Event Coverage News

Robert Batlle wins his 3rd European Championship

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Robert Batlle took a deserved 3rd European Championship in Eskilstuna, Sweden having led much of the final, TQ’d qualifying and starting on pole position for the 45 minute final. Early on Robert led round but on lap 2 a crash allowed home favourite David Ronnefalk through, he would open up a small gap as the likes of Boots, Ongaro and Batlle began fighting for position, Bloomfield also hanging with them during the early phase.

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Ronnefalk’s small early lead was cut short as a mistake saw Batlle swoop past, a lead he would hold despite constant pressure. A final that will go down as a dominant one outfront but a race-long fight for the podium places as Boots locked horns with Ronnefalk and Ongaro there as well. Several times positions would change outfront, all the while whilst Robert was stretching his lead ever so slowly.

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As first pitstops filtered through, Batlle’s pit crew suffered a scare as their Picco engine took all the fuel the gun had, however it was Elliott Boots who would suffer not one but two flame outs whilst in pitlane, losing valuable time. David Ronnefalk showed early speed but citing his car ‘not feeling’ the same after a specific crash which led to a series more, it proved hard to drive for the Swede as he fought with Ongaro & Boots.

Heralded by the racing industry as an ambassador for the hobby & sport, Robert would turn bad fortune at the past two European championships around as he swept to a popular victory. Davide Ongaro would finish a brilliant 2nd, perhaps not having the speed of Boots or Ronnefalk, but the young head proved he could crash less. Amongst the outgoing European Champion and current World Champion bragging rights this time round went to the Swede, although ‘gutted’ with 3rd after having high hopes of a home victory. Perhaps even more heartbroken will be Elliott Boots, denied a title shot by two flame outs in pitlane caused by the fuel gun and then finishing off the podium.

This Euros we anticipated was about 4 drivers and so it turned out, the quartet dominating much of the event, and one driver coming out ontop, old?! hand Robert Batlle who finally added a 3rd European title to his name, putting him level with 1/8 Buggy great Daniel Reckward, the pair now sharing 3 Euro titles and 1 World Championship.

A huge thank you to the MK Eskil team for their support & hospitality, EFRA and the weather gods, the rain arriving only minutes after the final finished. Thank you for watching.

Overall Result

Robert Batlle dominates end of Quali & TQ’s Euros

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Over five rounds of qualifying the battle has ebbed and flowed between multiple drivers, however the pre event favourites picked out shared the spoils for TQ, however Friday at the Euros belongs to Robert Batlle as he stepped up and smashed a run in some 5 secs quicker than the nearest challenger.

Heat 1 saw David Ronnefalk turn in a decent run of 8/ 5:26.176, fast but it didn’t look as rapid as his Q4 run which was cut short, up stepped Elliott Boots, if he went faster he would TQ. And he did, despite a minor rollover in the back section, Boots 1.4 secs faster than Ronnefalk – it looked like TQ was settled, going the way of the Brit.

But fastest man in Q4, Robert Batlle hadn’t read that script and caused a collective jaw drop as he set the track alight with a time of 8/5:18.801, having opted to switch from AKA impact super soft to soft clearly worked a treat as the sun came out for his heat and he found a sweet spot. Put into perspective with an average laptime of 39.850 over 8 laps simply put a most excellent display of driving, earning Robert envious praise from even his toughest competitors.

2017 European Championship Manufacturer Statistics

The 2017 European Championships in Eskilstuna, Sweden is well underway with 168 drivers competing for victory (up from 156 last year), special thanks to OS’ Shimazaki-san for collecting the figures and sharing them with us of all drivers taking part in this 5 day event.

In a change from last year, Kyosho are now the most popular chassis with 15.5% [26 cars] present, Mugen aren’t far behind with 24 cars (14.3%), down from almost 25% at last year’s Euros. HB Racing have taken huge leaps and bounds, no doubt helped by home driver David Ronnefalk running the car on home turf, with 23 cars (13.7%). Once again 13 chassis manufacturers are represented here this week.

In the engine stakes, OS have increased their share 23.8% [40] with almost double the next nearest rival, and a little surprisingly, Bullitt share the 2nd place spoils with REDS [22] 13.1%.

