Michal Orlowski came out on top of the opening A-Main of 4WD at the Euro Offroad Series in Austria, the Schumacher driver capitalising on all three Xray drivers starting ahead of him rolling at the same corner. Off the start it was Top Qualifier Bruno Coelho who led away the field from team-mate Martin Bayer but as they came onto the straight for the first time the Xrays performing a synchronised roll which would end Lee Martin’s challenge as he collected Bayer’s car. This would leave Martin Wollanka to lead but 3-laps later he would execute an almost carbon copy of his team-mate’s error allowing 5th place starter Orlowski to go to the front where, despite his slipper going, he would stay to the end. Wollanka would finish second with Neil Cragg completing the Top 3.
Having highlighted after qualifying that anything could be possible in the finals here with the example of the P2 he got from 8th on the grid in the second of the A-Mains at Round 3 of the EOS at the Hudy Arena, Orlowski said with a smile, ‘I got a bit lucky at the start’. He continued, ‘I don’t know what happen but I just tried to not hit anything and went from 5th to 2nd. Then I followed Wollanka until he made a mistake’. The EOS’ 2WD Champion said towards the end of the race he could feel a belt or his slipper was going so he ‘tried to be really smooth’ which was why Wollanka started to close. With enough of gap however he would roll the last few jumps adding ‘I was lucky to finish’. Discovering afterwards the slipper was ‘worn out’, they will fit a new one for A2 and ‘hopefully something similar will happen up front’.
‘I was first and it was all looking good but then I hit the dot’, was Wollanka’s reaction after the first encounter of the triple A-Mains. The Austrian continued, ‘I tried everything to close on Orlowski. I closed a bit but it was not enough to try to overtake’. Tangling with Lee Martin as they both tried to recover from the first lap chaos, Coelho would eventually pull up half way into the race explaining that his roll was a result of hitting the dot in the corner coming onto the main straight.
Cragg said, ‘I just waited for the chaos and got through to third’. The Associated driver continued, ‘my car as a little twitchy but I that was down to new tyres and more me than the car’. Catching and battling with Wollanka, with whom he had an altercation in the final qualifier, for a second time the Brit would throw away a possible 2nd with a mistake but concluded, ‘I can’t argue with getting a third’. Behind Cragg AE team-mate Karri Salmela would have a good race finishing fourth from 9th on the grid.
Bruno Coelho is on target to round out Season #6 of the Euro Offroad Series in Austria with the perfect result. Having TQ’d and won 2WD, the Xray driver has secured the overall TQ for 4WD with few mad enough to bet against the World Champion not capping off his EOS title winning season with a 4th 4WD win. After breaking his car in Q1 last night, today Coelho was unstoppable taking all three remaining qualifiers even recovering from an error in the final round to top the times. Making it an Xray 1-2 on the grid, Q1 winner Martin Bayer will start second with Yokomo’s Lee Martin the best non Xray on the grid securing third ahead of Martin Wollanka and EOS 2WD Champion Michal Orlowski.
‘It’s the same car all season and its working amazing so there is not more I can say really’, was Coelho reaction to his third consecutive 4WD TQ. Commenting on his final qualifier he said, ‘it was not a perfect run because I flipped and then had to open for Lee (Martin). I then just tried to recover the lost time and when Lee had a mistake I was able to get 1st’. Asked about the finals he said, ‘I will try to finish the season with the perfect weekend’.
Commenting on equalling his best qualifying of the season, Bayer said, ‘the speed is ok but not like Bruno has’. Securing second on the grid thanks to his P1 & 2 in the opening two qualifiers, the Czech driver said, ‘I started second once before this season at the Hudy Arena and it was a disaster. I hope this time not to break so I will just try to drive clean races’. Starting fourth with his second in Q1 and 4th in Q3, Wollanka made sure he wont be on either Neil Cragg and Marc Rheinard’s Christmas list after hitting both drivers in the final qualifier.
