Lee Martin cruised to victory this morning in the opening A-Main of the 2WD at the Euro Offroad Series in Slovakia. Top Qualifier at the third round of the championship, the Yokomo driver was handed a comfortable lead when his closest challenger Bruno Coelho made an error half way into the race that required him to be marshalled. With this setting up a battle for second between Michal Orlowski and Coelho, up front Martin had the track all to himself eventually crossing the line with a wining margin of almost 2.5-seconds. Also benefiting from Coelho’s mistake, Orlowski looked on target for 2nd but with three laps to go he too would make a mistake only in his case poor marshalling meant he lost a massive 8-seconds. Allowing Martin Bayer to go by, Orlowski would try to salvage a Top 3 at the the last corner as he dived down the inside of Bayer but he would roll dropping a further place as Marc Rheinard got by for 4th.
‘It’s never easy just because you have a bit of a lead, it takes just one mistake to give it away again’, was Martin’s reaction adding, ‘Its never easy either with Bruno behind’. Pushed hard early on by Coelho, the reigning 2WD Champion said, ‘There was never an opportunity for him to make a move and then after his mistake I got a bit of breathing space which meant I could cruise for the last few laps. I quite enjoyed the race as it’s a really good track when you find your rhythm’. The winner of Xray’s home event last season, he said for the plan for A2 was simple to ‘try again’.
‘I was just waiting for a mistake from Lee but ended up touching the tube which flipped my car’, said Coelho after the race. The Xray ace continued, ‘then I had a small fight with Orlowski but he also had a mistake but by then there was no chance to catch Martin’. Describing his XB2 as ‘working super well’, the 4WD World Champion said, ‘I never particularly liked 2WD and always had to force the car before to keep up but now I don’t have to. It’s a huge improvement”. Setting the fastest lap of the race as the only driver to break into the 21-second lap times, he will be hoping to make Martin work harder for the win in A2.
Bayer was pleased to get third from 5th on the grid, the Czech driver who recently moved to Trencin saying with this like a home race he was that nervous at the start that his hands where shaking. Although he would make ‘a good start’, ‘small bobbles’ would drop him back the order after which he said he just focused on trying to ‘stay on four wheels’. Admitting he got lucky with the ‘bad marshalling for Orlowski’, the Xray Offroad Team Manager and former EOS race winner was happy to take away a third for the leg.
Lee Martin has denied Bruno Coelho & Xray a home TQ at the Hudy Racing Arena, the Yokomo driver taking the final round of 2WD qualifying at the third round of the Euro Offroad Series to secure his first pole of the season. With Coelho looking on target for the overall TQ having taken Q1 & 3, it was all or nothing for Martin in the final round. After an issue in the penultimate round, the reigning champion would deliver the perfect run to end the day, his cause boosted by an early mistake from Coelho that would leave him to post the 6th fastest time in the decider. With two TQ’s a piece, it was Martin’s Q2 topping time that determined it would be Martin on pole with Coelho having to settle for second, albeit a much better starting position than his last EOS outing when he failed to make the A-Main. While championship leader Michal Orlowski went into the final round looking for a TQ run hoping to secure second on the grid, the Schumacher driver couldn’t improve on his Top 2 times of the previous two qualifiers posting a P4 as his final attempt. None the less he was pleased to end up third given how is day started out. Ending his day with his first 14 lap time to get a second for the round, Neil Cragg would make it four different manufacturers at the front of the grid with Team Associated lining up fourth ahead of former event winner Martin Bayer.
‘I’m happy to TQ here especially’, was Martin’s reaction to his first TQ since achieving the same result last season at the Hudy Arena en route to his second consecutive 2WD title. He continued, ‘It was an all or nothing run really although I didn’t drive it like that. I put my better tyres back on and while they’re now slicks they worked and the other set didn’t’. Describing his RC Concept powered YZ2 CA, which features some new rear end parts as ‘really good’, he said his performance was also down to the fact he is ‘enjoying the track’. A track which all the drivers have said is difficult, on tomorrow’s finals he said his approach was a very simple one with the sole goal ‘don’t crash’.
