With the Euro Offroad Series season finale making the switch from 2 to 4WD, it is 2WD winner Bruno Coelho who is the top seed for qualifying in Austria. Over two rounds of controlled practice the Xray driver topped the time on both occasions despite breaking half way through the first run. Improving his 3-consecutive laps by 1/10th, the already confirmed back to back Champion would end up with a 7/10ths of a second advantage over Neil Cragg, the Associated driver unable to improve on his CP1 time. With the field more closely matched behind Coelho, Martin Wollanka would set the third quickest time ahead of Lee Martin and Michal Orlowski, the trio separated by 8/100ths of a second. Having started out strong in 2WD and only missing out on a debut win as the race was decided on the tiebreaker, Ryan Maifield had a tough run in 4WD with wiring issues in both controlled practice runs. The Yokomo driver will run in the second fastest heat having ended up P11.
Commenting on practice, drivers having had two free practice rounds following by the seeding rounds, Coelho said, ‘The track is pretty difficult, you can do many lines and some points are very fast. You can do one super fast lap and then next time round have a big mistake’. Breaking an arm off his Hobbywing powered XB4 in CP1 when he ran wide in the corner before the straight, team-mate Hupo Honigl also doing the same thing, he said, ‘Overall my car and electrics worked well but getting a 5-minute time is going to be different to 3-laps so we will see how it goes’. With his quicker time coming in CP1, team-mate Wollanka was also pleased with his XB4 after he adjusted his speedo for more top speed. The Austrian believes he can translate his 3-lap pace into a competitive 5-minute run.
‘I pretty pleased, the car is working well’, said Cragg adding, ‘we made good progress with the car at the last round and it is comfortable to drive’. ‘Surprised’ to end up second quickest, he continued, ‘we are still a bit off Bruno and I don’t know what to do to catch him’. Looking to qualifying, the first round of which brings Day 2 of the EOS to a close, he concluded, ‘it going to be tough going in 4WD on this track’.
Summing up his practice, Lee Martin said, ‘my car wasn’t bad. I can run at a nice consistent pace, nothing sparkling over one lap but its good over the full run’. A previous winner in Wels, he continued, ‘Bruno is a bit head again which is kind of annoying’. Asked where the Portuguese driver had the advantage, the former Champion said, ‘its just how fast that thing corners. Their 4WD is really good and that something we haven’t matched yet’.
Arriving late to the event due to an important school exam and missing all of 2WD qualifying but running his three J-Mains to get track time, Michal Orlowski said 4WD practice had gone ‘not so bad’. The newly crowned 2WD Champion said, ‘the feeling of the car is pretty good. I am not getting some sections right every time which I hope I can improve on in qualifying’. With his P5 seeding time coming in CP1, he said, ‘we changed many things for the final practice but they made the car twitchy and edgy so if we make just 1/2 the changes we should be good but the car is fast in the corners’. Behind Orlowski, Marc Rheinard would complete the Top 6.