July 5, 2008

Champion Batlle wins Semi Final B

Champion Batlle wins Semi Final B

Defending European Champion Robert Batlle has won the second of the Semi Finals here at a very very hot Iraklion Model Centre track.  The Spaniard completed the same number of laps as Semi A winner Savoya and managed a faster lap time but was almost 30 second off the pace of the Frenchman who has looked so in control throughout the 5 days of this championships.

Second to Batlle was former World and European Champion Daniel Reckward.  Finishing just 8 seconds off the winner the German Kyosho driver has really turned things around having struggled to get a good set-up on his MP777 but having also run a faster lap time than Savoya he looks good for the one hour Main.

Martin Bayer from the Czech Republic who was one of the big surprises of qualifying is proving that wasn’t a once off, claiming third ahead of Austrian RC racing ace Hupo Honigl who ensures LRP will be represented in the final. Claiming the last two places in the race that will decide the 2008 EFRA European Champion are Spanish driver Miguel Almagro and Portuguese HongNor racer Luis Rodrigo.

Semi B saw the demise of some big names with Darren Bloomfield missing the cut in seventh, Bergonzoni driver Raul Peris 8th, while brothers Jerome and Yannick Aigoin both failed to finish the race as did former World & European Champion Alessandro Laffranchi, who did just two laps.

The Main Final will get underway in just over 30 minutes.

Top 6 finishers Semi B
1. BATLLE Robert (ES) – 44 Laps in 30:29.844
2. RECKWARD Daniel (DE) – 44 Laps in 30:37.896
3. BAYER Martin (CZ) – 43 Laps in 30:15.126
4. HoNIGL Hubert (AT) – 43 Laps in 30:27.215
5. ALMAGRO Miguel Angel (ES) – 43 Laps in 30:28.313
6. RODRIGO Luis (PT) – 42 Laps in 30:26.279

Main Final Starting order
1. SAVOYA Renaud (FR) – Mugen MBX5
2. BATLLE Robert (ES) – Hobao Hyper 8.5
3. RECKWARD Daniel (DE) – Kyosho Inferno MP777
4. CRAGG Neil (UK) – Associated RC8
5. BAYER Martin (CZ) – Losi 8ight
6. PERIN Riccardo (IT) – Mugen MBX5
7. HERNANDEZ Borja (ES) – Hobao Hyper 8.5
8. GOMEZ MALAGON Richi (ES) – HongNor
9. HAZLEWOOD Jon (UK) – Xray XB808
10. HoNIGL Hubert (AT) – LRP S8-BX
11. ALMAGRO Miguel Angel (ES) – Mugen MBX5
12. RODRIGO Luis (PT) – HongNor


July 5, 2008

Semi Final only a formality for Savoya

Semi Final only a formality for Savoya

The first semi final of the 2008 EFRA European Championship has just taken place and Top Qualifier Renaud Savoya made the 20 minute encounter look like just a formality ahead of the main job in hand, winning the Main Final which gets underway here in Crete at 16:00 local time.

Savoya made little or no mistakes during the race and lead from start to finish setting the fastest lap on the way to a 1 lap winning margin over Associated driver Neil Cragg who’s best lap was 7/10th off that of the French Champion. ‘The run was fine and I will stick with the same set-up for the final’, said the very confident Mugen driver. ‘The track is getting tricky over the jumps and there are now holes at the end of the straight which is making my car jump around a lot but its ok.’

Third in the A Semi was Riccardo Perin, the Italian Mugen driver finishing just ahead of Hobao’s Borja Hernandez who will switch engine for the final as he is not happy with the fuel run time. The Spaniard had to make an extra stop in the race and will revert to the GRP engine he ran earlier in the event.

Completing the Top 6 and securing their places in the Main Final after bumping up from the 1/4 Finals where new Hong Nor signing Richi Gomez and British Xray driver Jon Hazlewood.

Failing to finish the race Daniel Vega, who managed only 8 laps, Elliot Boots and Jerome Sartel can all take an early shower, the former having his 2.4Ghz system shut down due to the heat. Also finished up early is former European Champion Guillaume Vray, Ari Heinonen and Kyosho’s Linus Thern.

