Aigoin is Top Qualifier as Guske tops Q5

Jerome Aigoin

For the second year in a row the honour of being Top Qualifier at the 1:8 Offroad European Championships has gone to an Aigoin with Jérôme pulling off the feat achieved by his twin brother Yannick in Portugal last year.  Only TLR’s Darren Bloomfield and Mugen’s Simon Willetts could deny Aigoin from being Top Qualifier needing to top the fifth & final round of qualifying to do so but it was the surprise of these championship Marcel Guske who took Q5.

Aigion was delighted at claiming his first TQ at the Euros but said he is taking nothing for granted for tomorrow’s finals. The quietly spoken Frenchman expects a tough Semi final saying a lot of drivers showed good speed in the final round of qualifying and he wants to focus on getting past this stage before starting to think of his chances for the 45-minute Main final.

Marcel Guske

Impressing a lot of onlookers with his pace, little known German racer Guske admitted he was surprised himself at his performance at Sand-am-Main.  A podium finisher at last year’s German Nationals, this is the 22-year-old’s first European Championships and he says he never expected to qualify second overall and find himself on pole for a Semi final. Asked what approach he would be taking for the finals Guske said he would ‘just see how it goes’ but with his RB tyres equipped MBX-6 already proving it has the speed he was going to ‘give his best’.

Darren Bloomfield

Finishing third overall Bloomfield was on target to record the first 11 lap qualifier but on his penultimate lap he messed up loosing almost 7-seconds.  Shrugging off the incident the top TLR driver said after qualifying that his 8ight was the best it has been and liking the bumpy track he has no doubts about tomorrow saying he is going to win his Semi.

Another driver to be on target for 11 laps in Q5 until he made a mistake on his final lap, Daniel Reckward qualifies 4th.  A three time winner of the European Championship and a former World Champion, the German said his Mugen which is identical to that of Guske had great speed while also being quite safe to drive.  Opting to try RB’s Scorpion tyre in the final qualifier while Guske stuck with the Dragon pattern Reckward said he felt the former offered slightly better traction.  A mentor to Guske since he joined the Mugen/RB team two years ago, Reckward said it was fantastic to see his driver do so well and he feels they both have the potential to do well tomorrow.

Robert Batlle

Despite not yet living up to the pre-event hype that he would be the man to beat around the Sand-am-Main track, Warm-up race winner Robert Batlle appeared a lot happier at the end of qualifying. Struggling yesterday, the Mugen ace qualifies 5th overall but having found a set-up that was more to his liking today he is now pretty confident of having a good Semi.

Simon Willetts

Setting himself the target of qualifying in the Top 10, Willetts said he was ‘well happy’ with sixth.  Taking the top spot in the opening qualifier The British driver said he drove too conservatively today but says he has the equipment to progress from the Semi to his first ever Main final.

David Ronnefalk

Current European Junior Champion David Ronnefalk matched his 2010 qualifying result by taking 7th.  After bad results in his opening two heats the 15-year-old said the end result was ‘good enough’.  Admitting to making too many ‘stupid’ mistakes the talented Swede said his Orion powered Kyosho is good enough to be competitive in the final and he just needs to cut out the mistakes and drive it.

Elliot Boots

Claiming his best run in the final round of heats with the fifth fastest time, Elliot Boots is the highest placed Durango driver in the Semis having qualified his RB powered DNX408 in eighth, the position in which he finished the Euros final last year.

Third fastest in Q3, Team Xray’s Teemu Leino ended his qualifying on a high as he claimed second in Q5 after pulling off his first error free run. The Finn qualifies 9th overall and says his buggy is working well but thinks the biggest concern for tomorrow is going to be the weather.

Yannick Aigoin

For last year’s Top Qualifier Yannick Aigoin it has been a tough few days.  The former champion said they have made a lot of changes to the set-up on his nVision power TLR 8ight but they haven’t been able to get it right for the track conditions.  Qualifying 11th behind his team-mate Martin Bayer he said he hopes tomorrow things will get better.  Completing the Top 16, Jérôme Sartel, Carsten Keller, Ignacio Candel, Neil Cragg and Carlos Keller secure themselves a direct starting spot in the all important Semi Finals.

