Lee Martin completed the perfect start to the defence of his two Euro Offroad Series titles today giving Yokomo’s new YZ-4 a debut victory to back up yesterday’s 2WD win at the Nürburgring season opener. After a rough opening 4WD A-Main, Xray’s Martin Wollanka taking that win, Martin would convert his TQ starting position into wins in A2 and A3 although both Wollanka and Bruno Coelho would make the British ace work hard in the closing race. The Xray drivers would complete the podium with Wollanka achieving his best finish with second and Coelho capping off an impressive EOS debut with third.
Commenting on only his second 4WD EOS victory which comes just ahead of the 1:10 Offroad World Championships in Japan in 2-weeks time, Martin said while that would be a different race today’s win was nice as it gave them the opportunity to show the potential of the new car against a strong field something that is very hard to gauge through testing. Describing the car as being able to ‘get around pretty good’, he added ‘we still have a few things to do, you can’t ever stop trying to improve’. Asked about the deciding 3rd A-Main, he said ‘they were hustling me at the beginning but once they had a few bobbles it gave me enough space to change to a qualifying line’. Having to drive ‘a bit defensive’ early on he said once he got a gap he was able to run wider qualifying lines lap after lap and control the race. Describing Season #5 of the EOS as having gotten ‘a lot more competitive’ he is ‘looking forward to the rest of it’ adding ‘it should be fun’.
‘I am happy to get my best result but I am also a little disappointed as I almost had the win’, was Wollanka’s reaction to his strong showing this weekend. The Austrian added ‘to be genuinely racing against one of the best drivers in the World (Lee Martin) was a good feeling’. A driver whose main class is 1:8 Offroad, the 1:8 European Championship podium finisher said coming into the event he was still focused on his outdoor racing but for the next round, which takes place at the Hudy Racing Arena, he hopes to have a bit more indoor testing put in.
Commenting on his impressive weekend Coelho said, ‘While I always want more, a podium finish is not so bad for my first EOS race’. The Portuguese touring car star, who made an instant impression on the championship when he took the overall TQ in 2WD, said he learned a lot from the experience. Adding ‘I need to relax a little my driving because in onroad when you make a mistake you push to make back the time but thats not possible here’. Complimenting his Xray team for giving him ‘two great cars’, him particularly impressed by the prototype 2WD they got just a day and a half before the race, he said he had the cars to win this weekend but just small mistakes meant it didn’t happen. On the third 4WD A-Main in which he finished second he said, ‘I overtook Lee but once more I made a mistake’. Travelling to the World Championships, he said the weekend was ‘good experience and practice for Japan’.
‘I would have signed for that this morning’, that was David Ronnefalk’s reaction to finishing 4th overall. The HB driver continued ‘considering what we had this morning its a good result’. Struggling with the high traction and looking like an also ran until the final two qualifiers, the Swede said the new carpet presented a big challenge adding I need to see if I can convince my local club to get some. With the experience of the weekend the 19-year-old feels he will be much stronger for Round 2 in Slovakia in November. Going into A3 in contention for a podium thanks to his exciting P2 in the opening final, the 2-time 1:8 Offroad European Champion said he couldn’t get by Marc Rheinard to run with the top 3, a mistake on lap 7 ending his chances. Behind Ronnefalk, it was Rheinard and his Yokomo team-mate Tom Cockerill who completed the Top 6.