Name – Modellbau Wels Host – EOS Country – Austria Location – Wels (200km West of Vienna) Direction – Anti-clockwise Surface – All carpet
Making its first appearance on the Euro Offroad Series calendar in 2014, this is third time the championship runs as part of the country’s biggest Hobby Exhibition ‘Modelbau Wels’, last year the ETS getting the chance to race in front of the show’s 30k plus visitors. Situated in the small north Austrian city of Wels, this year the EOS track returns to same hall it took over on its first visit, that race also bringing a conclusion to the then third season. While now situated more on the peripheral of the three day show compared to the vast hall it was located in in 2015, the event is still a good opportunity to highlight R/C Racing. As a show, Modellbau Wels’ aim is to give people looking for a modelling based hobby a full spectrum of potential hobbies with everything from R/C construction models, boats, planes, drifting, trains and of course R/C racing covered.
In terms of the all carpet track, all the jumps having been covered with the exhibition hall’s own carpet tiles, the build was headed by Gerd Strenge. Covering an area 30 X 20 metres, the track moves back to a more traditional layout than that used at the previous round at Arena 33. While utilising the same jumps, one alteration Gerd has made since the last outing is to the kicker which now has a reduced dig angle. Key features of the track are the main jump in front of the drivers stand and the angled double double in the centre.
Giving his thoughts on the layout after free practice, Neil Cragg called its ‘pretty cool’. He added, ‘Its quite flowing this time so it not too bad at all’. Asked how it compared to the layout at Arena 33, the Associated driver replied, ‘that layout was a little too much and the step down was stupid, this is a nicer layout’. One unintentional feature of the track that is causing the greatest difficult for the drivers is a bump at the end of the straight. Caused by one of the cable tunnels in the floor of the exhibition hall, Cragg said, ‘it is right on the turning point which is a little annoying’. In terms of a lap time for the track, in 2WD a quick laps is running in the late 18-seconds bracket.
While both Euro Offroad Series buggy champions were decided at the penultimate round last month at Arena33, there is still plenty of excitement surrounding this weekend’s season finale in Wels, Austria.Returning to the calendar for Season #6, the Modelbau Wels Hobby Show hosting a round of the ETS last year, it is the debut of American offroad star Ryan Maifield in the championship this weekend (21-23 April) that is the focus of the EOS regulars.Championship leading drivers are relishing the prospect of racing against the Yokomo driver.On the announcement confirming the Yokomo driver would make his EOS debut, back to back 4WD Champion Bruno Coelho joked on social media that he would not attend the fifth & final round of the 1:10 electric offroad championship.The Xray driver however is very excited to race Maifield as is 2WD Champion Michal Orlowski.Unfortunately an important school exam will mean the Schumacher ace will not get to race Maifield in his preferred class as he doesn’t arrive until Friday night when 2WD qualifying will be almost complete.
While there will be much interest in seeing how Maifield adapts to the European style of Indoor carpet tracks, the race will also be an opportunity for a number of drivers to try and end the season on a high note. One such driver is Maifield’s team-mate Lee Martin.Having come into the season as the back to back 2WD Champion, the British driver has yet to register a win.In 2015, Wels was a very happy hunting ground for driver with 7 EOS career wins as he claimed his first ever weekend double winning both 2WD & 4WD having also taken the TQ honours.Having started his season with Yokomo’s only win of the season to date, Marc Rheinard will also be looking to wrap up his campaign back at the top.Since that win in 2WD, the German has struggled to be competitive and last time out at Arena 33, his home race, he had his worst result not even making the A-Main.
Star of Round 4 would be Team Associated young gun Joona Haatanen.One of the championship’s most challenging track layouts, the Finnish teenager claimed his first TQ there.While the 2WD Finals didn’t go his way, he still made the podium behind Coelho and Martin, with his performance making it very clear to his rivals that his first EOS win isn’t far away. Also making the 4WD podium, Wels could be his big moment. Team-mate Neil Cragg completes his first full season of EOS in Wels.Battling for 3rd in the overall 2WD standings with Coelho, the European Champion will need to at least claim a second podium finish if he is to get the better of his Portuguese rival.Returning to the championship at Arena 33 after completing his National Service, Norwegian Joakim Nicolaisen finished an impressive 5th in 2WD and another of European AE team manager Craig Drescher’s proteges, he should be at the sharp end again in Wels.
While Coelho leads the Xray team and comes into the weekend on the back of his first double, surprising himself wiith his 2WD win in Germany, this is a home race for his team-mates Hupo Honigl and Martin Wollanka.Sitting fourth in the 4WD standings, Honigl leads Xray Offroad team manager Martin Bayer by 2-points with Wollanka a further point back which should make for some interesting internal team rivalry come Sunday.
