With the 2wd portion of the event complete the attention at Rd5 of the Euro Offroad Series has switched to 4wd now running under sunny skies and finally on a dry track. Only fourth after seeding it was Jorn Neumann who would take the opening qualifier topping the round by nearly 5 seconds ahead of Bruno Coelho in 2nd. Top seed Michal Orlowski had a troubled run and would end up in 3rd, just ahead of his Schumacher team mate Wesley van Helmond, with Martin Bayer taking 5th, while Joona Haatanen with the new B74 buggy would bring the new car home in 6th. ‘It was good, we made some small changes from practice’, said Neumann, explaining that he tried to use his standard astro setup but with the track now dry, the traction is very high. With plans to reduce the front traction, he feels that with no mistakes from his competitors that he is on a very similar pace to Michal and Bruno.
‘Could be better’ was how Coelho described his opening qualifier, the Portuguese driver referring to a small crash which caused him to get caught up on the pipes and lose 3 seconds. With the mistake behind him he said his recovery drive was good and without the mistakes felt he could have matched Jorn on pace. Needing to still work on the car, the Xray driver said that while his XB4 feels comfortable as well as fast when he looks at the lap times, that feeling doesn’t translate over to outright pace and so they need to still find something.
Michal Orlowski had two big mistakes, the first of which cost him 4 seconds, and the second when on a quick recovery drive and needing a perfect last lap, crashed on the last corner and lost a further 4 and a half seconds. Explaining that at the start the car felt really good and he could get into his rhythm but a few bobbles culminated in his first big crash at the end of the straight. Feeling that if he cuts out the mistakes that he has a small pace advantage over his competitors and so for Q2 will only adjust the car’s ride height, leaving everything else the same.
‘I think I made it a little too safe’ was how Wesley referred to his first qualifying run before saying ‘but maybe I will try to push harder in the next run’. Making two small mistakes, the Dutch driver was very pleased with his pace so far at the Arena33, and is just very happy to be running competitively at the sharp end of the field. Xray’s Martin Bayer was fifth, while 2wd podium finishers Joona Haatanen and Daniel Kobbevik completed the top 7.