July 10, 2009

Savoya secures 2009 TQ honours

Renaud Savoya has repeated his 2008 feat winning the last qualifier here in Austria to be crowned the Top Qualifier for the 2009 EFRA European Championships.  The only driver with a chance of denying the Mugen driver the overall TQ honours was fellow countryman Yannick Aigoin but the Losi driver rolled onto his roof during his run. Second fastest for the fifth round was Darren Bloomfield with rising young star David Ronnefalk completing the Top 3.

Full report to follow.

July 10, 2009

Another qualifier for defending Champion Savoya

Renaud Savoya has TQ’d the penultimate qualifier here in Austria becoming the first name to appear at the top the time sheets twice.  The defending Champion ran an identical car to yesterday changing only to the softer M3 Revolver to win the round from Darren Bloomfield and promising Czech driver Martin Bayer. Track conditions for the first of today’s two heats was slippery compared with yesterday due to the damp conditions but Savoya said his car worked well and combined his no driver errors he was very pleased with his heat which puts him in with a strong chance of repeating his overall TQ at last year’s European Championships.

Having completely changed everything on his Losi last night the hotly tipped Darren Bloomfield finally put in a strong run, finishing just 8/10th off Savoya.  The English driver was clearly much happier with his car which he said is running half way between the set-up from the Warm-up and that being used by Yannick Aigoin. Finding the rear of the car a little too soft still he will make appropriate changes to cure that for Heat 5.

One of the surprises of the 2008 Euros in Crete, Martin Bayer is again making a name for himself claiming a very strong third fastest time.  Having posted three good runs yesterday he said he could push harder today as a result and found his Losi 8ight very easy to drive.  Taking the third fastest time he plans only a small front caster adjustment for his last qualifier. Newly crowned Italian Champion Riccardo Rabitti took fourth for the round after a safe run.  After failing to post a time in the first qualifier due to a battery problem, the Losi/Sirio driver said he drove a ‘safe’ run so as to ensure he had a third decent times to move him up the qualification rankings.  While most opted for the M3 compound Revolver, Rabitti chose the M2 and said his car was very well balanced. He plans to push hard in the final round now that he has 3 strong results on the board which currently sees him lying 5th in the ranking.

Missing out on a Top 3 placing for the first in qualifying was Yannick Aigoin. The overnight Qualification Ranking leader tried 6mik tyres in the warm-up period for his heat but thanks to super fast work by his mechanics switched to M3 Revolvers in time for the timed 5-minutes.  The Losi driver is considering trying Calipers for the fifth & final qualifier as he has not tried the tyre yet and wants to test it as an option for tomorrow’s Semis. Having had a few days now to gauge his opposition Aigoin feels his biggest challenge will come from Savoya as well as his own Losi team-mates Bloomfield, Rabitti and Bayer.

The fastest man on the track for the round was Jerome Aigoin but two mistakes meant he would only take sixth. The winner of the opening qualifier, the Kyosho/Sirio driver was the only one to break into the 44 second laps with his AKA shod MP9 and is very happy with the handling but needs to cut out the mistakes. Without these he could have come very close to Savoya’s TQ time.

Better known for his Electric Touring exploits factory Xray driver Teemu Leino from Finland enjoyed his strongest run of the event taking his Team Orion powered XB808 into the Top 10 for the first time with the seventh fastest run. Having put in some super fast laps yesterday but making too many mistakes, 16 year old Elliot Boots finally got it together to post the 8th fastest time while Associated’s Neil Cragg and former World Champion Alessandro Laffranchi completed the Top 10.

Elsewhere it was a disastrous fourth round for 2007 Champion Robert Batlle who finished way down the order after choosing to run GRP’s X compound Cubic tyre which gave his car far too much grip and overheated during the run.

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July 10, 2009

Wet start to Day 4 of Euros

Drivers have woken up this morning to wet conditions in Wolbling, Austria.  After a sunny day yesterday the weather took a turn last night with the wet conditions set to continue throughout the morning, however right now it is not actually raining at the track.  The track itself is only very slightly wet thanks to the efforts of the local club who covered it up after the final run yesterday in anticipation of the overnight downpour.  At 07:00 EFRA 1:8 Off Road chief Carlos Gomez gave the go ahead for it to be removed in preparation for the penultimate round of qualifying which gets underway at 09:00, starting with Group 6.

