Bruno Coelho will go into the final round of the Euro Offroad Series in Austria as championship leader after the Xray driver secured his second win of the season in Germany today. Top Qualifier for the third round, the World Champion would after a fraught A2, take the overall win ahead of Marc Rheinard with a near perfect drive in the closing race of the championship’s successful first visit to the Muelheim-Kaerlich venue. For defending 4WD Champion Lee Martin his challenge for a required A3 win lasted just 3-laps as a mistake dropped him down the field, the winner of the season opener at the Nurburgring having to settle for the final step on the podium.
With a mistake in A1, from which he recovered to retake Martin for the win, and two mistakes in A2 that dropped him to third, Coelho said ‘that was easier cause they (Martin & Rheinard) flipped’. He continued, ‘I started with new tyres and was trying to get them broken in as quickly as possible so it was difficult at the start but Lee made a mistake and then Marc and it was only ’cause of this that the win looked easy’. With two perfect scores, both wins including the bonus championship TQ point, the Portuguese driver, who has a third from the opening round, said today’s result puts him in a good position for the season final as it puts all the pressure on Martin, the only driver who can deny him winning the title in his rookie season.
Commenting on what has been by far his best EOS weekend having won 2WD yesterday, Rheinard said ‘A 1 & 2 is not bad’. On A3, the 4-time on-road World Champion said, ‘when Lee crashed I tried to catch Bruno. My car was awesome but I hit a curb and it was game over. I think I had a real good chance to fight with him for the win but one mistake was too much’. With Yokomo the only manufacturer to mount any kind of challenge on Xray who made up half the 4WD grid, Rheinard was happy with the YZ-4’s performance this weekend saying, ‘Overall we have made a big step forward with our 4WD’ and he believes they should be even stronger for the next EOS.
Having secured back to back 2WD titles a round early yesterday with his second place finish, Martin would see his aspirations for a consecutive title double take a knock today. The British driver needed a minimum of a win going into A3 to get better than a third overall. Putting in the fastest lap of the race the third lap in he said his ‘car felt really good’ and he ‘wasn’t trying super hard’. Coming off the step off on lap 4 however he said his car would bounce on landing leading to it to grip rolling sending him into the pack. Having led Yokomo to become a title contender, he said ‘there is a small area we need to improve and if we sort it we will be stronger for the last round’. He added, ‘for a new platform we are close if not on par with our rivals but if we can get that extra little bit the car will be super dialled’.
A driver who endured a tough 2015 season, Hupo Honigl would be ‘super happy’ to finish fourth on his Xray debut. The Austrian said the ‘Top 3 were just faster’ but added ‘I couldn’t ask for more and with less pressure from my side I really am looking forward to the next race’. The pressure the former 2WD race winner was referring to was wanting to show he was still there as a driver in terms of being able to run at the front, something which eluded him during his stint at Serpent. Behind Honigl, his team-mates Martin Wollanka and Martin Bayer would complete the Top 6.