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.
Marc Rheinard is Top Qualifier for the season opener of the Euro Offroad Series at the Nurburgring in Germany. The Yokomo driver, who secured his first and so far only EOS TQ at the third round last season, claimed his second ever pole position on a tie breaker with Xray’s Martin Wollanka. Topping both Q2 & 3, it was Rheinard’s Q3 time that would give him the top spot on the grid as Wollanka backed up his Q1 TQ with a second one in the fourth & final round leaving them equal on points. Behind them Lee Martin will start third on the grid, the reigning champion only able to get third in Q3 behind a much improved drive from Neil Cragg. Having looked like the Top Qualifier of last season’s final round might not even make the A-Main, his P2 was enough to put the Team Associated driver 5th on the grid behind Schumacher’s Michal Orlowski.
Only P4 in the final qualifier, Rheinard put that down to the fact he was using third run tyres but with the result not affecting the grid for him the gamble could be an advantage to the Touring Car ace. With tyre wear proving high, Rheinard opted to save the new set of tyres he used to take Q3 saying ‘if it comes down to the third A-Main I will have a set of tyres with one less run than the others’. Asked about the final, he said, ‘I will just try to drive around with no mistakes’ adding ‘we are all pretty much on the same pace so I hope I do a good 1st lap and it’s clean from behind too’.
Having given his best shot at trying to secure his first EOS TQ, Wollanka said, ‘I did what I had to do but the time just wasn’t fast enough’. Having felt he lacked speed in the penultimate qualifier, he said redoing the oil in the diff had helped improve his car for Q4. Planning to leave the his XB2 2017 unchanged for A1, when asked about his approach for the race he replied, ‘I’ll just see what happens but the big thing will be to try and make no mistakes and hope others do’.
Aiming for a TQ in the final round in order to put himself directly behind team-mate Rheinard on the grid, Martin would make ‘too many mistakes’. Stiffening the front end of his YZ2 he said it felt ‘very much the same’ as Q3 and missing the TQ was down to ‘driver’s errors’. Looking to the final, which he won last year from second on the grid, he said his plan is to ‘start, wait for mistakes, try not to mess up the table top and see what happens’.
On new tyres for the final qualifier, Orlowski would traction roll on his second lap losing almost 5-seconds leaving him with a P23 time. Vice Champion for the past two seasons, he said the run was not helped by the fact he was ‘making lots of mistakes’ adding ‘I need to improve my driving for the finals’. Happy that he has a car capable of challenging for the win, the teenager said ‘I think no mistakes rather than racing will give you the win but there are places to pass’.
A rather relieved looking Cragg said, ‘I had to go out to the car and give myself a good talking too’ continuing ‘I finally drove good’. With this the start of the reigning European Champion’s first full EOS campaign he said, ‘it’s been disgraceful how I have been driving. I am really disappointed with my driving so far so I am pretty pleased with 5th (on the grid) as it was looking like I wasn’t even going to make the A-Main’. Having changed the rollbar set-up on his LRP/Reedy powered B6 he said this has also helped with it now ‘easier to drive’. Looking to the final the former World Champion said, ‘it can still happen from 5th with a bit of drama up front’. Behind Cragg, his young team-mate Joona Haatanen will start 6th with the rest of the A-Main line-up being completed by last year’s Round 1 Top Qualifier Bruno Coelho, Hupo Hönigl, Martin Bayer and young Dane Frederik Hovgaard.
Marc Rheinard is on target for the TQ after taking both the second & third rounds of qualifying at the Euro Offroad Series season opener. Having kicked off 2WD qualifying this morning at the Nurburgring with a P3 following a mistake on his opening lap, the Yokomo driver would set the pace in the next two to top team-mate Lee Martin on both occasions. Behind them, in the second qualifier Joona Haatanen would complete the Top 3 while in the third round Q1 pace setter Martin Wollanka would make up for a poor Q2 to put his Xray back at the sharp end of the timing sheets.
Commenting on both runs, Rheinard said ‘Q2 was very close but Lee ran out of tyres towards the end’. The only driver to manage 16-laps for that round, he added ‘I had one small crash but the rest of the run was fine’. Again suffering ‘one small mistake’ in the third round, he said, ‘everyone has the same speed and it’s down to who loses the least amount time when they make mistakes’. Adding more weight to his YZ2 to keep it more flat on the high speed ‘touring car sections’, he said the change ‘seemed to be better’. The 4-time on-road World Champion who can only be denied the overall TQ by Wollanka said tyres are his biggest dilemma for the final qualifier. With drivers reporting higher wear than usual, he said the tyres are really only good for two runs and having used new tyres in Q3 he doesn’t know whether to run them in Q4 or save them for the finals, drivers getting one new set for the triple mains.