Top 6 finishers Semi A
1. SAVOYA Renaud (FR) – 44 Laps in 30:00.206
2. CRAGG Neil (UK) – 43 Laps in 30:04.230
3. PERIN Riccardo (IT) – 43 Laps in 30:15.529
4. HERNANDEZ Borja (ES) – 43 Laps in 30:16.394
5. GOMEZ MALAGON Richi (ES) – 43 Laps in 30:20.048
6. HAZLEWOOD Jon (UK) – 43 Laps in 30:20.820


July 4, 2008

Robert Batlle TQ’s final Heat

Robert Batlle TQ’s final Heat

Defending European Champion Robert Batlle has just TQ’d the fifth and final heat doing so in style by setting the fastest 5 minute run of the championships. The Hobao/Ultimate Racing driver tried a radial shock set-up for the heat and the Spaniard was very pleased with the result and will stick this for his Semi Final.

Second fastest, but some 6 seconds off Batlle’s blistering pace, was fellow countryman and Bergonzoni driver Raul Peris. The Spaniard appears to have found a good set-up on the prototype R1 chassis and the result ensures the Italian made car will be represented in tomorrow’s Semi Finals.

Renaud Savoya

Having dominated the first four heats cool operator Renaud Savoya found himself for the first time not at the top of the time sheets. The French driver said he was over driving his Mugen but that the car was working really well.

Neil Cragg continued to make progress and was top Associated setting the fourth fastest time to claim fifth in the overall ranking but says he can go quicker. Behind him it was the steady Alessandro Laffranchi at the controls of his Mugen and he qualifies fourth overall.

Riccardo Perin

Completing the top 6 was Italian Riccardo Perin. Switching to new shocks from Italian company GPS for the last qualifier Perin said his Novarossi powered Mugen was transformed and that he will stick with them for his Semi Final.

Three times European Champions Crono finally had a top 10 run as British team driver David Crompton set the 8th fastest time after a steady run. Reverting to the set-up he ran in Heat 3, the multiple UK National Champion said the car was better but that he still needs to lower the RS7. Qualifying for the 1/4 Finals he is confident of bumping up to the Semi Final but after that he thinks luck will determine which drivers make the Main Final.

David Crompton

So qualifying for the 2008 European Championship has come to an end. The lower finals are about to get underway but it will not be until tomorrow evening that we will know the name of the 2008 Champion. One element that is likely to play a big part in the out come of that race is engines. The high temperature and 1 hour Main Final are sure to make engine settings critical.

Top 16 (Semi Finalists)
1. SAVOYA Renaud (FR) – 8 Laps in 05:17.839 / 519pts
2. BATLLE Robert (ES) – 8 Laps in 05:20.606 / 509pts
3. HERNANDEZ Borja (ES) – 8 Laps in 05:23.597 / 508pts
4. LAFFRANCHI Alessandro (IT) – 8 Laps in 05:24.779 / 504pts
5. CRAGG Neil (UK) – 8 Laps in 05:23.396 / 503pts
6. AIGOIN Yannick (FR) – 8 Laps in 05:22.120 / 498pts
7. BOOTS Elliott (UK) – 8 Laps in 05:22.832 / 497pts
8. BOERO Fabio (IT) – 8 Laps in 05:25.290 / 495pts
9. SARTEL Jerome (FR) – 8 Laps in 05:25.081 / 495pts
10. BAYER Martin (CZ) – 8 Laps in 05:20.708 / 492pts
11. VEGA Daniel (ES) – 8 Laps in 05:26.756 / 491pts
12. PERIS Raul (ES) – 8 Laps in 05:22.422 / 487pts
13. VRAY Guillaume (FR) – 8 Laps in 05:29.371 / 487pts
14. BLOOMFIELD Darren (UK) – 8 Laps in 05:30.097 / 486pts
15. PERIN Riccardo (IT) – 8 Laps in 05:28.034 / 485pts
16. LUIS Rodrigo (PT) – 8 Laps in 05:25.470 / 483pts

Check out our event image gallery here.


