Lee Martin will start the new season of the Euro Offroad Series from the TQ, the Yokomo driver just doing enough in the final qualifier to deny reigning champion Michal Orlowski pole position on the tie break. With Orlowski having two TQ runs to his name and his Q3 time the fastest of the day, Martin needed not only to TQ the fourth & final round but also better his rival’s time. With Orlowski traction rolling on his opening lap, Martin only had to worry about his time. Setting off with a strong pace, a mistake with just over a minute to go looked to have ended his chances but pushing on his final lap, almost matching his fastest lap, it was enough to give him the fastest TQ by a 1/10th of a second. Behind Martin, Joona Haatanen ended with his first 19-lap run, a result that secures the Team Associated driver third on tomorrow’s A-Main grid behind Orlowski and ahead of team-mate Neil Cragg.
Reacting to his TQ run, Martin said, ‘I was easily on it and then crashed in the middle. I was trying to be a bit too fast. I knew then I had to push at the end’. The former Nurburgring winner went on, ‘the car felt really good. Shin (Adachi) done a really good job making new bits and improving the car for this season. I’m looking forward to the finals tomorrow’.
‘Close’, was Orlowski’s reaction at the end of qualifying. The Schumacher driver continued, ‘I was on new tyres and traction rolled at the end of the straight. I lost it right there but it is still open for the finals. Looking at last year’s results all my wins where from 2nd.’ Chasing his 6th EOS career win in 2WD, Martin having the same number of wins to his credit, the Polish driver said, ‘me and Lee are quicker than the rest of the field so I will try to put pressure on him. It’s a tight track and easy to make mistakes so we will see but I will do my best to get the win’.
Haatanen described Q4 as ‘better’, adding ‘my driving is getting better every time’. The young Finn who is a former Top Qualifier but has yet to pull off his first EOS win, is particularly confident for tomorrow having managed to do all four qualifiers on the same set of tyres meaning he has one in hand over his rivals. Asked about his car on new tyres, he replied, ‘I only drove one time on them but I think the car will be good on new tyres. I am going full attack tomorrow’.
‘The car was better but the driver was terrible’, was how Cragg summed up his final qualifier. Last season’s championship runner-up he added, ‘I have just not got on with the track at all. I’m really surprised I ended up 4th on the grid. Tomorrow is a new day and hopefully we have a bit of luck in the finals. You never know what will happen’.
On his 5th on the grid, Joern Neumann described it as ‘so, so’ adding, ‘in the last round I crashed too many times and then had to open for many drivers over the run’. Looking to the finals, the Schumacher drivers said, ‘The Top 2 are too fast but maybe 3rd is possible. Everyone is making mistakes so we will see’. On his car he added, ‘I need to find a little more steering’. Behind him Daniel Kobbevik will start 6th as the top Xray driver with Swede Elias Johansson 7th, Bruno Coelho 8th, Martin Bayer 9th and Sworkz’s Micha Widmaier completing the A-Main line-up.
The third round of 2WD qualifying at the EOS Season opener saw the duel between Michal Orlowski and Lee Martin continue with the duo again having the edge over the field at the Nurburgring. With a TQ run a piece going into the penultimate qualifier, it was Orlowski who was first to double up as the Schumacher driver laid down the fastest 5-minute time of the day joining Martin as the only drivers to complete 19-laps. Setting the fastest lap of Q3, Martin’s Yokomo would end up almost 5-seconds off the TQ pace after a costly 19-second last lap from the British driver. Producing his best run so far Joona Haatanen would complete the Top 3 as the best of the drivers to run 18-laps. Behind the Associated driver Jörn Neumann, Neil Cragg and Daniel Kobbevik completed the Top 6.
Lee Martin has topped the second round of qualifying at the Euro Offroad Series season opener at the Nurburgring. After a close 2nd behind Michal Orlowski in Q1, the Yokomo driver got the better of the reigning champion the second time round becoming the first driver to do 19-laps of the short tight track. Behind, Vice-Champion Neil Cragg improved on his opening attempt to set the third fastest time in front of the Xray’s of Daniel Kobbevik and Bruno Coelho with Jörn Neumann completing the Top 6.
