Lee Martin picked up where he left off yesterday in Slovakia by getting Day 2 of the Euro Offroaf Series second round underway with a TQ run in the opening 2WD qualifier. The reigning champion headed a Yokomo 1-2 with team-mate Marc Rheinard posting the second fastest time. Last season’s 2WD winner of the Hudy Arena event, Michal Orloswki would complete the Top 3 followed by young Finnish talent Joona Haatanen. Their home track, the best Xray would be Ales Bayer who was fifth fastest followed by team-mates Martin Wollanka and Bruno Coelho with older brother Martin Bayer 10th fastest.
Setting the fastest lap of the round, a 24.071, Martin said apart from a mistake half through the run it was a good qualifier. Getting his braking wrong for the back double section he would come up short on the landing with his YZ-2 needing to me marshalled resulting in a 27.9 second lap. Admitting he got lucky with Orlowski’s last lap mistake which handed him the TQ, the Brit said his car was good and he would continue with it unchanged for Q2.
Having moved to the top of the timing screens after Martin’s error, four laps later Rheinard would also make the same mistake as his team-mate. Managing to get away without needing to be marshalled, the German would still lose 2-seconds as he U-turned his YZ-2. Describing his opening qualifier as ‘fine’, the 3-time Touring Car World Champion said his car was pushing more than he would like and while ‘not super fast’ it was ‘safe’ so he would just drive around the understeer.
‘One mistake too much’ was Orlowski’s reaction to Q1. The Schumacher driver said aiming to open qualifying with a Top 3 it was ‘still a good run’. Matching Martin’s fastest lap pace with a best lap time of 24.099, the 14-year-old said ‘I have the pace and it is going to be an interesting race between me and Lee’. Happy with his Cougar KF2 he said he will only change to his second set of tyres and work on cutting out mistakes.
12-year-old Haatanen summed up his qualifier as ‘really good’. 11th fastest in practice yesterday over 3-consecutive laps, the Team Associated driver said he knew his B5M would be better over 5-minutes. Running in the second fastest heat, he would make a mistake on the opening lap which lost him over 2 & a half seconds but said ‘the rest was good’. Describing his car as easy to drive and a fan of the track layout he will leave his car unchanged for Q2 and just try to build on his opening run.
Ales Bayer was not happy with himself saying he made ‘a lot of mistakes’. Having copied the set-up of his brother Martin who was responsible for the development of the XB2 he said while the car was ‘ok’ to drive he will do a complete suspension change for Q2. With ‘jumping a big problem for (him)’, he said he needs to get the car to land better. A podium finisher at the season opener at the Nurburgring, Wollanka said his car is ok but the run contained ‘too many mistakes’. Again the driver said braking was an issue with the Austrian saying this time it was the driver who was the main contributing factor to the problem.
2WD Top Qualifier on his EOS debut at Round 1 in Germany, Coelho said the qualifier started off great but then coming up on traffic he made a mistake as he didn’t carry enough speed over the centre jump. With the mistake leaving him with a 30-second lap he couldn’t recover the lost time but the Portuguese ace said his ‘car was perfect’ and the problem was ‘just that one mistake’. Behind Coelho, young Yokomo protege Kaito Kodera, new Xray signing Nico Risser and Martin Bayer completed the Top 10.
Chassis: Xray XB4 ’16 Motor: LRP X20 5.5T ESC: LRP Batteries: LRP 4500mah Radio/Servo: Sanwa Remarks – Newly crowned World Champion for the class, Portuguese star Bruno Coelho is on his second outing at the EOS here in Trencin. Running a pretty standard version of the XB4 ’16, it has been equipped with an optional rear carbon stiffener.
Having topped 2WD practice earlier in the day to put himself top seed for qualifying, Lee Martin repeated the feat in 4WD practice at Round 2 of the Euro Offroad Series in Slovakia. A race at which Xray was expected to have the advantage, it was Martin and his Yokomo that would deny the home manufacturer from dominating the seeding times. The reigning EOS Champion would top the time sheets from the World Champion Bruno Coelho, Martin Wollanka, Martin Bayer and Ales Bayer with Marc Rheinard the next best non Xray driver with the sixth fastest time as the XB4 filled 6 of the Top 10 times.
Summing up the opening days action at the Hudy Arena as ‘a good day’, Martin said they made ‘good improvements with the YZ-4’. ‘Only the car’s third race’ which he ‘hasn’t driven since the Worlds’, he said they have made a lot of progress since debuting the car at the EOS season opener at the Nurburgring where he took the win. Having taken a different direction with the car’s set-up since then he declared it was now ‘working good’. ‘Happy with how the car is running’, the 6-time EOS race winner plans to leave it unchanged for the opening round of qualifying.
