September 18, 2015

Martin tops 2WD practice at Nurburgring


Reigning double Euro Offroad Series Champion Lee Martin has opened Season #5 in the best way possible as he topped 2WD practice at the Nürburgring.  The Yokomo driver set the fastest 3-consecutive laps ahead of last year’s 2WD season finale winner Michal Orlowski, the Schumacher driver 0.389 of a second off.  Making an impressive EOS debut this weekend, Touring car ace Bruno Coelho completing the Top 3 with his Xray ahead of fellow touring car star Marc Rheinard.


Also the reigning European Champion in 2WD, Martin described practice as having gone ‘not bad’.  Curing his YZ-2 from skipping in high speed corners by changing from gullwing to flat arms, the British driver also played around with shock oils declaring they had ‘got that right now’.  Feeling that he has a good 5-minute car, one area he feels the can improve is how the car feels through the tight corner at the end of the straight on new tyres but with tyre wear very low on the new carpet, some drivers expecting to run all four qualifiers on the same set, it shouldn’t be a huge issue.


Starting out the event with the same set-up on his Cougar KF2 as he used when he claimed his first EOS win at the Hudy Racing Arena, Orlowski said they just made some small changes over the sessions.  Happy with everything the 14-year-old said the car was now pretty safe and overall he was happy with everything going into qualifying tomorrow.  Asked about the track layout the Polish ace admitted he wasn’t a big fan feeling the track was ‘too small and tight’ adding the black track markers are too tall.


A race winner in the EOS organisers two other series, the Euro Touring Series and the Euro Nitro Series, racing in a class that he admits to not particularly enjoying to drive Coelho seems to be finding his way quickly.  The Portuguese star, who last raced offroad when he contested the 1:8 World Championships over a year ago, said ‘all is going well’.  Having spent 5-days at the Hudy Racing Arena testing in preparation for his EOS debut, he said Xray has done a lot of development work with its 2WD, the XB2 featuring a number of prototype parts, and as a result of that he hasn’t had to change the car since the first practice.  Describing the track layout as easier than that of the Hudy Arena he said the big jump here is causing him some difficulty.  Approaching it having just exited a fast left hand corner he said the landing needs to be perfect as the jump is ‘narrow’.


Rheinard said he used practice mainly to get used to running offroad again adding being fourth fastest was ‘not too bad’.  Following the same route as team-mate Martin changing from gullwing to flat arms for the final practice, he said this improved the car but the fact they forgot to change the front shock tower for this he said things should be even better for qualifying.  Asked about the track, the four time onroad World Champion said it is ‘not easy’ with crashes inevitable over 5-minutes.


Setting the fifth fastest time was Martin Wollanka, the Xray driver describing his XB2 as ‘working really well’.  Describing the track as ‘one of the best (the EOS) has created’ he said it was ‘very nice to drive’.  With his buggy feeling like it wants to flip he said if he can reduce that it would be perfect for qualifying and he has ‘2 or 3 options’ to consider in the shocks which should help.  Team-mate Martin Bayer would post the 8th fastest time.  Describing things as ‘not so bad’, adding that Coelho & Wollanka are fast, he said he is missing steering and having to drive on the limit which ‘of course brings mistakes’.  An EOS winner in both 2WD and 4WD, the Czech driver complemented organiser Uwe Rheinard on sourcing the new carpet saying it was nice to not need 5 sets of tyres anymore to go racing adding the low tyre wear is good for everyone.


Completing the Top 6 was new Yokomo signing Carson Wernimont.  The American, who spent the days leading up to the event testing with Lee Martin and designer Shin Adachi in the UK, said practice was just about getting used to carpet again.  In terms of his car he said he took the lead from Martin and that he is now running pretty much the same set-up as Martin & Rheinard.  Describing his new car as ‘really solid’, his last EOS outing having been with Team Associated, he said while he has never been a master of single laps for seeding he feels he will be up there for qualifying as everything feels good going into tomorrow.


With a new gearbox design and alu chassis, Serpent’s Joern Neumann would set the 7th fastest time.  Starting out his first full EOS campaign with Serpent the former champion said things are ‘getting better and better’ every race he does with the cars.  With his car 3-wheeling at the end of the straight, he said a change to heavier oil & harder front springs improved this and now all he needs is a little more mid corner speed.  Overall the German appeared happy with his early pace.


The Top 10 in 2WD practice would be completed by Tom Cockerill, the former Schumacher designer and Top Qualifier making his first EOS appearance since departing the British manufacturer, and Schumacher’s Peter Pinisch.  Elsewhere, running HB’s new 2WD buggy, David Ronnefalk would post the 14th fastest time.

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