Lee Martin came out the winner of a hectic second A-Main of 4WD at the Euro Offroad Series after the three Xrays starting up front all crashed out to retire with broken cars. With the Xray dominance coming to an end on the first lap, that would set up a race between Joern Neumann, Michal Orlowski and Martin but it was the latter that would hold on for the surprise win. With Coelho coming under pressure from team-mate Bayer, the pair would trip up at the left side double double with Neumann finding a way to the front but in the first run down the straight Coelho would rear end the Serpent sending both cars flying off the track. While Neumann would continue, Coelho broke a rear camber link and was out. In all the chaos this set off, it was Orlowski from 8th on the grid who led the way for 3-laps until a mistake that allowed Martin through. Coming under pressure from a recovering Neumann, the Yokomo driver would spin on the landing of the double after the straight but instead of capitalising on the error Neumann would also get it wrong giving back 2nd to Orlowski with this how they would finish the race.
In reaction to his win, Martin said, ‘there was self destruction in front’. Describing it as ‘an exciting race’ the reigning 2WD Champion added ‘It was a lucky race too because the person behind me made a bobble at the same time I made a mistake’, that a reference to Neumann. Reporting his slipper as ‘slipping at the end’, he said he just tried to keep it on four wheels and get it to the finish. Adding he was ‘surprised but happy’ to get the win he concluded, ‘lets see if I can get lucky again’, things are now wide open for the win going into A3.
‘I don’t know what to say’ was Orlowski’s reaction after the race. Winner of 2WD yesterday, he continued, ‘I have no idea how it happened but I found myself out front and there were wheels coming off cars’, the wheel he was referring to being that of Martin Wollanka. After the high of yesterday’s win and then qualifying 8th for 4WD, the Polish teenager said, ‘we ran the same set up as in Poland but it wasn’t so good and so we changed the whole car. It was a little better but I think we are still lacking a bit of pace and need to work on the car for this type of layout’. Asked about his chances for the closing race of the event he replied, ‘hopefully again there is a big mess in the front’.
‘Maybe we can skip A3’ joked Neumann after the final, his pair of third place finishes giving him the current points lead. Giving his account of the incident with Coelho the European Champion said, ‘I got inside of Bruno but it didn’t last long, I led until the straight and then he ran into the back of my car and we both flew off the track. At least my car was maximum strong and could continue’. Asked about his second attempt at taking the lead, he said, ‘Lee made a mistake but so did I and I ended up third’ adding for the last lap and a half ‘my car lost a bit of power’.
Giving his view of the start, Coelho said ‘I drove so bad. I was leaving all the corners open because Martin was pressuring me. Neumann then got by me and we entered the straight together but I was not expecting my car to be so much faster and I had no time to react. I never thought there could be that much difference’.
Xray’s Bruno Coelho took an easy win the opening A-Main at the Euro Offroad Series third round in Slovakia, the Top Qualifier even having enough pace to fit in a rollover during the race. It was to be advantage Coelho from the start as No.2 starter Martin Bayer got it wrong in the first run through the main double double section allowing a slightly slow starting Martin Wollanka to take up second followed by Joern Neumann which was how they would stay till the end. Dropping to 10th place, Bayer would never recover, eventually retiring when a wheel parted company with the car on his penultimate lap.
Having discovered his car had a bent chassis just before the final qualifier but only having enough time to change it after the completion of qualifying, Coelho said his Hobbywing powered XB4 was ‘much better’ and now ‘easier to drive’. He continued, ‘Martin’s mistake on the first lap made it a lot easier, you can drive much better without pressure’. Admitting he got lucky that his car landed on its wheels following his bad landing at the tabletop, he said the approach for A2 will be to ‘try to do the same the next time but without the mistake’.
Wollanka said while it was a good race he was ‘losing too much time at the start’. Finishing just over 2-seconds behind his team-mate, the Austrian continued, ‘I was on new tyres and had to be careful for a few laps’. Once they broke in he said he was happy he was able to match Coelho’s pace but the gap was too much’. Set to use the same set for A2 he said now the plan is to ‘push harder from the start’.
