Chassis: Yokomo YZ-4 Motor: RC Concept 5.0T ESC: RC Concept SC120 Batteries: RC Concept Omega 4500mAh Radio/Servo: Sanwa/Xpert Remarks – British Team Yokomo driver Lee Martin took the opening round of 4WD qualifying here at the Nurburgring, running a YZ4 from the Japanese company equipped with prototype Yatabe shock springs, aluminium 18° C-Hubs and an aluminium rear suspension mount. He is also using titanium screws and turnbuckles.
After a long day of 2WD race action, drivers at the EOS season opener made the quick switch to 4WD to end day 2 of the event with the first round of qualifying and it was to be Lee Martin who would top the times sheets. The Yokomo driver would set the pace in Q1 by almost 1.6-seconds from a trio of Xray’s lead by Hupo Honigl. Having topped yesterday’s seeding practice reigning champion Bruno Coelho wouldn’t complete the error filled round, the World Champion saying afterwards it had been ‘a bad day’ with him struggling to have any feeling in his own driving. After a restless sleep last night, the Xray driver hopes a good sleep tonight will make for a better performance tomorrow. Fresh from his 2WD win, Marc Rheinard would not have a good start to 4WD as he broke an idler gear at 3-minutes.
‘I just cruised around trying not to hit anything’ was how Martin summed up Q1. The former champion, who was winner of 4WD at this event last year, continued, ‘it was a safe run but it’s nice way to start qualifying and my car felt good too’.
Setting the fastest lap of the opening round, Honigl said, ‘my car feels amazing’. Making two little changes to his XB4 after practice he said ‘while it was good before now its really amazing’. Not sure of how the changes would work he said he started out slow but with a good feeling for the car and seeing he was matching the others he ‘picked up the pace’. Bayer would finish 6/10ths off him with Martin Wollanka next up followed by Schumacher’s Michal Orlowski and Kaja Novotny who made it 4 XB4’s in the Top 6.
Marc Rheinard has opened the new season of the Euro Offroad Series with 2WD victory at the Nurburgring. The Yokomo driver claimed his second ever EOS win when he dramatically held on to the lead of A2 from Michal Orlowski making it a perfect weekend as having TQ’d the event he kicks off the season with maximum championship points. The win marks the third season in succession that Yokomo have won the season opener as they chase a fourth consecutive manufacturers title. Completing the podium for the first event on the championship’s expanded 5-round championship, Orlowski would take second after taking the A3 win with reigning champion Lee Martin opening his title defence with 3rd.
‘For sure now we have to aim for the title’ was Rheinard’s reaction to his win. Although a regular in the EOS, the 4-time onroad World Champion only managed his first EOS win when he took the penultimate round last season. Asked if this weekend was a turning point in him getting to grips with 2WD Buggy, he replied, ‘I think my driving has for sure improved but doing the German Nationals last week really helped. It gave me a chance to get out of touring car mode’. Incidentally the German would finish second at the 2WD German Nationals behind former EOS Champion Joern Neumann. Commenting on the second A-Main, having survived throwing away the race lead twice in A1 to win it, he said of his first incident on the opening lap, ‘On the step down I went wide and myself and Wollanka touched which let Lee go by but then Lee over jumped the table top and I went from third to first’. On the second error he continued, ‘I had a good rhythm and a good feel for the car. I could see Orlowski was closing but I knew I had a big enough lead but then for some reason on the step down I didn’t manage to land it. He (Orlowski) tried to avoid me and he rolled too which was lucky for me’. With a 3-point lead in the championship over Orlowski, Rheinard added, ‘I never touched the car today so I have to thank Pumpi and Shin for all their help’.
Giving his view of A2, Orlowski said, ‘Me & Marc put on a good show for you’. Having the advantage of new tyres for the race, the 15-year-old said, ‘In the middle of the run I though something was wrong with my car because I could hear a weird noise so I dropped back. The feeling of the car was ok so I don’t know if I imagined it so started to push again. When I saw Marc’s car crash I didn’t want to hit him so I thought I could go around without crashing him but it didn’t work out and I rolled myself. It was close.’ Pressuring Martin into a mistake in A3 to go on to win the leg from Bruno Coelho and Martin, Orlowski said, ‘I’m very happy with second after my lack of good driving in qualifying’. The former race winner continued, ‘the car was very good all weekend and I have to say a big thanks to Tristram (Neal) for that but I just couldn’t drive 5-minutes. After the 1st A-Main (in which he finished 9th) I just wanted to get a good result, I didn’t expect 2nd’. On getting passed Martin he said, ‘With a good gap back to third I knew I could put pressure on Lee without too much risk. I though maybe if I could force him to go wide I could pass but I didn’t expect him to make a mistake but he did and it worked out for me’.
