This weekend (23-25 February) marks the half way stage of the Euro Offroad Series as championship leaders Xray welcome their rivals into their back garden as the Hudy Arena in Slovakia hosts the third round of Season #7.Bruno Coelho leads the way in the 4WD standings but the winner of the season opener will be absent this weekend due to his preparations for the defence of his TITC touring car title in Thailand next weekend.In 2WD, Martin Bayer sits at the top of the points table having enjoyed podium finishes at the opening two rounds and the on form previous Hudy Arena race winner will be aiming to complete the full set of podium step positions by becoming the third different winner this season at what is now a ‘home race’ for the Czech native.
With the season opener dominated by Coelho, Round 2 at the new Daun venue in Germany last month threw up a more interesting result in particular in 2WD as Neil Cragg finally added his name to the EOS’ Roll of Honour.After a disappointing start in Warsaw, the Team Associated driver came into the second race of the season having racked up plenty of testing mileage on carpet during the Christmas/New Year layoff with that work immediately paying dividends as he took only his second ever EOS career TQ.Able to convert that to maiden victory to leave Daun with maximum points, the former World Champion together with AE team manager Craig Drescher would love nothing more than to add win number 2 in Xray’s own back garden.
Beating Xray on the very track on which they develop their cars was something Michal Orlowski achieved last season en-route to becoming 2WD Champion, the Pole taking race victory ahead of Lee Martin and Coelho. The Schumacher driver didn’t have a successful home race when Warsaw hosted Round 1, him not even making the podium, but in Daun he was back on his game taking the win in 4WD over Top Qualifier Coelho and finishing second in 2WD to get his title defence back on track.Making his EOS debut as a Schumacher driver last time out, Joern Neumann should be well settled in with his new team this weekend and will be determined to deliver results.Still the EOS’ most winning driver he will be looking to step out of the shadows of his younger team-mate Orlowski and finally become a regular contender for race wins once again.
For reigning World Champion manufacturer Yokomo, the opening two rounds haven’t delivered the results team leader Lee Martin would have hoped for.Now the only one of the big four manufacturers in the championship yet to register a win this season, former double champion Martin declared his 4th place in 2WD as an ‘unlucky’ result having shown good pace in the finals. Going on to make the podium in 4WD, the European Champion was pleased with the progress made with their YZ-4, and encouraged by the podium will be looking to lead Yokomo to their first win of the season this weekend.Qualifying 3rd in Daun, one spot ahead of Martin, team-mate Marc Rheinard’s frustrating run of results in the EOS since taking a victory at last season’s opening race continued. One of only 7 drivers in the championship to register multiple wins he plummeted to 8th in the final 4WD result and so will be hoping the trip to Trencin, which means he will arrive later than usual in Bangkok for the TITC, sees an end to his podium drought.