With the final day of the Euro Offroad Series in Germany opening with the penultimate round of qualifying, there were no surprises as Bruno Coelho again set the pace to claimed his third TQ of the season. Having taken both of yesterday’s 4WD qualifiers, the Xray driver became the Top Qualifier by again setting the pace over team-mate Martin Wollanka with over 4-seconds in hand. Behind them, again it was Lee Martin who was best of the rest, the Yokomo driver having at one stage been at the top of the timing screens but ended up third with two mistakes over the 5-minutes.
Happy to take the TQ point and move closer to successfully defending his 4WD title, Coelho said, ‘I was on new tyres now and it was not the perfect choice. I had super traction and it wanted to traction roll. Used tyres give a better feeling’. Overcoming an early mistake, as the tyres broke in the car was more comfortable to drive with him setting a new fastest lap of qualifying 3-laps from the end. With Q4 having only the possibility of affecting who will start behind him, that currently being Wollanka, looking to this afternoon’s finals at Arena33, he said, ‘the speed is there so my focus will be to try and make no mistakes’.
Describing his XB4 as ‘working very well’, the only thing Wollanka had to report was an error at the double before the straight on his opening lap. The Austrian said he had to single single it to avoid crashing but other than that it was a good run. With two P2 runs he said he hoped to be able hold second on the grid with the aim for the final to ‘just to drive around behind Bruno’.
Top Qualifier at the season opener but losing out on the win to Coelho, Martin said, ‘I made a bad start but then Bruno made a mistake and I tried to keep with him. I lose most time at the steps but behind him I was through there tighter and tighter each lap but then went too tight’. Overall he said, ‘we’re not a million miles away’ and to hopefully close that gap further for Q4 he will make a caster change as well as fit new arms to his YZ4 due to the current set having ‘a lot of play’.
Setting the fourth fastest time, Joona Haatanen declared the run as ‘good’. Yesterday’s 2WD Top Qualifier, the Team Associated driver said, ‘this was my third run on the same set of tyres but they still worked good but for the last one I will have to run a new set’. In terms of his new B64, the Finn said, ‘I think it’s good enough to drive 5-minutes so so other than tyres I will leave it the same for the last heat’. Suffering a roll in Q3 and needing to be marshalled losing him over 2.5-seconds, he hopes to wrap up qualifying with a clean run and improve his starting position for his first A-Main appearance with the B64.
Behind Haatanen was team-mate Neil Cragg. Asked how he was getting on with his B64, he replied, ‘we’re doing aright actually’. Debuting the car at the previous round of the EOS but missing the A-Main, he continued, ‘we are changing the car and its getting better and better which is better than the last EOS when we ended up getting lost’. In terms of its performance he said, It’s good but not yet 100%. I can push hard but still have to be cautious’. He concluded, ‘we are in the A-Main which was the main aim coming here and overall it is just getting better & better’.
Posting his first Top 6 time, when asked how qualifying was going newly crowned 2WD champion Michal Orlowski replied, ‘Not so good I would say’. The Schumacher driver said, ‘I tried to get around for 5-minutes without a mistake’ adding ‘the steps is a big issue as I never know how the car will react there’. With only a P11 to go with his 6th, he said, ‘I need one more good run’ to make the A-Main and to try give him a better car to achieve this they will stand up the rear shocks so the car jumps better.
Bruno Coelho has brought Day 2 of the EOS at Arena33 to a close with another TQ run in 4WD. Claiming his first 2WD race win earlier in the day, the Xray driver had to work a little harder for the TQ the second time round after a mistake on his 5th lap. This left Team Associated’s Joona Hataanen take up the TQ pace but a mistake from the 2WD Top Qualifier would drop him to 8th for the round. A slower round than the first by 1-second, Coelho’s advantage was also a lot less with team-mate Martin Wollanka 2.5 seconds adrift. Although he would manage to better his P2 time from Q1, Lee Martin would end up third quickest ahead of his Yokomo team-mate Marc Rheinard, the result sure to see Rheinard make the A-Main at his home race having ended up as the BQ in 2WD. An impressive drive from Burak Kilic, from the second fastest heat, would see the teenager making it three Yokomo’s in the Top 6 after finishing his heat behind Associated’s Neil Cragg who managed the 5th fastest time.
Bruno Coelho was in a different class to his rivals in the opening round of 4WD qualifying at the Euro Offroad Series, the reigning champion topping the times by almost 6-seconds. Having set the pace in practice, the Xray driver lead away the field putting in a perfect run setting the fastest lap in the process. Behind Coelho, who is looking to successfully defend his EOS title this weekend at Arena33, Yokomo’s Lee Martin would post the second fastest time, splitting the Xray’s as Martin Bayer completed the Top 3 ahead of Hupo Honigl.
