February 5, 2017

Coelho claims home win for Xray at EOS Slovakia

With many having expected it to come in A2, only for that race to turn in a blot on an otherwise dominant Xray performance from the first practice, Bruno Coelho gave the Slovakian manufacturer a home victory at the Euro Offroad Series with a faultless win in A3.  Top Qualifier for the 3rd round of the championship, the reigning champion made amends for a hectic second leg, in which he eliminated himself on the first lap, with a near perfect race to lead home team-mate Martin Bayer.  Securing his second win of the season, the biggest story of 4WD would be those joining him on the podium at the Hudy Racing Arena.  With the host manufacturer locking out the top 3 in qualifying and getting six XB4 onto the A-Main grid, the odds where against their rivals to podium but in part mainly due to the Xray destruction in A2 it would be winner of that leg Lee Martin who would secure the runners-up spot.   More surprising was Michal Orlowski making the podium from 8th on the grid, the Schumacher driver the only one to podium both classes at every race so far this season.  The top non-Xray qualifier, securing 4th on the grid, Joern Neumann would miss the podium, A3 seeing the former champion taken out by Martin Wollanka while on target for 3rd overall.

Commenting on the deciding race, Coelho said, ‘I was pretty nervous for the first 2-laps but everything was good and I could get space on Bayer.  After that I tried to manage it to the end. It was very good’.  Describing his Hobbywing powered XB4 as ‘pretty good all weekend’, even with the bent chassis he ran throughout qualifying, he said the weak link was his mistakes.  Shooting to fame for his electric touring car performance at the 2014 World Championships, a drive that led to him turning professional with Xray, he explained, ‘I am missing offroad practice because I am more focused on onroad.  Compared to my rivals I only get to race five races, the EOS, a year.  I have the pace and the car but miss the comfort in my driving as its not my class and my travel schedule means it impossible to practice more.  So to be able to TQ & win 4WD and make the podium in 2WD  I’m pretty happy.  I didn’t win in 2WD because of inexperience’.  Extending his lead in the standing to 6-points, he concluded, ‘for sure today’s win is great for the championship’.

‘I’ll take it. We didn’t have the pace and they did but thats been the case for a while’, was Martin’s summary of his second place finish.  He continued, ‘we need the ideal track to excel and didn’t have that here’.  Running a brand new set-up this weekend on his RC Concepts powered YZ4 which was the result of recent testing and racing in France last weekend, he said, ‘in the corners its so much better but there are other issues namely landing’.  Still chasing the first win of the season, he said ‘I think I drove pretty good and two seconds here ain’t too bad’, the reigning 2WD champion getting a second in that class yesterday.

From 8th on the grid to finishing on the podium, that result seemed to mean even more to Orlowski that his 2WD win yesterday.   The 15-year-old said, ‘we went from lows to highs each day but I only expected at best a Top 5 today’.  Summing up A3 he said,  ‘I started easy because so I could get a Top 5 but people crashed in front of me and then when I saw Wollanka and Joern crash I knew I had a podium chance if I could finish 4th.  It was a positive end to the weekend to get two podiums’.  Analysing his 4WD performance, the former European Champion said, ‘We have a bit of work to do with set-up for more open tracks.  The car was good but Xray had that little extra bit.  We have the pace on tight tracks but we need to do more testing for tracks like this layout’.

Trying to obtain video footage of his incident with Wollanka, Neumann said, ‘Wollanka was so slow at the start and I passed him but then I don’t know what happened but he drove into the side of me and the marshal was really slow’.  He continued, ‘it was maximum shit because we could have made the podium for sure’.  With fourth his best result this season, the Serpent driver said, ‘for sure we made made progress with the car.  If we can improve the landing we will be right there for the next one’.  Behind Neumann, former team-mate Hupo Hönigl would complete the Top 5 ahead of Kája Novotný, Wollanka and Bayer, the Czech driver’s 8th place not a reflection of the form he showed in qualifying.

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