March 17, 2017

Haatanen heads Associated 1-2 with another TQ run

Joona Haatanen backed up his Q1 TQ by again topping the times in the second round of qualifying at the Euro Offroad Series in Germany.  The up & coming Finnish talent would lead a Team Associated 1-2 at Arena33 as elder team-mate Neil Cragg managed to set the second fastest time despite running in the second quickest heat.  Behind the two B6s it was Martin Bayer who was best of the rest, the Xray driver some 5-seconds off Haatanen’s TQ pace.  With top seed Lee Martin getting a P4 for the round ahead of Hupo Honigl, for championship leader Michal Orlowski the second round of qualifying proving to be the Pole’s highest placing on the time sheets so far but the winner of the last two EOS encounters has yet to get to terms with the challenging track layout.

Quashing any doubt that he inherited the first TQ after a mistake from Bruno Coelho, Hataanen summed up his Q2 performance by saying ‘my time was better’.  Suffering a 3-second roll as the heat approached the final minute, the error caused by too much throttle on the landing of the centre double, Haatanen added that apart from this one error he felt overall he drove a better heat second time around. Looking to Q3, when he could claim his first overall EOS TQ honours, he said the plan was to try to repeat his early runs and in terms of his car the only thing he would be doing was to fit a new set of tyres.

‘We are getting somewhere now’, joking, ‘my mechanic was holding me back’, was Craig’s reaction to a much improved run.  10th fastest in Q1, the former World Champion said having copied 80% of Hataanen’s set-up for Q1 after his young team-mate TQ’d he got mechanic Craig Drescher to completely copy it for the second attempt.  Describing the set-up as ‘maybe a little safe’ he admitted it was ‘maybe not such a bad thing for this track’.  Happy to run the car unchanged for Q3, Drescher however thinks his driver could do with more power and plans to give the LRP powered B6 more top end power as well as tightening the slipper. Drescher feels while they have a safe qualifying car from watching his driver he thinks as it is now it will be swallowed up by the pack in the finals.

With Coelho’s challenge ended by a ‘mistake in the same place as before’, Bayer put his P3 down to the fact he ‘crashed less than the others’.  The former EOS race winner continued, ‘everyone is crashing so much you don’t need to be fastest to be on top’. Suffering three mistakes himself, he said, ‘the speed is there because if I look at my best lap time I’m also in the Top 3’.  He concluded, ‘its all about not driving like a monkey’.

‘The car was nervous at the start again. It is not landing great on the jumps’ was how Martin summed his run to fourth.  The Yokomo driver continued, ‘the car was good this morning and now it has dropped half a second.  I’m not sure what is going on’.  Planning to ‘try a few things’ including fitting a new set of tyres for Q3, he added, ‘it seems the tyre wear is back which is strange for a track with not many corners’.   He concluded, ‘I think tyre games are going to come into it’.

Having ‘crashed like a monkey’ in Q1, Hupo Honigl would redeem himself with a P5 run. The Austrian said, ‘this time I tried to get a clean run. I was not fast but it was clean which is super difficult on this track’.  Planning the same approach for Q3, he said on this track layout the car set-up was not key to a good result but just keeping errors to a minimum.

With a DNF in Q1 after he jumped too short resulting in a rear camber link popping off his Schumacher, Orlowski was pleased to register some points but the 15-year-old said ‘again I made too many errors’.  While his car is ‘pretty good’, he said it is unpredictable and in an attempt to improve this they will add weight for the next heat.  Used to running the car light he said hopefully the heavier car will be more stable allowing him to ‘push harder and make a good result’.

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March 17, 2017

Haatanen takes Q1 at EOS

Joona Haatanen has taken the opening round of qualifying at the Euro Offroad Series in Germany, the Team Associated driver putting in an impressive but more importantly a relatively clean run on the challenging Arena33 track. Third quickest in practice, the Finn went to the top of the time sheets after Bruno Coelho hit a curb, sending his Xray crashing into a roll door while holding a comfortable lead, and took the qualifier by over two and a half seconds from Lee Martin.  Top seed for qualifying, Martin would make a mistake on the opening lap with the Yokomo driver never looking comfortable after that.  Having impressed with a P5 in practice, Joakim Nicolaisen would back that up by completing the Top 3 in the first of the four scheduled qualifiers ahead of Coelho.

‘Super good, the car was dialled’, was the reaction Haatanen gave to his TQ run.  The 14-year-old continued, ‘I changed nothing just the tyres’.  While the fresh set of Schumacher handout tyres left his Reedy powered B6 ‘a bit edgy at the start’, but they improved over the 5-minute heat.  Planning to use the same set of tyres again for Q2 he said while wear is low, based off of his practice tyres two runs was going to be the limit to get the best out of the tyres. While overall pleased with his own driving, making only ‘little errors’, he said ‘there were a couple of drivers that didn’t give me room but it was nothing major’.