Giving his reaction to the qualifying outcome Coelho said, ‘Overall it has been a very good day. We improved our 2WD a lot and I’m happy to get 2nd. With three finals ahead we are still in for the win tomorrow’. Commenting on his final qualifier, the reigning 4WD Champion said, ‘the tyres were on their third run and the car was a little difficult to drive. This caused my mistake at the beginning and trying to make back the time I made more mistakes’. Set to follow Martin off the start as he chases his first 2WD win of the series he said, ‘on this track you can’t force too much but with so many braking points it going to be interesting, or not’.
Orlowski said, “I’m happy with Top 3 as that was my aim after Q2′. Starting out with 8th in the opening qualifier, a P2 in Q2 came as a much needed confidence boost as he had struggled in practice with his driving. Able to repeat his rediscovered form in Q3, he said when it came to the final qualifier the relief that Q3 result brought in securing him a grid position at the sharp end of the grid may have caused a slight ‘lack of concentration’. Very happy with the performance of his new Cougar KC on its EOS debut, looking to the finals he said, ‘I know I have the pace to win so I will try to do that’.
‘Getting there’ was Cragg’s view on the final qualifier. He added, ‘we made a few changes and it definitely improved the car. We couldn’t TQ but I’m pretty pleased to be honest’. The reigning European Champion continued, ‘Fourth overall is a good save after the shitty start we had to qualifying. I’m pretty happy. We also learned some new things about the car which is positive’. Having earlier predicted ‘chaos’ in the finals he said again he doesn’t think the racing will be pretty.
Bruno Coelho is looking on target for a home TQ for Xray after he posted a second TQ run in the third round of qualifying at EOS Slovakia. After errors in Q2 left with him with a P3, the Portuguese ace put in a clean consistent Q3 to top the times despite Joern Neumann setting the pace for a time before crashing and eventually going out due to a broken C-hub. Behind Coelho, Michal Orlowski would put in another strong result despite his heat, again tenths off the TQ pace. For Lee Martin an early crash put an end to any chance of him repeating his Q2 TQ as a rear spring got knocked out of his mounting, the compressed spring leaving the Yokomo a struggle to drive and he ended up 20th. The penultimate qualifier would see a big improvement for Neil Cragg, the Team Associated driver completing the Top 3 thanks to a ‘steady round’.
‘After the previous round I just tried to drive without mistakes, I was super careful’, was how Coelho summed up Q3. He added ‘even when Neumann was in the lead I just tried to keep a safe pace and with this I was able to TQ when he crashed’. Describing the track as ‘super difficult’, he continued, ‘it is possible to go super fast but not every lap’. With this in mind and going into the final round looking best poised to secure the overall TQ he will ‘take the same approach’ as he did in the last heat – be super careful. Asked about tyres, he said he was experiencing ‘a lot of tyre wear’ and they would need to look at a strategy for the finals but with two TQ runs, the tyre wear was more of an issue for his rivals than him.
Reacting to his P2 for the round, Orlowski said, ‘again just a few tenths so actually I’m a little disappointed’. Setting the fastest lap of the round, the factory Schumacher driver continued, ‘I want to try take second on the grid so I need to TQ the last round, we’ll see how it goes’. Running a new set of tyres on his new Cougar KC, the Polish driver said he was lucky to not break the car in the warm-up after the new tyres caught him out at the end of the straight. After that warning he said he had to be very careful at the start of the qualifier but that shouldn’t be an issue for the fourth & final qualifier.
‘It was a steady round so I can’t complain’, was Cragg’s reaction to getting 3rd ahead of Xray’s Martin Bayer and Martin Wollanka. Having made a breakthrough with his first EOS podium at the previous encounter in Poland, the European Champion said they have been ‘improving the car every run’ but they ‘need to find a little magic somewhere’. He added ‘we are stuck in the middle, it’s not fast enough to win but it’s decent. We’re not quite there yet’. Aiming for another Top 3 to end out the opening day to better his grid position, his prediction is the ‘finals will be absolute chaos’ and he’e hoping to be there to pick up the pieces.
