Michal Orlowski has finally registered a win in his Euro Offroad Series 2WD title defence but only just. Having secured his third consecutive TQ of the season at the fourth round of the championship yesterday at the Hudy Arena, the Schumacher driver duly delivered victory in A1. Looking on target to wrap things up in A2 after main challenger Bruno Coelho came off worst when he made contact with his out of shape Schumacher, the Pole threw away that win on the last lap handing it to Lee Martin. This set-up a 3-way fight for the win in A3. Under pressure from Coelho, Orlowski cracked on lap 5 allowing the Xray driver to take the lead but now it was going to come down to a race against the clock. Orlowski’s A1 winning time was the target and while Coelho pulled clear at the end he was 0.143 of a second shy meaning a very relieved Orlowski becomes the season’s fourth different winner. Finishing A3 in second, Martin would also tie on points but with his time the slower of the three A-Mains, he had to settle for the final step on the podium.
With his third consecutive win at the home of Xray moving him into the lead of the championship for the first time this season, Orlowski said, ‘I made it hard for myself but this time I guess luck was on my side compared to the previous three rounds’. The 17-year-old continued, ‘I got the win not how I wanted to do it. Everyone makes mistakes and it is what it is. We showed the car has amazing speed but didn’t show it could win, today we did. I can’t wait for people to get their hands on this car’. Asked when he expected the British company’s new kit to be available he couldn’t be any more specific than ‘soon’. On his A3 performance, he said, ‘I tried to make a gap and maintain it but this time Bruno put a lot of pressure on me and I cracked under it. I tried to recover but was counting in my head to see if Bruno was going to beat my time so it was not the best run for me’.
Summing up his A3 win, Coelho said, ‘I know I could not only finish 1st. I had to have a quick time. Orlowski made a mistake and I got through but I was not really able to keep the pace like I wished. After a while I was doing good speed again but in the end it was not enough for the overall win. Congrats to Orlowski for the win’. The former 4WD World Champion added, ‘overall I’m happy with the car which is working well. It was my mistakes in qualifying that cost me’. With today’s 2nd place replacing one of the two 7th place finish the EOS Poland winner is carrying, the 25-year-old believes the final two races are going to require extra effort saying, ‘we race on astro for the next race so we need to work hard to prepare for this so we can can fight for the title’.
Ending up with 3-points just like Orlowski and Coelho, Martin said he was, ‘unlucky not to be second I guess but also lucky to get a good leg 2 result’. The Yokomo driver added, ‘I’m happy with the podium but I’m always gutted to lose on a tie break’. The former back to back 2WD Champion continued, ‘the grid around the corner hurt my overall time but the two guys ahead were really good this weekend’. Claiming a TQ at the opening round and a win in Daun, Martin said he is ‘gutted’ this is his last EOS outing of the season. The 8-time EOS race winner explained, ‘Unfortunately I can’t attend the last two because my schedule does not allow. I have to race the British 1:8 Nationals in order to qualify for the Worlds next year. I’m gutted I’m not able to race because they are on astro and I’m normally good on astro’.
Michal Orlowski threw away the chance to wrap up his first win of his EOS title defence with a last lap error which handed Lee Martin the A2 win. Having won A1 with relative ease after an error from main rival Bruno Coelho, Orlowski would again get a break in A2 but this time the situation stemmed from the Schumacher driver getting out of shape causing Coelho to make unavoidable mistakes that saw the Xray driver flip and get passed by Martin. Struggling to make back up the lost positions, Coelho decided to pull off, a decision that could be his making in A3. As Orlowski clocked off the laps and looked on target to sew up his 3-consecutive EOS win at the Hudy Arena, the large comfortable gap between himself and Martin remained static but then on the last lap Orlowski had a lapse in concentration. Turning in too early he put his car on its roof allowing Martin’s Yokomo to go through and take the win setting the stage for a three way battle for overall victory in A3. Behind, Martin Bayer completed the Top 3 ahead of Adam Izsay.
Reacting to his A2 win a very happy Martin said, ‘the gap the whole race was basically where I started and he started on the grid’. The championship leader continued, ‘you are almost going 100% so you can’t take big risks to try and make time. I saw he (Orlowski) was not jumping the table top so I was settling for 2nd because he was going safe. Then he had a lucky crash, well lucky for me, unlucky for him. I’ll take it’. Winner at EOS Daun last month, his first in 3 seasons, the British driver said, ‘I now have a 1 and a 3 which should get me a podium so I’m going to go all out for the win in A3’.
‘I threw it away. I only have myself to blame’, was how Orlowski described his error. He explained, ‘I was looking at the finish line and relaxed too much. I turned in too early and clipped the corner’. Quick to put the error to the back of his mind, the Pole continued, ‘there is still one more to go and Bruno has to beat my time from A1 which was pretty good. It was a clean one. I’ll be at the front and able to control the race. I just have to try make sure Lee doesn’t win and keep Bruno behind me’.
Coelho described his contact with Orlowski as ‘bad luck’. The EOS Poland winner added, ‘My car was very good because I was on new tyres and I was attacking a lot. It was hard to make a pass because I didn’t want to make contact but then Michal made two mistakes and we touched on the second one and I flipped’. With Orlowski throwing away the race in the same section of track in which Coelho’s race challenge came to an end, the former 4WD World Champion said, ‘Still open and if my car is still like it was in the last race I will be going for the win. I stopped to save my tyres so I think I am in the best position for the final’.
Michal Orlowski took a rather easy win in A1 of 2WD at the Euro Offroad Series in Slovakia this morning after two mistakes from key challenger Bruno Coelho gave the Schumacher driver breathing space to move one step closer to his first win of the season. Starting on the TQ, Orlowski was pressured by Coelho over the opening laps forcing the reigning champion to drive defensively but still the duo pulled clear of the field. On lap 5, Orlowski finally got his break when Coelho lost almost 1-second with an error. A second error at the table top 3-laps from the finish would allow Lee Martin, who eventually got by Martin Bayer, to get close but Coelho edged out the gap to 4/10th by the finish while up front Orlowski had already crossed the loop over 5 and a half seconds earlier.
‘Finally I didn’t crash at the start of the run’, was Orlowski’s reaction after the race. His third consecutive TQ of the season but still missing the first win of his title defence, the Pole continued, ‘Bruno was pushing hard in the beginning and I had to drive defensive. I was glad he made a mistake, it made it easy for me and I could get into my rhythm’. Looking to A2 when he could secure his third consecutive Hudy Arena win, he said, ‘I was on tyres from Q4 in the first one and will run a new set for A2. We will make a small change on the car for this (the new tyres) because new tyres are more aggressive’.
Summing up his race, Coelho said, ‘Orlowski was stronger and was pulling away slowly. I was trying to catch him but was not successful. I had to force and ended up making two mistakes. I wanted 1st but sometimes it is not possible. The next one I’m on new tyres so hopefully I can do better’. Following yesterday’s controversy over Xray laps of the track on Thursday, the Portuguese driver wanted to highlight he wasn’t even in the country at the time of the incident – something RedRC can confirm as we met him in Vienna Airport as we waited on the delayed arrival of Race Director Scotty Ernst’s flight. The Touring Car World condemn his team’s actions and didn’t hold back in expressing his opinion that the EOS should have taken tougher actions.
On his race, Martin said, ‘It was a good race. The Top 2 pulled away as myself, Bayer and Joona lost time battling. If I had got passed earlier maybe I could had a better change of at least racing with Bruno. My pace is comparable so for the next one I just need to get by Bayer quicker’. The Yokomo driver concluded, ‘It could all happen up front in the next one because Bruno has to go for it in this one’.