‘From Race Control’ – Day 3, Qualifying

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Qualifying gets underway here today at the 1:8 Offroad European Championships in Sand am Main with 3 of 5 scheduled qualifiers making up the timetable.  After a completely dry day yesterday it is a damp start this morning following some overnight rain with the heat containing the Top Seed & defending Champion David Ronnefalk set to be the first to go on track.  While the track appears to be not too wet, the damp conditions could make for a surprise result to Q1 although the threat of further rain still hangs over the track with some rather dark clouds in the area.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

New in the Pits – Pro-Line, Futaba, LRP & Sweep

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Pro-Line have a completely new as yet unreleased tire here called the Fugitive. Developed some months ago and given to team driver Joern Neumann to try while in Sand am Main after the warm-up race, the German said they worked well and so the US company put them into production. Making the car very smooth to drive the tire is very durable and works well on hard pack surfaces with no dust as well as the paving slabs used here in Germany. Team drivers here have the option of X2 and X3 compound with a lot of them also going between these and the recently released LockDown tire.

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LRP have shown off their completely new S8NXR buggy here in Sand with team driver Marcel Guske giving the car its big race debut. Carrying over no parts from its predecessor it returns to a more conventional design, the brake now in the centre of the car and the rear lower wishbones no longer sporting an angled inside pivot point. Well specced it comes with carbon parts throughout as well as aluminium front C-hub and steering knuckles as well as rear uprights and front chassis brace, the rear brace made of plastic as it helps to make it less aggressive on acceleration. Also on display is the company’s new ZZ.21C Spec2 motor which has different timing and a longer needle on the carb to make the power delivery less aggressive. The engine is now available and the car will become available in mid August.

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Sweep Racing driver Renaud Savoya has a limited number of the all new Revolt tires here in Germany. Only being completed prior to the race its V-shape offers plenty of forward traction while the tapered pins are used to improve the tire’s durability with the thread designed to be used on clean hard packed conditions while it may also work on slightly dusty conditions thanks to the spaces between the pins. Finally the pins around the outside of the tire have also been tapered to make the tire less edgy.

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Released only last week Futaba have one example of their all new 4PX pistol grip transmitter here on display. A very smart radio compared to the 4PKS-R the transmitter is 30 percent faster and around 15g lighter for ultimate response and comfort. A full-color TFT display with intuitive menus makes operation hassle-free and the synthesised voice for telemetry data option allows drivers to hear updates via the built-in speaker or headphones. An assignable button on the bottom lets users activate key features instantly by touching it with their body with it set to activate the transmitter’s built-in stopwatch by default.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Video – Seeding Practice Rd2

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Ronnefalk top seed for qualifying at Euros

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Reigning 1:8 Offroad European Champion David Ronnefalk got his title defence off to the perfect start as he topped today’s second timed practice in style to become top seed for qualifying which gets underway tomorrow at the German event.  The Kyosho driver was a full 6-seconds faster than the pace set by Mugen’s Robert Batlle in the day’s opening practice with Xray’s Renaud Savoya closest to the Swede the second time round 4.848 seconds adrift.  Savoya’s run sees him end the seeding 3rd behind Batlle. Despite having missed yesterday’s four rounds of practice Team Durango’s Joern Neumann would put in an impressive second run to post the 3rd quickest time for the round to claim 5th in the seeding.

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Ronnefalk was very happy with his pace pointing out he had better luck with traffic the second time round with the Race Referee also helping out the situation of getting by slower cars.  Leaving his MP9 and choice of AKA Catapult tyres the same as the earlier run he said it again felt really good with it was just getting better and better as the traction comes up.  Changing his Orion engine so as to have a second unit set-up & ready to go should he need it later in the event, he said the spare engine felt it had a little less bottom end but this made the car easier to drive and ‘super consistent’.  Planning to run the same set-up for the first qualifier, the 18-year-old said the track’s dirt sections are grooving up well and while the track got a little rough at the Warm-up Race back in May so far this time round the track is ‘holding together pretty well’.

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Posting only the 6th fastest time in the second practice, albeit almost a 1/10 faster than his P1 topping time,  Batlle said having originally planned to switch to a small pin tyre for the second run he didn’t and that was a bad call.  The World Champion said his Novarossi powered MBX7 struggled with a lack of steering but overall the run was never going to be great as he had issues with traffic as well as a crash that cost him over 2.5 seconds.  With a short 2-minute practice this evening, essentially a systems check of the reseeded heat order for the timekeepers, he will switch to a set of Procircuit’s Square Impact tyre to ensure that the they give him the desired steering he is seeking. Winner of his 2nd European title here in 2011, he said his set-up fine tuning was ‘not a big issue’ and he was confident going into qualifying.

