Bruno Coelho opened qualifying at EOS Slovakia with an impressive TQ run dealing a blow his rivals who in practice looked to have had the slight upper edge over the Xray’s on their home grounds. Rolling off the start line 6th, Coelho would work his way through the field with apparent ease to head an Xray 1-2. Surviving a significant late mistake, the Portuguese ace end up almost 4/10ths quicker than Martin Bayer with Serpent’s Joern Neumann completing the Top 3 some 2-seconds off. Having set the pace in seeding practice Lee Martin could only manage fourth ahead of his impressive young Yokomo team-mate Daniel Kobbevik while Team Associated’s young star Joona Hataanen completed the Top 6.
Admitting that he had even impressed himself with his TQ run, Coelho said, ‘the track is really difficult so I started slowly because my goal is first to make the A-Main because I missed it last time’. Having 2 mistakes over the 5-minutes, putting the bigger of the 2 down to being over-safe with his driving. Jumping short his Hobbywing powered XB2 cased the jump with the lost time temporarily resulting in Bayer moving to the top of the timing screens. Setting the fastest lap of the busy layout with a time of 22.583, he said his car was perfect and the only thing he need to change for Q2 was to cut out the mistakes, a task that is admittedly easier said than done on this particular track.
‘Excellent’ was how Bayer summed up his opening qualifier adding, ‘as a team you cant get a better start so I’m very happy’. Having moved to Trencin to fulfil his role as Xray’s Offroad Team Manager, making this even more a home for the Czech driver, he said ‘I wasn’t the fastest, I was cruising and had no mistakes and that worked out perfect’. The only driver to have given Xray a win in 2WD of the EOS, that winning come at the Hudy Arena, he said he is ‘really comfortable with the car’ adding ‘this track is about self control, you can’t push’.
‘Third is a really good start’ was Neumann’s reaction to what has been his most competitive start to 2WD qualifying since the days of his reigning as champion in the early days of the championship. Despite losing close to 3-seconds when he landed sideways on the table top causing his car to flip, he is confident ‘that there is room to push a little harder’ and with this he ‘should be fine’ in terms of getting on pace with the Xrays.
Lee Martin said, ‘I made myself nervous at the first corner when I hit the pipe and that had me scared for a few laps’. While his driving for the early part of the qualifier was not up to scratch he felt overall he had ‘lost time compared to practice’ adding ‘I don’t know why’. Looking to Q2 the reigning champion said, ‘we’ll have another go and try not to be so stupid’, the stupid a reference to him driving his RC Concept powered YZ2 into the piping at the first corner. Kobbevik said he was very happy’ with his start to qualifying feeling that refreshing the diff oil had made the car ‘a little faster.’ Set to leave his car unchanged, he said his goal for Q2 is to eliminate some of the driver errors.
Hataanen was content with his P6 result but said his car not 100% to his liking. Describing his B6 as being ‘super edgy all day’ he said adding weight for the first qualifier had made it more easy but it was ‘still hard for me to drive’. While the car is ‘getting better all the time’ the 14-year-old said they don’t know if adding more weight would further improve the current level of edginess. Hataanen’s senior team-mate Neil Cragg, having had a good practice to end up second fastest, would finish 9-seconds off the TQ pace something the British driver said was the result of ‘too many crashes’.
Chassis: Yokomo YZ-2 CA Motor: RC Concept 6.0T ESC: RC Concept SC120 Batteries: RC Concept Omega 4500mAh Radio/Servo: Sanwa/Xpert Remarks – Team Yokomo star Lee Martin topped the controlled practice here in Trencin behind the wheel of the Yokomo YZ-2 CA. Fitted with an LMR rear wing and a Pro-Line front spoiler, his car is equipped with the same prototype Yatabe springs used in the first two rounds of EOS and features a new 3D printed, prototype brace that connects the rear shock tower to the chassis and is said to drastically improve the forward traction. With this improvement coming from the new part, Lee is now able to run a slightly softer shock setup that gives him an improved feeling with the buggy. He is also using titanium screws and turnbuckles.