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David Ronnefalk overnight TQ at Euros

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After three of five rounds of qualifying at the European Championships in Eskilstuna, Sweden home nation driver David Ronnefalk sits top, equal on points with warm up event TQ Davide Ongaro. 3rd placed Elliott Boots would TQ the opening round much to his own surprise actually, whilst the Italy’s Davide Ongaro would go onto claim round 2, excelling with a larger pin tyre than his rivals. Pacesetter in practice David Ronnefalk would finally claim a round after going 2nd in both previous rounds, mistakes costing the HB driver.

With three different TQs and two further rounds tomorrow it is still all to play for at the top.

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Standings after Q3

Video: Q3, Ronnefalk’s TQ run

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Ronnefalk finds breakthrough in Q3

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Round 3 of qualifying saw the blue sunny skies disappear and a greyish white cloud descend over the Grondal Ring facility in Eskilstuna, whether weather (!) or simply extremely difficult track conditions saw many drivers lose some lap time, the bumps and ruts tossing cars left, right or sideways constantly.

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That said, there is a definite group of true offroaders who seem to be shining through, able to setup their car to handle the ever developing track surface – at times grippy, at others loose. Q3 would be the breakthrough round for Sweden’s David Ronnefalk, having threatened to go top in both previous rounds taking 2nd in both, the World Champion overcame a hugely costly mistake on lap 2. A TQ challenge looking unlikely after losing around 4 secs, however Ronnefalk pushed on and finished in style with a couple of sub 40 sec laptimes to set the fastest run of the day so far despite the crash.

Missing in practice but very much here for quali is the Moto tyre rocking Davide Ongaro, favouring the large pin tyre to great effect coming home in 2nd infront of Robert Batlle from the 3rd heat and a strong result from Serpent’s Carlos Duraes in 4th. Elliott Boots had high hopes after his opening round TQ but mistakes on 4 laps saw him take 5th overall from Kyosho team mate Riccardo Berton. In 7th Joseph ‘the blogger’ Quagraine, clearly at home on this track. In 8th, sterling showing from Jessica Palsson, showing up the boys out there.

Q3 Ranking

David Ronnefalk leads Euros Practice

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Home nation favourite David Ronnefalk came flying out of the blocks for controlled practice and will seed as the #1 driver. After a positive morning shakedown round having changed a few bits overnight the Swede raised collective paddock eyebrows as he strung together a trio of low 39 sec & one 40 sec lap to lay down a high water marker. Backing it up once more in Rd 2 as the only driver to manage a sub 2 minute time of today. Ronnefalk guided by tyre guru Jason Ruona appears to be running an older JConcepts tread design, first debuted back in 2012, but clearly working well here in Eskilstuna.

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Pacesetter yesterday Elliott Boots looked content although slightly surprised with his lap pace in Rd2, the reigning European Champion saying how difficult the track was to handle given the mix of loose dust and grippy areas on line giving a car that snatches and bites. In 3rd a resurgent Robert Batlle, a poor first round was overcome as the Spaniard came good making up the trio of pre event favourites who sit at the top.

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A new name in 4th however as Champion-in-waiting Juan Carlos Canas has quietly gone about his business to place 4th, likewise Joao Figueiredo, excelling on the surface and layout, he is joined by fellow countryman Carlos Duraes, whilst France’s cause is led by young Kyosho driver Rayan Medjoubi, in 8th confirming the Kyosho are enjoying themselves on the surface is Riccardo Berton whilst Yannick Aigoin breaks the trend of the young drivers in 9th. In P10, Davide Ongaro, struggling for that cutting edge of outright pace but surely deadly, 11th Savoya, 12th the highly impressive Hampus Berg whilst team Finland round out the bottom of the top 15.

Practice Ranking

Ronnefalk tops Practice round 2

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David Ronnefalk once again topped the timsheets in Controlled Practice round 2, not quite able to set a 3 lap time as fast as his earlier one of the day but 1 sec ahead of closest competitor Robert Batlle. The Spaniard proved one of the biggest improvers as he was confident heading into practice after the shakedown only for his car to behave completely differently due to temperatures and conditions.

CP2 Rankings