Reigning double Euro Offroad Series Champion Michal Orlowski has won 4WD at the season opener at the Nurburgring in Germany, the Schumacher driver saying ‘this makes up for 2WD’ in which he finished 3rd yesterday. Orlowski secured his 5th EOS career win of 4WD when he again managed to stay ahead of second place qualifier Bruno Coelho, the Xray driver only coming into contention in the final round of qualifying. Top Qualifier, after taking 3 of the four rounds of qualifying, Orlowski again came under pressure from Coelho in A2 but got a break when his rival got caught up on the wall. Handing the Pole a comfortable lead, two laps later he would have his own mistake allowing Schumacher team-mate Joern Neumann to close right in for a challenge on the lead but the tight track would catch the German out allowing the recovering Coelho back into 2nd. From there he was closing down the leader but another error gave enough breathing space for Orlowski to take the final by more than a second & a half, his first 4WD victory from the TQ starting position. Winning A3, new rules for Season #8 prevented Orlowski from racing the third A-Main, Coelho would finish 2nd with Daniel Kobbevik, 2nd in A3, rewarded for a great performance with the final step on the podium.
‘A big thanks to Trish, Jurgen, my Dad and Robin for supporting me. This makes up for 2WD’, said Orlowski on taking maximum 4WD points from the first of the extended season’s six rounds. He continued, ‘I was on new tyres and felt I had the pace to keep a small gap between me and Bruno but I like to make things hard for myself. When I had a small cushion I had a crash and then had Joern pushing me’. Leading the 4WD points table and 3rd in 2WD, he said, ‘its a positive start to the season. We now know that we have pace on tight tracks which we were not normally fast on. I am looking forward to the rest of the season’. He concluded, ‘it doesn’t matter how you start but how you finish’.
Commenting on the deciding A2 race, Coelho said, ‘Orlowski was on new tyres and I was on used so I had to push and pushed a little too much and got stuck up on the wall’. He continued, ‘others made mistakes and I could get back to second but the problem this weekend was we arrived on the right set-up too late. The wheel problem delayed us from working on set-up and I hope they can sort this for the next race’. Summing up his 2nd place overall the former champion said, ‘for sure second is a good start. There are six races this season and only 4 count. We didn’t end last season so well and the Schumacher was very good. We have not raced on carpet together for a while so nobody was sure where everyone was at but the pace we are leaving here with compared to the others I’m happy’.
Despite racing A3 with a broken front right bearing, Kobbevik was delighted to again open the season with a podium finish as he had done last year. The 13-year-old said, ‘it the same as last year but this time we went better in 2WD, I got a 5th and 3rd from the weekend so I’m very happy’. Going into A3 battle for the final podium position with multiple champion Joern Neumann he said, ‘I made a mistake at the start but tried to stay calm. I knew I need to beat Joern and knew it would be a long 5-minutes so anything was possible and in the end it worked out for me. I’m very happy’. Behind Neumann in fourth Lee Martin would end a tough day 5th ahead of Martin Bayer.
Michal Orlowski has won the first A-Main of 4WD at the EOS opening round at the Nurburgring. The Schumacher driver came under intense pressure from Xray’s Bruno Coelho, who momentarily took the lead at the end of the straight before coming off worst when the two buggies touched. Giving Orlowski a huge break, the reigning champion would make a mistake half way through the race, which now 2nd placed Joern Neumann emulated, allowing Coelho a second go at his rival. Having just put in the fastest lap of the race, 3/10ths better than that of Orlowski, he would make a mistake at the centre table, allowing Top Qualifier Orlowski to take the win. Behind, Daniel Kobbevik completed the Top 3 just ahead of the recovering Neumann.
Reacting to the race, Orlowski said, ‘I was on my set of tyres from Q4 but forgot to make a change to my car for this. I knew straight away in the warm-up that the car didn’t feel as I wanted it’. Eventually winning by half a second, the Polish ace said, ‘It was a good battle with Bruno. I got lucky at the end of the straight that he rolled over but then made a stupid mistake after the corner table top which let him catch back up but I was able to keep ahead’. Looking to A2, he concluded, ‘now I will be on new tyres so I hope to be to pull away’.
‘It was a good final. I had a little bad luck with Orlowski. I got down his inside but we touch and I ended up in the wrong direction’, commented Coelho. Winner the last time the EOS ran at the Nurburgring, he continued, ‘he then had a mistake and I got back with him. I tried to overtake at the table but touched the board’. For A2 the Portuguese driver said, ‘the car is working very nice after some changes so I will make pressure on him to get a mistake and hope I have more luck next time’.
‘Stable but not fast’, was Kobbevik’s reaction to his P3. The 13-year-old Norwegian talent said a change of tyres was the reason the car lacked the same speed as earlier but with new tyres planned for A2 he feels ‘the next one should be fast’ as he ‘wont need to push’ as hard as he did in A1. The Xray driver said, ‘I had a good race with Bruno and Joern at the end but I’m looking for better on the new tyres’.
Neumann was pleased with his opening race saying, ‘It was very good. At the start I could make some good passes and got up to second but then I saw Michal crash and crashed also. The rest of the race I was behind Daniel Kobbevik and there was no way to pass him, it is very difficult on this layout’. On tyres the German said he ran new tyres adding he is happy with his performance as he likes more running on used tyres reporting his Schumacher on used tyres is ‘at the end much faster than the beginning (of the 5-minutes)’.