Lee Martin has kicked off the third round of the Euro Offroad Series at the Hudy Arena at the top of the times, the Yokomo driver setting the fastest 2WD seeding time ahead of British compatriot Neil Cragg in Slovakia. With the EOS organisers taking over the building of the track at what is the home of Xray, the layout is one of the busiest to feature in the championship will all drivers enjoying the greater level of difficulty which is expected to throw up some surprise results. One such surprise already is young Daniel Kobbevik who took his Yokomo to the third fastest time ahead of the quickest Xray in the hands of Hupo Honigl. Having come into the event in confident mood following his EOS Round 2 and DHI Cup form, Michal Orlowski’s weekend has not started off well with the championship leader unable to get 3-laps together leaving him 21st fastest and out of the top heat for qualifying.
Reacting to his fastest time, which he set in the second of the two seeding rounds, Martin said, ‘that was a really good run, not just three laps’ adding, ‘this layout is pretty cool’. Winner on the championship’s last visit to the Hudy Arena, the reigning 2WD Champion continued saying his car ‘just felt nice’ and was ‘a joy to drive’ after they added more droop and went to a softer shock oil for the final practice. Running a new rear end on his YZ-2 which takes parts from the dirt version of the car, he said the fitting of the currently 3D printed parts had made the car ‘easier to drive’. He concluded while the track presented a high risk of crashing he was feeling good heading into qualifying.
‘I’m pretty pleased with my pace and pretty happy with my car’ was Cragg’s reaction to his practice. His first time to travel to the Hudy Arena, the Team Associated driver said, ‘the track is dialled and it’s an amazing facility’. Joking ‘I’m going to enjoy winning on enemy territory’, he described the track as ‘difficult’ continuing ‘we’ve been running onroad layouts for so long we have forgot how to do jumps’. Having claimed his first EOS podium finish at the previous round, ahead of the four rounds of qualifying which all take place today the former World Champion said ‘I have a good 5-minute car so we’ll take it from there’.
Also running the new rear end parts on his Yokomo, Kobbevik said his car was working ‘very good’. The up & coming Norwegian talent is also enjoying the track layout and the fact it has ‘many jumps’. The 12-year-old would make a shock oil change during practice liking the harder set-up more and he is confident of backing up his practice pace with strong qualifying runs.
Coming straight from the Nuremberg Toy Fair, where his business Hoeco has a stand, Honigl said, ‘I think my car is awesome but I need more sleep tonight’. The Austrian said he is ‘feeling really tired’ due to the preparation that had to go into getting ready for the Toy Fair and today he is ‘feeling 30-years older than I am’. Feeling he ‘could drive it better’ after some sleep, while he will have no chance of that for qualifying he does have to look forward to a good nights sleep before the morning’s finals.
Setting the 5th fastest time would be Serpent’s Joern Neumann. The former champion said while the track is ‘really challenging’, he ‘really like(s) it’. Used to tracks with ‘higher corner speeds’, he said this weekend’s track ‘has many sections you can lose or gain time’ adding ‘5-minutes will be very different to 3-laps’. In terms of his car, the German said having been a little nervous to drive at the beginning of the day a shock set-up change has now left the car ‘very good’ .
Setting the 6th fastest time, Bruno Coelho said ‘my car works very well but I had bad luck with traffic’. The Xray driver continued, ‘the pace is there and its consistent so its all very well for qualifying’. On the track he said, ‘Its super difficult. You need to be super patient and feel the jumps, you can’t just drive it flat out, you have to be super smooth but I like it’.
Asked about his disappointing time, Orlowski said, ‘the driver just can’t get around the track’. The Schumacher ace expanded by saying, ‘The car is really good, I have the pace and all what is needed to be a the top but just need to concentrate more to get around the track’.
