Team Losi Racing, who despite being one of the main players in the 1/8 off road market have never before won the European Championship, got their 2012 campaign off to a strong start this morning in Austria as their drivers Darren Bloomfield and Miguel Matias topped the time sheets for the opening round of qualifying.
Bloomfield, running a scrubbed set of super soft AKA Enduros on his 8ight which features a number of new parts the team have brought over from the US to test, the British ace said the buggy felt very good. Having changed to a different Novarossi engine for qualifying, Bloomfield was happier with the tuning having struggled to get a good balance between the top & bottom end on the engine yesterday.
Matias said his updated 8ight was awesome although he is still looking for a little more steering. Unlike the majority of drivers running AKA who choose Enduro for Q1 the Portuguese ran super soft compound Impact tires something he said was just down to a personal preference.
Batlle, who essentially ran two qualifiers this morning following a problem with the timing computer, said his Mugen lacked steering but he was still able to run consistent laps and he was happy enough to set a 9 lap run. The problem with the timing occurred as officials input the disqualification of Associated Neil Cragg, whose fuel tank failed for being deem over size, in to the timing causing the automated voice to make random announcements such as 30 seconds to start when the race was already 2 minutes underway.
Christoffer Svensson took his OS powered MP9 to the fourth fastest time ahead of team mate Jerome Aigoin. David Ronnefalk set the fastest lap of Q1 with a 36.571 and was on target for a TQ run when he ran wide and out into to the dust causing his to lose traction for the table top off which he crashed his Orion powered MP9 and lost a massive 9 seconds to end up 11th
Jörn Neumann, who won the 4WD electric European Championship at this track last month, was pleased with his opening qualifier as he posted the 6th fastest time. Using a bigger pin tire having switched from JConcepts Stackers to a CrossBows he said he had better overall grip and steering particularly on the concrete block section of the track. Running a prototype car most of which has been hand machined by Durango designer Gerd Strenge the German ace said the new buggy is a huge improvement over last years.
Elliot Boots saw any chance of a TQ run end at the very start of the run when he got the first corner wrong and launched his Kyosho off the track. Loosing 4 seconds he said the rest of the run was good and the car had the pace to TQ
Renaud Savoya. The Xray driver said he went into the opening heat looking to put in a clean run but drove a little too cautiously in particular his opening lap which was 38.658 seconds.