February 3, 2017

Coelho on target for home TQ after taking Q3

Bruno Coelho is looking on target for a home TQ for Xray after he posted a second TQ run in the third round of qualifying at EOS Slovakia. After errors in Q2 left with him with a P3, the Portuguese ace put in a clean consistent Q3 to top the times despite Joern Neumann setting the pace for a time before crashing and eventually going out due to a broken C-hub.  Behind Coelho, Michal Orlowski would put in another strong result despite his heat, again tenths off the TQ pace. For Lee Martin an early crash put an end to any chance of him repeating his Q2 TQ as a rear spring got knocked out of his mounting, the compressed spring leaving the Yokomo a struggle to drive and he ended up 20th.  The penultimate qualifier would see a big improvement for Neil Cragg, the Team Associated driver completing the Top 3 thanks to a ‘steady round’.

‘After the previous round I just tried to drive without mistakes, I was super careful’, was how Coelho summed up Q3.  He added ‘even when Neumann was in the lead I just tried to keep a safe pace and with this I was able to TQ when he crashed’.  Describing the track as ‘super difficult’, he continued, ‘it is possible to go super fast but not every lap’.  With this in mind and going into the final round looking best poised to secure the overall TQ he will ‘take the same approach’ as he did in the last heat – be super careful.   Asked about tyres, he said he was experiencing ‘a lot of tyre wear’ and they would need to look at a strategy for the finals but with two TQ runs, the tyre wear was more of an issue for his rivals than him.

Reacting to his P2 for the round, Orlowski said, ‘again just a few tenths so actually I’m a little disappointed’.  Setting the fastest lap of the round, the factory Schumacher driver continued, ‘I want to try take second on the grid so I need to TQ the last round, we’ll see how it goes’.  Running a new set of tyres on his new Cougar KC, the Polish driver said he was lucky to not break the car in the warm-up after the new tyres caught him out at the end of the straight.  After that warning he said he had to be very careful at the start of the qualifier but that shouldn’t be an issue for the fourth & final qualifier.

‘It was a steady round so I can’t complain’, was Cragg’s reaction to getting 3rd ahead of Xray’s Martin Bayer and Martin Wollanka.  Having made a breakthrough with his first EOS podium at the previous encounter in Poland, the European Champion said they have been ‘improving the car every run’ but they ‘need to find a little magic somewhere’.  He added ‘we are stuck in the middle, it’s not fast enough to win but it’s decent. We’re not quite there yet’.  Aiming for another Top 3 to end out the opening day to better his grid position, his prediction is the ‘finals will be absolute chaos’ and he’e hoping to be there to pick up the pieces.

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