‘Very good’ was how Coelho summed up Q1. Having been surprised by the level of grip his XB4 had in practice, saying he would unexpectedly have to look at changing the set-up, he opted to not to change anything but put on a new set of tyres. Declaring the car was ‘surprisingly now very good’ he added ‘maybe it was the set of tyres’ he had used in practice that was the issue. Starting the qualifier first, once he saw Martin had made a mistake he could run ‘a comfortable’ heat adding ‘everything was perfect’.
Martin said, ‘I made a terrible start. I crashed coming onto the straight the same as I did when 2WD qualifying started. After that I just tried to drive to be second because unless Bruno made a mistake I was never going to catch him. It was out of my hands’. In terms of his car he said ‘it was twitchy and we need to take away that edginess for the next one’. He plans to run a stiffer front spring to get the car more to his liking.
‘I had a monkey style lap at the start and lost 1-second, then I was catching Lee but I had small traffic issue so I ended up third’, was how Bayer summed his run. The Czech driver said a front swaybar adjustment had improved his XB4 from practice when he was also third quickest but over 3-consecutive laps. Declaring, ‘now the car is really good’, he said ‘I just need a clean run for 2nd place’.
Describing Q1 as ‘a crazy run’, Honigl continued, ‘there is a lot going on in this track’. Finishing 1.9-seconds off Bayer’s pace he said, ‘I was happy with my driving just there is a lot of traffic. Even when I let Bruno go I didn’t know where to let him passed because there is only one line around the track. On his Tekin powered XB4 he said, ‘it was a bit edgy because it was on new tyres but it should be better for the next one’.
Top Qualifier in 2WD, Joona Hataanen would take his B64 to the fifth fastest time. The factory Associated driver was pleased to open with a Top 6 run saying the new car, which they debuted at the previous EOS encounter, is now ‘so much better than at the Hudy Arena’. Feeling he lost time getting stuck behind traffic, the Finnish teenager said his car was maybe too comfortable to drive and so they would most likely make a set-up change for Q2 after discussing it with Team Manager Craig Drescher and his team-mates.
Completing the Top 6, Marc Rheinard said, it was ‘a better start than 2WD’. The Yokomo driver continued, ‘It was an OK run but I’m still making mistakes’. For sure I’m not perfect on this layout track and the car is OK but I can’t go at the speed I want so I think we need to try something for Q2′.
Fresh from taking his first ever 2WD win, Bruno Coelho set the pace in practice as the action switched to 4WD at the penultimate round of the EOS at Arena33. The Xray driver set the fastest 3-consecutive lap time by almost 2/10ths of a second from the Yokomo of Lee Martin with Martin Bayer making it a familiar looking Top 3.
‘Quite strange’ was Coelho response to topping the seeding with his time from the second run. The reigning champion & current points leader continued, ‘normally I never need to change my car but this time we need to, its difficult to drive’. Asked what the problem was, he replied, ‘it has too much overall traction and we’ll need to make it easier to drive’. He added, ‘we expect normally the car to be very good but here it needs changes’. With drivers finding the track layout challenging in 2WD and Race Director Scotty Ernst making a tweak to the layout for 4WD, Coelho said ‘the layout is OK for 4WD’.
‘Its going to be hard work’ was Martin’s reaction after the two rounds of practice adding, ‘there is good grip so its a little edgy’. The former champion said after a ‘pretty good first one’, his YZ4 topping the times, he ‘tried something’ for the second run but ‘it didn’t make any noticeable difference’. Describing the car as ‘not too bad’, he said he would ‘wait until the first qualifier to see where (he) is at over 5-minutes and go from there’. With four qualifiers, drivers will end Day 2 of the event with the second round.
Bayer felt practice ‘was OK’ but added ‘it is quite difficult because of the high traction’. The Xray Offroad team-manager, said removing steering from his XB4 for second practice had made it better ‘but there is still more work to do’ with finding a good set-up. Behind Bayer was team-mate Martin Wollanka. The Austrian said the first practice ‘was good’ but ‘the driver made too many mistakes in the second’ on the ‘difficult track’. Leaving his car unchanged between practice runs he said he will probably try a set-up tweak for Q1.
Setting the fifth fastest time ahead of Marc Rheinard, Joern Neuman summed up his practice by saying, ‘It’s much better than 2WD’. Switching to a lower ride height on his Serpent for the second run, the multiple former EOS Champion said this had made it easier to drive allowing him to better his CP1 time. Looking to make the car even easier to drive for Q1 the German will try a heavier front shock adding ‘other than that the car is fine’. Asked about the track he said, ‘Its less of a challenge for 4WD but it’s still hard and its going to be difficult to run 5-minutes with out crashing’.
