Martin Bayer has TQ’d the opening round of 4WD qualifying at EOS Austria, the Xray Offroad team manager leading a 1-2 for the Slovakian manufacturer despite running in the second fastest heat. 12th fastest in seeding practice, the former EOS race winner would top the times for the first of the four qualifiers by over a second from Martin Wollanka. With top seed Bruno Coelho looking like it was business as usual for the Champion in the top heat, starting to come under pressure from 2WD Champion Michal Orlowski a mistake from the 2WD winner would see him break a front arm. Orlowski now held the lead but Lee Martin was now also in the mix along with Wollanka. In the end Wollanka would take the top heat on the last lap by 8/100ths from Orlowski with Martin 3/10ths off but to all their surprise Bayer’s time would earn the Czech driver the TQ. With Neil Cragg and Marc Rheinard completing the Top 6, Ryan Maifield’s troubled start to 4WD continued as the American suffered a DNF after his steering broke after just one lap.
With the Euro Offroad Series season finale making the switch from 2 to 4WD, it is 2WD winner Bruno Coelho who is the top seed for qualifying in Austria. Over two rounds of controlled practice the Xray driver topped the time on both occasions despite breaking half way through the first run. Improving his 3-consecutive laps by 1/10th, the already confirmed back to back Champion would end up with a 7/10ths of a second advantage over Neil Cragg, the Associated driver unable to improve on his CP1 time. With the field more closely matched behind Coelho, Martin Wollanka would set the third quickest time ahead of Lee Martin and Michal Orlowski, the trio separated by 8/100ths of a second. Having started out strong in 2WD and only missing out on a debut win as the race was decided on the tiebreaker, Ryan Maifield had a tough run in 4WD with wiring issues in both controlled practice runs. The Yokomo driver will run in the second fastest heat having ended up P11.
Commenting on practice, drivers having had two free practice rounds following by the seeding rounds, Coelho said, ‘The track is pretty difficult, you can do many lines and some points are very fast. You can do one super fast lap and then next time round have a big mistake’. Breaking an arm off his Hobbywing powered XB4 in CP1 when he ran wide in the corner before the straight, team-mate Hupo Honigl also doing the same thing, he said, ‘Overall my car and electrics worked well but getting a 5-minute time is going to be different to 3-laps so we will see how it goes’. With his quicker time coming in CP1, team-mate Wollanka was also pleased with his XB4 after he adjusted his speedo for more top speed. The Austrian believes he can translate his 3-lap pace into a competitive 5-minute run.
‘I pretty pleased, the car is working well’, said Cragg adding, ‘we made good progress with the car at the last round and it is comfortable to drive’. ‘Surprised’ to end up second quickest, he continued, ‘we are still a bit off Bruno and I don’t know what to do to catch him’. Looking to qualifying, the first round of which brings Day 2 of the EOS to a close, he concluded, ‘it going to be tough going in 4WD on this track’.
Summing up his practice, Lee Martin said, ‘my car wasn’t bad. I can run at a nice consistent pace, nothing sparkling over one lap but its good over the full run’. A previous winner in Wels, he continued, ‘Bruno is a bit head again which is kind of annoying’. Asked where the Portuguese driver had the advantage, the former Champion said, ‘its just how fast that thing corners. Their 4WD is really good and that something we haven’t matched yet’.
Arriving late to the event due to an important school exam and missing all of 2WD qualifying but running his three J-Mains to get track time, Michal Orlowski said 4WD practice had gone ‘not so bad’. The newly crowned 2WD Champion said, ‘the feeling of the car is pretty good. I am not getting some sections right every time which I hope I can improve on in qualifying’. With his P5 seeding time coming in CP1, he said, ‘we changed many things for the final practice but they made the car twitchy and edgy so if we make just 1/2 the changes we should be good but the car is fast in the corners’. Behind Orlowski, Marc Rheinard would complete the Top 6.
