After a tough opening A-Main at EOS Austria, Top Qualifier Bruno Coelho delivered the win in A2 seeing off the attentions of an also improved Ryan Maifield. Having thrown away a comfortable lead in A1 and then rolling out of the lead while under pressure from Joona Haatanen, this time round the Portuguese driver ran a near perfect race overcoming the pressure of EOS debutant Maifield. Behind them it was A1 winner Haatanen who would complete the Top 3 setting the stage for a thrilling deciding 3rd A-Main at Modellbau Wels.
Chasing back to back 2WD wins having claimed his first EOS 2WD win last month at Arena 33 in Germany, Coelho said, ‘It was a perfect round now’. Having struggled with traction roll in the first encounter, he said ‘there was less traction for sure’ which made his Hobbywing powered XB2 ‘more easy to drive’. Echoing his rivals concerns that ‘tyre wear here is a lot’, on his battle with Maifield he said, ‘I was a little nervous when Maifield started pushing and had a few moments when I jumped short and the car bounced but in the end it was a very good round’.
‘I had a pep talk with my driver’ was Maifield’s response to his improved showing in A2. Setting the fastest lap of the race, the American continued, ‘I’ve got to be better starting out, because these guys come swinging out of the gate’. Improving his Orion powered YZ-2 with a spring change after struggling in the first encounter, he said, ‘I need to keep Bruno honest for the first 2-minutes and then I think I have a chance but its still going to take a mistake to get by him. We’ll see how 3 goes.’ For team-mate Lee Martin a mistake at the left side double on Lap 10 of 17 would drop him from 3rd to 5th.
Haatanen was pleased with his P3 saying, ‘I was on old tyres but it still went very good’. Starting from 4th on the grid but dropping to fifth after a mistake, the 14-year-old added, ‘It is hard to catch up without someone making a mistake because we are all the same speed but I had a good race with Neil (Cragg)’. Looking to A3, the battle for the overall win wide open, he said, ‘everyone is struggling with tyre wear and no one has new tyres anymore so it will be an exciting race’. Behind Haatanen, Cragg would finish 4th 2/10ths back.