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Having reported a lack of steering after the first practice which led him to overdrive and crash his Orion powered XB8, Savoya was a lot happier with his car.  Changing the caster the 3-time Champion said it was much improved although he was having to depend a little on the rear brake to get the required amount of rotation.  Describing taking the corners as ‘grip, grip, slip’, he said he will go further with the set-up change so as to reduce his dependancy on the rear brake for smoother corner.  Also removing the buggies optional 15gram hub weights the French ace said this made it more reactive although it also made it a little less predictable but it was nothing he couldn’t deal with. Running Sweep’s Micro Contacts tyre he is still playing around with insert combinations adding he might try a stiffer insert.  Describing the car as having a ‘good balance he said its just now the small details he needs to adjust and one such change he plans is less toe in to free up the rear into the corners.

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Xray team-mate Martin Bayer said he was also able to improve the steering on his LRP powered XB8 but feels he still needs to go a little more with the set-up.  His second run ‘without mistake’, the Czech driver declared himself very happy at having posted two competitive Top 5 runs, his first time securing him 4th in the overall seeding.  Switching to AKA soft compound Catapult he said while at the end of the run they got better they took too long to come in and so he will revert to the Super Soft compound which he had been previously running.

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Newly crowned double 1:10 Offroad European Champion Neumann said other than one mistake caused by traffic he was pleased to run a Top 3 pace. Switching to a harder compound of Pro-Line’s new Fugitive try he said it was much better.  Also going to a harder front spring and changing from a 14 to a 13 tooth clutch on his FX Engine, the German said these small tweaks further improved the car.  Describing himself as ‘hard on tyres’, for qualifying he will go up in oil weight in the centre diff so as to try and reduce his front tyre wear.  Behind Neumann fellow countryman Dominic Bauer completed the Top 6.  The 19-year-old Mugen driver wouldn’t have a good second practice his impressive P4 time putting him up in the mix with Europe’s best drivers.

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2012 Champion Darren Bloomfield again struggled with traffic losing time as he got sandwiched between two slower cars.  Despite this frustration the factory Agama driver feels his A8 is ‘really good’ and hopefully with a cleaner heat grouping for qualifying he believes is right in the mix in terms of competitiveness.  Completing the Top 10 behind Bloomfield was fellow British racer Jack Embling, the teenager like Bauer not having a good second practice, last year’s Top Qualifier Jerome Aigoin and Kyosho Germany backed Carsten Keller.  On the schedule for tomorrow are 3 of the five scheduled 5-minute qualifiers with a driver’s best 3 points to determine the final qualifying order.

View our event image gallery here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Chassis Focus – Joern Neumann

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Chassis – Durango DNX8 Prototype
Engine – FX Engines 5K
Tyres – Pro-Line Suburbs X2
Fuel – Maxima
Radio/Servos – Futaba
Body - Kit
Remarks – Having just been discharged from Hospital, the German driver has had only 11 laps on the Sand am Main track with his Durango DNX8 but having driven here after the warmup back in May he knows the track and had a base setup for the car, needing to only change to a 13 shoe clutch bell and a stiffer front spring since arriving. Since running the car previously here, his mechanic Gerd Strenge has added a stiffener linkage to the front servo to remove the flex from the servo which has helped with the precision of the cars front end. While still a prototype with some 3d printed parts, the car is set to be released in its current form later in the year.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Batlle tops first seeding practice

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Robert Batlle set the pace in the opening round of seeding practice at the 1:8 Offroad European Championships in Germany, the Mugen driver fastest over 5-minutes from the Kyosho of defending Champion David Ronnefalk.  Winning his second European title the last time the championships visited the Sand am Main track, the Spaniard would outpace his Swedish rival by 2.644 seconds with Team Xray’s Martin Bayer completing the Top 3 a further 1.704 off.

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Despite topping the first of the two scheduled seeding rounds Batlle described the run as ‘not super good’.  Elaborating, the World Champion said they ‘still need more speed to win’.  Happy with the consistency of his Novarossi powered MBX7 describing the overall package as ‘not bad’ he feels he that it could do with more corner speed.  Running Procircuit’s medium compound Hot Dice tyre he will switch to the small pin Square Impact for the second practice feeling this should contribute to finding some of the extra speed he is looking for. Still to discuss his options with his team he is also pretty sure they will also have to make a set-up change to go with the change of tyre.

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Ronnefalk described the performance of his Orion powered MP9 as good but said he had ‘bad luck’ with traffic. While he said he could do nothing about the traffic on the small track he felt in total it ended up costing him around 6 seconds.  Having been frustrated when his final practice run yesterday lasted just one-lap because of the arrival of rain, the 18-year-old said the shock change they had planned to test then turned out to be really good adding that his car felt ‘pretty much dialled in’, helped by today’s improved traction.  Running AKA’s soft compound Catapult tyre he plans to leave everything the same for the final seeding practice adding the hopes for better luck with getting through the traffic.