Name – Hudy Racing Arena Club – Private Track Country – Slovakia Location – Trencin (120 km North East of Bratislava) Direction – Anti-Clockwise Surface – Carpet tiles Previous key events hosted – 3 X EOS rounds, 4 X ETS rounds
Round 3 of the Euro Offroad Series is making its fourth visit to the World Famous Hudy Racing Arena and having traditionally attracted one of the smaller entries of the season this year’s event has attracted the 6-year-old series’ second biggest ever entry, the snow not putting off the drivers who make up the 300 plus entries. The home hunting ground for Xray, their impressive factory part of the 25,000 square metre facility, this year the EOS organisers took over responsibility for the build of the track in response to rivals teams feeling that, while the Arena changed the track layout for the race weekend they still had an unfair advantage. While not affecting the EOS competitors, one noticeable change at the Hudy Arena is the progress made on the dirt track with the separate building it is housed in now fully clad having been just a steel frame on the previous visit. For the future the facility might present the opportunity for the EOS to include dirt. One change for the weekend that will affect drivers is the new timetable structure with the entire event separated between 2WD and 4WD. Previously Friday was a mixed practice day with Saturday for 2WD and 4WD taking place on Sunday. Now drivers with start with 2WD practice and continue with qualifying through to the Finals before the switch to 4WD practice on Saturday. The new format is already proving very positive with racers as they can focus on one car rather than switch between classes.
Built in an area 34 metre long by 28 metre deep, the track layout has been created by Gerd Strenge, a regular contributor to EOS track layouts, with input from Race Director Scotty Ernst. A much busier layout than in the previous years, reigning 2WD Champion & last year’s race winner Lee Martin described the layout as ‘testing’ adding ‘there is a lot going on’. The Yokomo driver said one of the challenges of the track is that the jumps are at different angles to each other and the corner dots are presenting a bit of a challenge as contact tends to flip the car. He also said getting around traffic was hard as ‘not every driver is confident with their lines’. 2WD standings leader Michal Orlowski said while the track is ‘fun to drive’ he doesn’t feel it will make for good racing. In practice, the Pole found other drivers mistakes made it hard to complete clears laps, making cars cross lanes when they crash.
The Euro Offroad Series reaches the midway stage in the 2016/17 Championship this weekend (3-5 Feb) as drivers descend on the Hudy Racing Arena in Slovakia. The world famous home track of reigning 4WD champions Xray, the visiting rival teams will be out to try & crash any home victory party the host manufacturer might have planned with Bruno Coelho in particular the driver they are all out to beat. Leading the 4WD standings after the first two rounds having won the season opener, Coelho took victory at his second-home last year enroute to becoming EOS Champion in his debut season.
The first double winner of what is the sixth season of the EOS, Michal Orlowski is expected to lead the main challenge to Xray this weekend. At his home round in Warsaw, Poland, the teenager completed the perfect 2WD performance to both TQ and win to put himself at the top of the points standings. While in 4WD it was Coelho who would TQ, Orlowski got the better of the World Champion to claim his first 4WD win in the series. Opening 2017 with an all conquering performance at the DHI Cup in Denmark and the fact that the Hudy Racing Arena was the venue of a break through first international race win for him during Season #4 of the EOS, the Schumacher ace won’t be lacking confidence in any way as he tries to extend his 2WD points lead.
The only other winner of the current season, Marc Rheinard will be aiming to make amends for a disappointing result in Poland. Having won 2WD at the season opener for reigning champions Yokomo, the German could only manage 7th and in 4WD didn’t fare much better ending up 8th on what he will be hoping is one of his throw out results in the final championship standings. Team-mate & defending 2WD Champion Lee Martin has yet to register a win but 3rd at Round 1 and 2nd at Round 2 the British driver will be aiming to continue the trend in Trencin and close the gap to Orlowski to whom he currently lies second in the standings.
Having finally replaced their ageing 4WD platform with the new B64D, which debuted at the recent Reedy Race of Champions helping EOS race winner Ryan Cavalieri to claim a fourth victory, Team Associated will be the team to watch this weekend. Neil Cragg claimed his first EOS podium last time out, admitting that success in the EOS was much harder than he had given credit to, and this weekend will see the former World Champion in action in both classes. Having opted to sit out 4WD due to the old B44 not being competitive on the carpet surface, the British driver will debut the all new car with high hopes. Fresh from finishing as the top European at the Reedy Race after some very impressive displays of race craft during the famous heads up racing event, Joona Haatanen will also be looking to impress on the B64D’s EOS debut as well as in 2WD.
