David Ronnefalk has successfully defended his 1:8 Offroad European Championship title with a convincing victory in Sand am Main. Having set the benchmark all week at the German event, the Kyosho star took an easy win over the Xray of Martin Wollanka but a mistake on the opening lap meant the Swede didn’t have it as easy as was expected. Making a mistake on the opening lap when on the run up the hill he landed his Orion powered MP9 on the track marker this allowed Darren Bloomfield to the front of the 1-hour main which also saw the Xray’s of Martin Bayer and Renaud Savoya lead for a time the 12-car field. After an entertaining opening 15-minutes Ronnefalk got back to the front and finding the composed form he has shown all week pulled clear to resume control. With first time finalist Wollanka securing a surprise second and his team-mate Renaud Savoya retiring from 3rd with a clutch bearing failure with 5-minutes to go the race for the final podium placing would be fought out by former Champions Darren Bloomfield and Robert Batlle. In the end it was Agama’s Bloomfield who came out on top with Batlle who found himself last at the end of the opening lap having to settle for fourth.
Delighted at being able to defend his title, becoming only the sixth driver in the championship’s 34 year history to do so, Ronnefalk said he made things a little more difficult than planned but in the end it all worked out alright. Landing on the track marker the 18-year-old said he was lucky to keep his buggy inside the track and after the error, which allowed Bloomfield to the front, he ‘pushed too hard’ in an attempt to get into the lead. At his first fuel stop he would loose time as he came in ‘too hot’ causing his Orion powered MP9’s rear wheel to hit the wall and go sideways. The stop was further delayed as the pit crew of fellow countryman Christoffer Svensson, who pitting on the same lap, confused the similarly coloured Kyoshos and picked up Ronnefalk’s buggy. Knowing he had the pace to win he said after the stop he just told himself to settle down and cut out the mistakes. Taking it ‘a little easier’ he said once he got to the front he was able to control the race although he said he almost got caught out by Wollanka. Thinking Bloomfield & Savoya were battling for second he said was gauging the race off them and coming up to lap the pair said he was happy to sit behind them not finding out until the last 10 minute when his pitcrew informed him that they were in fact battling for third. Running on a medium compound of AKA’s Catapult tyre he said coming in after around 5-minutes they worked really well over the extended race adding looking to the World Championships in Italy later this year he is really confident in the overall package he has with today’s victory endorsing that.
After a ‘really really bad start’ to the race having been pushed off the track by another buggy Wollanka was delighted to finish his firt Euros final second. The Austrian, who is World Champion in RC Racing sim VRC Pro, said after his opening lap dramas he just focused on driving his own smooth error free race adding he really enjoyed finding himself battling it out with the ‘absolute best divers’ half way into the race. Running an FX engine in his XB8, Juraj Hudy very happy with have both his car & engine creation on the podium, he said he started on a 9-minute fuel strategy but as his tyres got smaller his crew switched him to 7:30. Running Pro-Line’s Blockade tyre in X2 compound he said the tyre just go better as the race went on.
‘Drove shit in the middle of the race’, that was Bloomfield’s summary of the final. The 2012 champion looked early on as if he might be in for a repeat of the battle he had with Ronnefalk when he won his title two years ago but changing to a harder set-up he said as the race went on this lost him too much traction. Going up in shock oils after the Semi-final he said the conditions got hotter making it the wrong call. Only seven months into his contract with Agama he said to get a podium was great and had someone offered him a 3rd in the final he would have taken their hand off.
A slightly dejected Batlle said after his battery issue in the Semi final challenging for the win from 10th on the grid was always going to be a tall order on a track were overtaking is difficult. The Spaniard said he made a ‘perfect start’ but then got hit dropping him to the back of the field. Making his way up to fourth, which then became third with the demise of Savoya, Batlle would make a late mistake up the hill allowing Bloomfield to catch and pass him. With pair ‘latteraly touching’ on the main straight Batlle would get called for a Stop & Go penalty a call he felt was unwarranted. Setting the fastest lap of the final, he said his Novarossi powered MBX7 had the pace and had he started up front, P2 was on the cards until his ‘bad luck’ in the final 30-seconds of the Semi, he said it would have been ‘another race’.