‘Super good I bet Bayer’ joked Coelho when asked about his performance. Having topped the times in the first of the two controlled practice runs, he said a mistake on one of his best 3-consecutive laps in CP2 that cost him the top spot. Having struggled with a lack of low speed steering in free practice, he described his XB4 as now being ‘perfect’ after a change of caster angle greatly improved steering. Team-mate Wollanka would end the day P3. Having had problems with a lack of braking in the FP3, the Austrian was much happier with his consistency after a motor change improved the brakes but in terms of his chassis set-up he feels the car is ‘too smooth’ and he needs to make it more aggressive for qualifying.
The driver would did the majority of the development work on the XB4, Martin Bayer said it was amazing to have so many cars in the Top 10. Speaking of his own performance the Czech driver said new tyres were better for him, using them for the first time in CP2 having run used tyres in the earlier runs. Feeling he ‘drove too hard’, this left him unable to make 3 clean laps. A driver who enjoys a great working relationship with his team-mate Coelho, the pair always joking about their comparative pace, he added everything is good except ‘I’m unhappy that Bruno beat my fastest lap time on his last lap’. Behind Bayer was his younger brother Ales. The 1:5 European Champion said he was ‘not super happy with his driving’ and for qualifying he needs to improve his XB4 on the landings.
Completing the Top 6, as he did in 2WD, Rheinard said his YZ-4 was easy to drive but he was having issues with it doing wheelies on the main straight. Dropping into the main straight off a corner table top upon talking with team-mate Lee Martin he said the problem appears to be down to his driving, with him needing to keep more on throttle on the jump down rather than coming off and then hitting full throttle on landing.
Completing the Top 10 behind the Serpent of Joern Neumann, Michal Orlowski said it was ‘not want I wanted’ adding he was ‘surprised by his lack of pace’. The Schumacher driver said while his car was good in the corners but bad on the jumps, a change of set-up for controlled practice to improve the landing had made the car bad at both. For qualifying, the Pole is considering fitting a front wing as well as taking a different direction with diff set-up. Behind Orlowski would be David Ronnefalk. Improving his D413 for CP2 having been unable to get a competitive 3-laps in the first round, the factory HB driver improved his time before suffering a servo failure with a minute still left to run.
With Round 2 of the Euro Offroad Series switching over to 4WD for the second half of the opening day of the Hudy Arena hosted event it was Martin Wollanka who set the early pace. The Xray driver would post the fastest 3-consecutive laps in the second of the 3 rounds of free practice as he suffered braking issues in FP3. Second fastest with a time from the third practice was 2WD top seed Lee Martin, the Yokomo driver 8/10ths of a second off Wollanka who would make heavy contact with the British driver during the round. Winner of 4WD on the EOS’ previous to visits to the home of Xray, Martin Bayer completed the Top 3 followed by newly crowned World Champion Bruno Coelho.
The only driver to run three consecutive 23-second laps, Wollanka described his pace as ‘OK’, adding it ‘can be better’. Having sorted out braking issues in 2WD, ending up 4th quickest, the Austrian would again report brake problems. A much bigger problem to deal with due to the extra speeds of 4WD, he believes the issue is due to his motor and switching to an ‘old motor’ for controlled practice he hopes this cures the issue adding in terms of chassis set-up ‘the car is fine’.
Describing his P2 pace as ‘alright’, Martin said they made a few changes to his YZ-4 for the last run which made it a little more difficult to drive but also a little faster. Going into controlled practice he said they will ‘make more adjustments’ which he hopes will make the car a little easier to drive and faster. Asked about the new front tyres, the EOS organisers changing the front handout tyre to Schumacher’s Wide Stagger Rib, the reigning champion gave the decision a big thumbs up describing them as ‘way better’ and adding they made the cars ‘much more user friendly’.
Bayer said he really enjoyed practice adding it was ‘super close’ among the Top 3. Joking that his World Champion team-mate ‘Bruno (Coelho) is not so far behind me so I’m happy for him’, he said he had no need to make any changes to his XB4 set-up which was the same as how he ran it at the World Championships. Asked about the new front tyre which was changed from Schumacher’s Minipin, the Czech driver said it made for less work in the pits but it made the car less enjoyable to drive. With less traction and the car now pushing more he said the previous tyre ‘suited our car better’. Coelho summed up his performance of P4 as ‘better than 2WD’ saying this could be due to the car suiting his driving style better. With ‘no steering in the slow corners’ due to the tyre change, the Portuguese driver said he needs to try find a solution for this.
Danish driver Mike Gosvig would take his Xray to the fifth fastest time. The 21-year-old said with his lack of practice due to racing in other classes and his home country not having a suitable offroad track to test on his early pace was ‘good’. While his team-mates where less enthusiastic about the new tyres, Gosvig ‘like(s) it’ saying it requires less time to prep and makes the car ‘more easy to drive’. Happy with his XB4 set-up, he said his plan for the first of the two controlled practice rounds is to ‘just drive as the car is super good’.
