Lee Martin came good on his practice topping form to TQ the second round of qualifying at the Euro Offroad Series in Slovakia. Opening qualifying at the Hudy Arena with an almost immediate mistake and ending up with a P4 for Q1 behind an Xray 1-2, this time the Yokomo driver put in a strong drive with the heat containing nothing more than a few bobbles. Behind the reigning champion, current championship leader Michal Orlowski turned around a terrible practice to post the 2nd fastest time despite having to run in the third fastest heat. Having made it look like he might dominate qualifying with his drive through the field to TQ the first of the four qualifiers, Bruno Coelho would trip himself up with a number of mistakes including one like Martin in the previous round on the first lap. He would manage to get 3rd for the round but the deficit to Martin’s TQ time, the faster of the two rounds, was almost 5-seconds.
Commenting on his 14-lap run, Martin said, ‘I had a couple of bobbles but nothing crazy. I didn’t push too hard, it was a nice run’. Having felt his YZ-2, which is running a new 3D printed rear end, had lost pace between practice and Q1, he would change to his second set of tyres for Q2. This resulted in the a car that ‘felt good again, but the Brit said he couldn’t be sure it was down to the tyre or a change in the track conditions. Planning to stay the same in terms of the car set-up, he said he will consider switching back to the first set of tyres to check if this was actually his issue adding with drivers having just two sets of the handout Schumacher tyre he might also be wise to save the second set if it turns out to be a good set.
Getting an 8th in the opening qualifier, Orlowski said ‘after the bad practice I wasn’t so upset with that but after a rough start to the heat I knew I could improve on it’. While getting a better start to Q2, the EOS Poland winner said, his pace was a little slower than normal as he dealt with traffic something he said is always one of the issues of ending up in a slower heat. Finishing only 35/100ths off Martin’s TQ time he said another problem he faced was ‘it is difficult to pace myself and know whether to push or not and in the end it was very close’. Describing his all new Cougar KC as being ‘really good’ even for practice, he said finding himself in the heat he is in is ‘completely my own fault’. Looking to the remaining two qualifiers, the former Hudy Arena race winner said, ‘I think this (his Q2 result) was a good confidence boost’.
‘Just too many mistakes, my car is very good’ was how Coelho summed up Q2. Setting the fastest lap of the qualifier, such was the 4WD World Champions pace that his team-mate Bayer opened up to let him passed but again the speed was undone with two further bad laps. Having got second on Q1, Bayer would get a 5th in his second qualifier ahead of the Yokomo of Marc Rheinard, the latter still struggling to show signs of his EOS Nurburgring winning form. Behind the 3-time Touring Car World Champion, who has yet to announce who he will race Touring Car for in 2017, Neil Cragg was the best of the Associated drivers improving slightly on his P9 for Q1.
A crash on the last double of the lap would prevent Joern Neumann from another Top 3 result. The Serpent driver started out good but midway through landed the jump wide and flipped his car eventually getting a P4 for his efforts. Hoping to get rid of the mistakes, the German will also make a small set-up adjustment to get more rear grip. The former champion feels the tyre wear for him is a little more than that of his rivals and he needs to adapt his set-up for that.