Another making his first European Championship final, Kyosho Germany team driver Carsten Keller described his fifth place finish as ‘perfect’. The 25-year-old said the beginning of the race went ‘pretty well’ as he had the speed to run with the lead pack but ‘two stupid mistakes’ would drop him back. Landing off the track and rejoining at a different point but waiting to allow Christopher Svensson go by so as to not gain an advantage he said he still got a Stop & Go penalty for cutting the track. The only German in the race he said he got great support from onlookers saying the many waving German flags was pretty special. Apart from his mistakes he said he couldn’t have looked for a better race paying particular thanks to his pitmen Marcel Guske, who finished 4th here in 2011, and Cristian Hahlen for their ‘great work’. Behind Keller the Top 6 was completed by the Mugen of Lee Martin.
While Wollanka ensured a repeat of Xray’s 2013 podium finish, at one point it looked like Xray was going to go one step further than they did in France. Starting from fifth on the grid Martin Bayer was a surprise early leader until he had a mistake that ended up putting team-mate Savoya on his roof. Unfortunately after 5-minutes Bayer said his LRP powered XB8 just lost everything in terms of traction getting worse and worse as the race went on leaving him struggling to keep it on four wheels as he struggled home to 11th.
Recovering from his tangle with Bayer, Savoya also took a turn at leading the final. The 3-time champion said that ‘while not enough to beat David the rhythm was there’ and he was just going easy towards the end happy to take third. Having fitted new bearings to his clutch of his Orion engine for the 60-minute final he said they appear to have ‘exploded due to overheating’ and after his bad luck we should start calling him ‘Mr. Minus 5-minutes’.
Just as he did last year enroute to winning his first 1:8 Offroad European Championship title, David Ronnefalk will start the Main Final in Sand am Main from pole position. Top Qualifier for the event the Kyosho driver cruised to an easy win over the man who he took the title from Darren Bloomfield but it was the second of the Semi Finals that provided the drama. On target for a repeat of Ronnefalk’s domination of the first Semi, World Champion Robert Batlle’s Mugen would in the final 30-seconds of the 20-minute encounter come to a halt coming up the hill due to a battery failure. Luckily for the Spaniard, who won the last time the championships were hosted at the German track, he had completed just enough laps to claim sixth despite not going the full distance, the last bump up position, to progress to the final.
The benchmark for all his rivals all week, Ronnefalk showed no signs of slowing, the exceptionally composed Swede was never really threatened in the Semi. The only driver to run multiple 27-second laps the Swede said the race went exactly to plan although he felt Bloomfield had good speed and if it weren’t for mistakes by the 2012 Champion the race might not have been as easy. Describing his Orion powered Kyosho as ‘perfect’, he declared everything as being ‘all good for the final’.
Bloomfield said to be starting the Main second was ‘better than expected’. The factory Agama driver said ‘job one was to get in the final’ and they have accomplished that and starting at the front of the grid is ‘even better’. Managing his first 27-lap of the week, he said had it not been for a ‘scrappy finish’ to the race he could have been closer to Ronnefalk, the final gap being around 4-seconds short of a lap. Looking to tweak his A8 for the 1-hour final he will be going up in his shock oil and make a droop adjustment as well as fitting a fresh clutch to his Bullitt engine. Team-boss Jon Hazlewood was pleased with his driver making the final quoting that Lego Movie theme tune in that ‘everything is awesome’.
Third in the Semi A, last year’s podium finisher Martin Bayer summed up his race as ‘good, I’m in the final’. The Czech Team Xray driver said he was ‘lacking rotation’ from his LRP powered XB8 and should he have any time left after rebuilding the buggy’s centre diff he will look at making a set-up change but added the 1-hour final, in which he start 5th, will make ‘everything different anyway’.
