February 3, 2017

Coelho opens qualifying at EOS Slovakia with impressive TQ run

Bruno Coelho opened qualifying at EOS Slovakia with an impressive TQ run dealing a blow his rivals who in practice looked to have had the slight upper edge over the Xray’s on their home grounds.  Rolling off the start line 6th, Coelho would work his way through the field with apparent ease to head an Xray 1-2.  Surviving a significant late mistake, the Portuguese ace end up almost 4/10ths quicker than Martin Bayer with Serpent’s Joern Neumann completing the Top 3 some 2-seconds off.  Having set the pace in seeding practice Lee Martin could only manage fourth ahead of his impressive young Yokomo team-mate Daniel Kobbevik while Team Associated’s young star Joona Haatanen completed the Top 6.

Admitting that he had even impressed himself with his TQ run, Coelho said, ‘the track is really difficult so I started slowly because my goal is first to make the A-Main because I missed it last time’. Having 2 mistakes over the 5-minutes, putting the bigger of the 2 down to being over-safe with his driving.  Jumping short his Hobbywing powered XB2 cased the jump with the lost time temporarily resulting in Bayer moving to the top of the timing screens.  Setting the fastest lap of the busy layout with a time of 22.583, he said his car was perfect and the only thing he need to change for Q2 was to cut out the mistakes, a task that is admittedly easier said than done on this particular track.

‘Excellent’ was how Bayer summed up his opening qualifier adding, ‘as a team you cant get a better start so I’m very happy’.  Having moved to Trencin to fulfil his role as Xray’s Offroad Team Manager, making this even more a home for the Czech driver, he said ‘I wasn’t the fastest, I was cruising and had no mistakes and that worked out perfect’. The only driver to have given Xray a win in 2WD of the EOS, that winning come at the Hudy Arena, he said he is ‘really comfortable with the car’ adding ‘this track is about self control, you can’t push’.

‘Third is a really good start’ was Neumann’s reaction to what has been his most competitive start to 2WD qualifying since the days of his reigning as champion in the early days of the championship.  Despite losing close to 3-seconds when he landed sideways on the table top causing his car to flip, he is confident ‘that there is room to push a little harder’ and with this he ‘should be fine’ in terms of getting on pace with the Xrays.

Lee Martin said, ‘I made myself nervous at the first corner when I hit the pipe and that had me scared for a few laps’. While his driving for the early part of the qualifier was not up to scratch he felt overall he had ‘lost time compared to practice’ adding ‘I don’t know why’. Looking to Q2 the reigning champion said, ‘we’ll have another go and try not to be so stupid’, the stupid a reference to him driving his RC Concept powered YZ2 into the piping at the first corner.  Kobbevik said he was very happy’ with his start to qualifying feeling that refreshing the diff oil had made the car ‘a little faster.’ Set to leave his car unchanged, he said his goal for Q2 is to eliminate some of the driver errors.

Haatanen was content with his P6 result but said his car not 100% to his liking. Describing his B6 as being ‘super edgy all day’ he said adding weight for the first qualifier had made it more easy but it was ‘still hard for me to drive’.  While the car is ‘getting better all the time’ the 14-year-old said they don’t know if adding more weight would further improve the current level of edginess.  Haatanen’s senior team-mate Neil Cragg, having had a good practice to end up second fastest, would finish 9-seconds off the TQ pace something the British driver said was the result of ‘too many crashes’.

View complete event results here.

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