September 14, 2018

Orlowski takes opening EOS qualifier at Nurburgring

With the Euro Offroad Series back at the legendary full size Nurburgring venue as part of the Blancpain GT Series weekend, Season #8 of the Euro Offroad Series is underway with the opening round of qualifying in Germany going to defending champion Michal Orlowski.  The Schumacher driver topped the 2WD times from Yokomo’s Lee Martin despite a messy final minute of qualifying from the Pole who suffered 3-mistakes around the short and tight 16-second lap times track.  Managing to almost equal his fastest lap of the 5-minutes on his final lap Orlowski would just pip Martin for the TQ by 0.156 of a second.  Behind, Martin Bayer would complete the Top 3 for Xray with team-mate Bruno Coelho breaking a link on his car in the stages of the qualifying while on target for a Top 3 run.  Joern Neumann opened the weekend with a P4 run ahead of Team Associated’s Joona Hataanen and former Nurburgring Top Qualifier Neil Cragg.

‘Until the 4-minute mark it was an almost perfect run’, was how Orlowski summed up the first of his four scheduled qualifiers.  He continued, ‘I hit traffic and started doing mistakes.  I lost 6-seconds because I crashed 3 times but I was able to come back on the last lap.  The lap time is so short, traffic is a big problem’.  Asked his thoughts on the track layout, he replied, ‘I like it. It has a nice flow. It’s not too difficult, it’s not too easy but there is not enough space for everyone’.  In terms of his car, the World Championship Top Qualifier said, ‘We weren’t on the pace in practice but we made a few changes for Q1 and they were really really good so now we will work on our tyre strategy as last year and go from there’.

Commenting on his opening run, Martin said, ‘I didn’t drive great. I just kind of tensed up.  When Bruno crashed I took my eye off the car and I crashed’.  Top seed after practice, he added, ‘I couldn’t see who I was racing with’.  Pleased with the performance of his car, the British driver said, ‘we did a lot of work with the car over the Summer and the corner speed is really good now’.  More specific on the opening qualifier he added, ‘the shocks pressured up, because it’s hot down here (the track located in the Ring Boulevard’s events hall) but I’ll get Shin (Adachi) to fix that for Q2’.  Martin also felt the car is getting very hot and added he will ‘put more fans in’ for the next one’.  On the track layout, he said, ‘It’s tight and technical but I don’t mind it’.

‘Quite hectic’ was Bayer’s view on Q1.  3rd overall in last year’s EOS standings, he continued, ‘everybody crashed a lot and nobody knew who is who. Still I arrived with 3rd which is a good start but the traffic is very difficult.  The size of the track suits 8 drivers not 10 or 11’.  Officially debuting Xray’s new carpet edition buggy, he said it all appeared to be working well and the big challenge for now was readjusting his driving back to carpet after a busy season of outdoor racing over the Summer.

Neumann’s reaction to his P4 time was, ‘it was ok. Not super fast but consistent’.  The Schumacher driver said they made a series of changes to the car for Q1 but he planned to go back to what he had run in practice, describing the car as ‘more lazy now’.  Commenting on the track, he said, ‘It’s so so.  It small and it is slow and maybe it has too many jumps. It has lots of rollers and there is no need (for them)’.

‘Not too bad, the only problem was my own mistakes’ was Haatanen’s thoughts on the first qualifier.  The Finn continued, ‘at the end I was looking good for second but crashed at the double at the end of the straight away and it cost me second place but overall it was a pretty good first run given the last time I raced on carpet was at the last EOS’.  On his car he said, ‘it is ok just the driver needs to be better but I will change the set-up a little for Q2 for smoother landings’. Regarding the track, the 15-year-old said, ‘It’s small. I don’t like that there are 11 cars in the heat. Guys wont give room so it kind of sucks’.

View the complete event results here.

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