Michal Orlowski took first blood in the 4wd class at the Euro Offroad Series in Warsaw, the battle with top qualifier Bruno Coelho failing to materialise after the Portuguese driver got it wrong on lap 3 and dropped down the order. Jorn Neumann would make it a Schumacher 1-2 as he took the runner up spot, with a recovering Coelho in 3rd and his Xray team mate Martin Bayer having a good run to 4th. Recounting the race, Orlowski said ’I had a new set of tires and pushed hard at the beginning, Bruno had an error on the double. I tried to avoid him but I couldn’t brake in the air and we had a small contact and on the next jump he made another mistake.’ Once in front the young Polish driver put his head down and ran the fastest 5 minute run of the weekend. ‘I just kept it on 4 wheels, I just had a clean 5 minute run, so I have a fast time for the tie break if it’s needed.’
Neumann had a lonely race in 2nd, explaining ‘it was ok, maybe in the first couple of laps I didn’t drive too nice so I lost the contact and then it was difficult to catch up but a one-two for Schumacher is great.’ Looking to make some changes for the next main the German believes if he can keep contact with the leading pair at the start he a has chance to challenge for the win.
Ending the final in 3rd, having started out on pole position the Xray driver commented ‘It was not so good final’, elaborating by saying ‘In the beginning I started OK but on the 3rd lap on the double single I jumped too short and Michal touched me and immediately after on the double I jumped wrong and hit the board.’ Out of touch with the leaders, the winner of the 2wd class yesterday said, ‘I then just drove to save the 3rd place.’
Starting 6th on the grid, Martin Bayer, who is responsible for Xray’s offroad car development, jokingly commented ‘Everybody crashed’. Explaining further ‘It was perfect, I made no mistake, clean run, didn’t expect so much and it just me bumped me to the front.’ Having a race long battle with Joona Haatanen, the Czech driver said ‘he was very fast but he crashed and I was 4th, very good, I’m very happy.’ Haatanen would complete the top 5, followed by Lee Martin, Daniel Kobbevik, Pekko Iivonen, Paul Cromption and Wesley van Helmond.
Bruno Coelho will start EOS Poland from pole position after Michal Orlowski’s challenge came undone with the Polish driver having to start his home race from 2nd. Jorn Neumann, who pulled up to save tires in Q4 will start 3rd, in front of Joona Haatanen and Daniel Kobbevik who make up the top half of the grid. The Xray driver summed up Q4, in which he took his 3rd TQ of qualifying, said ’It was a good qualifier, I tried to drive smooth because I knew that Orlowski will push for sure to make the TQ. In the beginning he was catching me but I touched the curb and I had two cars behind and there was a big mess there.’ This accident also held up the Schumacher driver who was following closely behind ‘He lost a lot of time there also, he then made some more mistakes that were good for me.’ Looking to the Finals the Portuguese driver said ‘Myself, Orlowski and also Jorn have the same pace, it will be for sure be an interesting final.’
Starting the finals from 2nd, Orlwoski having done the double at this round two years ago, the current Champion said ‘It was a hectic Q4, started off real good. I tried to push as hard as possible to put pressure on Bruno and had quite a good gap’. Losing ground to Coelho due to a number of incidents on track, Michal then had his own mistake and when trying to make up the time lost made another mistake which put him out of contention. On the final Michal was confident saying ‘Second is good, I like to start second on the grid.’
Starting from 3rd in the final, Schumacher driver Jorn Neumann pulled up the final qualifier after a mistake meant he couldn’t improve his grid position. ‘The first 3 laps was good, I then pushed the small double and rolled over and lost 3 or 4 seconds.’ Pulling up to save his tires he commented ‘New tires were better, I immediately made 18.5’, ending by saying ‘I’m pretty confident for the final.’
Runner up in the final qualifier Joona Haatanen will start from 4th on the grid. Describing how his race evolved the Finn said ‘I started behind Martin Bayer, we drove 4 minutes together, I think it was good, he had the same speed as me. In the last minute he made a mistake and I got by, then I heard Michal making mistakes and I got up to 2nd and Bruno was leading, so then I started to push in the last minute. I think it was like 3 tenths at the end, so not too bad.’ Daniel Kobbevik will start from 5th in front of his Xray team mate Martin Bayer, with Lee Martin in 7th, while Pekko Iivonen and Wesley van Helmond make their EOS A-main debuts and give Schumacher the most cars in the A-main and the first time the British brand had 4 cars in the final. Yokomo driver Paul Crompton completes the A-main grid.
In the 4wd 10.5 class, it was Associated distributor Sven Rudig who will start at the front of the grid ahead of Marcel Röttgerkamp in 2nd and Mirko Morgenstern in 3rd, the top 3 drivers all claiming at least one TQ in qualifying, proving just how close the competition in this class is.
