4WD Championship leader Bruno Coelho is the Top Qualifier for Round 2 of the Euro Offroad Series in Warsaw. Going into the fourth & final round of qualifying at the Warsaw Moto Show hosted event only team-mate Martin Bayer had a chance of denying the Xray driver the overall TQ. While Bayer would set the early pace after a mistake from Coelho at the 1-minute mark, it was Michal Orlowski who would go fastest pipping the Czech driver by 6/10ths of a second. Recovering from a difficult first two qualifiers on Friday, Orowski’s Q4 TQ would allow him to split the two Xrays on the starting grid as he secured second ahead of Bayer. For Nurburgring Top Qualifier Lee Martin, an early mistake put end to any chance of improvement and the Yokomo driver will start 4th ahead of on form Kája Novotný who secures his best ever EOS qualifying position with 5th.
Commenting on what is his 4th EOS TQ in 4WD, Coelho said, ‘For sure it’s a good position to start but everyone is super fast so it’s not going to be an easy final’. Fourth fastest in the final qualifier, the World Champion said, ‘I think the track felt different and had less traction and that led to some mistakes’. Unlike many of his rivals who saved tyres from one of their two sets of the handout Schumacher Minipins for the triple finals, Coelho said he just has the extra set allowed to A-Main drivers but didn’t see that as an issue. Wrapping up the win at the opening round in Germany in A2 allowing him to sit off the third main, he said, ‘I didn’t save tyres. My approach for the finals will be not to make any mistakes’.
As if they fixed his steering issues Orlowski replied, ‘we fixed the steering but now I had so much I had to be careful how I controlled the car’. Suffering a crash of his own doing but then hitting another car that had crashed in front of him the Pole said, ‘after that I had to push as much as I could and it worked’. After his troubles on Friday, he continued, ‘for sure P2 on the grid is better than Friday when I was just hoping we could make the main.’ Looking to the final, yesterday’s 2WD Top Qualifier and race winner said, ‘the aim is another podium. I think Bruno is faster than anyone but I will try to be there if he makes a mistake’. In terms of his LRP powered CAT K2 he said ‘we will obviously make changes to reduce the steering’.
Enjoying a much more competitive form this weekend than the season opener, Bayer said ‘I’m very confident with the car’. He continued, ‘the speed is there and we can fight for (the) podium’. On his final qualifying performance, the Xray offroad team-manager said, ‘I had a small mistake but it was enough as it was a tiny difference between me and Michal. For the final the aim is to not to make any mistakes and not touch the boards at the first corner’.
On Q4 Martin said, ‘We tried different stuff but I crashed early on so I resided to testing and pulled over a few times to let other drivers by’. Describing the changes to his YZ4 as ‘an improvement’, Yokomo former 4WD champion continued, ‘but we need to change other stuff to match the improvements and hopefully we are good for leg 1′. Asked about the track layout, it one of the EOS’ tighter tracks, he simply replied, ‘It’s going to be pretty fast’.
Completing the top half of the grid ahead of team-mate Hupo Hönigl, Novotný was very happy about his pace, the 20-year-old Czech driver having been quick from the first practice. The reigning Czech National Champion said, ‘my car has been awesome and I’m really enjoying the track which is much harder than the previous round’. Getting a P2 behind Bayer in Q2, he said for the last qualifier the just refreshed the diffs in preparation for the finals as well as running used tyres to save a set for the finals. Asked his aims for the race he replied, ‘the Top 3 are super fast but we’ll see’.
With 4WD qualifying resuming after yesterday’s 2WD action at Round 2 of the Euro Offroad Series in Poland, it was Bruno Coelho who set the pace in Q3. Having topped the opening qualifier on Friday, the reigning champion was fastest from 2WD race winner Michal Orlowski. Over 4-seconds off the TQ pace, Lee Martin would complete the Top 3 just ahead of Martin Bayer who took the TQ in the second qualifier on Friday. Having suffered spur gear failures in the first two rounds, Malin Karlsen would finally go the full 5-minutes to post an impressive P5.
Winner of the season opener in Germany, Coelho summed up the switch back to 4WD as ‘very good’. He added ‘it took a 4 or 5 laps to get used to double the steering and double the speed but once the heat started I was able to drive without any mistake. The car is working very good’. Looking on target to claim the TQ, Bayer needing to TQ Q4 with a faster time, the World Champion said, ‘I might try something new on the car for the last one to try to make it even faster’.