Chassis: Yokomo YZ-2 Motor: Scorpion RS3420 5.5T ESC: Scorpion Vanguard Batteries: Scorpion 4200mAh 65C Platinum Radio/Servo: Sanwa/Xpert Tires: Schumacher (handout) Body/Wing: JConcepts S2 / LMR 27 wing Remarks – Outgoing 2wd Champion Lee Martin is making his race debut with new electric sponsors Scorpion here in Wels, Austria. The Yokomo driver only ran the new equipment for the first time on Thursday and is so far happy, saying everything is smooth, and despite taking some time to find the right power settings feels with more time they can improve it further. Commenting on the speedo he says its a very intelligent unit, logging everything, and with so many adjustment possibilities he can easily fine tune it. In terms of the car he came with his base setup, went away from it to find more speed and has since reverted back to it.
The season finale of the Euro Offroad Series at the Modellbau Wels in Austria provided thrilling entertainment for show goers with the 2WD A-Main coming down to the tiebreaker after a dramatic A3. With Joona Haatanen winning A1 and Bruno Coelho taking the second encounter, the race for the overall win was wide opening going into third leg. Like in A1 it looked like Top Qualifier Coelho was in control but a mistake entering the kicker turned the race on its head opening the door for EOS debutant Ryan Maifield to have a shot at a maiden victory. With the crowd behind the American, the excitement looked to be short lived as a lap later the Yokomo driver went off the track at the end of the straight but Coelho had another mistake in his system and with three laps to go Maifield pressured it out of the Xray driver to go to the front with 3-laps to go. Taking a hugely popular win, Maifield’s crash was to be the undoing of a debut EOS win as Coelho took the tiebreaker with his A2 winning time which was 1.5-seconds quicker, Maifield’s crash costing him over 2-seconds. While a mistake in A3 would leave Haatanen with a P5, the Team Associated driver had done enough in the previous two legs to see him complete the podium for the fifth round.
‘Everything was perfect for 3-minutes’ joked Coelho after A3. He continued, ‘I had more than a second of a lead and then lose everything and have to fight with Maifield’. Falling off the side of the kicker on entry, he said, ‘I lose the rear of the car because I took the corner tight but the carpet on the inside had less traction’. He added, ‘Luckily for me then he had a mistake so I knew then all I needed was second because he was not going to get a better time’. Claiming back to back wins in 2WD, a class the 4WD Champion openly admits is not one of his favourites, he said, ‘Our car starting working in the middle of the season. It started off not so good but we get a good set-up and after finishing 5th last season and now second this is very good’.
‘I shouldn’t have even had a shot at the win because Bruno comes out of the gate swinging’ was Maifield reaction after A3. He added, ‘I took me a couple of minutes to get into it but then when he made a mistake I was thinking ok lets have a go’. On his flip at the end of the straight he said, ‘that was the first time my car even considered that but it cost me the win. Its a little frustrating but I’m cool with this because I have never been (to an EOS) before’. Hinting at a desire to return to the EOS in the new season he concluded, ‘we did a lot with our set-up on this trip and have a few things we need to improve but I’m sure the team will get it figured out more and hopefully once they have I can come back’.
Compensating for doing A3 on third run tyres by going up in his diff oil, Haatanen said the outcome of the leg was not decided by the car’s performance but his ‘own driving mistake’. Delighted to back up his Arena 33 podium with another 3rd place finish, the Team Associated young gun said, ‘the last two rounds have been super good for me and I am already looking forward to next season’.
Finishing 4th overall ahead of compatriot Lee Martin, Haatanen’s AE team-mate Cragg said, ‘I’m disappointed to not make the podium but that’s carpet racing’. He continued, ‘I tried to catch Maifield but crashed and thought thats done it but then on the next lap Bruno crashed which made my mistake even more frustrating. A podium would have been nice.’ Still finishing A3 in third, he summed up Wels as his ‘best EOS Race so far’ because he had been ‘consistent all the way through’.
Chassis: Xray XB2 17 Motor: Hobbywing 6.5T ESC: Hobbywing Xerun XR10 Pro Batteries: EZ 3500mAh Graphene Radio/Servo: Sanwa/Savox Tires: Schumacher (handout) Body: Lightweight Xray body Remarks – Winner of the EOS here in Austria, 4wd Champion Bruno Coelho is running his 2017 XB2 from Xray in the sam configuration as the Arena33 with only a 2mm shorter wheelbase. His first run on carpet for new servo sponsor Savox, he believes he is one of the only front runners to use a low profile servo. In terms of the car, just as in Germany, he is using a prototype from anti-roll bar which he says helps the car carry more speed through the corners.