February 4, 2017

Coelho tops 4WD practice in Slovakia

With the action switching over to 4WD in Slovakia at the third round of the Euro Offroad Series following Michal Orlowski’s 2WD victory, Bruno Coelho showed beating Xray on home ground in the reigning champions class is going to be a challenge as he led a 1-2-3 in seeding practice.  Over the two rounds of practice at the Hudy Arena, Coelho would post the fastest 3-consecutive laps on the second run with Kája Novotný just 0.067 off and Hupo Honigl a similar margin off in third.  Best of the visiting teams would be Neil Cragg who laid down the fourth fastest time, Slovakia marking the Team Associated driver’s first 4WD outing of the season and the European debut of the B64.  For Michal Orlowski the switch to 4WD would see the EOS Poland double winner set the 9th fastest time, an improvement on where 2WD had started out yesterday.

Reacting to topping the times as was widely expected, Coelho said, ‘I had zero steering and was super surprised when I saw the timing screen after the run’.  Having rebuilt the shocks on his Hobbywing powered XB4 after the first practice to try and get it to land better he said this had left him with no steering saying, ‘normally our car has super steering’. Admitting his shock rebuild was somewhat rushed he said he must have done something wrong and he hopes to find out what before tonight’s opening qualifier.

‘Perfect. Right now its amazing’ was how Novotný summed up his XB4 after practice. The Czech National Champion adding he is ‘just loving the car’ and having left it unchanged between rounds it was ‘even better on the second run’.  Pleased with his three lap pace, the 20-year-old said running a clean 5-minutes was going to be difficult given the track layout but added ‘its offroad and I would prefer too many jumps than not enough’.

Honigl said, ‘I’m a bit surprised by my pace but I happy with that’. Leaving his car unchanged between runs and going on to set the fastest lap of practice, the only driver to manage a lap in 21-seconds, the Austrian said based on this he ‘wont touch it’ for the opening qualifier.  In terms of the track layout for 4WD compared to running 2WD on it, he said, ‘there are too many jumps which means you are more flying in the air than driving’.

Having not raced 4WD since last September,  Cragg was ‘pretty pleased’ with his second practice run.  Describing his first practice as ‘sketchy’, the British driver said a set-up change ‘transformed’ the car.  With no practice with the new car he said, ‘we are going to have to learn quick this weekend’ adding his pace in the second practice was ‘very encouraging’.  With only 3 of the new B64s running in Slovakia Joona Haatanen would also put his example in the top qualifying heat having set the 7th fastest seeding time.

Behind Xray’s Martin Wollanka, Lee Martin would post the 6th fastest time.  The Yokomo driver said his ‘car feels consistent as long as you don’t crash it’.  Sitting third in the championship standings, the former champion said while ‘4WD is always fast & furious’ in terms of the track layout ‘there is probably a bit too much going on’. Changing his shock set-up between rounds he said it improved the car but he still needs to work on improving the car through the middle of the corners.

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