Martin Bayer has TQ’d the opening round of 4WD qualifying at the EOS in Slovakia. Second fastest in practice, the Xray driver topped the first of the four qualifiers from top seed Michal Orlowski, the pair having a distinct advantage over the rest of the field at the Hudy Arena with Marc Rheinard the only driver to join them in posting 23-second fastest laps. The third seed Rheinard would open qualifying with a P4, team-mate Lee Martin improving his car from practice to go 2/10ths faster and complete the Top 3.
‘Really good’ was Bayer’s reaction after taking Q1 by 6/10ths over Orlowski. He said, ‘I changed the shock set-up and made it a little harder. Before it was twitchy. Now it is not as good on the landings but it is better on the flat stuff. In the beginning it (the shock oil) was cold but once it warmed up it got better and better and at the end the feeling was very good. I will leave it the same (for Q2) and see how it goes.’
Orlowski summed up his qualifying performance with, ‘It was good and I led most of the heat but I had a couple of small bobbles, one too many’. He continued, ‘Overall the car feels good but I struggle in the corners because it wants to flip and I can’t push as hard as I want. We will work on that for the next one’.
‘It went better than practice’, that was how Lee Martin described his run to P3. The British driver said, ‘In practice it was just too hard to drive so I copied Marc and went very close to his set-up. It was pretty easy to drive and at the start I was just getting used to it. It took a while to figure out’. He continued, ‘we still need to improve it (the car) to catch up to the other two but I know I can find time from driving better now that I am more used to the set-up change’.
Rheinard described his opening qualifier as ‘a pretty nervous run’. The German continued, ‘I just want to get points so 4th is not a bad start. I was on new tyres and on second run tyres it is easier (to drive)’. He concluded, ‘I can push more in the next one’. Behind Rheinard, Xray’s Joel Valander was fifth fastest in front of Jörn Neumann and Joona Haatanen.