a number of prototype parts for the hot low grip conditions. On the front of the car there is a new shock tower and upper arm mount from aluminium which mounts new front upper A-arms in place of the usual upper link which gives less flex in the very hot conditions here. Like the new rear shock tower, the front tower has higher inside upper mounting points. In terms of setup he is running very the car set very similar to how he does on his home track in Finland and for the conditions here he has chosen AKA Chainlink tires in a new yet unreleased soft compound.
Despite getting spun around by a backmarker, David Ronnefalk set the pace in the second round of qualifying at the European Championships in Italy. Such was the defending champions pace, even with losing 3-seconds as a consequence of the contact the HB driver still topped the round by over a second from newly crowned Euro B Champion Riccardo Berton. After struggling in Q1, a better set-up would help Xray’s Martin Bayer to complete the Top 3 just ahead of Davide Ongaro. Having topped the opening qualifier, late mistakes while on a potential TQ run would leave Elliott Boots sixth fastest just behind Robert Batlle who also made mistakes.
Commenting on the incident, Ronnefalk said ‘luckily I still had enough in hand to take the TQ’. Setting the fastest lap of the round on his last lap with a 37.506, his forced spin happened on the penultimate lap. After two driver errors in Q1, the Swede said he ‘just tried to stay out of mistakes’ and his Q2 approach was going well until when expecting the backmarker to let him through he didn’t before then blocking and spinning him out at the next corner. Running his Orion powered D815 the same as in Q1, the 19-year-old said while the track was faster than in the morning he was still very comfortable with his car. With a first and a third, he said for the days final round he would go safe and if that works out he might then try different things in tomorrow’s remaining two heats.
Suffering a little with his front left tyre becoming partly unglued, Berton said it wasn’t a huge problem adding he was actually lucky it didn’t completely part company with the rim. Staying with everything the same as Q1, the Italian said the extra temperature meant the Pro-Line Blockade X2 tyres ran better this time round. ‘A clean round’, the teenager said for Q3 he will switch to Diamond Back tyres and feels there is more time to come from both the car and the driver.
‘Solid run and I needed it after my 14th in Round 1’, that was Bayer’s summary of his strong Q2 performance. Changing the set-up on his buggy ‘a lot’ for the second qualifier, the factory Xray driver said his XB8 was ‘good now’. Changing the chassis flex, pivot balls and diff oils, he said it was now generating more traction and was easier to drive. While happy with his car he said now the track is becoming ‘very sketchy’ to drive and in some corners where the stones are starting to appear its very difficult to drive. Pleased he has found a good basic set-up he said for Q3 he now just needed to adjust small details.
Ongaro was ‘very happy with fourth’. The up & coming talent said his Mugen is ‘working really well’ and there s no need to change anything and his focus for Q3 needs to be to cut out mistakes. Catching the piping which flipped his MBX-7R requiring it to be marshalled he said without this everything is working ‘very good’.
Batlle said his Mugen was good but two mistakes of his own doing would cost him up to 6-seconds and leave him 5th for the round. Fitting a new Ultimate engine to his MBX-7R, he said the new unit had more power and as he adjusted to it it caught him out when he over jumped causing him to hit the next jump. On the second mistake he said he couldn’t really explain what caused it which was over a jump. Taking account of the time lost from the mistakes he said he knows he has the pace to match Ronnefalk and he will continue with everything the same for the day’s final run.
Completing the Top 6, Boots said his run was ‘going alright but then (he) had a few mistakes at the end’. Pretty much matching Ronnefalk’s outright pace posting a best lap of 37.566, the Kyosho driver said his package is working really well and its all about cutting out the mistakes. Set to again leave his Reds Racing powered MP9 unchanged for the third round he said ‘no one is ballistic fast that they can make two mistakes and still TQ and his aim was for ‘no mistakes hopefully in the next one’.
Setting the seventh fastest time was former champion Darren Bloomfield. The Agama driver said he came off the track disappointed with his performance but it turned it to have been ‘better than he thought’. With his car a ‘little twitchy’ he said he was disappointed he didn’t adapt his driving more and drive smoother. Moving the front shocks to the outside hole on the front arms for Q3, the British driver said this should make the car easier to drive and help with forward momentum. Planning to ‘chill out’ a little in terms of his driving he said the reason for this is that the track is getting ‘rutty’ and you can’t throw the car into corners as its a big risk.