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July 9, 2009

Savoya continues French reign in Austria

Renaud Savoya continued the French reign here in Wolbling, Austria, as he TQ’d the third qualifier on day 3 of the Euros heading home arch rival and fellow countryman Yannick Aigoin. The defending Champion was clearly pleased with the run saying afterward, ‘It is getting better now. The car is improving all the time’. Running harder shocks and switching to Proline’s Caliber M2 tyre, Savoya was much happier with the feeling of his MBX6 and knocked 2 seconds off his first qualifying run with 7 laps in 5:14.059.

Setting the fastest lap for the round with a 44.201, Aigoin was running a very similar time to Savoya but put his Losi on its roof on the last lap.  This cost the Round 2 Top Qualifier over 2 seconds but he put his hand up quickly calling it was a ‘Stupid mistake’. The overnight leader of the Qualification Ranking says his car is still working excellently but if the weather remains dry he will try a few things in tomorrow’s final two heats as preparation for the Semi-Finals as his runs today will ensure he lines up at least in the Top 3.  The reason he referred to the weather is that the forecast is giving rain in the morning for the area.

Making it three different cars in the Top 3, Robert Batlle said changes made to his RC8 between rounds had not worked, with the car now harder to drive but he has a good idea of which way to go to improve it. Interestingly the GRP team driver has been running the same set of Cubic tyres on his car all day.

Riccardo Rabitti backed up his strong second qualifier by improving two places to record the fourth fastest time. Less driver errors and the extra rear toe allowed the Losi/Sirio driver to knock 5 seconds off his time. A major player in the Italian National Championship, Rabitti will try new front hub carriers which Aigoin is already using on his car. Running in the very last heat of the day German ace Daniel Reckward completed the Top 5 with his Mugen.

The star of the third qualifier was recently crowned European B Champion David Ronnefalk who took his Team Orion powered Kyosho to a very impressive sixth fastest time. Only 13 years old, the Swede is the protege of none other than Adrien Bertin and he couldn’t make his European A Championship debut in more capable hands. Having played around with set-up that wasn’t suited to the youngster’s unique driving style they have reverted to the same base set-up he used to win in Switzerland. Using a similar combination to set the seventh fastest time was Austrian National Champion Martin Karner. Using Orion’s CRF engine rather than the Alpha unit in Ronnefalk’s MP9, the former Kyosho Masters winner said his fast run was a result of switching to a used set of AKA Grid Iron tyres.

Elsewhere 16-year-old Elliott Boots, one of the drivers tipped by Savoya to watch here this week, is proving very quick over a single lap but admits himself he is just making too many mistakes over the 5-minutes. Setting the second fastest lap for the round with a 44.232, the Mugen driver will be hoping he can string it all together in tomorrow’s final two qualifiers saying ‘tomorrow is another day’.

Our live coverage, which is supported by Team Orion, Mugen Seiki, LRP and Kyosho, continues in the morning when it will be decided who is the 2009 EFRA 1:8 Off Road European Championship Top Qualifier.

Top 10 in round 3
1. Renaud Savoya (FR) – 7 Laps in 5:14.059
2. Yannick Aigoin (FR) – 7 Laps in 5:16.658
3. Robert Batlle (ES) – 7 Laps in 5:17.179
4. Riccardo Rabitti (IT) – 7 Laps in 5:18.502
5. Daniel Reckward (DE) – 7 Laps in 5:20.360
6. David Ronnefalk (SE) – 7 Laps in 5:20.485
7. Martin Karner (AT) – 7 Laps in 5:20.904
8. Daniel Vega (ES) – 7 Laps in 5:21.240
9. Alex Laffracnchi (IT) – 7 Laps in 5:21.478
10.Martin Bayer (CZ) – 7 Laps in 5:22.026

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July 9, 2009

Other Aigoin takes 2nd Qualifier

Yannick Aigoin has topped the second round of qualifying for the 2009 EFRA European Championships here in Austria. Setting both a new fastest run time and lap record, the French star said he was surprised to beat Robert Batlle’s time having watched the Spaniard’s run as he waited for his own group.  Running the same set-up as this morning, only switching from Caplier to Revolver tyres, he said his Losi/Novarossi combination is working really well and he will leave it the same for the third qualifier.

