Bruno Coelho is the 4WD Top Qualifier at Round 3 of the Euro Offroad Series in Germany. The Xray driver secured his second consecutive TQ of his rookie EOS season with his performances in the opening two qualifiers last night as Marc Rheinard took the final qualifier ahead of Hupo Honigl. Rheinard’s TQ run secures the 2WD race winner third on the grid behind his team-mate Lee Martin, the Yokomo drivers sandwiched among the Xrays, as Honigl, Martin Bayer and Martin Wollanka completed the Top 6 on the grid.
Running new tyres on his XB4 for the final qualifier, Coelho said this left him with too much steering causing some early mistakes after touching the curbs. Ending up 7th fastest, the World Champion said by the end of the run the car was perfect with him able to post a new fastest lap of qualifying on his final lap. Knowing he had the benefit of a super fast Q2 time, should Martin be able to repeat his Q3 TQ, he said using the qualifier to break in new tyres means he now has ‘good tyres for the opening final’. Admitting that the Yokomos have improved from yesterday, he said starting ahead of them he will just try to drive a safe race and let them take the risks.
Having come into the weekend equal in the points standings with Coelho but now a point down due to the Portuguese ace claiming the bonus TQ championship point, Martin would get a P3 from the final qualifier. The reigning champion said his YZ-4 was ‘not bad’ but for the final they will ‘tweak the set-up to get a little more steering’. Feeling they are ‘pretty close’ now to Coelho’s pace he said his rival looks to be ‘slightly more comfortable from the first lap’ while they take a bit more time to get going. Asked about his approach to the final, the Brit said ‘9th could win on this track in 4WD so just drive a clean race and go from there’.
Commenting on his TQ run, Rheinard said it was his ‘first clean run and was happy to finally run 5-minutes with ‘no crashes’. Changing to a different front drive shaft on his YZ-4, the German said while this led to a little initial understeer it made the car easier and more consistent to drive with him able to carry more corner speed. Looking to the final, the former European 4WD Champion said he would ‘just try to keep it clean and not attack Lee at the start. Then see what happens’ adding ‘Bruno crashed in the last qualifier so it’s not easy for all of us’.
Lining up 4th on the grid as he did in 2WD, Honigl said his new XB4 was ‘super good’ with Q4 a ‘clean’ run. At the top of the timing screens for a time, the Austrian said he had to ‘drive like slalom’ as he avoided ‘about 5 crashed cars’ on the final lap and the 1/10th lost was enough to cost him a chance at TQing the round. Finishing 1-second off Rheinard, he said his car is ‘fast enough for Top 3’ and hopefully the finals will go better than in 2WD when from his P4 starting position he ended up finishing 8th.