The Euro Offroad Series makes its second trip of the season to Germany this weekend (March 17-19) with the all new Arena 33 the venue for the penultimate round of the championship.With three of the expanded five round calendar to count, both Michal Orlowski and Bruno Coelho will be targeting wrapping up the Season #6 titles.Completing back to back victories in 2WD last time out at the Hudy Arena, a third consecutive win in Andernach would bring Orlowski and Schumacher their first EOS title and end Yokomo’s three year reign as champions of electric offroad’s premiere class.
Reigning back to back champion Lee Martin, second in the points standings, is Orlowski’s main title rival but with a season so far void of victory the British driver must win on Saturday if he is to have any chance of retaining his title.Attending the EOS Warm-up race last weekend at Arena33 and winning it, Martin will be hoping this gives him an early advantage on his rivals.
The only other 2WD winner, taking the TQ and victory at the season opener at the Nurburgring, Marc Rheinard has had a tough time since but still finds himself third in the standings and in title contention.Like his Yokomo team-mate however he must win to stand a chance.Having been very much hands on in the building of Arena 33, which is run by his brother Toni, he would love to win the first international event to be hosted by the indoor track which has future plans to add an outdoor track.
On the same points as Rheinard, Neil Cragg was hoping for more last time out having claimed his first EOS podium finish in Poland.The Team Associated driver hasn’t lacked the speed and now entering into the concluding part of the season the reigning European & former World Champion will be keen to prove he has finally mastered racing on the carpet surface.
Having clinched the 4WD title in his debut season, Coelho will be looking to successfully defend that impressive feat come Sunday.Kicking off the season with a win, the World Champion will be hoping for a repeat German performance.The Xray driver claimed a much expected win at the Hudy Arena, and only Orlowski has got the better of him this year when he did the double in Warsaw.Orlowski had an amazing recovery drive in Solvakia, turning around 8th in qualifying to finish on the podium behind Lee Martin and Coelho. While former champion Martin would open the season with a TQ, the EOS’ last double champion hasn’t been able to make it onto the top step of the 4WD podium either, a fact he will be determined to try & quash this weekend.
While the debut of its new B64 at Round 3 didn’t net the result they had hoped, Team Associated got a lot of set-up data from the trip to the Hudy Arena.Both Cragg and Joona Hataanen can be expected to be a much stronger force in 4WD this time out.
With many having expected it to come in A2, only for that race to turn in a blot on an otherwise dominant Xray performance from the first practice, Bruno Coelho gave the Slovakian manufacturer a home victory at the Euro Offroad Series with a faultless win in A3. Top Qualifier for the 3rd round of the championship, the reigning champion made amends for a hectic second leg, in which he eliminated himself on the first lap, with a near perfect race to lead home team-mate Martin Bayer. Securing his second win of the season, the biggest story of 4WD would be those joining him on the podium at the Hudy Racing Arena. With the host manufacturer locking out the top 3 in qualifying and getting six XB4 onto the A-Main grid, the odds where against their rivals to podium but in part mainly due to the Xray destruction in A2 it would be winner of that leg Lee Martin who would secure the runners-up spot. More surprising was Michal Orlowski making the podium from 8th on the grid, the Schumacher driver the only one to podium both classes at every race so far this season. The top non-Xray qualifier, securing 4th on the grid, Joern Neumann would miss the podium, A3 seeing the former champion taken out by Martin Wollanka while on target for 3rd overall.
Commenting on the deciding race, Coelho said, ‘I was pretty nervous for the first 2-laps but everything was good and I could get space on Bayer. After that I tried to manage it to the end. It was very good’. Describing his Hobbywing powered XB4 as ‘pretty good all weekend’, even with the bent chassis he ran throughout qualifying, he said the weak link was his mistakes. Shooting to fame for his electric touring car performance at the 2014 World Championships, a drive that led to him turning professional with Xray, he explained, ‘I am missing offroad practice because I am more focused on onroad. Compared to my rivals I only get to race five races, the EOS, a year. I have the pace and the car but miss the comfort in my driving as its not my class and my travel schedule means it impossible to practice more. So to be able to TQ & win 4WD and make the podium in 2WD I’m pretty happy. I didn’t win in 2WD because of inexperience’. Extending his lead in the standing to 6-points, he concluded, ‘for sure today’s win is great for the championship’.
‘I’ll take it. We didn’t have the pace and they did but thats been the case for a while’, was Martin’s summary of his second place finish. He continued, ‘we need the ideal track to excel and didn’t have that here’. Running a brand new set-up this weekend on his RC Concepts powered YZ4 which was the result of recent testing and racing in France last weekend, he said, ‘in the corners its so much better but there are other issues namely landing’. Still chasing the first win of the season, he said ‘I think I drove pretty good and two seconds here ain’t too bad’, the reigning 2WD champion getting a second in that class yesterday.
From 8th on the grid to finishing on the podium, that result seemed to mean even more to Orlowski that his 2WD win yesterday. The 15-year-old said, ‘we went from lows to highs each day but I only expected at best a Top 5 today’. Summing up A3 he said, ‘I started easy because so I could get a Top 5 but people crashed in front of me and then when I saw Wollanka and Joern crash I knew I had a podium chance if I could finish 4th. It was a positive end to the weekend to get two podiums’. Analysing his 4WD performance, the former European Champion said, ‘We have a bit of work to do with set-up for more open tracks. The car was good but Xray had that little extra bit. We have the pace on tight tracks but we need to do more testing for tracks like this layout’.
Trying to obtain video footage of his incident with Wollanka, Neumann said, ‘Wollanka was so slow at the start and I passed him but then I don’t know what happened but he drove into the side of me and the marshal was really slow’. He continued, ‘it was maximum shit because we could have made the podium for sure’. With fourth his best result this season, the Serpent driver said, ‘for sure we made made progress with the car. If we can improve the landing we will be right there for the next one’. Behind Neumann, former team-mate Hupo Hönigl would complete the Top 5 ahead of Kája Novotný, Wollanka and Bayer, the Czech driver’s 8th place not a reflection of the form he showed in qualifying.
Chassis: Xray XT2 Motor: Orion VST2 Pro 4.5T ESC: Orion Vortex R10.1 Pro Batteries: Orion 4500mAh Xs Radio/Servo: Sanwa/MKS Remarks – Czech talent Kaja Novotny got the runner-up spot here at the Hudy Arena behind the wheel of a Xray XT2 in the Modified Truck division. His truck is equipped with a brass bulkhead, aluminium uprights and camber link supports, an under LiPo steel weight and a set of Hiro Seiko screws. He is also using prototype carbon stiffeners on his chassis.
Chassis: Serpent SDX-4 Motor: Orion VST2 Pro 5.0T ESC: Orion Vortex R10.1 Pro Batteries: Orion 4500mAh Xs Radio/Servo: Sanwa/K-Power Remarks – Former Champion Joern Neumann is running the latest 4wd Serpent SDX-4 buggy here at the Hudy Arena. His car is equipped with hard swaybars and a one-piece steering system that doesn’t feature a servo saver. He also glued the wishbone stiffeners to the arms themselves so as to obtain a stiffer result, and added a hole to lower the camber link on the rear shock tower.