Confirming what we expected last night, Jorn Neumann is the top qualifier for 4wd here at the EOS Rd5 in Germany, the final round of qualifying run on an almost dry track for the fastest heat. The round was taken by Michal Orlowski, who lead home a Schumacher 1-2-3 for the round with Jorn in 2nd and Wesley van Helmond in 3rd but the Polish driver’s time was 18 seconds slower than the fastest time of Neumann from Q1 so on tie-break the German will once again start from pole as he had done here 12 months previous. Bruno Coelho, who had lead the heat until a mistake was 4th for the round and will start 3rd on the grid with Joona Haatanen setting off 5th. ‘Its nice to be the TQ’ said a pleased looking Neumann, continuing ‘the track dried quickly and with the silver compound tires it was too aggressive to driver’. With the round declared wet, drivers had to run the silver wet compound but the first round of finals will be declared dry and so the drivers will go back to the standard yellow compound. For the final Jorn plans to leave his car as is, saying that the tires should fix any of the issues they experienced in Q4.
Winner here last year, Orlowski had not expected the track to dry so fast and looking at the weather forecast yesterday also wasn’t expecting to run the finals in the dry and so will now work hard to switch the car’s settings back for dry conditions. Feeling that the rain last night washed away the dust, the track has even more traction than yesterday. With the top 3 the same as here last year at the Arena33, Michal hopes for a repeat of that race in which he and Jorn broke away from Coelho so they can have a battle amongst themselves, concluding by saying ‘Anything can happen, as we saw in A3 of 2wd yesterday you need to be there when something happens’.
Bruno Coelho will start from 3rd, the Xray driver slight frustrated at his last qualifier, having lead it following some mistakes by the Schumacher pairing only to traction roll himself. The Portuguese driver saying that when he was pushing his car early in the heat he didn’t have any problems with traction roll, but once in front he backed it off slightly and that was when it flipped. Preparing the final, the former WC said ‘the final is on and anything can happen’.
Starting 4th on his debut with the new Associated B74, Joona Haatanen was content with his grid spot simply saying ‘that’s pretty good’. Having a very difficult last run, the Finnish driver didn’t cut the outer row of pins on his handout tires and so it was very aggressive and like most of the front runners were caught out by the drier than expected conditions and admitted that his car was setup incorrectly. For the finals he will revert to his Q3 setup and cut the pins on his tires aiming to make the podium saying ‘I have the pace of the top 3, I just need to drive smart’. Wesley van Helmond will start 5th, continuing his good form this weekend and making it 3 Schumachers in the top 5. Daniel Kobbevik qualified in 6th, with fellow Xray drivers Adam Izsay, Martin Bayer and Hupo Honigl covering 7th to 9th, with the final spot going to Polish driver Bartlomiej Zambrzycki who makes his first A-main appearance after coming close so many times.