Chassis: Xray XB2 ’17 Motor: Hobbywing V10G2 6.5T ESC: Hobbywing Xerun XR10 Pro Batteries: EZ Power 5300mAh “Graphene” Radio/Servo: Sanwa Remarks – Xray factory driver Bruno Coelho is running the 2017 version of the XB2 equipped with a number of option parts here at the team’s home track. Fitted with graphite arms on a carbon fibre chassis plate, his car features aluminium uprights, camber link plates and steering system, a brass front bulkhead and a 50g steel under-LiPo weight. The Portuguese driver is also using steel differential gears and Hiro Seiko screws.
Lee Martin came good on his practice topping form to TQ the second round of qualifying at the Euro Offroad Series in Slovakia. Opening qualifying at the Hudy Arena with an almost immediate mistake and ending up with a P4 for Q1 behind an Xray 1-2, this time the Yokomo driver put in a strong drive with the heat containing nothing more than a few bobbles. Behind the reigning champion, current championship leader Michal Orlowski turned around a terrible practice to post the 2nd fastest time despite having to run in the third fastest heat. Having made it look like he might dominate qualifying with his drive through the field to TQ the first of the four qualifiers, Bruno Coelho would trip himself up with a number of mistakes including one like Martin in the previous round on the first lap. He would manage to get 3rd for the round but the deficit to Martin’s TQ time, the faster of the two rounds, was almost 5-seconds.
Commenting on his 14-lap run, Martin said, ‘I had a couple of bobbles but nothing crazy. I didn’t push too hard, it was a nice run’. Having felt his YZ-2, which is running a new 3D printed rear end, had lost pace between practice and Q1, he would change to his second set of tyres for Q2. This resulted in the a car that ‘felt good again, but the Brit said he couldn’t be sure it was down to the tyre or a change in the track conditions. Planning to stay the same in terms of the car set-up, he said he will consider switching back to the first set of tyres to check if this was actually his issue adding with drivers having just two sets of the handout Schumacher tyre he might also be wise to save the second set if it turns out to be a good set.
Getting an 8th in the opening qualifier, Orlowski said ‘after the bad practice I wasn’t so upset with that but after a rough start to the heat I knew I could improve on it’. While getting a better start to Q2, the EOS Poland winner said, his pace was a little slower than normal as he dealt with traffic something he said is always one of the issues of ending up in a slower heat. Finishing only 35/100ths off Martin’s TQ time he said another problem he faced was ‘it is difficult to pace myself and know whether to push or not and in the end it was very close’. Describing his all new Cougar KC as being ‘really good’ even for practice, he said finding himself in the heat he is in is ‘completely my own fault’. Looking to the remaining two qualifiers, the former Hudy Arena race winner said, ‘I think this (his Q2 result) was a good confidence boost’.
‘Just too many mistakes, my car is very good’ was how Coelho summed up Q2. Setting the fastest lap of the qualifier, such was the 4WD World Champions pace that his team-mate Bayer opened up to let him passed but again the speed was undone with two further bad laps. Having got second on Q1, Bayer would get a 5th in his second qualifier ahead of the Yokomo of Marc Rheinard, the latter still struggling to show signs of his EOS Nurburgring winning form. Behind the 3-time Touring Car World Champion, who has yet to announce who he will race Touring Car for in 2017, Neil Cragg was the best of the Associated drivers improving slightly on his P9 for Q1.
A crash on the last double of the lap would prevent Joern Neumann from another Top 3 result. The Serpent driver started out good but midway through landed the jump wide and flipped his car eventually getting a P4 for his efforts. Hoping to get rid of the mistakes, the German will also make a small set-up adjustment to get more rear grip. The former champion feels the tyre wear for him is a little more than that of his rivals and he needs to adapt his set-up for that.
Chassis: Team Associated B6 Motor: Reedy Sonic 6.5T ESC: LRP Flow Batteries: Reedy 5300mAh Radio/Servo: KO/Reedy Remarks – Team Associated Factory Driver Neil Cragg is running a B6 equipped with aluminium steering bellcrank and rear arm mount, Schelle rear uprights and titanium top screws (the chassis screws remaining the standard ones issued in the kit). He is also using a steel weight plates under the servo, the ESC and the battery, with the addition of a brass front bulkhead. The former WC also opted for mounting a Pro-Line front wing at the bottom of the front shock tower.