Bruno Coelho set the pace in 4WD practice at Round 3 of the Euro Offroad Series in Germany, the Xray driver topping the times from main title rival Lee Martin. Winner of Round 2 of the championship in Slovakia, the World Champion was 3/10ths of a second faster than reigning EOS champion Martin over 3-consecutive laps. Facebook video star Martin Wollanka, his battle with & pass on team-mate Coelho at EOS Round 2 getting over 35-million views, completed the Top 3 at the end of the two seeding rounds. Putting in an impressive first controlled practice, Finland’s Joel Valander would put his Xray fourth fastest.
Coming into the weekend joint leader of the 4WD standings with Martin, Coelho was pleased to put his XB4 at the top of the time sheets. Struggling to execute a good third lap in first practice, putting that down to making the switch from 2WD to 4WD, he said his rhythm, together with adapting a ‘safer’ driving style was ‘much better’ second time round. Running his ‘standard set-up’, something the Portuguese ace rarely deviates from, he said his car is ‘really good’ and there is nothing he needs to change for qualifying tomorrow.
Having topped 2WD seeding, Martin said 4WD ‘wasn’t too bad’ adding his ‘car was pretty good’. Running a new set-up which Shin Adachi tested in Japan, the Nurburgring winner said they didn’t change the car between practice rounds. Despite feeling the YZ-4 ‘could land a little better’ he plans to leave it unchanged for Q1 stating it ‘should be good over 5-minutes’.
A podium finish at the opening two races of the season, Wollanka was content with his practice times. Changing from a slipper to a diff and making a shock set-up change, the Austrian liked the softer shocks but didn’t like the diff. Feeling with slipper his XB4 was more stable under braking he will put it back in for Q1.
Declaring the EOS’ first visit to Muelheim-Kaerlich as his ‘favourite EOS track so far’, 17-year-old Valander described his run to the fourth quickest time as ‘OK’. Setting his time in the first run, his second run 2/10th slower, the Xray driver felt his car was ‘a little hard to drive’ adding however that he was ‘maybe driving it too hard’. Making no changes to his XB4 between practice runs, he plans to leave it unchanged for the opening qualifier saying he would instead ‘back it [his driving] down a little’ and see how that works first.
‘Pretty OK but it feels like something is missing’ was how Rheinard summed up his 4WD practice. Posting the 5th fastest time, the Yokomo offroad team driver feels his driving, in particular how he is taking the corner table top, is where he is losing time and thats something he will try to improve on tomorrow.
Completing the Top 6, Hupo Honigl was very pleased with his pace saying ‘I think my car is very good. It easy to drive and stable, it just needs a little more steering’. Having tried a different sway bar for his second practice, his faster run, the newly signed Xray driver said ‘it didn’t help’ but added the car is ‘not far way from being perfect’. With ‘4WD quali far away’, the Austrian said he had ‘time to think about any changes’ he might make for Q1. Behind Honigl, top Belgian driver Nico Risser took his XB4 to 7th in the seeding.
Setting the 8th fastest time, 3-time EOS 4WD Champion Joern Nuemann said ‘I was 8th after practice at the DHI Cup’, the German going on to take his first international win with Serpent. Describing his car as ‘OK to drive’ he said it flips sometimes, something he feels he can rectify by making it stiffer for Q1 adding ‘for sure running 5-minute is very different to putting in 3-laps’. Behind Neumann, Schumacher’s Michal Orlowski and Xray’s multiple race winner Martin Bayer rounded out the Top 10.