Round 2 of the Euro Offroad Series would turn out to be a fairy tale weekend for Michal Orlowski, as the young Polish RC star did the double in his home city of Warsaw. With Poland making a return to the championship after being left off last season’s calendar, the Schumacher driver took a not so unexpected 2WD win on Saturday in front of a huge crowd at Warsaw Moto Show, the host of the race. After a troubled start to 4WD qualifying on Friday and Xray looking dominant, the 15-year-old himself was at best targeting just making the main. However topping the last 4WD qualifier this morning to line up second on the grid, there was a new glimmer that a podium could be possible. Capitalising on a mistake by Top Qualifier Coelho to win A1, that prospect of a double grew strong although a lap one error in A2 was to be a set back. Not phased the Pole said ahead of the third & deciding leg he would be ‘going to go for it’ and that’s just what he did helped by yet another mistake from Coelho. Once in front Orlowski made the race his own to pull off his first 4WD win and become only the 4th driver to do the double in the six seasons of the EOS. Behind the home hero, Coelho would secure second which along with his TQ bonus point see him still leading the championship while Bayer made his first podium appearance for over a season.
‘I absolutely didn’t expect the 4WD win. Xray are very strong in this class but somehow we did it’, was Orlowski’s reaction to his win. He continued, ‘It was a great atmosphere here and I was spurred on by the support of the crowd’. On his winning A3 performance he said, ‘Like before I was trying to keep with Bruno so if he made a mistake I would be there to capitalise and he did. After he made another mistake I concentrated more to make sure I didn’t make a mistake myself and could keep the race lead’. Schumacher’s first 4WD win of the EOS, the British manufacturer making big improvements since the season opener Orlowski said, ‘we will continue to work hard for sure on our 4WD but for sure the next race will be difficult as it’s their track. For Xray the Hudy Arena will feel like here did for me’. Acknowledging his father and engineer Tristram Neal’s hard work in getting the CAT K2 to where it is, he added, ‘I have to thank all my sponsors for making all of this possible in particular Schumacher and LRP’.
‘One more mistake’ was how Coelho put simply the chance of making it five EOS wins in a row. He continued, ‘I touched the board at the chicane and after this it was impossible’. Complimenting Orlowski on his win, the World Champion said, ‘Michal had impressive pace this weekend and to win at home is a great result’. On his own result he said, ‘the result is still positive and the TQ was very important, ok I was not able to make 1st again but there is 3 more race to go so it’s no problem’.
A ‘super happy’ Bayer said, ‘It was great again to be fighting for the podium after more than a year. All weekend was really good and only 1 time (Q3) I didn’t finish in the Top 3′. On the EOS’ exclusive list of double winners, the Czech driver added ‘it’s a shame there is such a big break to the next round’ joking ‘I’m on form now’. In with a chance of the overall win going into A3, needing to win it in a new fastest time, he said ‘I planned to let Bruno go to Orlowski in the hope the would delay each other and maybe I could be there but he (Bruno) came too fast and we crashed too much’. With essentially his office the host of Round 3 in February, the Xray offroad team manager said, ‘Now that I live in Trencin it will be cool having the EOS at the Hudy Arena as it will be the first time I’ve had a home race’.
Missing out a podium double at an EOS for the first time since Season #4, this being the first time Yokomo’s YZ4 has missed the podium since its debut, Martin said, ‘I’m gutted to miss the podium but the three guys were genuinely faster’. Hoping for ‘a sneaky podium’ with a good result in A3 to go with his P3 in A2, the fourth place qualifier said, ‘I got it wrong coming out of the corner before the triple which caused me to case it and then I was last. I couldn’t have matched the Top 3 pace anyway’. Summing up the team’s 4WD performance on what was a much tighter track than normal for the EOS, the 2WD Champion said ‘for the tighter tracks we need to improve the car. On the more open tracks it’s good but we have a bit of work to do for this type of layout’. Behind Martin Hupo Hönigl would claim 5th overall with his Xray team-mate Kája Novotný completing the Top 6 ahead of former multiple champion Joern Neumann.