Having earlier in the day claimed his second 2WD win of the Euro Offroad Series season, Michal Orlowski has got the 4WD action underway by topping seeding in Austria. Fastest after the 3-rounds of free practice, the Schumacher driver went even quicker in controlled practice topping the times from Bruno Coelho and team-mate Joern Neumann with EOS returnee Martin Wollanka having a good showing on his first Sworkz appearance to post the fourth fastest time. Based on drivers’ best 2-consecutive laps, Orlowski’s advantage was considerable with a time almost 4/10th quicker than that of reigning champion Coelho.
Summing up practice, Orlowski said, ‘the car performed very well all practice. We just made a few tweaks because we need more steering’. He continued, ‘I will leave it the same as it is for qualifying, just check over everything and hope for clean runs like I have had in practice. I’m very consistent out there’. Setting his quickest time in CP1, he said, ‘my times for both runs were very similar’ but being on new tyres for the first one he concluded, ‘new tyres were the difference I guess’.
Improving on his time in CP2, Coelho had little to report after practice. The reigning champion, who was absent from the last round in Slovakia, said, ‘I haven’t made any changes to the car and just used the practice to adapt my driving style to 4WD after racing 2WD’. He added, ‘to make 5-minutes without mistakes will be hard, the track is even faster with 4WD than 2WD’.
‘I started 3rd quickest and after 5 rounds I was still 3rd’, was Neumann’s summary of practice. The German added, ‘we improved the car round by round but the other two improved too’. Like Orlowski, Neumann is running the production version of the new CAT L1 having ran a car that was 80% pre-production at EOS Slovakia. Asked if he planned any further set-up changes he replied, ‘I will leave it the same but will adjust the speedo for more power’.
Qualifying fourth in Wels last year, his final EOS race for Xray, Wollanka was very happy with his P4 seeding saying, ‘It’s going very good for my first race with the new car’. The Austrian said the only change he made was to the roll centre and ‘playing with tyres’ was the main work he carried out. Happy he now has his tyre pin cutting figured out he plans to leave his car unchanged for Q1 which brings Day 2 of EOS Wels to a close.
Fifth fastest ahead of team-manager Martin Bayer, Xray’s Daniel Kobbevik said his 4WD was ‘going ok’. Finishing 5th in 2WD, the young Norwegian said they ‘made a lot of changes’ to his XB4 over practice resulting in a car that was ‘more stable now’. Asked how the track suits 4WD, he replied, ‘It’s going to be difficult to have 5-minutes without mistakes’. Continuing their difficult weekend, Yokomo’s Lee Martin would seed behind the two Xrays with the 7th fastest time ahead of Hupo Hönigl, Wilhelm Skjöldebrand and Elias Johansson.