‘That was better’ was Martin’s reaction to his TQ run. The EOS’ second most successful 2WD racer with 5 wins & 5 TQs to his credit, he continued, ‘Me and Michal are pretty close. We both made a small mistake on the same lap. It was a car race’. Having reported his shocks pressurised in Q1, he said, ‘my car felt much better this time. We just redone the shocks but we also found the front bulkhead was cracked and it was effecting things so we changed it. The car feels both consistent and fast’.
Orlowski said, ‘I started out quite fast because I was on second run tyres but then I had an error on the double and rolled over and lost 1-second’. Winner of three races on the way to his title last season, he continued, ‘After this I was on the back foot and Lee had closed on me. In traffic the gap went up and down but on the last lap I knew I had to push hard but made a mistake in the middle of the track. 2nd is still good and I now have a tyre gain so I’m happy to take it’.
Describing his P3 run, Cragg said, ‘It was a steady run. No heroics’. Coming away with a P6 for Q1, on that the Team Associated driver said, ‘the first one was terrible. Everyone had a terrible first one. It’s tough out there. The track is too small for 11 cars’. A driver who made the break through onto the EOS’ winners roll of honour last season, on his car’s performance he said, ‘we still need to find a couple of tenths. It is not as supple as last year. It’s fast but no good enough to win at the moment and we are here to win. He concluded, ‘I might as well get this excuse out there now while I’m at it but this is also my first time back on carpet for a few months’.
A podium finisher last season, Kobbevik was pleased with his fourth for the round especially after a tough start to qualifying. The Norwegian said, ‘I had a big mistake on the first lap in Q1 and the rear spring cup came off. This time I had just a few small mistakes and otherwise it was a smooth run. This run I was surprised I had no traffic’. On his Xray XB2C, he said, ‘the car was pretty good after first practice so we have done nothing to it.’
Having crashed out in Q1 thus having to start at the back of the 11 car field, Coelho said, ‘I had a bad start with traffic’. The newly crowned Touring Car World Champion added, ‘The track is very small and it is easy to make a mistake. There were two guys ahead of me and they both made mistakes which cost me more time. I had one mistake at the end myself but the rest of the race the issue was traffic.’
With the Euro Offroad Series back at the legendary full size Nurburgring venue as part of the Blancpain GT Series weekend, Season #8 of the Euro Offroad Series is underway with the opening round of qualifying in Germany going to defending champion Michal Orlowski. The Schumacher driver topped the 2WD times from Yokomo’s Lee Martin despite a messy final minute of qualifying from the Pole who suffered 3-mistakes around the short and tight 16-second lap times track. Managing to almost equal his fastest lap of the 5-minutes on his final lap Orlowski would just pip Martin for the TQ by 0.156 of a second. Behind, Martin Bayer would complete the Top 3 for Xray with team-mate Bruno Coelho breaking a link on his car in the stages of the qualifying while on target for a Top 3 run. Joern Neumann opened the weekend with a P4 run ahead of Team Associated’s Joona Hataanen and former Nurburgring Top Qualifier Neil Cragg.
‘Until the 4-minute mark it was an almost perfect run’, was how Orlowski summed up the first of his four scheduled qualifiers. He continued, ‘I hit traffic and started doing mistakes. I lost 6-seconds because I crashed 3 times but I was able to come back on the last lap. The lap time is so short, traffic is a big problem’. Asked his thoughts on the track layout, he replied, ‘I like it. It has a nice flow. It’s not too difficult, it’s not too easy but there is not enough space for everyone’. In terms of his car, the World Championship Top Qualifier said, ‘We weren’t on the pace in practice but we made a few changes for Q1 and they were really really good so now we will work on our tyre strategy as last year and go from there’.
Commenting on his opening run, Martin said, ‘I didn’t drive great. I just kind of tensed up. When Bruno crashed I took my eye off the car and I crashed’. Top seed after practice, he added, ‘I couldn’t see who I was racing with’. Pleased with the performance of his car, the British driver said, ‘we did a lot of work with the car over the Summer and the corner speed is really good now’. More specific on the opening qualifier he added, ‘the shocks pressured up, because it’s hot down here (the track located in the Ring Boulevard’s events hall) but I’ll get Shin (Adachi) to fix that for Q2’. Martin also felt the car is getting very hot and added he will ‘put more fans in’ for the next one’. On the track layout, he said, ‘It’s tight and technical but I don’t mind it’.
