Michal Orlowski completed the double at the Euro Offroad Series in Slovakia, the Schumacher driver backing up his 2WD victory on Saturday with the 4WD win on Sunday. The half way stage of the championship, the result means the Polish driver leaves Trencin leading the standings in both 2WD and 4WD. Three drivers went into A3 in contention for the win but it was Orlowski who took control of the race early getting by Top Qualifier Martin Bayer on the second lap when the Xray driver again had a bobble. Chased by Bayer, Orlowski looked to throw away the win when in the dying moments he put his car on its roof briefly allowing Bayer to go to the front only for him to replicate Orlowski’s mistake at the very next jump and give back the position. Unfortunately for Bayer the mistake also cost him a podium, his time for the second place slower than that of Joern Neumann in A2 meaning the German got the final step on the podium on the tie break. In between the two Schumachers, Lee Martin would claim second overall by completing the Top 3 in the closing race of the weekend.
His second time to complete an EOS double, the first of which he achieved two years ago at his home race in Warsaw, Orlowski said, ‘I knew before the race I couldn’t let Lee win. Once I passed Bayer I didn’t push too much, I just had to finish ahead of Lee. I also knew if I could keep Bayer behind it would help Joern make the podium but then I made a stupid mistake. I was not concentrating enough, I was thinking too much about the finish, but I got lucky and it didn’t change anything for me. I’m really happy we got two cars on the podium’. Asked about claiming the double at the home track of Xray, the 17-year-old replied, ‘It’s not the first time to do the double so it doesn’t feel that special. I see it more as two wins and good points for the championship and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season’.
Recapping his A3 performance, Lee Martin said, ‘It was pretty good although I didn’t drive fantastic. My car was a little edgy on throttle and the diff felt strange but overall it was much better than when we started out the weekend’. With today’s second place moving the Yokomo driver up to second in the standings he continued, ‘We should be alright the next round. We will be starting from a much better point. Before then though I need to go home and test diffs and also test what to do with the front tyres. I don’t think we have that figured out yet’.
Claiming his first podium finish in a long time, former Multiple champion Neumann wasn’t quite in the mood to celebrate the result. He said, ‘It sucks when (Daniel) Kobbevik does the double double and takes me out when you are not allowed to do (the double) there’. The German continued, ‘my car was really fast, I think I set the fastest lap of the weekend, but because of this I can’t show it’. He continued, ‘Of course I am happy with 3rd but directly after the race I’m frustrated, maybe it could have been 2nd instead of 3rd’. Asked does he feel he has now found his way within the Schumacher team, which he only joined last month, he replied, ‘I’m looking forward to the next race. Now I’m very comfortable with the car and the set-up is good. I’m sure we will fight for the podium again at the next round.’
‘A disappointing ending for me’, was how Bayer summed up his result. Winner of what has since become his home race three years ago, the Czech driver added, ‘It started out really good. I got the TQ taking 3 of the 4 qualifiers. I was close in the last one to making the podium but my time was 3-seconds off Joern’s so I got fourth. I’m not happy at all with this’. Still the Xray Offroad team-manager vowed to get the job done at Round 4 in Austria next month concluding, ‘we can never stop working on getting better and I will come back stronger for the next one’.