Michal Orlowski has taken the opening round of 4WD qualifying at the Euro Offroad Series at the Nurburgring, the Schumacher driver just managing to pip Daniel Kobbevik over the final two laps by 0.020 of a seconds. Having topped practice, Orlowski wouldn’t have the best of starts to Q1 suffering a mistake on the second lap due to the steering lock being wrong on his radio but it was his finish to the qualifier that clinched him the TQ. Fifth fastest in practice, Kobbevik had an improved car and looked on target for the TQ but losing more than half a second to Orlowski with a slow penultimate lap he was a 1/10th too slow on his final lap to stay at the top of the timing screen at the finish. Behind, another of the EOS’ young guns completed the Top 3 as fresh from his first EOS career win in 2WD earlier in the day Joona Haatanen surprised even himself with the 3rd fastest time. Joern Neumann was best of championship veterans with a P4 ahead of Lee Martin and Martin Bayer.
‘At the end it was good’ was how Orlowski described the first of the four qualifiers. He continued, ‘the steering lock on my radio was wrong because we just forgot to check it before going out so the car didn’t feel as good as in practice. I’m glad I got the win’. Happy with the performance of his car he said, ‘it should be good for the next because we’ll make sure to check the radio’.
A podium finish at last seasons opening round, held in Warsaw, Kobbevik was very happy with his Q1 performance saying, ‘I’m super happy. I thought it was super slow but it wasn’t. I just drive stable and made no mistakes’. Adding, ‘I guess I will stick to this approach for the next one’, he said having struggled with the car in practice not being stable & difficult to drive, a number of changes for qualifying had improved the car and he was now more comfortable with it. Planning to leave the car as is for the day’s second & final qualifier he concluded, ‘I think I can improve my driving for the last one by continuing with the car the same’.
‘Actually it was not too bad. I’m surprised to get 3rd in the round’, was how 15-year-old Haatanen summed up his run. The Team Associated driver added, ‘this track is better for our 4WD’. Setting the fastest lap, he said, ‘We improved the car from practice. It was still edgy but that was because I was on new tyres but it improved over the run. The main thing though is that now I have the speed. For sure this was a positive start to 4WD’.
Neumann was content with his opening run to the fourth fastest time saying, ‘it was a decent start’. The EOS’ most winning driver, the German added, ‘I made two mistakes but overall the car is good and I just need to tidy up my driving’.
Top Qualifier in 2WD, Martin summed up his first 4WD run with ‘it was OK’ going on to call it a ‘reserved’ drive. The Yokomo driver said his car ‘lacked a little steering and forward acceleration’ and he needed to ‘add a little more pony power and steering’ for Q2. The former champion and Nurburgring winner concluded, ‘can do better’. While Martin Bayer would complete the Top 6 it was not a good start for Xray team-mate Bruno Coelho. The fastest Xray in practice, last year’s season opener double winner lost a wheel in the warm-up causing him to miss his 3rd place seeding position as a new one was fitted – the Portuguese driver not happy they didn’t wait the extra few seconds for his car to be returned to the grid.