Commenting on his badly needed P2, his opening qualifier ending in retirement, Orlowski said, ‘I had a steering problem being loose but adapted my driving to the car as I needed this run to make the main’. Explaining the issue, Schumacher designer Tristram Neal said, ‘there is too much flex in the front deck but we will stiffen it up for the next one’. With the P2 locking him into the A-Main for his home event, the 15-year-old said, ‘hopefully I can improve on my starting position in the last one’, the Warsaw driver currently sitting 7th in the quali ranking.
‘Two other guys were a little faster’ was Martin’s reaction after the penultimate qualifier. Runner-up in 2WD last night, he continued, ‘I felt different from 2WD obviously and I couldn’t really go much faster’. His third P3 run, the Yokomo driver said, ‘We’ll make a set-up change and see what we find’. For team-mate Marc Rheinard Q3 would end in retirement as he lost a screw from the front arm of his YZ4.
Bayer was pleased with his P4 describing it as a ‘good run’ with just ‘small bobbles from touching the boards’. Running his XB4 unchanged from Friday, the former EOS race said he opted to run used tyres. Looking to save new sets for the finals, the Czech driver added, ‘new tyres are faster for me’.
Having been on a Top 5 pace in the opening two qualifiers, Karlsen was relieved to finish Q3. After stripping three spur gears in a row, final practice, Q1 and Q2, the problem was found to be his Xray having too much flex. Stiffening up the car, the gear would hold and while the 11-year-old felt the car was better with more flex she said it was still good to drive, a fact highlighted by his P5 time. With two of the four qualifiers counting, the Norwegian said she ‘need(s) to put together another run to make the A-Main’ something she achieved at the last season’s finale.
Michal Orlowski delivered a convincing victory today in his home city of Warsaw today winning Round 2 of the Euro Offroad Series on the championship’s return to Poland. With every sports person wanting to win in front of a home crowd, Orlowski claimed only his second ever EOS race win with conviction putting in an dominant 2WD performance in A2, something he would do again in A3 as a tactical championship move. Having missed out on victory last season en route to becoming Vice-Champion for the second season running, today’s TQ and win puts the 15-year-old top of the championship table with the EOS next moving to the Hudy Arena – venue of his first EOS win. Behind the Schumacher ace, reigning champion Lee Martin would claim second overall to move him into second in the standings. Travelling to Poland as the early points leader it wasn’t to be a good race for Marc Rheinard, the Yokomo driver finishing a disappointing 9th. For Neil Cragg Poland would be somewhat of a break through for the Team Associated driver as he claimed his first podium finish, the European Champion proving much more competitive than he was at the season opener when he was only 6th.
Reacting to his home win, Orlowski said, ‘Obviously I am very happy to take the win in Poland’. With his last win coming in May 2015, he continued, ‘the car was good all weekend once we found the right set-up in free practice’. Commenting on A2 he said, ‘As I said before the plan was to make a gap at the beginning and then as the race would settle down control the pace out front and this time I did that and could take it home’. He added, ‘Once I had around 1.5 seconds of a lead I could control the race making sure I didn’t slow the pace too much to allow them to catch me’. On moving into the championship lead he said, ‘hopefully at the Hudy Arena we can also get another good result. The car is a lot better now than in Round 1 and hopefully it will work similar to how it has performed here’. Summing it up as a ‘great weekend’, 4WD still to run tomorrow, he said, ‘I have to thank Tris(tram Neal) and my dad for all the hard work ahead of this event. Trish gave me a very good car with which to do the job’.
‘I always want to win but from the start we were not on a lightening pace and I think I drove well to get second because we definitely were not the fastest’, was how Martin summed up his 2WD performance. Mounting his closest challenge to Orlowski in A3, he said, ‘I tried hard to hustle but he always had enough in hand to be honest and when he got out front I knew I had 2nd wrapped up unless we both messed up’. Improving in his opening result of a 3rd at the Nurburgring, the British said the lesson from today was that ‘we need to go away and try harder’.
Claiming his first EOS podium, Cragg said, ‘before I didn’t appreciate how hard the EOS is so to get my first podium I’m pretty pleased’. The Team Associated driver added, ‘2nd was the best we could have got today and I got 3rd so it’s not bad and I hope we can carry that to the next round. We learnt a lot of things here with the car.’ Asked about his closing final having been in a good battle for second with Martin, he said ‘I had one stupid crash then went to 8 or 9th. I’m angry with myself over my driving’. Top Qualifier at last season’s finale but ending up 8th at that event, he concluded, ‘I need to work on my driving in the finals’.