‘Not too bad’ was how Martin summed up his third spot on the grid. A former double winner at the Modellbau Wels hosted event, he said, ‘my car is consistent. It lacks a bit of punch out of the corners compared to the shaft drive car but it is nice to drive’. Leading the final qualifier, he said, ‘I had a couple of bobbles without which I could have pushed myself up to 2nd on the grid’. Looking to the finals he said, ‘Bruno has a rear gunner in Martin but you never know what can happen. I’ve just got to wait for some stuff to happen’.
Orlowski said after a good start to qualifying with a P3 in Q1 last night, he struggled with a loose servo in today’s first qualifier. In Q3 a mistake would end his run but making some small changes to his Schumacher to get more rear traction he was able to get another P3 in the final round admitting ‘others crashing into each other helped’. On his 5th place starting position he said, ‘it will be difficult as there is no places to plass but at the Hudy Arena I got a 2nd from 8th on the grid. I will just drive my own race and maybe there will be a pile up at the front’.
Cragg was not pleased with his 6th place on the grid saying, ‘It’s very annoying racing with shit drivers’. On the last qualifier, he continued, ‘I started really well and caught Wollanka quickly, he let me go but then drove into my side. Its frustrating to start 6th cause I feel our car is better than that’. He concludes, ‘the car is pretty dialled so lets hope there are a few crashes ahead of me’.
Having broke his car in the opening 4WD qualifier last night, Bruno Coelho redeemed himself this morning by leading an Xray 1-2-3 in Q2 at the Euro Offroad Series in Austria. The back to back EOS Champion, topped the times by over 4-seconds from Q1 pace setter Martin Bayer who is running in the second fastest heat. Also running in that heat, Kája Novotný would complete the Top 3, a further second back. With the Xray’s the dominant force the honour of best of the rest would fall to Neil Cragg, the Associated driver finishing a frustrated fourth feeling he had the pace for at least a Top 3 finish. Behind him Marc Rheinard led the Yokomo challenge with 5th for the round.
‘Yesterday I was doing some crash testing. It was a rookie mistake, I had quite a comfortable lead but went and hit the board on landing but today there was no mistakes so it was a perfect run’, said Coelho after the second of the four qualifiers. Aiming for a back to back double having won 2WD yesterday at Modellbau Wels hosted season finale he said, ‘the car is working pretty good as always so I will just try to put in another clean run’. The only driver to run a 17-second lap time, when asked about tyre wear which is something of an issue in 2WD, he said, ‘the wear is nothing like 2WD, my 4WD tyres are still like new’.
The man responsible for Xray offroad programme, Bayer said, ‘our 4WD is so good, you just need to drive without mistakes’. Posting a somewhat surprise TQ in Q1 after being only 12th fastest in practice, he continued, ‘I had no expectations for the first heat, just drive. Today I had a mistake but still got second. To have a 1 and a 2 after two rounds is very good’. Having already booked a spot in the A-Main, the Czech driver said, ‘I think the next one I will test something’.
‘Perfect, the car is super good’, was how Novotný’s summed up his second qualifier. The 20-year-old Czech National Champion explained, ‘for Q1 we rebuilt the car fully but forgot to tighten the clutch but we fixed that for today and it was a lot better’.
‘I’m really frustrated to be honest’ was Cragg’s reaction to Q2. He continued, ‘I was in a solid second and didn’t want to get caught up with Wollanka so I just cruised around happy to get a second for the round but it definitely cost me 3rd, maybe even second’. On his B64 he said, ‘the car is good, I’m into the A-Main after two rounds so I’m pretty pleased with that. Making his first 4WD A-Main at the previous EOS encounter at Arena 33 and finishing 6th he said ‘the aim here is to finish in the Top 5’.
Rheinard said, ‘I just drove around as fast as I could. It felt a little slower than yesterday but its still a good result’. Sixth in Q1, the Touring car ace said, ‘I’m thinking about tyres for the next. Not sure whether to run new or do one more run on this set’ – which now have two runs on them. Behind Rheinard, Yokomo team-mate Lee Martin would complete the Top 6 while EOS debutant Ryan Maifield had a number of errors on his run and ended up 11th fastest. Having completely changed the set-up of his YZ-4, the American, who had a DNF in the first round, is hoping for a better performance over the final two qualifiers.