Chasing a fourth consecutive European title Renaud Savoya will have to start his defence from the 1/4 Finals, his lowest qualifying position since he made his Euros debut in 2005.  Incidentially that race was also held in German and he also started in the 1/4 Finals.  The Durango/RB driver said they got the buggy easier and easier to drive each heat but in the end it was too slow.  Going back to the set-up they started out with on Tuesday he said it should have the speed to progress up the finals and its up to him to keep it on four wheels.

Qualifying Results

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Bloomfield TQ’s penultimate qualifier

Darren Bloomfield

Team Losi Racing’s Darren Bloomfield has TQ’d the penultimate round of qualifying at the EFRA 1:8 Offroad Championship setting a new overall fastest time for the Sand-am-Main track.  In the last group to run their fourth qualifier, the Warm-up race runner-up denied Mugen a 1-2-3 result by running a 10/5:01.309 pace ahead of Daniel Reckward, Mascel Guske and Q1 pace setter Simon Willetts.

Not lacking in self confidence, Bloomfield said the 5-minute run was the best he had driven all week and he always knew he had the speed to pull off a TQ run.  Feeling the track is coming more and more to him, the result moves the 22-year-old to second in the qualification ranking behind Jérôme Aigoin.  Running AKA Grid Iron on his Nitrotec powered TLR 8ight, the British Champion said he might try iBeam in the final qualifier to help the buggy go through the bumps better but other than that the plan is to just ‘go for it again’.

Reckward

Reckward was delighted with both his and his Mugen/RB team-mate Guske’s performance.  Switching to the same diff set-up as used by Guske to take second in Q3 yesterday, Reckward said his MBX-6 was ‘fantastic’ with the switch to heavier oils making the buggy more stable over the stones.  Setting the fastest lap of the round, Guske had the potential for a TQ run but lost 4-seconds with a mistake on lap 3.  Running RB’s new tyres Reckward said they may use the fifth & final round to test for the first time the French company’s Mini Pin pattern.

Willetts

Topping the difficult conditions of the opening round of qualifying, Willetts was happy with his run to fourth in Q4.  The Brit, said a mistake at the Double up the hill, which forced him to take it single/single, lost him some time as did traffic near the end of the run.  Running the same set-up on his Orion powered MBX-6 as yesterday he said the Double is becoming ‘make or break’ as you must be on the right line out of the previous corner up to hill to have enough track to clear the double.

Jerome Sartel

A finalist in Portugal last year driving for Xray, Jerome Sartel took his Agama to the fifth fastest time. The French driver said his Bullitt powered Evo A8 has been good throughout qualifying but this was the first time he was able to pull together a mistake free run.  Running VP-Pro Axman tyres, changing only the compound to suit the conditions at the time of each run, he said he has had to do little with his set-up and the focus is now on keeping his driving clean.

Elliot Boots

Fastest of the Team Durango drivers, Elliot Boots was on a very fast run until Jérôme Aigoin made a mistake in which he got caught up in.  Costing him about 2.5 seconds, the 17-year-old eventually took sixth but his team where happy with his driving and feel they have a very good ‘finals’ car.  One of the stars of this year’s European B Championships, young German Mugen driver Dominic Bauer enjoyed his best run, a change to Proline Hole Shot tyres giving him the traction he was missing in the earlier qualifiers.

Topping Q2 & 3, Aigoin had a ‘difficult’ fourth round.  Admitting to being a little stressed he said his Kyosho was great in the warm-up but once the timing started he just made too many mistake all of which were his own doing. 17th fastest it was to be his worst round.

Round 4 Qualifying – Top 12
1. Darren Bloomfield – TLR/Nitrotec – 10/5:01.309
2. Daniel Reckward – Mugen/RB – 10/5:04.142
3. Marcel Guske – Mugen/RB – 10/5:05.157
4. Simon Willetts – Mugen/Orion – 10/5:05.924
5. Jérôme Sartel – Agama/Bullitt – 10/5:06.115
6. Elliot Boots – Durango/RB – 10/5:06.130
7. Dominic Bauer – Mugen/Novarossi – 10/5:06.567
8. David Ronnefalk – Kyosho/Orion – 10/5:07.604
9. Neil Cragg – Associated/LRP – 10/5:08.035
10.Lee Martin – Tamiya/OS – 10/5:08.736
11.Jörn Neumann – Durango/Picco – 10/5:08.762
12.Carlos Duraes – Xray/RB – 10/5:09.355

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Video – Qualifying Day 3 Round-up

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Jérôme Aigoin overnight TQ holder in Germany

Jérôme Aigoin

Jérôme Aigoin heads the qualification ranking at the end of Day 3 of the 2011 1:8 Offroad European Championships in Germany after the Kyosho driver produced a second TQ run in Q3.  The French ace ran a very similar pace to his Q2 topping time to take maximum points for the round ahead of the Mugen of Marcel Guske and fellow Team Kyosho driver David Ronnefalk.