Elliott Boots has taken the opening round of qualifying at the 1:8 Offroad European Championships in Italy. Winner of the Warm-up Race, the Kyosho driver topped the first of the five scheduled 5-minute qualifiers by 1-second from the TLR of Marco Baruffolo. Just 2/10ths further back defending champion David Ronnefalk would completed the Top 3 despite two driver errors. Having topped yesterday’s seeding practice, traffic issues would leave Robert Batlle sixth fastest.
‘Went well’, that was Boots reaction to his TQ run. Following a heavy thunder storm that hit the track last night but which had clearly completed by morning, the British driver said the now dry again Ongaroring track was ‘a lot looser than yesterday’. Repeating the comments he made after practice yesterday that he is not the fastest driver in terms of outright lap times, said he was consistent. While ‘not (his) normal style’, the 2012 World Championship Top Qualifier said improving consistency was something he has been trying to improve this season. Suffering one bobble which he was able to save and running a bit wide on a few corners he said overall it was a ‘safe run’. Adjusting his MP9 set-up to be similar to that to that of fast Italian talent Riccardo Berton, including switching to the taller front shock tower, Boots said the car was working well adding his choice of Pro-Line’s Diamond Back tyre in X3 compound worked out well for the dusty conditions.
Baruffolo described his opening qualifier as ‘very good’. The 17-year old said while the track had ‘lost a lot of traction’ following last night’s storm and was getting bumpier with ruts starting to develop, he was ok with the latter adding ‘it is getting more like at the Euro Bs’. Crowned champion at that 2013 European B Championships, he said his Q1 was a ‘clean run’ and his choice of soft Grid Iron tyres was good as the dirt was still a little damp. Expecting it to ‘dust up’ for Q2, he will switch to softer Impact and run a stiffener in the wheels.
‘Was ok, I should have TQ’d but I had two driver errors but still I am happy to get good points for the first round’, that was how Ronnefalk summed up his opening qualifier. Chasing a third consecutive title on this his first season with HB/HPI Racing, the Swede said he didn’t change his Orion powered D815 from yesterday and it felt good. Just changing tyres, going for AKA City Beam in the front and iBeam on the rear, he said they worked well for the conditions but expecting the track to change a lot by the time Q2 comes around he expects to run a different pattern and will decide that closer to the time.
David Ongaro opened his home event with the fourth fastest time. With drivers getting a quick shakedown run to start off Day 3 of the event, the 14-year-old would make a number of changes afterward in preparation for Q1. Switching to a harder shock spring, softer clutch springs and lowering the rear upper camber link as well as switching to a larger restrictor on LRP engine, he said the changes worked well. The only issue for the Italian was traffic which led to a mistake that required his car to be marshalled.
Fifth fastest, Alex Zanchettin described his run as ‘quite good’. The Italian National Champion found the track ‘really slippery’ leading to him having ‘two little mistakes’. Running his 8ight 3.0 unchanged from yesterday and choosing Pro-Line Holeshot X3 tyres ‘to be safe’, the 20-year-old said for the first round of qualifying it was a ‘solid start’. For Q2 he will wait to see how the track changes but expects the only change he will make will be his tyre choice.
Completing the Top 6, Berton said he choose too hard a tyre. Running Blockades in X2 compound on his Orion powered MP9, the Euro B Champion said the car was loose and he had to adjust to a safe driving style. Managing a clean 5-minutes, the 16-year-old said considering his tyre choice 6th for the round was a ‘good’ start.
Batlle said ‘too much traffic’ was his only problem. Stuck behind a group of 6-7 cars he said trying to avoid bumping into any of them he crashed himself at the end of the main straight. Running in the first heat, describing the track as slower than the following heats, he said without the mistake he had a 5:10 pace, the TQ time an 8 laps in 5:11.142. Very happy with his Mugen, which he ran the same as yesterday including continuing on Procuit Hot Dice tyres, he said he has ‘enough speed’ and just needs a clear track.
Setting the 8th fastest time was Serpent’s Joern Neumann who like Batlle would also have traffic issues. The German lost 3-4 seconds as a result of a group of cars that bunched up towards the end of the heat but apart from this said the run ‘was alright’. Happy with his S811 Cobra 2.2 in practice yesterday but unable to get 3 clean laps in, he said reducing the rear toe-in today had made the car even better. Running Pro-Line Suppressor X2 tyres they worked well but with almost 3-hours until his next qualifier he said the track will be completely different and he will need to choose a different pattern. Behind Neumann, Mugen driver Bryan Baldo, who was fastest in timed practice yesterday, and HB’s Renaud Savoya completed the Top 10 in front of British pairing Lee Matin and Darren Bloomfield.