Xray team-mate Renaud Savoya would take the win of the Semi B following Batlle’s drama. The 3-time champion said the Semi practice didn’t go as planned and this left him ‘not very confident’ for the race. While his Orion powered XB8 was ‘super easy’ to drive he said it was ‘a little too slow’ and so he had to play an ‘old guy driving style’ which he said worked out well him managing to go 15-minutes without a mistake. He said the main thing is he is in the final, and having started 7th last year and finished second, starting 3rd now ‘everything is to play for’.
‘Alright’ was how Boots described his second place, 5-seconds behind Savoya. The World Championship Top Qualifier said in addition to making a few mistakes he struggled with a lack of rotation from his Reds Racing powered Kyosho. Running Pro-Line’s X2 Suburb and with it cooler than previous runs he said he will probably make a combined set-up and tyre change for the final to try and improve the cars steering.
Making Kyosho the most represented manufacturer in the final, privateer racer Christoffer Svensson was delighted at making the final for the third year in row. The 23-year-old Swede said he got caught up with Savoya early on and that lost him contact with the lead pack. Battling with Lee Martin and Yannick Aigoin for the all important 6th position he said by the end he was able to get clear of that battle. Decribing his OS Speed powered MP9 as ‘excellent’ he said with a few less crashes he should be ‘hooked up’ for the final.
Relieved at getting his Novarossi powered Mugen into the final after suffering a receiver battery failure, Batlle said starting from 10th was not ideal but he’d take it. Very happy with the pace of his car in the race he said two laps before his MBX7 came to a stop up the hill he could feel something was not right. Feeling he has the same pace as Ronnefalk he said anything can happen over 1-hour of hard racing.
For the first time in a long time the European Championship will start without one of France’s famous Aigoin brothers among the starting 12. Top Qualifier of this race in 2011, Jerome could only manage 7th the Semi-A while 2012 World Finalist Yannick ended up 8th.
1. David Ronnefalk – Kyosho/Orion
2. Darren Bloomfield – Agama/Bullitt
3. Renaud Savoya – Xray/Orion
4. Elliott Boots – Kyosho/Reds Racing
5. Martin Bayer – Xray/LRP
6. Christoffer Svensson – Kyosho/OS Speed
7. Carsten Keller – Kysoho/Bullitt
8. Lee Martin – Mugen/Beat
9. Martin Wollanka – Xray/FX
10.Robert Batlle – Mugen/Novarossi
11.Joseph Quagraine – JQ/Reds Racing
12.Teemu Leino – HB/Novarossi
Semi Final A Result
1. David Ronnefalk – Kyosho/Orion – 42/20:16.135
2. Darren Bloomfield – Agama/Bullitt – 41/20:12.999
3. Martin Bayer – Xray/LRP – 41/20:21.525
4. Martin Wollanka – Xray/FX – 41/20:29.321
5. Joseph Quagraine – JQ/Reds Racing – 40/20:04.517
6. Teemu Leino – HB/Novarossi – 40/20:04.725
7. Jerome Aigoin – Kyosho/Novarossi – 40/20:15.267
8. Joern Neumann – Team Durango/FX – 40/20:15.467
9. Hupo Honigl – Team C/Novarossi – 40/20:25.026
10.Jack Embling – Mugen/Beat – 40/20:29.673
11.Alex Zanchettin – TLR/Novarossi – 39/20:06.033
12.Dominic Bauer – Mugen/Alpha – 6/3:11.471
Semi Final B Result
1. Renaud Savoya – Xray/Orion – 41/20:13.269
2. Elliott Boots – Kyosho/Reds Racing – 41/20:18.412
3. Christoffer Svensson – Kyosho/OS Speed – 41/20:23.502
4. Carsten Keller – Kysoho/Bullitt – 41/20:25.540
5. Lee Martin – Mugen/Beat – 41/20:26.899
6. Robert Batlle – Mugen/Novarossi – 40/19:21.070
7. Miguel Matias – Xray/RB – 40/20:10.055
8. Yannick Aigoin – Associated/Ultimate – 40/20:14.420
9. Daniel Reckward – RB/RB – 40/20:16.345
10.Hannes Käufler – TLR/Reds Racing – 40:20:24.555
11.Fabrizio Teghesi – Kyosho/OS Speed – 39/20:02.288
12.Byran Baldo – Mugen/Novarossi – 39/20:12.056
With the week starting out with 169 drivers only 24 now remain in contention to become the 34th 1:8 Offroad European Champion at Sand am Main with the 1/4 Finals deciding the 8 drivers who will join the 16 direct qualifiers in the Semi Finals.