Completing the Top 6, David Ronnefalk said things were going ‘good so far’. The HB driver said he hasn’t got his best three laps together yet but the ‘speed & pace is there’. Having worked on his speedo and motor, Team Orion’s Oscar Jansen in attendance & working with the Swede this weekend, he said they found a good electrics set-up. Also happy with his D413 set-up, the car’s designer Takaaki Yasui making the trip over from Japan for support, he is planning to try a small shock set-up change in controlled practice. Another driver who feels the switch to the Wide Stagger Rib is ‘way better’ adding the car is ‘a lot easier to drive’ he said it does however effect slightly how well the car lands.
A podium finisher at last season’s EOS finale at the Hudy Arena, Michal Orlowski’s 4WD practice hasn’t started out well with the Schumacher driver still looking for a good set-up. Only 7th fastest he said it was ‘not the best start’ as he had no steering in FP1. Able to find that for the second practice he said while they further improved the car for the last run the car is ‘slow and difficult to drive’ with how the car is landing being the main issue they need to resolve. Behind Orlowski the Top 10 was completed by Marc Rheinard, Ales Bayer and former 4WD dominator Joern Neumann.
Chassis: Yokomo YZ-2 Motor: Muchmore Fleta 6.5T ESC: Muchmore Batteries: Protek RC 4250mah Radio/Servo: Sanwa/Xpert Remarks – Defending champion in both buggy classes, Lee Martin topped 2WD practice here at the Hudy Arena running a pretty standard version of the Japanese manufacturer’s YZ-2. The car is equipped with Yatabe springs and a steel front suspension mount, a front JConcepts Finnisher wing and a rear LMR prototype wing.
Having set the early pace at the Euro Offroad Series in Slovakia Lee Martin would maintain his form in controlled practice to top the time sheets and secure the top seeding for 2WD qualifying which gets underway at the Hudy Arena tomorrow morning. The Yokomo driver would improve his free practice pace over 3-consecutive laps by almost 6/10th with last season’s event winner Michal Orlowski second fastest just 14/100ths off. Having been second fastest in free practice, Martin Bayer would complete the Top 3 with the time from his first of the two controlled practices which was half a second off his morning pace.
A ‘pretty good day really’ was how Martin summed up his 2WD performance. Adding it was ‘pretty relaxed’ start to what he feels is going to be the more difficult round of the EOS being the home of Xray, the reigning champion said there are 3 to 5 people who are very fast. While pleased to top the seeding, he said starting the top heat first would be difficult as he has no one to chase adding it’s always easy to gauge your pace when following another car. Pleased with the performance of his Muchmore powered YZ-2, he continued ‘we’ll keep pushing and see what happens’. Team-mate Marc Rheinard would again finish up 6th fastest as he did in free practice. The multiple onroad World Champion said ‘now I’m consistent but I’m not super fast’. Reporting understeer at the hairpin he said if he can find a fix for this he should be good for qualifying.
Reverting back to the set-up he ran in FP2, Orlowski said he was ‘very happy’ with his Schumacher. Describing himself and Martin’s times as ‘very close every run’, the 14-year-old expects the times in qualifying to ‘be very close as always’. Planning to just drive his KF2 as it is for the opening qualifier, when asked about the new 2-set tyre limit that the EOS organisers have introduced for the rest of the season he said it was no issue. With tyre wear very low he said his car worked equally well on new, which he used in CP1, or used tyres, his choice for CP2, he had no concerns for qualifying.
Heading a trio of Xray’s, Bayer said things were looking ‘pretty good’ ahead of qualifying with him highlighting that 4 of the Top 7 drivers were running XB2s. The Czech driver said he liked more used tyres as on new he had too much rear traction resulting in a loss of steering. With this in mind he would use CP2, the final practice, to break in one of his two sets of the Schumacher controlled tyres for qualifying. Behind him Martin Wollanka managed to get his brakes sorted saying this allowed him to concentrate on his car set-up with a front & rear geometry change planned for Q1.
Fifth fastest, Bruno Coelho said he is making ‘a lot of mistakes’ adding the problem is not the car but the driver. Putting the errors down to him ‘maybe (being) too aggressive’ in his driving, the Top Qualifier of the season opener at the Nurburgring said he ‘will try to improve for tomorrow’. Making his Xray debut here at the Hudy Arena, recently crowned Belgian National Champion Nico Risser enjoyed a strong showing setting the 7th fastest time ahead of the Serpent of Joern Neumann.
Chassis: Schumacher Cougar KF2 Motor: LRP X20 6.5T ESC: LRP Batteries: LRP 4500mah Radio/Servo: Sanwa/KO Propo Remarks – Winner of the last 2wd encounter held here at the Hudy Arena, Polish talent Michal Orlowski is running a Cougar KF2 equipped with the low grip conversion kit. The car also sports a rear option sway bar, a ‘rear shock mount’ kit to enable the shocks to be mounted on the rear side of the tower instead of the standard front side, and front 5 degrees aluminium steering knuckles.