Team Yokomo enjoyed the perfect day at Round 3 of the Euro Offroad Series in Germany where Marc Rheinard claimed his first win ahead of team-mate Lee Martin, 2nd enough for Martin to successfully retain his 2WD Championship title with one round of the 2015/16 season still to run. With Rheinard & Martin going head to head in A3 for the overall win in Muelheim-Kaerlich, the Top Qualifier’s impending win would be assisted by Martin when, 5-laps in, the British driver made a mistake coming onto the straight. With this handing the Tamiya Touring Car ace a comfortable lead he could, despite some bobbles and a late charge from Martin, cruise to claim his first offroad win since joining Yokomo’s Offroad team last May. With Martin’s charge resulting in a second mistake on the last lap Orlowski would go by for 2nd, a result that would maintain the Schumacher driver’s run of podium finishes this season.
A driver who has been a regular of the EOS for the past number of season, having previously raced alongside Martin at Tamiya before the Japanese manufacturer dropped its offroad programme, Rheinard was happy to finally register a win. A former European 4WD Offroad Champion, the German was particular pleased with the fact that his win came with a standard YZ-2 with him joking with Martin that ‘even with a prototype car you still couldn’t beat me’. A driver who holds the honour of the most winning driver of the Euro Touring Series, today’s win sees him become only the 7th 2WD winner in the EOS’ 18 race history.
‘A round early again, I’m pretty happy with that’, was Martin’s reaction to his second & Yokomo’s third consecutive EOS 2WD title. Having also won the title at the penultimate round last year, he said while he would have liked to have taken a third win of the season ‘at the end of the day the goal this weekend was on securing the title’. His first EOS outing with new electric sponsors RC Concept he said it was nice to start the new relation by lifting the title. Commenting on A3, he said ‘I was pushing to catch Marc and knew that coming onto the straight was one place if you get it right you can make up time but I was too tight and hit the piping. I knew I was guaranteed 2nd so tried to catch him towards the end and knew I needed to try something big but just too far. It was actually a fun race’. Having spent the weekend slagging Rheinard for finishing 28th at last week’s Reedy Race of Champions in California, the British ace didn’t miss the opportunity to remind him of the embarrassing result saying ’28 to 1, Well done Marc’ adding ‘you were just super lucky today’.
A somewhat relieved Orlowski summed up his 2WD performance with ‘I got my podium’. Coming into the event as the main challenger to Martin in the title chase finishing 2nd to him in the opening two rounds, the 14-year-old said ‘after a bad qualifying with so many mistakes from my side I am happy with third’. He continued ‘we have a really good car especially on this surface and we showed that by racing for the win at the first two races so I’m frustrated that my driving was the weak link this weekend’. Behind Orlowski, Martin Wollanka would end up the best Xray in the final with fourth. Unfortunately for Hupo Honigl, Xray’s highest qualifier in 4th, his strong showing didn’t translate into a good debut result with the Austrian ending up 8th, two places behind Joona Haatanen and new team-mate Bruno Coelho.
Securing fifth overall with 5th in A3, Team Associated’s Neil Cragg summed up his EOS debut with ‘It started promising but kind of faded towards the end’. Qualifying 3rd, the former World Champion said ‘we were trying different things in the finals and ended up tying ourselves in a knot but for a first effort fifth is not too bad’. Looking to the EOS season finale in Austria, the British driver said ‘We now know what to expect and know the carpet so we will be a little more prepared for the next one’. Travelling to Germany to support their star driver, Team Associated’s Craig Drescher was pleased with the progress made on the debut. An accomplished racer himself with eleven 1:10 Offroad European Championship titles won, he said ‘We did a good job. We knew it would be tough as the other drivers are Pros in the series. Finishing in the Top 5 we can’t be disappointed and we have got stuff to go back with and come back stronger for the next round’.
Lee Martin has won A2 of 2WD at Euro Offroad Series, the Yokomo driver handed the lead after mistakes by both Top Qualifier & A1 winner Marc Rheinard and Neil Cragg. Taking the win ahead of Xray’s Martin Wollanka and Cragg, the result means that the overall Round 3 winner will be decided in A3 with three drivers, Martin, Rheinard & Wollanka in contention.