Jérôme Aigoin

Having found his MP9 nervous over the stones that have broken through the surface following the wet opening round of qualifying, Aigoin said his buggy was slighlty better in the day’s final run after switching to lighter oil in the centre diff and the fitting of a harder front sway bar.  Having one moment which he said he was very lucky to get away without needing a marshal, he said it was otherwise another clean run.  With the sun doing a good job of drying the track, the 2010 finalist said a switch to AKA Enduro tyres was a good call as they worked well as the drier track had more grip.

Marcel Guske

Not very well known outside of Germany, Marcel Guske backed up his run to the seventh fastest time in Q2 with a very impressive performance in Round 3.  Running in the same heat as Martin Bayer who was fourth fastest, he outpaced the Czech star to claim second.  A team-mate to former World Champion Daniel Reckward, the 22-year-old who finished on the podium at last year’s German Nationals runs the exact same package as his successful mentor.  While Reckward was unable to back up his Q2 performance having tried a different combination of RB tyre compound & insert, which he said did not work, he said he was delighted to see his fellow countryman do so well.

Ronnefalk

The pace setter in practice Ronnefalk said his run to third was ‘better’ but the current European Junior Champion said he had the pace for a TQ run.  Making a mistake over the double/double, his Orion powered MP9 needed marshaling costing him about 4 seconds.  Switching from AKA iBeam tyre to soft Grid Iron he said they worked much better on the track which he said was no longer a dirt track but a rock track. Sixth in Portugal at last year’s Euros, he said the stones are making it very difficult to get the buggy to go straight as they constantly try to pull it off line.  Currently 16th in the qualification ranking, the final position for getting directly in the Semis, Ronnefalk said after poor results in Q1 &2 and with three of the five qualifiers to count he needs to pull off solid runs in tomorrow final two rounds of heats.

Robert Batlle

The clear favourite for the win coming into the 31st running of the EFRA European Championships, Robert Batlle posted the fifth fastest time in Q3 and while this leaves him second in the qualification ranking the Spaniard is struggling by his own admission. Changing to a softer shock set-up for Q3, he said his Novarossi powered MBX-6 was slightly better but they still haven’t been able to cure it of being nervous to drive.  The 2007 Champion, says they have come up with some new ideas for a set-up and will try that tomorrow in the final two rounds of qualifying.

Seventh fastest in Q3 despite a problem with his throttle servo, Darren Bloomfield ends the first day of qualifying as the top TLR driver 3rd in the ranking with team-mates Yannick Aigoin and Martin Bayer sitting 6th & 7th.

Renaud Savoya

Elsewhere defending champion Renaud Savoya finds himself unusually low down the order.  23rd the Team Durango driver, who has been undefeated for the past 3 years, said it had been a hard day.  36th in Q1, 27th in Q2 and 14th in Q3, he said progress has been slow.  Struggling with the stoney surface he is hoping that he can turn things around tomorrow.

Qualification Ranking – After 3 of 5 Rounds
1. Jérôme Aigoin – Kyosho/Novarossi – 370 points
2. Robert Batlle – Mugen/Novarossi – 363
3. Darren Bloomfield – Losi/Nitrotec – 362
4. Simon Willets – Mugen/Orion – 361
5. Marcel Guske – Mugen/RB – 361
6. Yannick Aigoin – Losi/nVision – 358
7. Martin Bayer – Losi/nVision – 358
8. Simo Ahoniemi – Mugen/Ninja – 356
9. Elliot Boots – Durango/RB – 353
10.Teemu Leino – Xray/LRP – 352
11.Carsten Keller – Losi/nVision – 352
12.Daniel Reckward – Mugen/RB – 347
13.Edouard Hugon – Mugen/Alpha – 345
14.Stefan Byesse – Mugen/RB – 343
15.Ignacio Candel – Mugen/S-Workz – 342
16.David Ronnefalk – Kyosho/Orion – 340

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Video – Day 3 Qualifying action

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Jérôme Aigoin takes Q2

Jerome Aigoin

Kyosho’s Jérôme Aigoin has TQ’d the second round of qualifying for the 1:8 Offroad Euros, the French driver topping the time sheets ahead of Mugen pairing Robert Batlle and Daniel Reckward. After the wet conditions of the opening qualifier this morning the sun made a welcomed return over Sand-am-Main in Germany just in time to dry out the track for Q2 as the fastest drivers hit the track.

