Bruno Coelho has successfully defended his Euro Offroad Series title with a masterful 4WD win this evening at the penultimate round of the championship in Germany. Starting the weekend by claiming his first ever 2WD win of the EOS, when the action switched over to 4WD at Arena33, the reigning champion was in a league of his own. Top Qualifier, taking all four rounds of qualifying, the Xray driver would cruise to a completely unchallenged A1 win. The second encounter would see the World Champion kept on his toes by Yokomo’s Lee Martin getting to within a second of the leader but with three laps to go a mistake from the former champion left Coelho to cruise to the win to notch up his third victory of the season and lock down the Season #6 title. With Coelho able to pack is bags early, his absence from the A3 grid would allow Martin to take the win to finish second overall with the podium being completed by star of the weekend Joona Haatanen.
‘Everything is done, we reached the target’, was Coelho’s reaction to securing the title. Only joining the EOS last season and going on to take the title at his first attempt, he said ‘the result is amazing because onroad is my main class. EOS is five races so I only practice 5-times for it’. With a rival manufacturer commenting after watching Coelho take the fourth qualifier, ‘the car is really good but to watch how Bruno drives it is pretty amazing’, the Portuguese driver put his impressive form down to enjoying 4WD. He said, ‘I don’t like 2WD, I only do it to learn the track. 4WD I really enjoy because you can force it around the track, in 2WD you have to wait’. Commenting on his A2 performance he said, ‘now it was more difficult. I didn’t have such an advantage as Lee pushed much harder. Also I didn’t use my third set of tyres so my tyres were at their limit. After Lee’s mistake it was comfortable in the end’. With the season finale still to run next month in Wels, Austria, Coelho said the race will be an opportunity to start working on their new 2018 car adding ‘we have some ideas we want to try and now we can do that at the next EOS’.
With his season still void of a win in either 2 or 4WD, Martin summed up his second place with ‘it’s been another bridesmaid race’. He continued, ‘I quite enjoyed leg 3 without having to catch Bruno. He’s a bit ahead of me on his package’. With it 16 months since his last EOS win, which came in 2WD, ironically at the Hudy Arena, the former champion of both classes said, ‘we made a fews steps forward this time round and hopefully we can progress that more for the last round so we can take the fight to hm (Bruno) again’.
‘This weekend has been awesome, I made the podium in all three classes’, said a very happy Haatanen after grabbing a late second place in A3 to complete a trio of podium finishes in Andernach. Having kicked off his 4WD A-Main debut with a third place in A1 from 5th on the grid, the 14-year-old Team Associated star said, ‘the second one was not that good because I had mistakes. The last one I was all the 5-minutes in 4th but on the 2nd last lap Bayer and Wollanka had problems in the centre table top which gave me a chance to pass them’. Securing his first ever TQ of the championship yesterday in 2WD, the up & coming talent only missed out on the win in a three way tie breaker which left him third behind winner Coelho and Lee Martin. Racing in Mod Truck, which he would also TQ, after a mistake in A1 let Martin Bayer take the win, he bounced back to win A2 and 3 to take the overall win and end Xray’s reign over the class. With his overall performance a huge boost for both himself and the concerted efforts of Team Associated’s European team-manager Craig Drescher to put the American manufacturer in the mix in the EOS, Haatanen is already gunning for the season finale saying ‘I’m feeling confident and want to build on today’s result at the last race’.