July 4, 2008

Top Qualifier Savoya ups pace in Heat 4

Day 4

Renaud Savoya may have TQ’d the 2008 EFRA European 1:8 Off Road Championships already with his three heat wins yesterday but the French driver is not throttling back and this morning he set the fastest 5 minute run of the event so far with just one qualifier left to run.

The current record holder for a 5 minute run at the Crete track, which he set during the Warm Up race earlier this year, the Mugen driver knocked 2 seconds off his best run but was still 2 seconds shy of his record.

Mike Truhe with Darren Bloomfield

Closest to the clear favourite for the 2008 title was Darren Bloomfield. The Losi driver put in his best run of the event but returning to his hotel afterwards for a swim would prove costly. With the heat order rescheduled the young British driver missed his marshalling slot, the penalty for which is the loss of your fastest run. Bloomfield said, ‘The change of the running order caught me out but now that I am mad I should be able to go quicker in the next run.’

Hobao driver Borja Hernandez was again quick posting the third fastest time for Heat 4. The Spaniard ran the same car as yesterday and will make only a small adjustment to the rear shock arm for the last heat.

Jerome Aigoin

Jerome Aigoin enjoyed his best run to date and the best run for Kyosho with fourth fastest time. Big changes to the set-up of the Sirio powered MP777 appear to be working and the French driver was very happy with the run. His brother Yannick, who was a leading runner yesterday, didn’t have such a good run. Trying a different set-up on his Losi the car was slow and difficult to drive so he only posted the 17th fastest time. He will revert to Thursday’s set up for the final heat.

Fifth fastest was Italy’s Xray driver Alessandro Laffranchi who seemed please with his run. Rounding out the Top 6 was Associated driver Neil Cragg who ran his car lower and found it better. The UK driver says he now just needs to driver better.

Elsewhere Daniel Reckward lost a lower Shock pin in the warm-up for his heat and so didn’t get a run but the former World & European Champion says the overnight changes have worked really well. The car is now the same as Jerome Aigoin. Daniel Vega also had an improved car but was out of luck for his heat which was re-run. A timing problem caused the heat to be halted and in the re run his receiver aerial broke.

Defending Champion Robert Batlle was only 24th fastest as he tried some different driving styles over the wooden ripples to see if he could find a better line through that section of the track, which is catching out a lots of drivers.

Drivers have just one more heat to set a time with the current Qualification Ranking being Savoya from Batlle, Hernandez, Bloomfield (before penalty is applied), Laffranchi and Yannick Aigoin.

Top 10 after 4 rounds
1. SAVOYA Renaud (FR) – 8 Laps in 05:17.839 / 519pts
2. BATLLE Robert (ES) – 8 Laps in 05:20.606 / 509pts
3. HERNANDEZ Borja (ES) – 8 Laps in 05:23.597 / 508pts
4. BLOOMFIELD Darren (UK) – 8 Laps in 05:22.255 / 501pts
5. LAFFRANCHI Alessandro (IT) – 8 Laps in 05:25.304 / 500pts
6. AIGOIN Yannick (FR) – 8 Laps in 05:22.120 / 498pts
7. BOERO Fabio (IT) – 8 Laps in 05:25.290 / 495pts
8. CRAGG Neil (UK) – 8 Laps in 05:26.443 / 485pts
9. BOOTS Elliott (UK) – 8 Laps in 05:22.832 / 465pts
10. BAYER Martin (CZ) – 8 Laps in 05:20.708 / 462pts

Check out our event image gallery here, including lots of new action shots.


July 3, 2008

Renaud Savoya TQ’s 2008 Euros

Top Qualifier Renaud Savoya

French Champion Renaud Savoya has TQ’d the 2008 EFRA European 1:8 Off Road Championships in Crete after making the opening three heats his own, setting the fastest times in each of the runs. The Warm-up Race winner has his Mugen dialed in perfectly with many of his rivals commenting on how well it slides around the corners as most of them struggle with grip roll around the bumpy track.