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A ‘Pretty sweet run’ was how Martin Bayer summarised his performance, the Czech driver running a number of heats earlier than his rivals.  Last year’s podium finisher said while his LRP powered XB8 had a little less speed than yesterday ‘I’m there and not to far off the top guys so I’m happy’.  Feeling he needs to find a little more steering out of the corners which he is confident he can rectify for the second run he added overall he has a good feeling with the car and engine which are very stable so he can’t really complain.  Running AKA’s Catapult he will stick with his tyre choice.

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Xray team-mate Renaud Savoya would end up 15 fastest.  The 3-time former champion, whose reign came to an end here in 2011, would lose 4 seconds after putting his Orion powered XB8 on its roof.  The French driver said the car was lazy and the crash was due to having to push too hard to make up time.  Like Bayer, he said the buggy needs more steering something that should be sorted with a caster change.  Having run hub weights he said he will probably run without these for the next outing as he needs to make more reactive.  Using Sweep’s Micro Contact tyre he is set to continue with them for now.

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Making the switch to Pro-Line’s new LockDown tyre 19-year-old Dominic Bauer posted the 4th fastest time. Describing his run as ‘not bad’, he said while the tyres made his Alpha powered Mugen feel slower to drive it had more forward traction and was ultimately faster.  Using X2 compound, the Austrian said the tyres took a few minutes to come in and so for the second practice he will fit a brand new set using the track time to scrub them in for qualifying giving him a second set to work with tomorrow.

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Having set the pace in yesterday’s opening day of practice, Darren Bloomfield would post the 5th fastest time as he struggled through the run with traffic.  The factory Agama driver said almost every lap he had to avoid unturned buggies as he came up the hill so it was nearly impossible to run a clean lap.  Asked how his Bullitt powered A8 felt, he said because of the traffic it was hard to tell but he ‘think(s) it felt good’.  Running a used set of Beta’s Freeride tyre, in medium-soft compound, he will fit a brand new set of the same tyre for the next run opting to leave the buggy set-up as is.

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Behind the current British National Championship points leader was another UK driver, up & coming talent Jack Embling.  The protege of Lee Martin, the factory Mugen driver posting the 14th fastest time, Embling described his run to the sixth fastest time as ‘a little bit scrappy’.  The 17-year-old said his Beat powered Mugen had a lot of rotation which made it tricky to drive if he got out on the dust.  Running Pro-Line X3 Blockade tyres he said these were a little edgy and he will switch now to X2 compound.  In terms of set-up he will leave his MBX-7 unchanged having tried underdrive in yesterday’s final practice but finding he had better traction today without it.

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Seventh fastest would be Kyosho Germany team driver Carsten Keller. The 25-year-old said his Bullitt powered MP9 ‘was a little difficult to drive but the speed was there’.  Suffering a mistake that cost him almost 3-seconds he said he went with too soft a tyre choosing AKA’s Super Soft Catapult. Planning to leave his set-up untouched and wait for the traction to come up he will switch to Soft compound Catapults for the last seeding practice.

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Top Qualifier here in 2011, Jerome Aigoin would set the 8th fastest time. The current French National Champion said his Kyosho was good but the driver made a lot of small mistakes. Pleased with his MP9 set-up he joked unless he gets a light bulb moment he will run the MP9 the same but most probably he will try a different tyre to compare it to the AKA’s Enduro Soft he just ran.

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Former European B Champion Ricardo Monteiro and two time Champion Yannick Aigoin completed the Top 10. Monteiro said his RB powered TLR was good but the driver needs work as he felt he nerves of the the first time run affected his performance.  Having run AKA’s Catapult tyres in open practice, the 21-year-old switched to Impact which he felt made his 8ight 3.0 feel less loose.  For his next run the Portugese driver plans to run everything the same and focus on getting any improvement in pace from himself.

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Having missed yesterday’s practice due to being in hospital with a lip infection, we are glad top report newly crowned double 1:10 offroad European Champion Joern Neumann has been released and is at the track. Unfortunately needing all the track time he can as he tries to catch up with his rivals, the first seeding practice didn’t go exactly to plan for the Team Durango driver. On his second lap the battery plug discounted losing the German two valuable laps of the track. Once up and running again he said his FX powered buggy ‘felt ok’. Running Pro-Line’s yet to be released Fugitive tyre in X3 compound he feels a harder tyre would have been better and he will switch to a Suburb X2 with his main focus being on working on fine tuning his driving to the track of which he has so far only done a total of 11-timed laps.

View our event image gallery here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Introduction

Red RC are in Sand am Main, Germany for the 2014 EFRA 1/8th scale gas offroad European Championships. The best racers from around Europe, will be in attendance to battle for the title which was won last year in France by David Ronnefalk. Red RC's coverage of the event begins in full on Tuesday morning (5th) and we will be trackside bringing you reports, insights, videos and photos directly from the track throughout the event.

Local time in Sand am Main, Germany

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