February 4, 2017

Lee Martin denies Coelho to TQ at Hudy Arena

Lee Martin has denied Bruno Coelho & Xray a home TQ at the Hudy Racing Arena, the Yokomo driver taking the final round of 2WD qualifying at the third round of the Euro Offroad Series to secure his first pole of the season. With Coelho looking on target for the overall TQ having taken Q1 & 3, it was all or nothing for Martin in the final round.  After an issue in the penultimate round, the reigning champion would deliver the perfect run to end the day, his cause boosted by an early mistake from Coelho that would leave him to post the 6th fastest time in the decider.  With two TQ’s a piece, it was Martin’s Q2 topping time that determined it would be Martin on pole with Coelho having to settle for second, albeit a much better starting position than his last EOS outing when he failed to make the A-Main.  While championship leader Michal Orlowski went into the final round looking for a TQ run hoping to secure second on the grid, the Schumacher driver couldn’t improve on his Top 2 times of the previous two qualifiers posting a P4 as his final attempt. None the less he was pleased to end up third given how is day started out.  Ending his day with his first 14 lap time to get a second for the round, Neil Cragg would make it four different manufacturers at the front of the grid with Team Associated lining up fourth ahead of former event winner Martin Bayer.

‘I’m happy to TQ here especially’, was Martin’s reaction to his first TQ since achieving the same result last season at the Hudy Arena en route to his second consecutive 2WD title. He continued, ‘It was an all or nothing run really although I didn’t drive it like that.  I put my better tyres back on and while they’re now slicks they worked and the other set didn’t’.  Describing his RC Concept powered YZ2 CA, which features some new rear end parts as ‘really good’, he said his performance was also down to the fact he is ‘enjoying the track’.  A track which all the drivers have said is difficult, on tomorrow’s finals he said his approach was a very simple one with the sole goal ‘don’t crash’.

Giving his reaction to the qualifying outcome Coelho said, ‘Overall it has been a very good day.  We improved our 2WD a lot and I’m happy to get 2nd. With three finals ahead we are still in for the win tomorrow’.  Commenting on his final qualifier, the reigning 4WD Champion said, ‘the tyres were on their third run and the car was a little difficult to drive.  This caused my mistake at the beginning and trying to make back the time I made more mistakes’.  Set to follow Martin off the start as he chases his first 2WD win of the series he said, ‘on this track you can’t force too much but with so many braking points it going to be interesting, or not’.

Orlowski said, “I’m happy with Top 3 as that was my aim after Q2′. Starting out with 8th in the opening qualifier, a P2 in Q2 came as a much needed confidence boost as he had struggled in practice with his driving.  Able to repeat his rediscovered form in Q3, he said when it came to the final qualifier the relief that Q3 result brought in securing him a grid position at the sharp end of the grid may have caused a slight ‘lack of concentration’.  Very happy with the performance of his new Cougar KC on its EOS debut, looking to the finals he said, ‘I know I have the pace to win so I will try to do that’.

‘Getting there’ was Cragg’s view on the final qualifier.  He added, ‘we made a few changes and it definitely improved the car.  We couldn’t TQ but I’m pretty pleased to be honest’.  The reigning European Champion continued, ‘Fourth overall is a good save after the shitty start we had to qualifying. I’m pretty happy.  We also learned some new things about the car which is positive’.  Having earlier predicted ‘chaos’ in the finals he said again he doesn’t think the racing will be pretty.

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