‘I crashed on the easiest jump’ said a frustrated Martin adding, ‘My aim was to make a clean first lap but I jumped long at the last one and the nose dug in and I rolled’.  The former champion continued, ‘I didn’t push after that.  I was on new tyres and all round the it felt nervous as did I. I hate the first run when you’re starting first’. Looking to improve his YZ-2 for the second qualifier he plans to redo his shocks as well as ‘maybe dial out a tiny bit of steering’.

Summing up his first qualifying attempt, Nicolaisen said it went ‘better than expected’.  Like team-mate Haatanen, he was more than happy with his B6 describing it as ‘awesome’ once the fresh set of tyres lost their edginess.  Suffering a number of errors as he tried to close the gap to Hataanen and needing to be marshalled, he said ‘the mistakes where just from driving too hard’.  His first EOS outing of the current season he also admitted the pressure of his strong run contributed to the mistakes saying ‘my nerves got to me a little for sure’.

‘Was stupid from my side’ was Coelho’s thoughts on his error while having a comfortable advantage over the field.  The Portuguese driver continued, ‘I was 3-seconds in front but hit a curb and then the marshal didn’t see the car.  After that it was impossible for me because I was pushing too hard to make back the time and was flying off the track everywhere’.  Setting the fastest lap of the race on his second lap while leading, he said his XB2 was fine and it was just the driver that needed to be improved for Q2.

Running in the second fastest heat, having been only able for the 13th fastest 3-lap in practice, Joern Nuemann would get a P5 for the opening qualifier.  The Serpent driver said the run ‘was clean, not super fast, but I had no mistakes at that was my goal’.  The German continued, ‘I need to find a little more pace from the car’ and asked where he felt he was lacking replied he needs ‘more steering’.  Having run Q1 with uncut tyres, the former champion plans to run with the outside rear pin cut from the rear tyre.  Behind Neumann, Martin Bayer would complete the Top 6.

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March 17, 2017

Martin tops practice at Arena33

Lee Martin has topped 2WD for Round 4 of the Euro Offroad Series at Arena33 in Germany.  The Yokomo driver topped the times in both rounds of timed practice to top the seeding from Bruno Coelho and Joona Haatanen.  For championship leader Michal Orlwoski, one of the EOS’ most challenging tracks to date left the Schumacher driver 9th quickest.  The Polish driver and winner of the previous two EOS encounters said he ‘just struggled with some mistakes and traffic’ but added ‘I think I am on the pace and I’m not slower that Lee & Bruno’.

Winner of the EOS Warm-up race last weekend, Martin said ‘the track is completely different, there are no corners anymore’.  Describing the new layout as ‘not bad’ he added ‘it doesn’t flow properly and the step down is still a bit meh’.  Running new plastic rear hubs that allow for more adjustments and which will feature on the next kit release, he said in terms of set-up he was ‘not going to change anything yet’ but add ‘we’ll see after 5-minutes, the 3-laps only shows we are in the right area’.  Martin’s team-mate Marc Rheinard would take his example of the YZ-2 to the sixth fastest time.

‘The car is working well just the track is very difficult’ is how Coelho summed up his practice.  Having claimed his first 2WD podium of the season last time out, in the class he openly admits is his weakest, the Xray driver added the track ‘is all about the driver and not the car’.  He concluded, ‘I really like the layout, it’s challenging.  The pace is there but its all about the driving so lets see how the first qualifying goes’.

Just 1/10th of a second off Coelho over his best three laps, Haatanen was pleased with his pace.  Removing his B6 swaybar after free practice and changing to a heavier shock oil, the Finn said this left the car easier to drive.  Describing the track as ‘different’, the youngster said with ‘lots of jumps’ it is ‘fun’ to drive.  While making a couple of mistakes in each of the practice runs he said by being ‘a bit more focused’ for qualifying he should also be able to convert his pace into a good 5-minute time. Team-mate Neil Cragg didn’t have such a good practice and only 12th fastest he will line-up on the second fastest heat on a track where traffic can be very costly.  The European Champion said his standard set-up for the B6 didn’t give him the car he expected with his runs also hampered by a lack of brakes he hopes to rectify by changing his speedo settings.  In terms of the car, for Q1 the British driver will copy Haatanen’s set-up.

Posting the 4th fastest time, Martin Bayer summed up his morning at Arena33 as ‘pretty OK’.  The Slovakian based Czech driver said, ‘going from my home track (Hudy Arena) which is 2 times the size is a big difference but the layout is fun’.  Running an unchanged XB2 from the last EOS which was held at the Hudy Arena, the Xray Offroad team-manager continued, ‘the more I drive here the more I enjoy it and with the car feeling really good I can just drive around and try to make no mistakes’.