Continuing his run of podium finishes with the YZ2, finishing all of last year’s races in the Top 2, Martin summed up the day by saying ‘the car was good but next time it’ll be dialled’. Looking back on A2 he said, ‘I screwed that up myself. The other two made mistakes and landed on their wheels. I made a mistake and landed on my roof’. On the concluding race, he said, ‘It start good but it was really hard to drive as it was almost dark but I still managed to get a gap. Then Orlowski started to catching with the benefit of newer tyres. After my morning tyre issues I was on the only tyres I had left. Then I made my mistake and while I tried to catch him I was trying a bit too hard and made too many mistakes’. The Brit concluded, ‘Obviously a win would have been a nice result to kick off the season with but I’ll take 3rd’.
Having been the surprise of the weekend topping practice and then backing that up with a TQ run in Q1 and 4 to qualify second, Wollanka would finish 4th. Leading away A3 as Rheinard sat it out, the Xray driver would see off Martin for a lap until he caught the piping and forced to give up places could only recover to P5, a result he would have to count with his A1 P3, having only got sixth in the second leg. Behind the Austrian would be fellow countryman and team-mate Hupo Hönigl. Neil Cragg would complete the Top 6 but the result was well below what was expected of the Team Associated driver considering their achievements at the final round last season.
Chassis: Yokomo YZ-2 CA Motor: Muchmore Fleta ZX 6.5T ESC: Muchmore Fleta Pro V2 Batteries: Muchmore Impact 5000mAh Radio/Servo: Sanwa/Xpert Remarks – Similar to his team mate Lee Martin, German star Marc Rheinard is running a CA version YZ-2 equipped with the new prototype Yatabe springs, pre-production front wing and mount and a .8mm front anti roll bar. He is also using titanium screws and aluminium C-Hubs in the front end.
Marc Rheinard has won an exciting first A-Main at the EOS season opener despite twice handing the race lead to his rivals. Starting from the TQ, the Yokomo driver would first hand the lead to Martin Wollanka on only the third lap but take it back again on lap 6 when the Xray driver had a bad landing off the step-up step-down. Chasing his second ever EOS victory, Rheinard would only maintain his second lead for little over a lap jumping short on the table top and landing facing the wrong way as his team-mate Lee Martin went through to the front. In a race in which one would think no drivers wanted to win the first race of the season Martin would then traction roll handing Rheinard back the lead which he finally decided he wanted to keep. While this was entertaining for the motorsport crowd, Martin was to save the best until last with an epic pass on Wollanka on the final lap to make it a Yokomo 1-2.
With a big smile of relief Rheinard said after the race, ‘it turned out good’. Going over his first mistakes, he said ‘the first I was braking and steering which caused the car to flip over but I actually got lucky because it landed back on its tyres’. After the mistake he said, ‘I had to push to put pressure on Wollanka and it worked as he made a mistake at the step down’. On his second error, the 3-time electric touring car World Champion said, ‘I just jumped short on the table top and it caught the back of the car.’ He continued ‘after Lee crashed and I got back in the lead I just tried to keep the car on its wheels and I guess it was third time lucky’.
Giving a drivers perspective on his crash, Martin said ‘I grip rolled and the marshal was looking the other direction so I lost 5-seconds’. The reigning champion added, ‘they had 11 marshals in qualifying but now its 10 for the finals and instead of 2 marshal at that point there is only one, they should look at getting 2 back for the next one’. The Brit said, ‘My car felt good, the race was going good and I’d just set my fastest lap the previous lap but then crashed’. He continued, ‘but I never gave up and I was able to pull a pretty nice pass at the end. The crowd seemed to like it too’.
‘The start was good the end not so’, was Wollanka’s summary of the final. The Austrian continued, ‘My car got a little light in the rear on step down and that was enough to flip’. Trying to pass Rheinard later in the race on the inside of the Schumacher sweeper his steering would catch the piping pulling his XB2 into the infield. Coming under increasing pressure from the recovering Martin, Wollanka was himself impressed by the champions pass on him saying, ‘that was a super good move from him, it was very nice driving’. Behind the Top 3, young Danish Yokomo driver Frederik Hovgaard would have a great race to finish 4th from 10th on the grid with Neil Cragg, who for a time was in the Top 3 mix, would finish where he started with a fifth.