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

Check out our event image gallery here.


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.


July 3, 2008

Savoya heads French 1-2-3

Renaud Savoya

Renaud Savoya has TQ’d the first heat at the 2008 EFRA European Championships here in Crete. The young Mugen driver heads a trio of French drivers with Yannick Aigon and Jerome Sartel producing the second and third fastest times. Fourth fastest at the moment is defending Champion Robert Batlle.

Yannick Aigon

Reigning French Champion, and warm up winner on this track earlier in the year, Savoya was very happy with his car over the 5 minute run so much so he will leave his car the same for the second of today’s qualifiers. Running Proline XTR tyres he produced a time of 8 laps in 5:19.490 to go over four second clear at the top.

Second fastest man Yannick Aigon said his car was a little nervous and that he drove a safe run. Having switched from GRP Jolly to Atomic tyres for the 3 minute reseed practice yesterday evening Aigon ran the Atomic option this morning and was pleased with the choice. The Losi driver will change his front diff for Heat two in a bid to make the car easier to drive.

Jerome Sartel

Jerome Sartel who produced the third quickest run joked when asked about how it was saying, ‘I am not happy with this there are two French drivers in front of me!’. A friend of both Savoya and Aigon, the Xray driver had had a little too much grip and plans to change his rear anti roll bar for Heat 2.

Defending champion Robert Batlle, who is thought to have suffered from sunstroke yesterday, was feeling better today and was the highest placed non French driver. The Hobao/Ultimate Racing team driver said he had too much grip and the car wanted to flip in all the corners. Running GRP Atomic B tyres the Spaniard will try a smaller wheel for his next outing.

Borja Hernandez, who was second quickest overall in timed practice yesterday, was fifth despite a driver error over the last jump which cost him some time. The Hobao driver will leave his car the same for Heat 2. Swede Linus Thern completes the Top 6 and is the leading Kyosho driver. Darren Bloomfield who was the the pace setter yesterday is 7th and the UK racer has relocated his pit area to the side of the pool at his hotel!

The overnight work carried out on the jumps here at the IMC track have been given a big thumbs up by the leading drivers who all described it as much better.

Top 10 after round 1
1. Savoya Renaud – 8 Laps in 05:19.490
2. Aigoin Yannick – 8 Laps in 05:23.696
3. Sartel Jerome – 8 Laps in 05:25.081
4. Batlle Robert – 8 Laps in 05:25.706
5. Hernandez Borja – 8 Laps in 05:28.880
6. Thern Linus – 8 Laps in 05:29.702
7. Bloomfield Darren – 8 Laps in 05:30.097
8. Ezazian Jerome – 8 Laps in 05:31.586
9. Laffranchi Alessandro – 8 Laps in 05:31.928
10. Vray Guillaume – 8 Laps in 05:32.613

Check out our event image gallery here.


July 2, 2008

Opening Ceremony – Track repairs to be done overnight

Host Nation Team Greece

The 2008 EFRA European 1:8 Off Road Championship was officially opened this evening as all the teams were presented at the opening ceremony. A total of 18 countries are represented with the smallest being Estonia and Belgium who are represented by just single drivers. Pictures of each of the teams are now published in the gallery.

Damaged jumps entry

As we have reported since our arrival here in Crete the leading drivers have been critical of the track surface, and this evening following a track inspection it was decided that there will be overnight work carried out on the two concrete jumps which have caused much trouble to drivers today as the surface broke up. Given the very hot weather here the cement should dry fully in time for the first qualifying heat tomorrow morning. Unfortunately the ruts in the clay cannot be repaired.

Check out our event image gallery here.


July 2, 2008

Darren Bloomfield goes fastest

Darren Bloomfield

British driver Darren Bloomfield has made his intentions known as the young Team Losi topped the overall practice times with a great second timed practice run. Switching to softer tyres inserts for the 2nd session he set a time of 8 laps in 05:23.854 to head the 167 car field who have travelled here for the 2008 Euros. ‘That was a really good run. The soft inserts made the car feel better, said Bloomfield afterwards.

Alessandro Laffranchi

Second fastest in the second session and third fastest overall was former World and European Champion Alessandro Laffranchi. The Xray driver had problems in the first run when his back pressure pipe came off. Running softer PMT tyres for the second run the 8 time Italian National Champion was right on it and with a CV like his will be one to watch as he knows a thing or two about winning.

Borja Hernandez

Second fastest overall thanks to his practice topping run in opening practice was Borja Hernandez. The Spaniard failed to improve on his time and was quick to put up his hand up and say he made too many driver errors which resulted in a bent front shock rod.

Having not had a car inside the Top 10 this morning, Austrian driver Peter Pinisch put Team Associated’s challenge on track with the fourth fastest time. Commenting on his car he said, ‘The car is working really well since I switched to the Hole Shot tyres which have made it easier to drive and the softer clutch has helped too. I will make a few small adjustment now for the first heat but I am happy with the car’.

Completing the Top 6 is Raul Peris and Hupo Honigl both of whom failed to improve their morning time. News on defending champion Robert Batlle is that he is not well and was taken to hospital for checks after suffering with his balance. The young Spaniard is back at his hotel and hopefully should be able to take part in the first heat tomorrow.

The drivers will now be reseeded for the qualifying heats based on the times set in the timed practice sessions. The opening ceremony will now take place in the next hour.

Here is the complete ranking after Practice Round 2 (PDF). Thanks to Aebi RC progress for providing Red RC with the results.

Check out our event image gallery here.