Taking the round by over 5 seconds, Aigoin said a clean run with no mistakes gave him the ‘perfect’ result but overall the set-up of his MP9 was only ‘OK’. With the track getting a lot more bumpy following the earlier rain he said his buggy was now very nervous in certan areas of the track and he needs to work on finding a better set-up.  Running AKA’s soft Grid Iron tyres, Aigoin said the key to qualifying was now all about keeping the run free of errors.

Batlle

Having had a non finish in the opening qualifier, Batlle said he was happy with second in terms of getting good points on the board but overall it was a difficult run.  With lots of stones appearing on the track the Spaniard said his shock set-up did not feel right with his Mugen bouncing around a lot.  Running Pro Circuits new tyre, which is expected to be called Hot Dice when it goes on sale, the Warm-up race winner will fit new shocks for Q3.

Reckward

Failing to start Q1 after suffering a steering servo failure after just two warm-up laps, Reckward said he ran a ‘very safe’ second round.  Making no mistakes he was surprised by his pace at the end of the five minutes.  Deciding to continue with RB’s new tyre range for the rest of the event having used the Scorpion to good effect on the opening day when he topped practice.  Running the Dragon pattern in Q2, the three time European Champion will run a lighter shock oil in the third run of the day to try and improve his MBX-6 over the developing bumps.

Simo Ahoniemi

Best known for racing on flat carpet, current 1:12 European Champion Simo Ahoniemi put in a very competitive second qualifier taking his Mugen to the fourth fastest time.  Less than a second off Batlle’s time, the Finn said his AKA City Block shod MBX-6 felt really good and he knoew from his warm-up laps that he would be able to push for a good result.

Elliot Boots

Completing the Top 6 just behind Yannick Aigoin, who was fastest TLR driver in Q2, Elliot Boots was pleased with his qualifier.  Making one mistake the former European Junior Champion said he backed off his driving a little and this suited the conditions.  Running JConcepts’ Sub Culture tyres in blue compound, the Team Durango driver said there is a lot of time to be gained in how you drive the track with the right tyre choice also being more critcal.  For Boots’ Durango team Renaud Savoya, who is chasing a fourth consecutive European title here this week, the wrong tyre choice left him 27th fastest.  Opting for Proline’s Block Head M3 compound he said he had no traction.

Round 2 Qualifying – Top 12
1. Jérôme Aigoin – Kyosho/Novarossi – 10/5:06.476
2. Robert Batlle – Mugen/Novarossi – 10/5:11.850
3. Daniel Reckward – Mugen/RB – 10/5:12.602
4. Simo Ahoniemi – Mugen/Ninja – 10/5:12.801
5. Yannick Aigoin – Losi/nVision – 10/5:13.036
6. Elliot Boots – Durango/RB – 10/5:14.267
7. Marcel Guske – Mugen/RB – 10/5:14.367
8. Martin Bayer – Losi/nVision – 10/5:14.553
9. Darren Bloomfield – Losi/Nitrotec- 10 5:14.575
10.Carsten Keller – Losi/nVision – 10/5:16.175
11.Reece Sawyer – Xray/OS – 10/5:16.560
12.Ignacio Candel – Mugen/S-Workz – 10/5.17.454

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Live Event Updates

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Introduction

Red RC are on the island of Sicily, off the coast of Southern Italy, at the Pista Naxos World track for the 2014 IFMAR 1/8th scale gas offroad World Championships. The bi-annual event attracts the best racers from around the World to battle it out for the title which was won 2 years ago by Spaniard Robert Batlle. Red RC's coverage of the event begins in full on Saturday morning (20th) and we will be trackside bringing you reports, insights, videos and photos directly from the track throughout the week long event.

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