Lee Martin has won the second A-Main encounter at the Euro Offroad Series at Arena33, the Yokomo driver maximising on two unlucky incidents for early race leader Bruno Coelho. With an early mistake putting Top Qualifier & A1 winner Joona Haatanen out of contention, it was 2nd place qualifier Coelho who took control. Building up a gap over Martin, that was to be greatly reduced as a marshal put Xray team-mate Martin Wollanka in his path causing the two to make contact. With Martin now within striking distance, Coelho’s bad luck would continue and two laps later the Portuguese driver got caught up in an error by Joakim Nicolaisen. Collecting the out of shape Associated, Coelho would also get driven over by Martin’s Yokomo which was barely hampered. Eager to regain his position Coelho would lose control of his XB2 giving Martin the breathing space he needed to take home the win, Coelho trailing by 7/10ths of a second with Neil Cragg a distant 3rd.
Commenting on his A2 win, which all be it faintly keeps his title hopes alive, Martin said, ‘I changed motor from a 5.5 to a 6 and it felt way softer. I had also changed the slipper and diff but the car felt like the battery was going flat so I started questioning myself as to whether I had charged it. It was fine in the end but I was thinking it is going to die before the end.’ Also making a suspension change to his YZ2, which he said was better, the reigning champion said overall he didn’t have good race pace despite being able to set a faster lap than he managed in A1. The lack of pace he put down to his slipper being set too loose. In terms of his battle with Coelho he said, ‘I didn’t know what was going on with him and Nicolaisen but thought now is my chance. It was unlucky for him and never nice to win because of someone elses bad luck but its onto the third one and I should have a much better car’.
‘Maximum unlucky’, was how Coelho described A2, adding, ‘twice I got caught up in other people’s mistakes’. The reigning 4WD Champion, who claimed his first EOS podium finish at the previous round in Slovakia, said, ‘I had a good gap over Lee and was just trying to finish but got crashed twice and finished second’. Another driver to improve on his fastest lap of A1, he said this was down to finding ‘something broken’ on the car that had led to flying off the track in A1 and ending up with a DNF. He said with the problem fixed, his Hobbywing powered XB2 was ‘improved a little bit’.
Definitely the crowd favourite, receiving a huge cheer during the driver introductions, Haatanen said while a new set of tyres made his B6 ‘edgy’, he had a bad race due to his own driving. After his early mistake, he looked like he might recover as he got back to third and closed in on Martin but further mistakes quickly dropped him down the order with him finishing 6th. With Associated’s two young guns having a troubled race after a strong A1, Neil Cragg would end up the top AE driver in third finishing ahead of Joern Neumann who had a good race coming through from last on the grid.
Joona Haatanen has won the opening 2WD A-Main at the Euro Offroad Series in Germany. Top Qualifier for Round 4 of the championship at Arena33, the Team Associated young gun took the win the hard way after an error lost him the comfortable lead he had built up over the opening 3-minutes. Allowing Lee Martin to slip through to the front as Haatanen rejoined the track, the Finn would push hard forcing a mistake from the Yokomo driver 2-laps later. Once back in front, the 14-year-old wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip again holding on for the remaining four laps to finish 4/10ths of a second in front of Martin. Behind them it was Joakim Nicolaisen who came out best of the battle for third place, benefiting from a late error from Bruno Coelho and a last lap mistake from his Associated team-mate Neil Cragg who would finish 4th.
‘After I hit the curb and Lee passed me I was so nervous he would run away but luckily he made a mistake’, was Haatanen’s reaction to the race. Starting out as a rather uneventful race as he made light work of his rivals, helped by an early error from 2nd place qualifier Coelho, he continued, ‘At the start I was not nervous, my car was super safe and fast enough so I was just driving my own race and pulling away until I hit the curb’. While setting the fastest lap with his Reedy powered B6, running behind Martin for two laps after his own mistake he said, ‘It would have been difficult to pass Lee without him making a mistake’. Having successfully converted his first ever EOS TQ start into a win, this cool operator goes into A2 confident he can wrap up his first ever EOS win.