Michal Orlowski bounced back in Q3, following a bad start to 4wd qualifying at the Euro Offroad Series in Warsaw, to take the top spot, and importantly in the fastest time of the 3 rounds so far. Bruno Coelho, who took both rounds yesterday evening, would claim 2nd in front of Jorn Neumann, with British Yokomo driver Paul Crompton in 4th just ahead of a greatly improved Wesley van Helmond. Happy to get his qualifying back on track the Warsaw native said ‘I got what I couldn’t get in Q1’ a mechanical error putting him out of the lead in the opening qualifying run. Continuing ‘the car felt really good, I will stay with the same setup for Q4 and try to take the TQ from Bruno’, ending by saying ‘I think we are in the game now.’
Still sitting in provisional pole thanks to his TQ runs in Q1 and 2, Bruno Coelho had to settle for 2nd this round but put the pace difference down to the tires, saying ‘I think it was ok, I was on used tires, they are already very used since I ran them since the practice.’ His run also contained a number of errors saying ‘I made two mistakes and I lost 3 or 4 seconds’, the difference separating the front pair some 4 and a half seconds at the end of the 5 minutes.
Jorn Neumann was another who ran on heavily used tires for this round saying ‘I was on 3rd run tires, I think the same as Bruno, we had similar pace so I’m pretty happy with that. Michal was on new tires, it’s always a little faster.’ Asked for what changes the Schumacher driver plans for the final qualifying round he simply said ‘I think I go for new tires and we have the advantage.’
Despite showing good pace in practice, Yokomo driver Paul Crompton was having a difficult qualifying up until Q3, when he was able to put it together and stick in a top 4 run. Asked to explain his change in fortunes, he remarked ‘I just kept it on its wheels, didn’t make any mistake,’ explaining further ‘I needed a run because yesterday was pretty bad.’ Completing the top 5, Dutch driver Wesley van Helmond kept it tidy to post his best run so far, with Martin Bayer and Lee Martin completing the top 7 for the round.
Bruno Coelho has taken another TQ in the 4wd class as the Xray driver led home the Schumacher pairing of Jorn Neumann and Michal Orlowski, the trio separated by 8 tenths of a second at the end of the 5 minute run. Q1 runner up Daniel Kobbevik was 4th this round, less than a second in front of Lee Martin, with Neil Cragg the top Associated driver in 6th. Tomorrow morning see’s two more qualifiers, with a driver’ 2 best runs used to determine their starting order for the triple mains in the afternoon.
Qualification in 4wd kicked off with Bruno Coelho taking the top spot ahead of Xray team mate Daniel Kobbevik. Michal Orlowski headed the times until 3 and a half minutes in, when landing off the right side double the car went straight on, a loose screw the culprit. His Schumacher team mate and 2nd seed after controlled practice, Jorn Neumann ended 3rd with Joona Haatanen and Lee Martin completing the top 5 for the round. Winner in the 2wd class, which took place earlier today, Bruno, who lost time early in the run, said ‘I did a very big mistake in the beginning, I flipped and I lost 2 or 3 seconds, then I pushed maximum until the end and was able to catch Neumann, and I think then Orlowski stopped.’
Daniel Kobbevik, who scored his first 2wd podium earlier in the day reported his first qualifier as ‘good, only one mistake on the table top but it was a good run.’ The Xray driver continued ‘I was starting 4th and I finished second so I am happy with that.’ Looking for his first class round TQ, the young Norwegian remarked ‘I have been very close to the TQ many times now, it would be cool to take one qualification.’
With Orlowski having to pull up early the Schumacher honours were left to Jorn Neumann to uphold and he would take 3rd for the round. The former champion said ‘It was a good start. Sometimes the car was on two wheels because it wanted to traction roll if I pushed too hard so we are working on that for the next qualifiers.’ Running on new tires, the German expects the 2nd round to be an improvement, saying ‘When the car is on new tires it is pretty edgy so next run should be better.’
Team Associated’s young Finnish star Joona Haatanen was only 6 tenths back on Neumann but was content with his run declaring it ‘not too bad’. Explaining his strategy going into qualifying he said ‘I drove my race tires in the controlled practice because my car was not too good on new tires, super edgy to drive, so that’s why I think I had an advantage to drive easy in the first qualification.’ Former champion Lee Martin completed the top 5 for Yokomo with Xray designer and multiple race winner Martin Bayer in 6th.
In the 10.5 4wd buggy class Marcel Röttgerkamp took the first round of qualifying from 2wd stock class winner Sven Rudig, while Mirko Morgenstern was 3rd, only one tenth in front of Stephan Eberding in 4th.
Remarks – Long time Team Associated ambassador Neil Cragg is racing a B64 with a number of options and interesting solutions here at the Ptak Warsaw Expo. Having equipped his buggy with lower front and rear shock towers, the British driver is also using the B6 rear arms and hubs in an inverted left and right position. The rear shock tower is mounted in front of the gearbox instead of the standard rear position, and the front gearbox is raised 2mm. Neil is also using the rear HRC arms mount flipped upside down so as to obtain a lower roll centre.