Although Batlle put in a very fast time with his GRP engined Associated the Spaniard wants to reduce the grip he is getting. Running on GRP Cubic A compound, the high grip is causing the car to snap oversteer so he plans to try a harder tyre and also lower the rear shock positions.

Renaud Savoya appeared disappointed with his run saying it’s ‘a question of tyres’. The defending Champion ran Proline Holeshot tyres but his Mugen is lacking side grip. Setting himself the aim of a fault free run, having made two mistakes in the first qualifier, he achieved that but the big decision for the French ace is what tyre to go with next time out.  Currently Caliper is looking his mostly likely choice.

After a disastrous first qualifier when a borrowed set of tyres came off the rims, former World & European Champion Daniel Reckward put in a very strong second run to post the 4th fastest time.  Now running an identical set-up to Mugen teammate Savoya, the German described his MBX6 as ‘fantastic’. Having used a fresh set of hard compound Tourex X500 tyres Reckward plans only a change of tyre compound as his next run is the last of the day and conditions should be a lot cooler.

Martin Bayer continued his strong run with the fifth fastest time. The caster changes made to his Losi 8ight since the first round gave the car more steering but the Czech driver feels he went with the wrong tyre. Running the Revolver M2 he thinks the car will work better on the Caliber pattern.  Completing the Top 6 it was Riccardo Rabitti with his Sirio powered Losi.  The Italian suffered a receiver battery failure on the opening lap of the first qualifier but could show his true pace this time around.  With the car starting to go off near the end of the run he will set the rear of the car lower and increase the rear toe to the same as Aigoin.

Elsewhere Jerome Aigoin, who topped the first qualifier, had a bad run rolling his Kyosho twice on his way to 13th while England’s Neil Cragg, another of the fast guys in round 1 suffered a flame out.  For timed practice pace setter Miguel Matias he lost time when he ran into a crash car but the Portugese former World Champion appears to be struggling with set-up today and has decided to revert to his ‘Warm Up’ set up for the next outing.

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July 9, 2009

Big industry support in Austria

Just how important the 1:8 Off Road market is to the r/c industry is clearly visible here in Austria. Walking around the pits its like a whose who of those behind the companies that provide racers with their cars, engines and tyres. It is the European Championships but it could easily be mistaken for the Worlds due to the big international presence with plenty of big names in attendance to support not just their team drivers but paying customers too.

Kyosho designer Yuichi Kanai, Team Associated’s Richard Saxton, Losi boss Bill Jeric, LRP owner Jurgen Lautenbach, Team Orion engine man Adrien Bertin, Sirio’s Andrea Rossi , RB’s Eric Aita and GRP’s Stefano Gandini are just some of the big names busy offering support to the capacity 180 competitors here in Wolbling.

His name is synonymous with r/c racing and although no longer involved with the company that bears his family name, Gil Losi is here to support drivers using tyres from his latest venture AKA. The legendary American, who himself is a former electric off road World Champion, owns the company along with 2006 World Champion Mark Pavidis, and is here this week to teach drivers more about their range of tyres and how to get the most out of them. Losi feels it’s important for him come to the Euros and support drivers as he can learn a lot about European style tracks and how AKA can develop future products to suit. It would appear they already have a very strong package as proved this morning by Jerome Aigoin and we hear their inserts are making their way on to a growing number of leading driver’s cars.  Asked how he was enjoying his new venture Losi said it was nice being an independent company now as they can focus fully on the racing market.  Just an idea of how hands on Losi is in the company he told us when he returns home to the US next week he will be packing orders while Pavidis heads off to support the ROAR Off Road Nationals.

A year ago Novarossi was not such a big player in the off road market but the Italian company have made huge inroads since the launch of their new off road line at the Toy Fair in Nurnberg. Greater focus on the market too and the recruitment of Bernard Durand has been key to that growth. For Durand he says it is important to support all drivers, not just those on the team, and share information on how to tune the engines for economy and different power delivery.  Also here representing Novarossi is team manager Federicio Barchi who feels the Euros is an opportunity for him to meet in person with their many National team drivers who he would normally only deal with via e-mail or phone and he said that this personal contact is important to the strenght of the Novarossi team and brand.

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