‘I switched to Hole shot tyres for the last run which made the car quicker but I made two driver mistakes and that cost me’, said a very relaxed Savoya. Asked if having won the Warm up he expected to TQ the young star replied, ‘The objective is always to make better than before and last year I finished second in the Euros’. With the TQ secured, tomorrow’s two heats will be used to test for the Semi Final and Savoya plans to try Proline Knuckles in the morning run.

Yannick Aigon

Second fastest in Heat 3 was another French driver Yannick Aigon. After a strong opening qualifier the Losi driver had a poor second outing due to a number of driver errors but he was back in business for Heat 3 just 2.5 seconds off his fellow countryman’s time. Having changed the kick up and put heavier oil in the rear shocks he found the car much easier to drive.

Borja Hernandez posted the third fastest run with his Hobao and is another who will use the Heat 4 and 5 to test for the Semi Final with some geometry changes planned. Fellow Spaniard and Hobao driver Robert Batlle was next up despite a costly double roll over the wooden ripples. The defending Champion plans to test a new engine tomorrow and lower the shock position on the rear shock tower.

Neil Cragg

Recent Ultimate Racing Rallygame World Cup winner Fabio Boero enjoyed a good clean third run setting the fifth fastest time after changing to a thicker front anti roll bar on his GRP powered Mugen. Neil Cragg completed the Top 6 after making big changes to his Associated. Having started the event on big bore shocks the UK driver has reverted to the standard versions saying they lack the knowledge to get the big bores working right. Seventh fastest was a relieved looking Daniel Vega. The Mugen driver was struggling and decided to revert to the set-up he used at the Warm-up race and was very happy with the result. Lacking confidence in the car after the first two heats, the Spaniard says he feels good with the car again and thinks tomorrow will be better.

Elliot Boots who had a strong Heat 2 had the top of his shock come out in the warm-up but continued, and despite only three working shocks still finished the run. Richard Saxton who is over supporting the Team Associated squad here says Boots could be the real surprise here in Crete as the 15-year-old has good speed.

For some big names the IMA track is proving a real headache. Former World and European Champion Daniel Reckward has had a terrible day, unable to get any stability in his Kyosho. Suffering from too much traction his mechanics will totally change the set-up of his MP777 overnight and Reckward hopes, together with a good nights sleep, they can be further up the timesheets.

Joern Neumann’s tyres

Serpent’s Joern Neumann is another struggling. Running a new prototype chassis which features some interesting diff casings, he is another getting too much side traction. In the third heat the German took radical actions cutting a large amount of the pins from each side of his Proline tyres. The car was a little better, but Neumann hopes they can find more for tomorrow.

Electric Touring Car ace Teemu Leino summed up his day by saying, ‘Maybe this is the worst racing day ever’. The Xray driver had a messy first heat with bad traffic but the day would get worse. In Heat 2 his engine cut and then to cap off the bad day his receiver battery broke. Austrian Team LRP driver Hubert Honigl was another wishing the day had not happened, ‘It would have been good for me if they counted yesterday’s practice. I just cant find a set-up for this track.’

In the overall Qualification Ranking behind Savoya it is Batlle, Hernandez, Aigoin, Boero and Laffranchi. The drivers have two more heats in the morning after which we will have the first of the finals at what has been a very hot 2008 EFRA European Championship.

