Joern Neumann has TQ’d the second round of 4WD qualifying at EOS Austria, the Schumacher driver quickest from Q1 winner Bruno Coelho by 9/10th at ERT Steyregg. Returning to his former championship winning form at the previous round of the championship at Arena 33 where he took the TQ & Win, Neumann took over the TQ pace in the later half of the run helped by a bad lap from Coelho and a fastest lap time that was 2/10ths faster than that of the championship leader. Both factory Schumacher drivers would show great pace with Orlowski setting an almost identical fastest lap time to his team-mate but much earlier in the heat, before a mistake resulted in the Pole retiring after he popped a rear ball cup. Also showing very strongly in the early part of the qualifier, Joona Haatanen would finish with some difficult laps but his early pace meant he would still stop the clock with the 3rd fastest time.
Commenting on his TQ run, Neumann said, ‘It took a couple of laps to adapt to the high traction but then it was good’. The multiple former champion added, ‘because we had to stay in silver (compound) tyres we changed to a harder front spring and ran a little lower ride height. It worked good’. With the announcement that with the track now dry drivers will have to run the yellow compound handout Schumacher tyre for Q3, Neumann is confident that will suit his car even better adding they just need to ‘make small changes, nothing major’.
Coelho said, ‘we change the car for the dry conditions but didn’t go 100% with the set-up and we should have had, especially for the silver tyre’. The Xray driver continued, ‘I was on two wheels everywhere and trying to fight with Joern but at the end he was quicker’. Asked about switching to the yellow compound the former World Champion said, ‘we should be good. We’ll get the car ready for that’.
‘Now I had even more speed’, said a pleased looking Haatanen. The Team Associated driver went on, ‘I ran a harder spring in the rear and went higher with the diffs which made the car more stable and improved the corner speed. The Silver (compound) was too soft and towards the end the car wanted to flip so I had a couple of mistakes on my last few laps’. Looking to the penultimate qualifier he said, ‘the car will be much better on yellows and I’m ready to mix it for a TQ run’.