Bruno Coelho was in a different class to his rivals in the opening round of 4WD qualifying at the Euro Offroad Series, the reigning champion topping the times by almost 6-seconds. Having set the pace in practice, the Xray driver lead away the field putting in a perfect run setting the fastest lap in the process. Behind Coelho, who is looking to successfully defend his EOS title this weekend at Arena33, Yokomo’s Lee Martin would post the second fastest time, splitting the Xray’s as Martin Bayer completed the Top 3 ahead of Hupo Honigl.
‘Very good’ was how Coelho summed up Q1. Having been surprised by the level of grip his XB4 had in practice, saying he would unexpectedly have to look at changing the set-up, he opted to not to change anything but put on a new set of tyres. Declaring the car was ‘surprisingly now very good’ he added ‘maybe it was the set of tyres’ he had used in practice that was the issue. Starting the qualifier first, once he saw Martin had made a mistake he could run ‘a comfortable’ heat adding ‘everything was perfect’.
Martin said, ‘I made a terrible start. I crashed coming onto the straight the same as I did when 2WD qualifying started. After that I just tried to drive to be second because unless Bruno made a mistake I was never going to catch him. It was out of my hands’. In terms of his car he said ‘it was twitchy and we need to take away that edginess for the next one’. He plans to run a stiffer front spring to get the car more to his liking.
‘I had a monkey style lap at the start and lost 1-second, then I was catching Lee but I had small traffic issue so I ended up third’, was how Bayer summed his run. The Czech driver said a front swaybar adjustment had improved his XB4 from practice when he was also third quickest but over 3-consecutive laps. Declaring, ‘now the car is really good’, he said ‘I just need a clean run for 2nd place’.
Describing Q1 as ‘a crazy run’, Honigl continued, ‘there is a lot going on in this track’. Finishing 1.9-seconds off Bayer’s pace he said, ‘I was happy with my driving just there is a lot of traffic. Even when I let Bruno go I didn’t know where to let him passed because there is only one line around the track. On his Tekin powered XB4 he said, ‘it was a bit edgy because it was on new tyres but it should be better for the next one’.
Top Qualifier in 2WD, Joona Haatanen would take his B64 to the fifth fastest time. The factory Associated driver was pleased to open with a Top 6 run saying the new car, which they debuted at the previous EOS encounter, is now ‘so much better than at the Hudy Arena’. Feeling he lost time getting stuck behind traffic, the Finnish teenager said his car was maybe too comfortable to drive and so they would most likely make a set-up change for Q2 after discussing it with Team Manager Craig Drescher and his team-mates.
Completing the Top 6, Marc Rheinard said, it was ‘a better start than 2WD’. The Yokomo driver continued, ‘It was an OK run but I’m still making mistakes’. For sure I’m not perfect on this layout track and the car is OK but I can’t go at the speed I want so I think we need to try something for Q2′.