Martin Bayer is the 4WD Top Qualifier at the Euro Offroad Series in Slovakia. The Xray driver secured pole for his home race with his 3rd straight TQ run in the penultimate round of qualifying this morning at the Hudy Arena. Leading away the field, Bayer’s chances of wrapping up an early TQ were helped on the opening lap when his main challenger Michal Orlowski put his Schumacher on its roof. It wasn’t to be the 2WD winners morning as his run would last little over a minute, a broken top deck causing his belt to come loose and leaving him with no drive. Bayer would have one mistake over the 5-minutes which put Lee Martin on the TQ pace but within two laps the Yokomo driver also made an error reinstating the original order. Daniel Kobbevik would complete the Top 3 for the third qualifier with Neil Cragg enjoying a good run to record the 4th fastest time.
‘I’m really proud of myself that I didn’t throw away the first run of the morning, its a very good morning’, was Bayer’s reaction to claiming his second EOS career TQ. A 3-time 4WD race winner, he continued, ‘the car feels very good now and I am getting more confident with it every run. Maybe I will test some ideas in the last one but the car feels really good’. Looking to the finals, he said, ‘I’m strongest at the end of the run and Michal is stronger at the start so I just need to get through the first few laps and I should be OK’.
Commenting on his best qualifier so far Lee Martin said, ‘I crashed that one, it was driver error. I ran a slightly older battery that one and it didn’t have enough punch for me’. Making progress with his car set-up, asked if he would make any changes for the final qualifier the former champion replied, ‘I’ll just run new tyres and a newer battery. I’m afraid to change anything in case it only makes the car worse. I will also try to drive a little better’. Team-mate Marc Rheinard, whose set-up Martin copied after struggling in practice, would post the 5th fastest time of Q3.
Claiming his maiden podium finish at the season opener in Poland, Kobbevik said, ‘I tried to have a clean run, my car was difficult to drive because I was on new tyres’. The 13-year-old Norwegian added the run was ‘smooth with not so many mistakes’. Holding 4th on the grid after 3 of the 4 qualifiers, he hopes to capitalize on his second run on the tyres saying, ‘I hope for better result in the next one.’
‘I don’t think I have been 4th before in 4WD’, was Cragg’s reaction to his much improved Q3 run. The Team Associated driver said, ‘It is tough going out there to be honest. 2WD was a lot easier than 4WD’. Registering his first EOS win in 2WD at the previous round of the championship, he continued, ‘the car was just OK but I drove as good as I could, no crashes, nothing crazy. I was not that far off so we will change a few other things to see if we can get more speed for the last one’.