Martin said ‘uneven tyre wear’ cost him in Q2. The reigning champion said the qualifier ‘started ok but half way through the car started to slide in left turns and got worse and worse’. Fitting new tyres to his YZ2 for Q3 he said he ‘tried to corner too fast and got up on two wheels which was enough to give Marc the TQ’. Separated by 6/10ths at the end of the 5-minutes, the winner of the season opener last year complimented his team-mate saying, ‘Marc drove a stellar race’. Looking to the final qualifier, in which he is hoping to secure a TQ run & second on the grid ahead of Wollanka, he will stiffen up the front of the car to try and stop it grip rolling.
‘I made three mistakes, it was too much’, was how Wollanka explained his P6 in the second qualifier. On Q3, the Austrian said, ‘I am missing a bit of speed. I had no mistakes, it was a clean run but I only got 3rd’. Asked where he felt he had lost speed, he replied, ‘the car feels ok but the others are faster now’. For the final qualifier he will put fresh oil in the diff of his XB2 2017 in the hope this will help him challenge for his first ever EOS TQ.
Having failed to finish Q1 after a motor wire came undone with a minute to go, with all new Reedy electrics in his B6 Haatanen was pleased to bounce back with the third fastest time. Heading the Associated challenge so far with senior team-mate Neil Cragg not having a good qualifying, the 13-year-old Finn’s time came despite ‘one crash & one roll’. Describing his car as ‘easy to drive’, the third run wouldn’t go as well as ‘too many crashes at the end’ left him with a P7, him taking full responsibility for the bad driving. Feeling his car is lacking punch costing him time on the straight and on the bigger jumps, for the fourth & final qualifier the will adjust his speedo settings for more power.
Mister consistent over the three qualifiers, Michal Orlowski made a trio of P4 runs. Having improved his LRP powered Schumacher after Q1 describing it as ‘much better and now easier to drive’, the Polish ace said one mistake in Q2 cost him the TQ. With ‘the Top 4 very close’, the 15-year-old said running his tyres for a third time in Q3 left him struggling at the end of the heat with the rear of the car becoming loose. For the final qualifier he will just switch to his second set of hand out tyres laving the car unchanged.
Martin Wollanka has TQ’d the opening round of 2WD qualifying the Euro Offroad Series in Germany. Having topped seeding yesterday, the Xray driver took full advantage of leading away the field putting in a faultless 5-minute run to top the times ahead of reigning champion Lee Martin. Martin would end up 3/10ths of a second down on Wollanka with his Yokomo team-mate Marc Rheinard completing the Top 3. Top Qualifier on the last visit to the Nurburgring, Neil Cragg would mange only P7, the Team Associated driver afterward saying he didn’t drive well and admitting he struggled with the switch back to 2WD after last night’s 4WD practice.
Commenting on his TQ run, Wollanka said, ‘the car was really good’ but highlighted the key to the result was he ‘made no mistakes’. With both Lee Martin and Rheinard posting faster lap times, the Austrian said, ‘I drove smooth at the start but Lee started to catch me so I had to push a bit more’. With the morning sun causing some drivers issues as he came in through the large glass front of the Ring Boulevard, he said the Team Associated step-up step-down was ‘not easy’ as he couldn’t see the white boards due to the sun. For Q2, last year’s Round 1 podium finisher plans to leave his XB2 unchanged.
‘It was OK for the first run of the morning’ was Martin’s reaction to the first of the four qualifiers adding ‘the sun was a pain’. The British driver said the first few laps were not good as had a few bobbles, was missing his corners and had to save a few crashes but his driving improved as the run went on. In terms of his RC Concept powered YZ-2, he said the shock oil was a bit hard as it was colder this morning which made the car feel lazy but expecting the temperature to rise for Q2 he will not make any changes.
While he would crash on his opening lap, Rheinard was overall content with his first qualifying attempt. The German said, ‘the first lap was a pain in the ass as I lost 3-seconds but it was still a good run’. He continued, ‘I didn’t have many mistakes but I still had one too much’. In terms of his YZ2, he said ‘it was pretty good’ and he will leave it the same for the next one.
Posting the fourth fastest time Michal Orlowski said he ‘struggled with traction roll’. The Schumacher driver was also quick to blame his own driving adding, ‘I also made some stupid mistakes on my side’. Looking to make the car easier to drive for Q2, the 15-year-old said ‘we are thinking what changes to make so we can be faster for the next one’.
‘Not happy at all with my driving but very happy with the result’ was Hupo Honigl reaction to his P5 time. The Xray driver said, ‘I was blind and guessing the way round not driving’. The Austrian said the shadowing from the sun added to his problems and when asked how his XB2 was replied, ‘I think the car was OK as I was going fast but Im not really sure’.
Danish Team Yokomo driver Frederik Hovgaard would complete the Top 6. Only 21st fastest in seeding practice, the 16-year-old was much happier with his YZ2 after fitting their new rear hub which he said made the car easier to drive and the ‘corner speed much better’. While he would have a few bobbles including losing over a second on the table top, he was happy to start the day off with a strong first round and will try to build on that in Q2.