Finishing almost 9-seconds back on Wollanka, Neumann said given he was on a 3rd run set of tyres the result was the maximum he could have got. After making ‘a good start’ running directly behind Wollanka he said the Xray driver ‘seemed to be struggling but once he found his speed I couldn’t keep up and settled for third’. With new tyres for A2, the German is confident of a good result saying ‘on new tyres is when the car is best’ and asked if he felt a podium was possible the former Champion replied ‘I drive for the win, we’ll see what happens’. Behind Neumann, Hupo Honigl would finish fourth followed by Kája Novotný with Lee Martin completing the Top 6 after a number of errors.
Bruno Coelho is the Top Qualifier at the third round of the Euro Offroad Series in Slovakia, Xray locking out the Top 3 places on the grid at the Hudy Racing Arena. With the fourth & final qualifier set to decide between Coelho and Martin Bayer who would start on pole, the decision was made on the first laps as Bayer got the tabletop jump wrong needing to be marshalled but even with a better start it may have came to nothing as later in the run he would retire with radio issues. While pushed by team-mate Martin Wollanka, who was to set the fastest lap of all four rounds of qualifying, Coelho could cruise to his third TQ knowing that Bayer’s error had secured him the overall TQ irrespective of his own result in Q4. Despite his DNF, Bayer will start second ahead of Wollanka with Joern Neumann a surprise 4th after a strong P3 run in the final qualifier. Another key retirement of the final qualifier was Lee Martin popped a drive shaft after a big off, the lack of a result dropping him to fifth on the grid.
Taking what is effectively a home race for the Portuguese driver, his offroad & onroad race programs meaning he spends a lot of his time at the Hudy Arena, Coelho was happy to TQ and even more so when it was discovered he had done so with a bent chassis. With Bayer discovering it before the final qualifier but with not enough time to change, Coelho, who had earlier reported he was struggling to get the feeling he wanted from his steering servo, was pleased that actually a problem had been found. Commenting on the deciding qualifier the World Champion said, ‘the run was without mistake. I could drive easy after I saw Martin had flipped at the first jump’. Aiming to make it back to back wins for Xray at their world class facility having won last year as Top Qualifier he set out his plan for the final saying, ‘the track is super difficult and I will just try to keep it safe’.
‘I made a mistake at the beginning and tried to get back the time but made another mistake’, was how Bayer summed up Q4. Asked about his retirement from the heat he said, ‘I lost the radio. I could feel it was not right the lap before it completely stopped. We will check off everything and change somethings to be sure its ok for the final’. Winner of the event in 2014 and 2015, in terms of his XB4’s performance he said ‘the car is good’ adding ‘we’ll see how the race goes’.
Wollanka was pretty pleased with his run saying getting ‘offline a few times’ was what added to his 2-seconds deficit to Coelho. Having gone back in the changes he made to front flex on his XB4 he said ‘the car was pretty good and the lap times were there now’. Having pulled off the pass of last season at the Hudy Arena last year when he jumped over Coelho, the video of that race going viral and exposing RC Racing to millions of viewers, when reminded of it the Austrian laughed saying, ‘we’ll see what happens but on this track you need to wait’.
‘We improved the car every run’ was former Champion Neumann’s reaction to his P3 in the final qualifier. Running in the second fastest heat after a not so good seeding practice, the Serpent driver and one time 4WD master of racing on carpet said, ‘under braking I spun out once which cost me around 1-second but other than that it was fine’. The German plans to make further changes to his Orion powered SDX4 saying ‘we had too much steering before but now it understeers a little bit. On new tyres it is fine but on used it understeers more’. On his chances of breaking up an all Xray podium he said, ‘the three in front are a little bit faster but not always do the fastest win because they can also make mistakes’.
Lee Martin said, ‘we tried something different as it was make or break but it wasn’t good. It was two steps forward one step back’. Happy with certain characteristics of his RC Concept powered YZ-4, the 2WD Champion said, ‘its good through the corners so I’ll try to be there if the others blow out or panic’. Behind Martin, Hupo Honigl with line up 6th ahead of Kája Novotný, yesterday’s 2WD winner Michal Orlowski, Nico Schmid and Marc Rheinard.