Bruno Coelho has won the opening A-Main at the season opener of the Euro Offroad Series in Warsaw, Poland. Having secured the TQ yesterday, the Xray driver drove a faultless race to win easily ahead of reigning champion Michal Orlowski. Starting from third on the grid, Orlowski would have a great first lap getting by Martin Bayer to put Coelho in his sights. While he would close down the 4WD Champion, having just set the fastest lap of the race he would make a mistake next time round and with just three laps to go Coelho could back off his pace and cruise to the win. Behind the two title favourites, Team Associated’s Joona Haatanen came through from fifth on the grid to complete the Top 3 benefiting from mistakes by Bayer who would finish 4th and Martin who dropped back to 6th by the finish.
‘I didn’t make any mistakes. It was a very good final’, was Coelho’s reaction to his A1 win. The Portuguese driver, who is chasing his third consecutive 2WD EOS win in a class he is openly not a fan of, said, ‘Even when I saw Orlowski was closing in the middle of the race I was still able to drive clean. There was no sense to force things because there was 2-more finals to go. Then he flipped and that gave me more breathing space so I could control it to the end’.
Summing up his race, Orlowski said, ‘It started well. My plan was to pass Bayer in the first few corners and then try my best to catch Bruno but I had too many small mistakes’. The only driver to run a 21-second lap of the difficult and challenging track, he added, ‘I had good pace’. Suffering a crash at the end when a marshal put a car out in front of him on the last lap which he would hit he said, ‘I was lucky Joona was already finished otherwise I would have finished 3rd’. Looking to the second of the three encounters, last year’s EOS Poland double winner replied, ‘I will go with the same plan again for A2’.
‘I’m happy’ said Haatanen’s after the race. The young Finnish talent, added, ‘I tried to drive clean and wait for others to make mistakes and I think that was a good plan. I just stayed behind Lee and Bayer. Bayer crashed in front and then Lee also crashed and I got passed. I almost got second from Michal but just missed making the last lap so I could benefit from his crash’. Asked his approach for A2, he replied, ‘I think I am going to stick with the same plan’.