‘Quite hectic’ was Bayer’s view on Q1. 3rd overall in last year’s EOS standings, he continued, ‘everybody crashed a lot and nobody knew who is who. Still I arrived with 3rd which is a good start but the traffic is very difficult. The size of the track suits 8 drivers not 10 or 11’. Officially debuting Xray’s new carpet edition buggy, he said it all appeared to be working well and the big challenge for now was readjusting his driving back to carpet after a busy season of outdoor racing over the Summer.
Neumann’s reaction to his P4 time was, ‘it was ok. Not super fast but consistent’. The Schumacher driver said they made a series of changes to the car for Q1 but he planned to go back to what he had run in practice, describing the car as ‘more lazy now’. Commenting on the track, he said, ‘It’s so so. It small and it is slow and maybe it has too many jumps. It has lots of rollers and there is no need (for them)’.
‘Not too bad, the only problem was my own mistakes’ was Haatanen’s thoughts on the first qualifier. The Finn continued, ‘at the end I was looking good for second but crashed at the double at the end of the straight away and it cost me second place but overall it was a pretty good first run given the last time I raced on carpet was at the last EOS’. On his car he said, ‘it is ok just the driver needs to be better but I will change the set-up a little for Q2 for smoother landings’. Regarding the track, the 15-year-old said, ‘It’s small. I don’t like that there are 11 cars in the heat. Guys wont give room so it kind of sucks’.
A new season of the Euro Offroad Series kicks off at the ‘Green Hell’ this weekend (14-16 Sept) with the extended six round 8th season of the 1:10 EP Offroad Championship returning to the Nurburgring in Germany.After being abscent from last season’s calendar, the legendary motorsport venue welcomes back the EOS for what will be its fourth visit.Running as part of the full size Blancpain GT Series weekend which will race on the real grand prix track, the event is a truely unique opportunity for RC racers.While iconic car manufacturers battle it out for victory outside, it will be double champion Michal Orlowski who heads the factory RC entry on the indoor carpet track.A 9-times EOS race winner, but never at the Nurburgring, the Schumacher driver will be aiming to take his tally to double digits this weekend and get his title defence off to the best possible start but his rivals have similar ambitions.
Having started Season #7 as Schumacher’s sole title contender, the start of 2018 saw the British marque double its high end firepower with the signing of Joern Neumann.Having had a number of races to settle into his new surroundings and appearing to work well alongside Orlowski, the only multiple double champion of the EOS should be right in contention for the titles as he embarks on his first full EOS season with Schumacher.A line-up, together with extra round on this year’s calendar, that should inject even further excitement into the championship.
Of course Orlowski will have to deal with the same rivals who pushed him for his current titles.Back to back champion in 2WD, the Polish ace had a great battle with former 2WD World Champion Neil Cragg for this latest title.Last season saw Cragg, a relative newcomer to carpet compared to the rest of the EOS front runners, finally deliver his first win when he won at the second round in Daun.A turning point for the Team Associated driver he also managed to TQ twice and finishing off the season with 2nd places at the final two rounds to finish as Vice-Champion.Coming off the back of what should an improvement on the previous season, the British 2WD specialist will be looking to go one better this time round.
Having ended the 4WD points chase equal on points with Orlowski but losing out on a third consecutive title by having one less win than his rival, Bruno Coelho will again lead the Xray challenge. The former 4WD World Champion & newly crowned Touring Car World Champion won the last time the championship was at the Nurburgring and the Portuguese star will be aiming for a repeat of that. With eight 4WD wins compared to his three in 2WD, 4WD is definitely his class.Team-mate Martin Bayer had a very strong 2WD campaign finishing the season 3rd overall and with the Slovakian manufacturer using the weekend to launch their new XB2C 2019 they will be aiming for a strong start to their new campaign.
Winners of 2WD the last time the EOS was at the Nurburgring, Yokomo will be aiming to mount a stronger challenge than last year.With 2016 winner and Top Qualifier Marc Rheinard not racing the EOS and instead racing the European Reedy Race of Champions which is also running at the Nurburgring this weekend, it will be down to Lee Martin to deliver the results.Only 5th in the standings of both championships last season, the 2014/15 Double Champion is a former Nurburgring double winner a result he will be looking to repeat.
Marking the 30th championship race weekend of the EOS, the first winner of Season #8 will be crowned at lunchtime on Saturday with the running of the 2WD finals before drivers switch over to the start of the 4WD action Saturday evening and concluding Sunday evening.