Bruno Coelho has claimed his first 2WD career win of the Euro Offroad Series, the Xray driver’s victory at Arena33 also deciding the outcome of this season’s championship which has an all new champion in Michal Orlowski. With Lee Martin Orlowski’s only remaining title challenger at the penultimate round of Season #6, the stakes going into A3 couldn’t be higher. With the opening two A-Mains producing two different winners, Joona Hataanen winning the first and Martin the second, the Top 3 on the grid would all be contenders for the overall win in German. For reigning champion Martin it was a win or nothing situation. While Haatanen would lead for the first 3-minutes, the Top Qualifier would suffer a mistake through the steps section after the straight with Coelho there to capitalise. While a win for Coelho ahead of Hataanen would leave him on the same points as his rivals, it would come down to the winning race times to decide how they got to stand on the podium. Once in front however Coelho would prove fastest pulling clear to go the extra lap bettering the previous best set by Martin to give him the overall win. The star of the weekend, the tie breaker would leave Hataanen third deferring the rising talent’s debut on the top step of the podium to another day. While Hataanen waits for that day, two years after his break through win in the EOS, his close friend Orlowski realised his long time ambition by adding an EOS title to his CV, the young Pole having been a part of the championship from the first ever race in 2012.
‘This has been one of my goals in RC, I just have the Reedy Race and the Worlds left’, was Orlowski’s reaction to securing both his and Schumacher’s first EOS title. He continued, ‘We started the season with a second and then won in Poland and Slovakia but this weekend didn’t go to plan. I came here wanting three wins in a row but the we struggled with the layout. Luckily I didn’t have to do it (get a result) myself’. Finishing up 10th at the Andernach event, he continued, ‘I couldn’t concentrate in the last final because I was listening to Scotty because I wanted to follow the race up front to see what was happening’. The reason for this distraction was that the 15-year-old will sit an important school exam on the Friday of the season finale which would see him miss 2WD qualifying but today’s outcome means he can now focus on the exam before travelling to Wels in Austria to race the 4WD part of the weekend. Taking all his EOS wins, 3 in 2WD and one in 4WD, driving for the Schumacher team, he thanked the British manufacturer for their support in making the title win possible in particular designer Tristram Neal with whom he has developed a strong working partnership in the small closely knit factory team.
Summing up his win, Coelho said, ‘Finally some good luck’. Having lost A2 after two incidents outside of his control, he continued, ‘I had some touches and some traffic at the end. Getting by them without crashing was not down to skill but luck’. The traffic he was referring to was a pile up in the dying seconds of the race which his XB2 somehow drove through the middle of without being hit. Sitting behind Hataanen, showing the leader his nose a number of times, he said, ‘I was just trying to drive behind Joona waiting for a mistake but touched him once. I waited for him to go again and then he made a mistake and I could overtake him’. Describing his win as ‘a positive result’ not just for him but also Xray as its their first win with the XB2 in some time, the 4WD World Champion said, ‘I’m an onroad racer, that’s my main focus and 2WD is not my favourite class even after today’s win but for sure the car is now much better than last year. It was my inconsistency in the qualifiers that prevented us from getting the TQ & Win but I am super happy to show the car is good today. It was this good at the last race too but my driving prevented a good result’.
‘I tried but lost too much time, we burned through tyres here today’, was Martin’s view of the day. The outgoing back to back champion continued, ‘I didn’t drive too bad. I felt this was as fast as I could go. It was a very different track this time around and we need to work on our car for the itsy bitsy landings’. He added, ‘we had some exciting finals but good job to Michal on winning the championship. In the first three rounds he drove very well so he is the deserving winner but I’ll be back’.
Understandable disappointed to come so close to his first win for the second time, the last time a clash with team-mate Ryan Cavalieri costing him a win at the Nurburging on the B6’s debut, Hataanen said, ‘It was good for three & a half minutes and then I made a mistake which let Bruno passed me’. The 14-year-old continued, ‘I think I’m doing a very good but the finals didn’t go as I wanted. With team-mates Neil Cragg and Joakim Nicolaisen finishing up 4th ad 5th respectively, he concluded, ‘ Overall it was a good showing for the Associated team and hopefully now I can also make the A-Main in 4WD’.
Chassis: Yokomo YZ2 Motor: RC Concept 6.0T ESC: RC Concept SC120 Batteries: RC Concept Omega 4500mAh Radio/Servo: Sanwa/Xpert Tires: Schumacher (handout) Body: Kit Remarks – Beginning practice with the same setup from the last round of the series at Hudy Arena, the Yokomo driver made a number of changes to his YZ2 to make it easier on this difficult Arena33 track. Changing to harder shock oil due to the large number of jumps and changing the Ackermann, weight distribution to remove steering due to the lack of fast corners, the British driver also made the rear track width narrower as well as opting to run a smaller front wing.