‘Marc gave up the lead and Neil rolled over when I needed him too’, was how Martin summed up his move to the front for the win. The reigning champion & current points leader, he said ‘after that I just cruised to the finish’. Starting second on the grid, the British driver would fall to third behind compatriot Cragg after a mistake on the opening lap but within 4 laps had been gifted the race lead. Making a front link change on his YZ-2 to get more steering, he said this made the car more reactive and it took most of the race to get used to it hence the reason why he didn’t try to better Rheinard’s A1 winning time. Having lost out on the TQ in qualifying on the tie break he is hoping the A3 result wont require the fastest time to be factored in.
Rheinard, who would drop to 7th and recover to 4th, said ‘after Lee crashed I took it easy but it was too easy and I missed the landing at the big jump’. Running a new set of the championship handout Schumacher tyres he said this made the bad landing worse and he rolled as a result of the extra traction. Expecting the tyres, now that they are broken in, to be better for A3, he said following his mistake ‘it was too hard to come back’ and hoping for mistakes from Cragg and Wollanka they didn’t make any.
Qualifying 9th, Wollanka was clearly pleased to come out with a second. Having struggled with his XB2 in qualifying, the Round 1 podium finisher said set-up changes for A2 had improved the car by half a second a lap. Describing the car as now being ‘perfect’, he said while ‘it will be difficult’ he will be trying to repeat the result in the closing 2WD encounter.
‘First time all weekend two guys in front of me have made mistakes and I can’t capitalise’, was Cragg’s reaction after the race. Having struggled in A1 after changes to his car’s front end and a motor change, the Team Associated driver said the car was better after reverting back to his qualifying set-up but added his B5M was ‘stilling missing something’. Commenting on crashing out of the lead which he held for 4-laps he said ‘I was not under real pressure from Lee and I still had a silly roll’. Sandwiched in the battle for second he said with Rheinard so close behind him he ‘couldn’t have a real go at Wollanka’ adding ‘I’m annoyed at least not to get second’. For A3 his plan is to try and get a podium which he added ‘would be a good start to the EOS for me’.
Marc Rheinard took an easy win in the opening 2WD A-Main at the Euro Offroad Seres in Germany. Having claimed his first TQ of the championships earlier in the morning, the Yokomo driver would take a tone to tone win over team-mate Lee Martin, a brushing with the piping on the first lap the German’s only blemish in an otherwise perfect race. Behind the two Yokomo’s, Schumacher’s Michal Orlowski would benefit from crashes by Hupo Honigl and Neil Cragg to complete the Top 3 from fifth on the grid.
Commenting on his win, Rheinard said, ‘Lee had a rough lap at the beginning that let me pull out a gap. After that I could drive a controlled the race’. While Martin would make a late charge getting to within 9/10th by the finish, the 4-time onroad World Champion said ‘Lee was getting close at the end as he was pushing but he never got close even for me to need to take any risks so all was OK.’ Asked about his early moment he said, referring to the roller after the main straight, ‘that jump is scary. Its not straight so it tricky but I survived’.
Getting his RC Concept powered YZ-2 on two wheels on the second lap, Martin said he couldn’t do anything about his team-mate after that. The British ace said ‘our cars are so evenly matched you can’t make back the time and we were just turning laps together’ his best lap a 19.234 compared to Rheinard’s 19.289. With the jump that almost caught out Rheinard at the start, and which he himself had trouble with in qualifying, was the only place he said it was possible to make any time but even taking that risk ‘it still wasn’t enough’.
‘A good first final’ was how Orlowski summed up his 3rd place finish. Starting behind Honigl, he said he knew he needed to get by the Austrian early if he was to stick with the leaders. This was made all the easier when on lap 2 Honigl crashed on the corner table table. Now chasing Cragg a mistake by the former World Champion on the next lap would promote the European Champion to 3rd. Next lap around however Orloski would made a mistake himself and while he didn’t lose position he said the time lost ended any chance of challenging Martin and he drove the rest of the race safe to maintain his third.
Behind Orlowski, 12-year-old Joona Haatanen would have a great race. Starting 10th on the grid, Team Associated’s rising star would go on to finish 4th ahead of Honigl and Round 2 podium finisher Martin Wollanka. For Haatanen’s senior team-mate Cragg it was a rough first EOS final as he finished 9th after starting 3rd. Having motored up to a 6.5T motor, the former World Champion said the extra power made his B5M too aggressive in areas with the car also struggling for brakes. Making front end set-up changes, he said that also didn’t work out and he will go back to his final qualifying set-up for A2.