The opening 4WD qualifier at the Euro Offroad Series season opener at the Nürburgring threw up an unexpected TQ run from Xray’s Martin Wollanka, the Austrian topping the times ahead of yesterday’s 2WD winner Lee Martin. Marc Rheinard would complete the Top 3 ahead of Michal Orlowski, the new European Champion having been on a TQ pace until a motor issue in the final 30-seconds. There was drama before the top heat had even got underway as practice top seed Bruno Coelho pulled the side off his Xray during the warm-up. Pulling a wheelie coming onto the main straight his XB4 would veer into the wooden boards on the straight with a gap at race control resulting in the car being left with no right side suspension.
Commenting on his surprise TQ of the opening round, although he did show promise in practice setting the fourth fastest time, Wollanka said, ‘I had some luck as others made mistakes by I am really happy, its my first time to TQ a round’. Asked about his preproduction XB4 2016, he said it ‘had a little too much steering but hopefully that was due to the new tyres so it should be better for the next one’. Planning to leave the car unchanged for Q2 he said his target is to just get another good run, two of the four qualifiers to count, and then he might look at set-up adjustments.
‘Wasted opportunity’ was Martin’s reaction to Q1 continuing ‘should have been an easy TQ’. Describing his prototype of the expected Yokomo YZ-4 kit release, as ‘good at the beginning’ he said it then developed grip roll leading to a number of mistakes. Planning to glue up the tyres more for Q2 the reigning champion will also switch to a stiffer spring.
Martin’s Yokomo team-mate Rheinard described his qualifier as ‘not bad for a first run’. The German touring car ace said he was ‘not fast and just tried for a safe run. I still crashed but 3rd is a good start’. Asked about his car he replied that it ‘just hard to drive, on the edge all the time’. To try improve it for Q2 he will also glue up the tire walls on the handout Schumacher Minipin tyres.
Having an early start to his day to avail if free practice at 07:00, having struggled in practice Orlowski said it as a productive morning. Making a number of improvements to his new CAT-K2 he said the car is now very good. Going for a safe opening run he was on the TQ pace but in the closing stages his sensor wire came off causing the motor to get very hot with it eventually shutting down on his final lap. Happy that the TQ pace is there he said they are looking a lot more promising than during Friday’s practice.
Making his first EOS appearance since leaving his design role at Schumacher, Yokomo driver Tom Cockerill who didn’t feature in 2WD would set the 5th fastest time. The former 2WD Top Qualifier said copying Lee Martin’s set-up for today was a ‘huge improvement’. With the car ‘way way easier to drive’ and now having corner speed, the only issue is that he feels like a passenger over the jumps a problem he plans to ask designer Shin Adachi for a solution to. New Yokomo signing Carson Wernimont also had issues with jumping and landing, the American ending up 7th fastest.
Completing the Top 6 was Ales Bayer, younger brother of Xray’s lead offroad driver Martin and newly crowned 1/5th scale European Champion. Having copied the set-up used by his brother to set the second fastest time in practice, he said the car was good and his nerves were the biggest issue for him in Q1. Describing it as a very good run with only one small mistake over the 5-minutes he hopes he can repeat it again in Q2. Unfortunately for Martin it was not a good start with him falling to complete the full run.