Summing up his race Martin said, ‘the car was just a little too nervous again’ . He continued, ‘seems to be at other EOS races we worked on corner speed and at this one we need to take that away’. Still looking for a win as the reigning 2WD champion he said, ‘after Joona’s crash I was thinking here is my chance but then I threw it away’. He added, ‘from the corner of my eye it looked like he was more pumped than me but we’ll change a few things for A2 and see what we can do’.
Continuing to enjoy a very strong return to the EOS, Nicolaisen said, ‘after Bruno’s mistake at the start I was just trying to keep up with Lee but then messed up myself and almost threw it away’. With a minute and a half to go a mistake would allow Coelho to pass him before the Xray driver’s car went flying off the track putting the Portuguese driver out of the race. Keeping his third, then on the penultimate lap another error would let Cragg through until the reigning European Champion got himself into trouble letting Nicolaisen to slip back into third. Summing up his performance the 20-year said, ‘I think the best thing is to sit behind and hope for a mistake. It would probably help if I drove a little calmer’.
Joona Haatanen has claimed his maiden TQ of the Euro Offroad Series, the up & coming star of the championship securing the top spot for tomorrow’s 2WD A-Main at Arena33. Having taken the opening two rounds of qualifying, the Team Associated driver could only be denied his first pole position by Yokomo’s Lee Martin who had topped Q3. In the end however Martin, who had the advantage of the fastest TQ time, couldn’t get it done with Bruno Coelho finally delivering on his fast pace to take the fourth & final qualifier, making Haatanen the Top Qualifier and demoting Martin to third on the grid.
With the final qualifier proving his worst of the day a delighted Haatanen, said, ‘the car was good but I was just too tired’. A long 13 plus hour day at the track for the 14-year-old, he said, ‘It is good to be starting first here because the layout will make it very hard to overtake. Having no one in front I just to plan on driving my own race and see what happens. The pressure is on them to pass me’. In terms of his Reedy powered B6 he said, ‘the car is really good so I will stay the same. I don’t want to take any risks by changing it’. Opting to use his first set of tyres for a third time in Q3, getting a P3 despite them being passed their best, Haatanen has the added bonus of having two good sets of tyres at his disposal should the finals go to A3.
‘Finally no mistakes, like I said before the car is amazing’, was how Coelho reacted to capping off the day with a TQ run. The Xray driver added, ‘my focus was to drive without mistake but when I was behind Lee (Martin) and because the game was on for 2nd (on the grid) I had to force things’. He continued, ‘when he flipped I just tried to save the position but I couldn’t relax too much because it was going to come down to time’. While Joakim Nicolaisen would mount a credible challenge before a late error, Coelho would go on to take the TQ bettering Martin’s previous fastest time by 8/10ths of second. Looking to the finals he said, ‘there are no points to overtake so I’ll just have to wait for a mistake by Joona’.
Ending the deciding qualifier with a P4, Martin said, ‘I crashed on the easy ones’. He continued, ‘On the world’s worst table top I jumped into the kicker and flipped, it was game over after that’. While his YZ2 ‘felt ok’, the reigning champion said ‘it’s still rolling too much and we’ll have to try something different for tomorrow’. Asked about his plan of attack for the finals he replied, ‘I’m going to sit back and see what happens but starting third might not be a bad thing’. The only real potential challenger to current championship leader Michal Orlowski’s quest for a first EOS title, he said, ‘it would have been nice to get the TQ point but its going to be crazy racing in the finals so its still all to play for’. Martin’s team-mate Marc Rheinard came into the weekend as the other title challenge to Orlowski but ending up as the BQ at his home race his title hopes are now over.
Behind Martin, Nicolaisen has capped off an impressive return to the EOS following his military service to qualify 4th on the grid. The Team Associated driver lines up ahead of his team-mate Neil Cragg who concluded qualifying with a P6. Having been the dominant force in 2WD at the last two rounds of the EOS, Orlowski put the entire Schumacher team through an intense end to the day as he went up and down the order on the time screen. With a previous best of a P6 in the second qualifier after a DNF in the first, he would somehow, despite putting his LRP powered KC on it roof a number of times, salvage a 5th for the round which would put him into the main event where he will carry the number 8.
