Rheinard tops first 4WD practice
Marc Rheinard set the pace in the first round of 4WD timed practice at the Euro Offroad Series in Germany. The Yokomo driver was fastest ahead of Bruno Coelho and Lee Martin, the latter two drivers set to battle it out for the 4WD title at the Nurburgring in the season finale on Sunday. Over 3-consecutive laps, Rheinard would hold a 0.161 advantage over Coelho who in turn was 0.092 ahead of his title rival Martin who earlier in the day topped 2WD practice.
Only 7th fastest in 2WD practice, having come into the event having won his first EOS race at the previous round, Rheinard was clearly pleased to find himself at the top of the time sheets. The 4-time onroad World Champion put his improved performance in 4WD mainly down to the fact that the track he was responsible for building suits his 4WD better than his 2WD. Describing his Much More powered YZ-4 as being ‘pretty good in free practice’, he said some small changes while not changing the feel of the car made it more consistent. For the final practice, the German plans to leave the car unchanged and run new tyres to give him an idea of how the car should feel for the opening qualifier which has been brought forward to Saturday evening after the conclusion of the 2WD Finals.
Leading the championship by 4-points coming into the event, Coelho was content with P2 for the first practice saying ‘everyone is on the same pace’. The Xray driver, who is making his first EOS outing using Hobbywing electrics, described his XB4 as ‘working very well’. Having spent two days testing at the Hudy Arena in preparation for his title showdown, he has run his car unchanged since the start of practice adding, ‘it is difficult to make a difference that will give you an edge over the others’.
Martin, who needs to TQ and win to have a chance at retaining his 4WD title, said he ‘lacked a bit of power’. Also trying a looser slipper he said that got worse over the run and he had to stop for an adjustment. Planning to ‘add more turbo’ and tighten the slipper he said his YZ-4 feels good after they tweaked the roll bars and reduced toe after free practice.
Finishing second on the EOS’ previous visit to the Nurburgring, Martin Wollanka would posted the 4th fastest time. The Xray driver said having changed his set-up in the final free practice and then again for the first timed practice he will for TP2 revert to the set-up he started out with. Describing the track layout as ‘technical but very nice’, the Austrian said while ‘the lap times were almost the same’ after the changes his XB4 was ‘not as agile’ and that is the reason he will change back to his base set-up. Wollanka’s team-mate and Offroad team manager Martin Bayer posted the 7th fastest time. A former multiple EOS race winner, Bayer said he was happy to be in the Top 10 given his focus today has been on Xray’s new Stadium Truck project. Having only had time to run three batteries on the new truck prior to debuting it in the newly introduced class he said this has been his concentration as he has ‘a lot to learn’ due to the less controlled tyre regulations for the class which unlike buggy are not pre-glued.
Fifth fastest on a track while he admits he isn’t a fan of due to its tight layout, Michal Orlowski was ‘pretty surprised’ by his pace. The 15-year-old was ‘happy (they) have improved a lot from the previous EOS race’. Feeling he can go faster, he said ‘there is more to come from the driver’. In terms of his CAT K2 he said this too could be improved and for the final practice he will change to a different front shock tower.
Completing the Top 6 was VBC team driver Yannic Prumper. While the manufacturer is preparing to enter the 4WD market and looking for feedback from it new star signing, the electric touring car ace is this weekend using an Xray in 4WD. With TP1 only his 3rd battery with the car, he said he is still trying to find a good set-up, with a lack of on power steering his biggest issue. For the final practice the German will change to a softer sway bar as well as softer oils and a different shock piston.
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