Finishing off the podium, Cragg’s 13-year-old Associated team-mate Joona Hataanen was happy with how he ended the race but felt had he had the same car starting out the event he could have challenged for his first EOS win. From 9th on the grid, 4th was a great result for the highly talented Finn, him taking a 3rd place in A2. Summing up Round 2 as ‘pretty hard’, he said he didn’t have the best of cars but a rear shock piston change was a break through for the finals with the car then ‘easy to drive’. 10th at the season opener, he said today’s result was ‘something to build on for the future’ and he is looking forward to the 2017 section of the championship. Behind Hataanen, Christopher Krapp would finish 5th. A great drive in A3 – when he took 3rd after holding off Cragg, Krapp and Marc Rheinard – Jesper Rasmussen secured a 6th place finish.
Chassis: Team Associated B6 Motor: Reedy Sonic 6.5T ESC: Hobbywing Xerun V3.1 Batteries: Reedy 5300mAh Radio/Servo: Sanwa/Reedy Remarks – Having spent his 18th birthday at the track here in Warsaw yesterday, Danish talent Jesper Rasmussen celebrated today by putting his B6 into the A-Main qualifying 7th. His car sports a front brass bulkhead in addition to steel weight plates under the servo and the ESC. The Associated supported driver is also using hard wishbones, titanium turnbuckles and a rear aluminium suspension mount.
Michal Orlowski has taken a dominant victory in the opening 2WD A-Main at the Euro Offroad Series in Poland. Starting from the pole, the Schumacher driver however would get the first jump slightly wrong with his error leading Lee Martin and Neil Cragg to tangle delaying the field and giving him an early break he would only go on to extend. With Hupo Honigl coming off best from hectic first lap to go from 6th to second, Cragg’s move into second short lived as he crashed at the quad, Orlowski was then able to extend his lead crossing the finish almost 6-seconds in front. Holding second for 4 minutes and 45 second, with Martin right on his rear wing, Honigl would make a mistake handing second to the reigning champion with a lap to go. Eventually finishing 5th as Cragg and Christopher Krapp also went through on the last lap to claim 3rd and 4th, the former race winner said afterwards, ‘I want to shoot myself, I don’t even know how I crashed’.
A very popular win in front of a huge crowd of visitors to the Warsaw Moto Show, Orlowski said, ‘I got a bit lucky at the start. I was worried about the first jump before the race and then got it a bit wrong but saved it from crashing’. He continued, ‘I got it a bit too short but Lee gave me space and that caused the crash behind. Once the race settled, the 15-year-old said, ‘I could see Hupo was defending in second so I just focused on doing my laps and making sure I didn’t make any more mistakes. Hopefully the next one I won’t have the same problem with the first jump’.
Giving his view on the start, Martin said, ‘Orlowski was a bit short and I was also a bit short. He bounced wide but I could see he was coming back in so I gave him space. Neil hit the the jump good and carrying speed he hit me. It was just a racing accident’. The Yokomo driver would set about a recover catching up to Honigl summing up the Austrian’s frustration with ‘Hupo was out front for 4:45. How unlucky’. Hoping for a better start in A2 to try and push the race decider into A3, the Brit said, ‘Michal is fast, he is comfortable and he’s driven well so far. I think it’s going to be hard to unsettle him but we’ll try’.
‘Third is a pretty good salvage’ was how a frustrated Cragg summed the opening A-Main. The Associated driver continued ‘I got unlucky at the start and climbed all over Lee’. I still managed to get away in second but then rolled on the same lap and had a few more uncomposed laps. I got a lucky third on the last lap’. Feeling he could have challenged Orlowski he said, ‘I would like to see him under pressure from the start but instead we gave it to him on the first lap’. Behind Cragg, Krapp who was involved in the early battle for second would also drop back after a mistake but recover to finish 4th, one place up on his starting position. Starting ahead of his fellow German, Joern Neumann’s return to the front of the EOS grid didn’t go well as the former champion came off worst of the first lap bunching up of the pack as he came out of it in last place to finish 8th behind EOS Round 1 winner Marc Rheinard.