Having topped the times in all three rounds of practice at the Euro Offroad Series this morning, Lee Martin finally posted a TQ run in the third qualifier at Arena33. Kicking off qualifying with an error on his opening lap but managing to salvage a P2 for the round, on his second attempt further errors left him with a P4. Improving his car for the penultimate heat, he would set a new fastest qualifying time to push the decision of Top Qualifier in Germany out to the final round of qualifying. With Joona Haatanen having taken the opening two qualifiers, only Martin can deny the Team Associated teenager his first overall TQ of the EOS but in order to achieve this the former Champion must top Q4. With Hataanen third in the penultimate round, it was early pace setter Bruno Coelho who would finish second, a roll half way through the heat ending his chances of the overall TQ.
Making a number of changes to his RC Concept powered YZ2 and finding the half second he lost between practice and the first two qualifiers, Martin said ‘it all worked a bit better now’. Moving the battery position and changing his front shock oil he also used a different set of tyres but added, ‘I don’t know if that (the new set of tyres) helped’. Describing his car as ‘nice in the end’, he said ‘now I have just got to win the last round’. With the potential to end up first, second or third on the grid he added, ‘I’d like the extra point (for the TQ) but I don’t think it is critical for the win on the track so the plan is try not be an idiot’. With the fastest qualifying time, this is one less pressure on him as if he can get to the top of the time sheets he can control his pace as he already holds the tie-breaker with his quicker time.
Reacting to having again been on the TQ pace only to lose it to another error, Coelho said ‘I can’t say it was my mistake this time. The car jumped crazy and I was not able to correct it in the air so it landed wrong and rolled. It was quite strange.’ The 4WD Champion & current points leader, continued, ‘the car has been amazing all day, I’m just driving bad on this track’. Openly not comfortable with 2WD, he said ‘we have worked a lot on 2WD and I have felt it working as good as it is here, its just my driving that needs to get better now’. Team-mate Martin Bayer would take his similar Hobbywing powered example of the XB2 to fifth for the round.
Making a last minute decision to continue with his first set of tyres for a third run, Haatanen said they left the car ‘too loose’ leading to ‘a few mistakes’. Pleased to be able to recover for a Top 3 for the round despite the tyre being ‘now almost slicks’, he said the strategy should stand to him come the finals as he will have two good sets of tyres at his disposal with most of his rivals having started to run their second set of qualifying tyres. For team-mate Neil Cragg, the round would net a P8. The EOS Poland podium finisher said, ‘I thought it was a decent run but in the end it was not quite there’. He added the ‘car felt pretty dialled but I had to dodge a few cars because I’m not running in the top heat’. Karri Salmela would make it three B6 in the Top 6 with his best run so far setting the 6th fastest time.
Setting his first competitive run with a P4 for the round Marc Rheinard said, ‘I need more practice on this layout’. Winner of the season opener at the Nurburgring, the Yokomo driver said, ‘this time I just tried to get a clean run. I struggled a bit in the middle of the run but got back into a rhythm for the end. I still crashed but it was a lot better than before’. Currently sitting in a B-Main position he said ‘this track is all about driving so I’ll try again for a clean run and hopefully that will be enough for the A-Main’.
Chassis: Schumacher KC Motor: LRP X20 6.5T ESC: LRP FlowX Batteries: LRP LCG P5 4000mAh Radio/Servo: Sanwa Tires: Schumacher (handout) Body: Kit Remarks – Championship leader Michal Orlwoski is running the latest KC 2wd buggy from Schumacher with a setup that started as a mic between that used in Poland and Slovakia. Need to make the car less aggressive and more stable that have made a number of changes including adding weight to the car, runninf harder front shock oil and adjusting the rear wheelbase and the Polish driver believes they are almost there.
Chassis: Team Associated B6 Motor: Reedy Sonic 6.5T ESC: Reedy Blackbox Batteries: Reedy 3600mAh Radio/Servo: Sanwa/Reedy Tires: Schumacher (handout) Body: JConcepts S2 Remarks – Young Finnish ace Joona Haatanen has taken the opening two rounds of qualifying here at Arena33 with his Reedy powered Team Associated B6. Using the same setup from the previous round of the EOS, they have made a number of tweaks including changing the front and rear shock pistons, a slight front roll centre change and disconnecting the front and rear anti-roll bars in an effort to calm the car down and make it easier to drive on such a difficult track.