Bruno Coelho eased his way to a completely dominant win in the opening 4WD A-Main at Round 4 of the Euro Offroad Series in Germany. Having pulled off a clean sweep of the four qualifiers to claim his third TQ of the season, the Xray driver made light work of the opposition to win by 10-seconds even after sitting behind traffic for the final few laps of the race. Martin Wollanka would make it an Xray 1-2, getting by 2nd place starter Lee Martin after the Yokomo driver made a mistake on the opening lap. Despite a 3-second crash, which dropped him to 6th, Joona Haatanen would work his way back up the order to complete the Top 3. Running behind battling Xray team-mates Martin Bayer and Hupo Honigl this would eventually play into the hands of both Haatanen and Lee Martin, who would salvage fourth after his earlier mistake, as the pair got together on the penultimate lap. Bayer & Honigl would go at it again on the final lap clashing somewhat spectacularly on the final dash down the main straight with Bayer somehow getting 5th.
‘There was not more I could do, the race was perfect’, was how Coelho summed up his win. The reigning champion who is now just 5-minutes of driving away from successfully retaining the title said, ‘the car just works all the time and hopefully I can do the same the next one’. Setting the fastest lap by 3/10ths of a second, a win in A2 would wrap up his third win of the season and seal the deal on a second consecutive EOS title for the World Champion.
Like his team-mate, Wollanka would also have a rather uneventful race. Not even having to do any work to get by Lee Martin, the Austrian said that after Martin’s mistake ‘I just drove smooth. It was an easy race’.
‘Third was good for me. It is my first 4WD A-Main so I’m happy’, was Haatanen’s reaction after the race. Getting it wrong in the steps section on Lap 5, yesterday’s 2WD podium finisher said, ‘I lost a couple of places with a mistake in the steps. After that I ran most of the race in 5th behind Hupo and Bayer but when they crashed I could get third’. Asked if he felt a double podium weekend was on the cards the 14-year-old replied, ‘I hope I can do it’.
Chassis: Xray XB4 2017 Motor: Hobbywing Xerun 5.5T ESC: Hobbywing Xerun XR10 Batteries: EZ Power 4900mAh Radio/Servo: Sanwa Tires: Schumacher (handout) Body: Kit Remarks – Reigning EOS Champion Bruno Coelho continues to dominate 4wd proceedings with his Xray XB4 2017. Set with the same basic team setup that he has been using for several months, for the Arena33 he has made just one change to the car, opting to use a harder front anti-roll bar to prevent the car from traction rolling on power. On his Hobbywing speedo he has also changed its setting to reduce top speed as well as increase drag brake due to the small size of the track and its many tight corners.
Yokomo’s Lee Martin will split the Xray’s at the front of the 4WD A-Main grid at Arena33. The former champion went into the final round of qualifying battling with Xray’s Martin Wollanka to be the one to start behind already confirmed Top Qualifier Bruno Coelho. While Coelho would complete a clean sweep of the four qualifiers, Martin would claim another P2 finish but importantly it was to be a faster time than that of Wollanka’s best P2 in last night’s Q2 giving the Brit the tie breaker to secure second on the grid. With Wollanka demoted to third, a P3 from Martin Bayer in the final round will see the former race winner line-up fourth. The star of the 2WD action, Joona Haatanen would mark the first A-Main appearance of the new Associated B64 by qualifying 5th with team-mate Neil Cragg making his 4WD A-Main debut from 8th on the grid.
With the final day of the Euro Offroad Series in Germany opening with the penultimate round of qualifying, there were no surprises as Bruno Coelho again set the pace to claimed his third TQ of the season. Having taken both of yesterday’s 4WD qualifiers, the Xray driver became the Top Qualifier by again setting the pace over team-mate Martin Wollanka with over 4-seconds in hand. Behind them, again it was Lee Martin who was best of the rest, the Yokomo driver having at one stage been at the top of the timing screens but ended up third with two mistakes over the 5-minutes.
Happy to take the TQ point and move closer to successfully defending his 4WD title, Coelho said, ‘I was on new tyres now and it was not the perfect choice. I had super traction and it wanted to traction roll. Used tyres give a better feeling’. Overcoming an early mistake, as the tyres broke in the car was more comfortable to drive with him setting a new fastest lap of qualifying 3-laps from the end. With Q4 having only the possibility of affecting who will start behind him, that currently being Wollanka, looking to this afternoon’s finals at Arena33, he said, ‘the speed is there so my focus will be to try and make no mistakes’.
Describing his XB4 as ‘working very well’, the only thing Wollanka had to report was an error at the double before the straight on his opening lap. The Austrian said he had to single single it to avoid crashing but other than that it was a good run. With two P2 runs he said he hoped to be able hold second on the grid with the aim for the final to ‘just to drive around behind Bruno’.
Top Qualifier at the season opener but losing out on the win to Coelho, Martin said, ‘I made a bad start but then Bruno made a mistake and I tried to keep with him. I lose most time at the steps but behind him I was through there tighter and tighter each lap but then went too tight’. Overall he said, ‘we’re not a million miles away’ and to hopefully close that gap further for Q4 he will make a caster change as well as fit new arms to his YZ4 due to the current set having ‘a lot of play’.
Setting the fourth fastest time, Joona Haatanen declared the run as ‘good’. Yesterday’s 2WD Top Qualifier, the Team Associated driver said, ‘this was my third run on the same set of tyres but they still worked good but for the last one I will have to run a new set’. In terms of his new B64, the Finn said, ‘I think it’s good enough to drive 5-minutes so so other than tyres I will leave it the same for the last heat’. Suffering a roll in Q3 and needing to be marshalled losing him over 2.5-seconds, he hopes to wrap up qualifying with a clean run and improve his starting position for his first A-Main appearance with the B64.
Behind Haatanen was team-mate Neil Cragg. Asked how he was getting on with his B64, he replied, ‘we’re doing aright actually’. Debuting the car at the previous round of the EOS but missing the A-Main, he continued, ‘we are changing the car and its getting better and better which is better than the last EOS when we ended up getting lost’. In terms of its performance he said, It’s good but not yet 100%. I can push hard but still have to be cautious’. He concluded, ‘we are in the A-Main which was the main aim coming here and overall it is just getting better & better’.
Posting his first Top 6 time, when asked how qualifying was going newly crowned 2WD champion Michal Orlowski replied, ‘Not so good I would say’. The Schumacher driver said, ‘I tried to get around for 5-minutes without a mistake’ adding ‘the steps is a big issue as I never know how the car will react there’. With only a P11 to go with his 6th, he said, ‘I need one more good run’ to make the A-Main and to try give him a better car to achieve this they will stand up the rear shocks so the car jumps better.