Michal Orlowski has moved a step closer to retaining his 2WD title in the Euro Offroad Series after securing the overall win at the penultimate round of the championship in Wels, Austria today. One of 5 drivers in contention for the win going into A3, the Schumacher driver came out the winner to secure the second consecutive win of his title defence campaign. Beating Top Qualifier Neil Cragg to the A3 and overall win, Orlowski’s only remaining title challenger is the Associated driver. Completing the podium at the Modellbau Wels Hobby Exhibition, 3rd place put an end to reigning 4WD Champion Bruno Coelho’s hopes of also adding a 2WD title to his list of achievements. The Xray driver would tie on points with Joona Haatanen but with a quicker time for his second place in A3 he denied the young Associated driver his first podium of the season.
‘We just missed the TQ but it’s been a good weekend and we have a big (points) advantage going into the final race’, was Orlowski’s reaction to his 5th EOS 2WD career win. Summing up A3, he said, ‘It started off good and I didn’t crash at the first jump (something he did in A1). I was behind Neil and didn’t want to push at the start but I could see he was pulling away so I had to push more and started to put lots of pressure on him. I could see he was getting nervous and got really close coming onto the straight so I was on his inside for the sweeper. We jumped side by side and he made a pressure mistake’. He continued, ‘then I had Bruno behind me but I knew even if he won and I was second I would still take the overall win so there wasn’t really any pressure on me. I also wanted to try help Joona get on the podium but unfortunately he lost it on the tie break’. With Cragg able to deny him the title if he can win at the season finale, which will see the first ever EOS event outdoors and on Astro Turf , Orlowski said, ‘It is a different surface but I think we will be good on this because Trish (Tristram Neal) has a lot of experience but so do Neil and Lee (Martin) because they have raced all their lives on astro but I am up for the fight for the win’.
‘Well, well, well. I’m disappointed not to win but I’m still happy with second’, was Cragg’s thoughts after losing out on the win. One of this season’s three winners so far, he continued, ‘I had this conversation with Lee (Martin) before coming out here that at the end of the day racing against Orlowski you’re racing against the best 2WD carpet racer in the World so to TQ and finish second is nothing to be sniffed at. He had me under immense pressure in the last final’. On being the only remaining challenger to Orlowski in the title fight he said, ‘We’re still in with a fighting chance which if you had have told me at the start of the season I would have thought you were crazy’.
Coelho described A3 as an ‘OK final’. Posting the fastest lap, the Portuguese said his car once again dropped pace towards the end of the race adding, ‘we need to find what the problem is’. Coming up one place short on remaining in the title chase, on the season final, he expects a difficult race. Taking place at Arena33 in Germany, he said, ‘I’m not sure I have the time to go there to practice and I think the others will go there. It will be a big advantage to have run there before the race. The last time I raced on Astro was the Worlds (Yatabe Arena 2015) but that was indoor so very flat but the EOS is outdoor and I think the surface will be more bumpy’.
‘Fourth is not good. I had the same points as Bruno but at least I got away from finishing 6th’, was Haatanen’s view on his result. Having finished 6th in the opening three races of the season and then started the weekend by seeding 6th, the 14-year-old said the result was ‘for sure an improvement’ on the previous races adding the new B6.1 was a big step forward and ‘much better’. Summing up the third A-Main in which he finished 3rd he said, ‘It was ok but I had many little mistakes, no crashes, but it allowed the Top 3 to get away and I couldn’t catch up again’.