Martin Bayer has TQ’d the opening round of 4WD qualifying at EOS Austria, the Xray Offroad team manager leading a 1-2 for the Slovakian manufacturer despite running in the second fastest heat. 12th fastest in seeding practice, the former EOS race winner would top the times for the first of the four qualifiers by over a second from Martin Wollanka. With top seed Bruno Coelho looking like it was business as usual for the Champion in the top heat, starting to come under pressure from 2WD Champion Michal Orlowski a mistake from the 2WD winner would see him break a front arm. Orlowski now held the lead but Lee Martin was now also in the mix along with Wollanka. In the end Wollanka would take the top heat on the last lap by 8/100ths from Orlowski with Martin 3/10ths off but to all their surprise Bayer’s time would earn the Czech driver the TQ. With Neil Cragg and Marc Rheinard completing the Top 6, Ryan Maifield’s troubled start to 4WD continued as the American suffered a DNF after his steering broke after just one lap.
With the Euro Offroad Series season finale making the switch from 2 to 4WD, it is 2WD winner Bruno Coelho who is the top seed for qualifying in Austria. Over two rounds of controlled practice the Xray driver topped the time on both occasions despite breaking half way through the first run. Improving his 3-consecutive laps by 1/10th, the already confirmed back to back Champion would end up with a 7/10ths of a second advantage over Neil Cragg, the Associated driver unable to improve on his CP1 time. With the field more closely matched behind Coelho, Martin Wollanka would set the third quickest time ahead of Lee Martin and Michal Orlowski, the trio separated by 8/100ths of a second. Having started out strong in 2WD and only missing out on a debut win as the race was decided on the tiebreaker, Ryan Maifield had a tough run in 4WD with wiring issues in both controlled practice runs. The Yokomo driver will run in the second fastest heat having ended up P11.
Commenting on practice, drivers having had two free practice rounds following by the seeding rounds, Coelho said, ‘The track is pretty difficult, you can do many lines and some points are very fast. You can do one super fast lap and then next time round have a big mistake’. Breaking an arm off his Hobbywing powered XB4 in CP1 when he ran wide in the corner before the straight, team-mate Hupo Honigl also doing the same thing, he said, ‘Overall my car and electrics worked well but getting a 5-minute time is going to be different to 3-laps so we will see how it goes’. With his quicker time coming in CP1, team-mate Wollanka was also pleased with his XB4 after he adjusted his speedo for more top speed. The Austrian believes he can translate his 3-lap pace into a competitive 5-minute run.
‘I pretty pleased, the car is working well’, said Cragg adding, ‘we made good progress with the car at the last round and it is comfortable to drive’. ‘Surprised’ to end up second quickest, he continued, ‘we are still a bit off Bruno and I don’t know what to do to catch him’. Looking to qualifying, the first round of which brings Day 2 of the EOS to a close, he concluded, ‘it going to be tough going in 4WD on this track’.
Summing up his practice, Lee Martin said, ‘my car wasn’t bad. I can run at a nice consistent pace, nothing sparkling over one lap but its good over the full run’. A previous winner in Wels, he continued, ‘Bruno is a bit head again which is kind of annoying’. Asked where the Portuguese driver had the advantage, the former Champion said, ‘its just how fast that thing corners. Their 4WD is really good and that something we haven’t matched yet’.
Arriving late to the event due to an important school exam and missing all of 2WD qualifying but running his three J-Mains to get track time, Michal Orlowski said 4WD practice had gone ‘not so bad’. The newly crowned 2WD Champion said, ‘the feeling of the car is pretty good. I am not getting some sections right every time which I hope I can improve on in qualifying’. With his P5 seeding time coming in CP1, he said, ‘we changed many things for the final practice but they made the car twitchy and edgy so if we make just 1/2 the changes we should be good but the car is fast in the corners’. Behind Orlowski, Marc Rheinard would complete the Top 6.