In the first of the 20-minute 1/4 final encounters it was Italian star Alex Zanchettin who took the win taking his TLR to a comfortable win over former finalist Hupo Honigl. Starting from 10th on the grid having bumped from qualifying for the 1/8 Final, Honigl had a good run with the Austrian taking his Team C through the field and bump for a second time. Young chargers Jack Embling and Dominic Bauer completed the all important Top 4 to secure their places in the Semi, the Mugen duo having a good battle with the separation only 0.450 as they crossed the finish line.
In the second of the 1/4 Finals, former Champion Miguel Matias took a comfortable win to progress. Starting from pole and setting the fastest lap of the race, the Portuguese Team Xray driver took the win over fellow former champion Daniel Reckward. A podium finisher the last time the Euros was held in Sand am Main in 2011, the RB driver finished 22-seconds behind Matias. Driving a TLR German driver Hannes Kaufler completed the Top 3 with 2013 Semi-Finalist Bryan Baldo 7-seconds adrift securing the final spot up for grabs in the Semi Finals. The race saw the end of the road for last year Semi Finalist Davide Ongaro who while holding a bump up position was forced to retire with radio problems. It was not a good race for 16-year-old RB driver Marco Baruffolo who, having impressed in the final qualifier when he set the 6th fastest time, ended up only 10th.
Semi Final A Grid
1. David Ronnefalk – Kyosho/Orion
2. Teemu Leino – HB/Novarossi
3. Darren Bloomfield – Agama/Bullitt
4. Joseph Quagraine – JQ/Reds Racing
5. Martin Bayer – Xray/LRP
6. Joern Neumann – Team Durango/FX
7. Jerome Aigoin – Kyosho/Novarossi
8. Martin Wollanka – Xray/FX
9. Alex Zanchettin – TLR/Novarossi
10.Hupo Honigl – Team C/Novarossi
11.Jack Embling – Mugen/Beat
12.Dominic Bauer – Mugen/Alpha
Semi Final B Grid
1. Robert Batlle – Mugen/Novarossi
2. Elliott Boots – Kyosho/Reds Racing
3. Renaud Savoya – Xray/Orion
4. Carsten Keller – Kysoho/Bullitt
5. Christoffer Svensson – Kyosho/OS Speed
6. Lee Martin – Mugen/Beat
7. Yannick Aigoin – Associated/Ultimate
8. Fabrizio Teghesi – Kyosho/OS Speed
9. Miguel Matias – Xray/RB
10.Daniel Reckward – RB/RB
11.Hannes Käufler – TLR/Reds Racing
12.Byran Baldo – Mugen/Novarossi
Chassis – Serpent Cobra 2.1 Engine – RB BX-R Tyres – AKA Impact Soft Fuel – RB Radio/Servos – Futaba/Power-HD Body – Serpent Avenger Remarks – Top Serpent driver in qualifying, Carlos is running the 2.1 version of the Cobra buggy, equipped with several option parts. Everything mounted on a hard chassis plate, the front end sports 14 degrees aluminium C-Hubs with “0 degrees” knuckles, while the rear hubs are taken from the Serpent Truggy.
Chassis – TLR 8ight 3.0 Engine – RB BX-R Tyres – AKA Catapult Soft Fuel – RB Radio/Servos – Spektrum Body – TLR cab forward Remarks – Portuguese TLR and RB team driver Ricardo Monteiro is running a pretty stock version of the American buggy here in Sand. His car features a few noticeable items, such as the recently released option forward cab bodyshell equipped with the rear fin, PSM fiber brake discs and some spring cups made by Kilic Racing.