Having missed the last two EOS encounters due to military service, Norway’s Joakim Nicolaisen made a strong return to post the 5th quickest time of practice.  The Team Associated driver said ‘practice went really well, I’m surprised by my pace here because before my break I was not so competitive’.  Having done a lot of testing in preparation for the event, the 20-year-old said his car is ‘really good’ after he switched to a different swaybar which ‘calmed it down and didn’t lose too much steering’.  On the track he said ‘it has a nice flow but at the same time it is hard to get the timing right for some of the jumps’ adding ‘there will be a lot of crashes for sure in qualifying’.

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March 17, 2017

Track Focus – Arena33

Name – Arena33
Owner – Tonisport
Country – Germany
Location – Andernach (130 km East of Frankfurt)
Direction – Anti-Clockwise
Surface – Mixed Carpet
Previous key events hosted – 0

Round 4 of this season’s Euro Offroad Series take racers to an all new venue as Arena33 plays host to its first international race meeting.  Only open a number of weeks, the new 1200 square metre indoor facility is the vision of Toni Rheinard and his Tonisport business.  Situated in Andernach, the hometown of the Rheinard family, the track is located in a former slaughter house in the town and after much work from family and friends has been transformed into a great amenity for both existing and potential newcomers to the hobby. Asked about the reason for taking on the extra work load of running a track, Rheinard said, ‘the intention of building the track was get new drivers involved’. With plans to add an outdoor offroad track, he added, ‘we wanted to have a place where people could turn up with a Traxxas and get involved in the hobby and hopefully progress into racing’.

A big boost for the racing community as the only indoor racing facility within a 250km radius, the opening of the track has already enjoyed high profile praise with Ronald Volker putting his recent ETS win down to the fact he had a permanent venue to practice.  Toni said, ‘so far the reaction is very good but we need to improve on lots of things and with the feedback we get from visitors we will make it better and better’.  Having opened as an onroad track, most of the drivers attending Round 2 of the ETS last month in Muelheim-Kaerlich testing at Arena33 in the lead up to that race, while it has switched to offroad for the EOS the plan is to remain as an offroad track for the Summer.  Rheinard said, ‘with the weather starting to improve there are plenty of outdoor onroad tracks for racers to go to but for beginners we want to offer them a place to drive no matter how the weather is and we hope to have the outdoor track ready this year too’.  Currently the track is open Thursday through Sunday each week.  With over 300 entries for the EOS, well above the track’s normal expected attendance, the pits have had to be temporarily expanded with the building owner allowing a doorway to be knocked through into another section of the large building to an overflow pit area for the EOS weekend and any future international events the track may host.

In terms of the track, the 700 square metre layout features noticeably more jumps that normal and it is a layout that EOS co-promoter Scotty Ernst is very pleased with.  Gerd Strenge, who has been very much hands on in the completion of the entire facility has created a number of extra new jump which make for a much more ‘offroad’ layout.  Hoping he can claim a first EOS title this weekend, 2WD championship leader Michal Orlowski said, ‘I like it (the layout), it is more offroad.  It is more challenging for sure’. Adding the layout is similar to Hudy Arena he said because the overall size of the track is smaller it is ‘more technical with all the jumps’. Describing the step down section at the end of the straight as ‘interesting’ he said getting a good rhythm was the key to mastering the track.

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March 16, 2017

Orlowski targets first EOS title at Arena33

The Euro Offroad Series makes its second trip of the season to Germany this weekend (March 17-19) with the all new Arena 33 the venue for the penultimate round of the championship.  With three of the expanded five round calendar to count, both Michal Orlowski and Bruno Coelho will be targeting wrapping up the Season #6 titles.  Completing back to back victories in 2WD last time out at the Hudy Arena, a third consecutive win in Andernach would bring Orlowski and Schumacher their first EOS title and end Yokomo’s three year reign as champions of electric offroad’s premiere class.

Reigning back to back champion Lee Martin, second in the points standings, is Orlowski’s main title rival but with a season so far void of victory the British driver must win on Saturday if he is to have any chance of retaining his title.  Attending the EOS Warm-up race last weekend at Arena33 and winning it, Martin will be hoping this gives him an early advantage on his rivals.

The only other 2WD winner, taking the TQ and victory at the season opener at the Nurburgring, Marc Rheinard has had a tough time since but still finds himself third in the standings and in title contention.  Like his Yokomo team-mate however he must win to stand a chance.  Having been very much hands on in the building of Arena 33, which is run by his brother Toni, he would love to win the first international event to be hosted by the indoor track which has future plans to add an outdoor track.

On the same points as Rheinard, Neil Cragg was hoping for more last time out having claimed his first EOS podium finish in Poland.  The Team Associated driver hasn’t lacked the speed and now entering into the concluding part of the season the reigning European & former World Champion will be keen to prove he has finally mastered racing on the carpet surface.