Top 20 after 3 rounds
1. SAVOYA Renaud (FR) – 8 Laps in 05:19.490 / 519pts
2. BATLLE Robert (ES) – 8 Laps in 05:20.606 / 509pts
3. HERNANDEZ Borja (ES) – 8 Laps in 05:23.597 / 504pts
4. AIGOIN Yannick (FR) – 8 Laps in 05:22.120 / 495pts
5. BOERO Fabio (IT) – 8 Laps in 05:25.290 / 492pts
6. LAFFRANCHI Alessandro (IT) – 8 Laps in 05:25.304 / 492pts
7. CRAGG Neil (UK) – 8 Laps in 05:26.443 / 486pts
8. BLOOMFIELD Darren (UK) – 8 Laps in 05:30.097 / 486pts
9. SARTEL Jerome (FR) – 8 Laps in 05:25.081 / 482pts
10. VEGA Daniel (ES) – 8 Laps in 05:26.756 / 474pts
11. PERIS Raul (ES) – 8 Laps in 05:31.679 / 473pts
12. BAYER Martin (CZ) – 8 Laps in 05:20.708 / 465pts
13. BOOTS Elliott (UK) – 8 Laps in 05:22.832 / 463pts
14. THERN Linus (SE) – 8 Laps in 05:29.702 / 458pts
15. PERIN Riccardo (IT) – 8 Laps in 05:33.280 / 457pts
16. TORTORICI Davide (IT) – 8 Laps in 05:29.835 / 455pts
17. HoNIGL Hubert (AT) – 8 Laps in 05:32.370 / 449pts
18. CROMPTON David (UK) – 8 Laps in 05:29.768 / 441pts
19. HAZLEWOOD Jon (UK) – 8 Laps in 05:33.367 / 440pts
20. EZAZIAN Jerome (FR) – 8 Laps in 05:31.586 / 437pts

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July 3, 2008

Savoya from Batlle in Heat 2

Robert Batlle

Renaud Savoya has repeated his Heat 1 performance in the second of today’s three scheduled qualifiers to again take maximum points here in Crete. Savoya ran a slightly slower time that this morning but was still the class of the field, however defending European Champion Robert Batlle sent out a warning shot that he is up for the job. Running a time just 3/10th off the Warm-up Race winner, the Spaniard was much more upbeat following the run. Big surprise in Heat 2 was the time set by young Czech driver Martin Bayer who was less than 5/10th off setting the TQ for the round.

Savoya was once again happy with his Ninja powered Mugen and other than running maybe different tyres the French Champion will use the same setting which so far he has used to great effect. Battle was pleased with the changes he made to his Hobao for Heat 2. Running a smaller piston hole in the rear shocks and larger holes in the front the car was working much better. The smaller rims also helped reduce side grip which caused him problems in Heat 1.

Martin Bayer

Former 1:5 World Championship Top Qualifier Martin Bayer was the real surprise on the Heat 2 time sheets. Running a GRP powered Losi, the 20 year old did not finish the first heat however going the distance in on this occasion he made his mark. Determined to repeat his pace, Bayer will change the rear shocks and anti roll bar to give him a little more rear but less side grip.

Elliot Boots

15 year old Elliot Boots, another member of the UK team who has relocated his pit area to the side of the pool at his hotel, was very happy with his Associated in Heat 2. Running a harder rear end on his RB powered RC8 the set up allowed his Hole Shot XTR tyres to work better and despite a mistake he set an impressive fourth fastest time. The young British driver says the track is very bumpy but the layout suits his driving style.

Former World Champion Alessandro Laffranchi and Portuguese driver Luis Rodrigo completed the Top 6 for Heat number 2. Yannick Aigoin and Jerome Sartel who where second and third fastest this morning managed only 20th and 11th times respectively in Heat 2 as they both made driver errors. Both French drivers say their cars are working really well and they will change little for the Heat No.3 but hopefully will have mistake free runs.

Top 10 after 2 rounds
1. SAVOYA Renaud (FR) – 8 Laps in 05:19.490 / 354pts
2. BATLLE Robert (ES) – 8 Laps in 05:20.606 / 348pts
3. HERNANDEZ Borja (ES) – 8 Laps in 05:28.880 / 343pts
4. SARTEL Jerome (FR) – 8 Laps in 05:25.081 / 341pts
5. LAFFRANCHI Alessandro (IT) – 8 Laps in 05:25.304 / 341pts
6. BOOTS Elliott (UK) – 8 Laps in 05:22.832 / 338pts
7. AIGOIN Yannick (FR) – 8 Laps in 05:23.696 / 336pts
8. BOERO Fabio (IT) – 8 Laps in 05:28.478 / 333pts
9. BLOOMFIELD Darren (UK) – 8 Laps in 05:30.097 / 333pts
10. LUIS Rodrigo (PT) – 8 Laps in 05:25.470 / 331pts

Check out our event image gallery here.