American offroad ace Ryan Maifield is to make his Euro Offroad Series debut with the confirmation he will travel to the season finale of the five round championship in Wels, Austria (21-23 April). Joining Yokomo’s 1:10 Offroad team for the 2017 season, the 4-times EOS Champion manufacturer will be hoping the input of their high profile signing will lead to the team’s first win of Season #6 since Marc Rheinard won the season opener. With both EOS buggy title’s having been decided at Arena 33 in Germany earlier this month, all drivers will be targeting the win to cap off the season with Maifield’s participation adding an extra dimension to winning at Austria’s largest Hobby Show. Featured on the Euro Touring Series calendar last year, the Modellbau Wels show attracted over 30,000 visitors. At last season’s finale, held at the Nurburgring, Maifield’s great rival Ryan Cavalieri became the first American to win a round of the indoor carpet track based championship but it wasn’t the Team Associated driver’s first EOS outing. Accompanying Maifield on the trip will be the Arizona driver’s longtime sponsor Jason Ruona whose JConcepts brand is an associated sponsor of this year’s Euro Offroad Series.
Bruno Coelho has successfully defended his Euro Offroad Series title with a masterful 4WD win this evening at the penultimate round of the championship in Germany. Starting the weekend by claiming his first ever 2WD win of the EOS, when the action switched over to 4WD at Arena33, the reigning champion was in a league of his own. Top Qualifier, taking all four rounds of qualifying, the Xray driver would cruise to a completely unchallenged A1 win. The second encounter would see the World Champion kept on his toes by Yokomo’s Lee Martin getting to within a second of the leader but with three laps to go a mistake from the former champion left Coelho to cruise to the win to notch up his third victory of the season and lock down the Season #6 title. With Coelho able to pack is bags early, his absence from the A3 grid would allow Martin to take the win to finish second overall with the podium being completed by star of the weekend Joona Haatanen.
‘Everything is done, we reached the target’, was Coelho’s reaction to securing the title. Only joining the EOS last season and going on to take the title at his first attempt, he said ‘the result is amazing because onroad is my main class. EOS is five races so I only practice 5-times for it’. With a rival manufacturer commenting after watching Coelho take the fourth qualifier, ‘the car is really good but to watch how Bruno drives it is pretty amazing’, the Portuguese driver put his impressive form down to enjoying 4WD. He said, ‘I don’t like 2WD, I only do it to learn the track. 4WD I really enjoy because you can force it around the track, in 2WD you have to wait’. Commenting on his A2 performance he said, ‘now it was more difficult. I didn’t have such an advantage as Lee pushed much harder. Also I didn’t use my third set of tyres so my tyres were at their limit. After Lee’s mistake it was comfortable in the end’. With the season finale still to run next month in Wels, Austria, Coelho said the race will be an opportunity to start working on their new 2018 car adding ‘we have some ideas we want to try and now we can do that at the next EOS’.
With his season still void of a win in either 2 or 4WD, Martin summed up his second place with ‘it’s been another bridesmaid race’. He continued, ‘I quite enjoyed leg 3 without having to catch Bruno. He’s a bit ahead of me on his package’. With it 16 months since his last EOS win, which came in 2WD, ironically at the Hudy Arena, the former champion of both classes said, ‘we made a fews steps forward this time round and hopefully we can progress that more for the last round so we can take the fight to hm (Bruno) again’.
‘This weekend has been awesome, I made the podium in all three classes’, said a very happy Haatanen after grabbing a late second place in A3 to complete a trio of podium finishes in Andernach. Having kicked off his 4WD A-Main debut with a third place in A1 from 5th on the grid, the 14-year-old Team Associated star said, ‘the second one was not that good because I had mistakes. The last one I was all the 5-minutes in 4th but on the 2nd last lap Bayer and Wollanka had problems in the centre table top which gave me a chance to pass them’. Securing his first ever TQ of the championship yesterday in 2WD, the up & coming talent only missed out on the win in a three way tie breaker which left him third behind winner Coelho and Lee Martin. Racing in Mod Truck, which he would also TQ, after a mistake in A1 let Martin Bayer take the win, he bounced back to win A2 and 3 to take the overall win and end Xray’s reign over the class. With his overall performance a huge boost for both himself and the concerted efforts of Team Associated’s European team-manager Craig Drescher to put the American manufacturer in the mix in the EOS, Haatanen is already gunning for the season finale saying ‘I’m feeling confident and want to build on today’s result at the last race’.