Having clinched the 4WD title in his debut season, Coelho will be looking to successfully defend that impressive feat come Sunday.  Kicking off the season with a win, the World Champion will be hoping for a repeat German performance.  The Xray driver claimed a much expected win at the Hudy Arena, and only Orlowski has got the better of him this year when he did the double in Warsaw.  Orlowski had an amazing recovery drive in Solvakia, turning around 8th in qualifying to finish on the podium behind Lee Martin and Coelho. While former champion Martin would open the season with a TQ, the EOS’ last double champion hasn’t been able to make it onto the top step of the 4WD podium either, a fact he will be determined to try & quash this weekend.

While the debut of its new B64 at Round 3 didn’t net the result they had hoped, Team Associated got a lot of set-up data from the trip to the Hudy Arena.  Both Cragg and Joona Hataanen can be expected to be a much stronger force in 4WD this time out.


February 5, 2017

Coelho claims home win for Xray at EOS Slovakia

With many having expected it to come in A2, only for that race to turn in a blot on an otherwise dominant Xray performance from the first practice, Bruno Coelho gave the Slovakian manufacturer a home victory at the Euro Offroad Series with a faultless win in A3.  Top Qualifier for the 3rd round of the championship, the reigning champion made amends for a hectic second leg, in which he eliminated himself on the first lap, with a near perfect race to lead home team-mate Martin Bayer.  Securing his second win of the season, the biggest story of 4WD would be those joining him on the podium at the Hudy Racing Arena.  With the host manufacturer locking out the top 3 in qualifying and getting six XB4 onto the A-Main grid, the odds where against their rivals to podium but in part mainly due to the Xray destruction in A2 it would be winner of that leg Lee Martin who would secure the runners-up spot.   More surprising was Michal Orlowski making the podium from 8th on the grid, the Schumacher driver the only one to podium both classes at every race so far this season.  The top non-Xray qualifier, securing 4th on the grid, Joern Neumann would miss the podium, A3 seeing the former champion taken out by Martin Wollanka while on target for 3rd overall.

Commenting on the deciding race, Coelho said, ‘I was pretty nervous for the first 2-laps but everything was good and I could get space on Bayer.  After that I tried to manage it to the end. It was very good’.  Describing his Hobbywing powered XB4 as ‘pretty good all weekend’, even with the bent chassis he ran throughout qualifying, he said the weak link was his mistakes.  Shooting to fame for his electric touring car performance at the 2014 World Championships, a drive that led to him turning professional with Xray, he explained, ‘I am missing offroad practice because I am more focused on onroad.  Compared to my rivals I only get to race five races, the EOS, a year.  I have the pace and the car but miss the comfort in my driving as its not my class and my travel schedule means it impossible to practice more.  So to be able to TQ & win 4WD and make the podium in 2WD  I’m pretty happy.  I didn’t win in 2WD because of inexperience’.  Extending his lead in the standing to 6-points, he concluded, ‘for sure today’s win is great for the championship’.

‘I’ll take it. We didn’t have the pace and they did but thats been the case for a while’, was Martin’s summary of his second place finish.  He continued, ‘we need the ideal track to excel and didn’t have that here’.  Running a brand new set-up this weekend on his RC Concepts powered YZ4 which was the result of recent testing and racing in France last weekend, he said, ‘in the corners its so much better but there are other issues namely landing’.  Still chasing the first win of the season, he said ‘I think I drove pretty good and two seconds here ain’t too bad’, the reigning 2WD champion getting a second in that class yesterday.

From 8th on the grid to finishing on the podium, that result seemed to mean even more to Orlowski that his 2WD win yesterday.   The 15-year-old said, ‘we went from lows to highs each day but I only expected at best a Top 5 today’.  Summing up A3 he said,  ‘I started easy because so I could get a Top 5 but people crashed in front of me and then when I saw Wollanka and Joern crash I knew I had a podium chance if I could finish 4th.  It was a positive end to the weekend to get two podiums’.  Analysing his 4WD performance, the former European Champion said, ‘We have a bit of work to do with set-up for more open tracks.  The car was good but Xray had that little extra bit.  We have the pace on tight tracks but we need to do more testing for tracks like this layout’.

Trying to obtain video footage of his incident with Wollanka, Neumann said, ‘Wollanka was so slow at the start and I passed him but then I don’t know what happened but he drove into the side of me and the marshal was really slow’.  He continued, ‘it was maximum shit because we could have made the podium for sure’.  With fourth his best result this season, the Serpent driver said, ‘for sure we made made progress with the car.  If we can improve the landing we will be right there for the next one’.  Behind Neumann, former team-mate Hupo Hönigl would complete the Top 5 ahead of Kája Novotný, Wollanka and Bayer, the Czech driver’s 8th place not a reflection of the form he showed in qualifying.

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