July 5, 2016

Boots sets early pace in Redovan


Reigning champion Elliott Boots has set the early pace at the 1:8 Offroad European Championships in Redovan, Spain, the Kyosho driver fastest after two rounds of 4 scheduled rounds of free practice.  Posting the fastest 3-consecutive laps in the second practice, Bryan Baldo having set the fastest time in FP1,  Boots topped the times ahead of Mugen’s Robert Batlle by just 4/10ths around the massive track. One of the few drivers not to improve in FP2, Baldo’s opening time was still good enough for third after two rounds with former Champion Darren Bloomfield next up in P4.  Winner of the Warm-up Race back in May, David Ronnefalk failed to put together three good laps, the long 52-second lap making it possible to run just 5-laps over the 5-minute practice, and the HB driver finds himself only 24th.


‘So far so good’, was how Boots summed up the start to his title defence.  The British driver added, ‘we did all the hard work at the warm-up and we are carrying on with the car as it was then’.   Using the same set-up as he ran at the warm-up, he said while there is less traction than at the warm-up he is happy with how his Pro-Line X2 Blockade shod MP9 is running in the conditions. Commenting on track conditions, the track having undergone a new sugar treatment to help hold its dirt together better without the need for watering as it is punished by the heat of the sun, Boots said ‘I think its going to blow out as it is so dry’.


Complimenting the track work carried out by the Baldos family in preparing the track for the event, Batlle said ‘there is less grip but this is a good thing as its much easier for everyone, its less aggressive so easier to drive’.  Commenting on his opening practice performance, the 2-time Champion described it as ‘quite good’ adding his ‘car was easy to drive and for the first day that is good’.  Running Procircuit Road Runner tyres on his MBX7R, the 2012 World Champion said with a good base already they can get working on getting it faster will small set-up tweaks.


Baldo said his first practice was ‘very good’ but with his Mugen ‘a little nervous’ he made a suspension set-up change for FP2 which was ‘not good’.  With the car ‘more loose’, he will revert back to his opening set-up for the third practice, he said he may also try a different tyre.  Using Procircuit’s Hot Dice for the first 2 runs,  the 24-year-old may follow Batlle and switch to Road Runners for the next one.  Responsible for the preparation of the track, when asked if he expected the traction to improve he replied ‘we will see.  This is the first time we have used sugar like this (to prepare the track)’.


‘Seems to be good so far’ was Bloomfield’s summary of his early practice runs.  The Agama lead driver said the main thing he did was to try different tyres.   The 2012 Champion ran Beta Freeride in soft compound in FP1 but said while ‘they were good’ he ‘felt they should have been harder’.  Switching to V-Max one compound harder for FP2, he said while to drive his A215 felt ‘easier and slower’ on the times it was an improvement.  In term of his car set-up, the Brit said ‘we’re not swinging from the trees and I feel were in the right place’.  Adding he is ‘not sure what the track is going to do’, he said the aim for the rest of practice is ‘marginal gains’ through making ‘a little tweak and another little tweak till it adds up’.


Fifth fastest, 2014 Runner-up Martin Wollanka said his Xray ‘was very good’.   With a fastest lap just 1/10th off that of Boots, the Austrian said his only problem so far is that his car was slightly too wide for the tech inspection which he needs to sort for FP3. Changing from Pro-Line to Italian tyre manufacturer Hot Race for this event, he has run the Roma pattern declaring himself very happy with it.  Planning to stick with that pattern for now, he said in a later practice he plans to test the company’s all new Amazzonia pattern which he said will work better for the longer runs. Wollanka’s team-mate Martin Bayer would be 14th fastest after the 2 practices.


Competing the Top 6, the younger of the Baldo brothers Oscar was happy with his opening runs.  The 19-year-old said ‘the feeling of the car was very good but the grip of the track was not very high’.  With the diffs a little hard for the conditions, the Mugen driver will do one more round with the same set-up in the hope the track improves and if not will go for a softer diff set-up for the final free practice this evening.


On standby for a quick return to France as he awaits the arrival of his first child,  Renaud Savoya was very upbeat about the start to his event with his FP1 time good enough for P7.  The TLR driver said ‘the first practice was really good. Out of the box the car was very good’.   The multiple champion added ‘the set-up is pretty much what we will use if the track stays the same’.   With John Piant from JConcepts making the trip over from the US to support their European team driver, Savoya ran a new prototype O2 compound Reflex tyre in FP1 before moving to a Detox in the same compound.  He said while the Detox was a little faster it is a taller tyre so his 8ight rolled more and they need to make a ride height adjustment for that for the next one.


Despite being low down on the time sheets, Ronnefalk summed up early practice with ‘its alright’.  Describing ‘the track is a little different with less grip overall’, the Swede said having started out wth the set-up they left the warm-up with they are now more back towards his base set-up for the D815.  For FP3 he said they will work more on the shock package with it ‘too soft’ in the first two.

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