Bruno Coelho extended his advantage over his rivals in the final round of practice at the Nurburgring to secure the top seeding for 4WD at the Euro Offroad Series season opener. Having set an impressive pace in CP1, topping that run from Michal Orlowski, the Xray driver would go over 2/10ths quicker extending his gap over the Schumacher driver, who didn’t improve, to over 6/10th over 3-laps. Summing up his commanding start to the weekend, the reigning champion said ‘it’s all perfect’. Behind Orlowski, Lee Martin would improve to the third quickest time ahead of Coelho’s team-mate Martin Wollanka with Marc Rheinard, another who failed to improve dropping from 3rd to 5th.
For Orlowski an early incident with a rolling car would prevent him from improving on his time. In the impact the front rollbar carrier would break leaving it redundant. Commenting on the run, the 15-year-old said, ‘I felt the car was not right but I was trying to get a better time but then I could see it was doing weird things so I pulled off and then we saw the problem. It’s a pity as the car was working really good in the warm-up’.
Changing to a different front spring Martin said his improvement came from his Yokomo landing better. The British driver added his ‘laps are ok given (he is) not pushing hard’ and ‘the important thing is the car is good for a 5-minute time’.
Having made an error in the first controlled practice resulting in him breaking a front drive shaft, Wollanka said changes to his XB4 had made it ‘better but still not perfect’. The Austrian who finished third overall in last year’s championship said he still can’t push hard as when he gets on the throttle the car is rolling too much and lifting a front wheel. For the opening qualifier which takes place tomorrow night after the completion of the 2WD finals, he said he will try a rear roll centre change.
Chassis: Xray XB4 2016 Motor: Hobbywing Xerun 5.5T ESC: Hobbywing Xerun XR 10pro Batteries: EZ Power 4600mAh Shorty Radio/Servo: Sanwa Remarks – Reigning EOS and World Champion, Bruno Coelho us running the 2016 version of the XB4 here in Germany. His car features a graphite stiffener applied on the rear chassis brace, and is also equipped with graphite arms and aluminium uprights as well as an aluminium ackermann plate. The Portuguese driver is also using steel differential gears and front ECS driveshafts.
Bruno Coelho has topped the times for the first round of 4WD controlled practice at the Euro Offroad Series season opener. Back at the Nurburgring where he made his EOS debut 12-months ago before going on to be champion, the Xray driver had almost a 4/10ths advantage over his rivals over the 3-consecutive lap times that will determine the seeding for qualifying. Closest to the winner of the last three 4WD EOS encounters would be Michal Orlowski, the Schumacher driver the only one able to match Coelho’s 18-second fastest lap pace. A sizeable gap back, Yokomo’s Marc Rheinard would complete the Top 3 followed by team-mate Lee Martin and Xray’s Martin Bayer.
While Coelho said his car was ‘going very well’, he added ‘the track is super difficult’. The World Champion is having issue with the Associated step-up step-down which he said you arrive into super fast and it leads to you breaking your rhythm. In terms of his XB4 he said it was not as fast as they were expecting in the first practice and they have been making small changes each run to improve. Adding they are ‘now getting there’ he will rebuild his diffs for the final practice adding they still need to try to get the car more consistent.
Orlowski said he knew from the first practice they had good pace but they just needed to get 3-laps. The former European Champion said they had too much rotation in the car but lowering the rear camber link by 1mm made the rear more stable. The Polish teenager said while the track is more difficult that any of the tracks on last years calendar he thinks he’s strong in terms of putting in a 5-minute run saying the biggest issue of the stacked practices heats was not crashing himself but avoiding other cars. Happy with how is car is working he plans to leave it unchanged for CP2 and instead plans to help the rest of the team with getting their cars better.
Describing his YZ4 as ‘actually pretty ok’, Rheinard said as in 2WD he was ‘still struggling with the step down landing’. The German continued, ‘the car feels ok and its all going to come down to no mistakes’ adding ‘it is better to go a little slower and try for a safe run’. In terms of changes to his car after free practice, he would change to gullwing front arms but also changing to a bigger Muchmore motor having lacked punch out of the corners he said while the car was better he wasn’t sure how much of that came from the arm change.
‘Not too bad, feels pretty easy to drive’ was Martin’s reaction when asked how his car was in CP1. The former 4WD Champion said the suspension felt strange with the front of the car bouncing up on the landings so he didn’t have the confidence to push it. As he stated during 2WD practice, he said “I’m not going for 3-laps and I think our 5-minute pace is OK’. Doing the double at last year’s season opener he added, ‘We are a little lacking compared to Bruno and Orlowski is looking pretty good too but we’ll get there’.
Having moved more into his role as Xray’s Offroad team-manager and taken more of a back seat as a leading team driver, Bayer’s reaction to his P5 time was ‘I’m having fun’. The former EOS race winner, who recently married long time partner Tereza, said a lack of time has meant that his XB4 is straight off the track from doing the Euros in Spain with only enough time to rebuild the diffs. Focused on supporting Xray drivers, the Czech driver said it was nice to still be able to put his car near the top the time sheets adding ‘myself and Hupo (Honigl) are having good fun battling each other to be faster but its starting to get serious now’. Honigl would post the seventh fastest time, Xray’s Kaja Novotny separating the two experienced racers.