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.
Chassis: Team Associated B74 Motor: Reedy Sonic 6.5 ESC: Reedy BlackBox 510R Batteries: Reedy Zappers SG2 4100 mAh Radio/Servo: Sanwa/Reedy Tires: Schumacher (handout) Body: Kit
Remarks – Finnish talent Joona Haatanen is giving the new Team Associated B74 buggy its EOS debut here on the Arena33 astroturf track. With the completely new platform – only the rear shocks and few other bits remaining the same from its predecessor – Joona found new speed and consistency, pointing out the higher cornering speed and increased ease of handling as the better improvements over the B64.
Michal Orlowski has taken the 3rd round of qualifying in 4wd at the Euro Offroad Series in Germany, just as light rain started to fall near the end of the heat. The rain got much heavier just as the fourth round started and so it was decided to postpone the final round until first thing in the morning. Jorn Neumann took 2nd but with the track now wet its going to be a difficult task for team mate Orlowski to take the round tomorrow morning in a faster time than the German’s Q1 time and so it is all but guaranteed that Neumann will start from pole. Bruno Coelho was 3rd, just 5/100ths behind Jorn, having run the fastest lap of the heat, while Joona Haatanen took 4th, the track running 2 seconds a lap slower by the end of heat as the track took on more water.
Jorn Neumann has backed up his first round TQ with another in the second qualifier, the margin much smaller this time around due to most of the front runners, including the German himself, making a number of mistakes. Joona Haatanen took 2nd with the all new Associated B74 with Daniel Kobbevik heading home Michal Orlowski who again had a number of errors, despite being the fastest on outright pace, the top 4 covered by less than a second. Bruno Coelho would take 5th ahead of Hupo Honigl with Wesley van Helmond ending up in 7th. Admitting to be a big fan of Astro turf, compared to carpet, due to its forgiving nature in terms of setup, Jorn described his race saying ‘It started good with Bruno pushing very hard, then he made a mistake, I then had a comfortable lead and then I crashed’, before saying ‘then things got interesting’. Despite it being very close at the end and the lead group switching positions throughout, the German could take the round. ‘On lap times the top 3 are very close’ continuing by saying that for Q3 they will make some adjustments based on the temperature of the track which is expected to cool and lose grip as qualifying runs into the evening.
‘Much better, we tried a bunch of things’ was how Joona described his run to 2nd, the Finnish teenager slowly coming to terms with his new car, having never run on astro with it before. Changing the gearbox as well as going harder in oils which improved it a lot, Joona says the main characteristic of the new car is that it is much easier to drive and faster, saying there is no need to be punched the whole time to achieve the same results. Remarking that the car also seems to run a lot freer Joona only plans a small change to the rear of the car for Q3, ending by saying ‘it’s looking good’.
Kobbevik was top Xray for the round, the Norwegian driver pleased with his pace saying ‘it was a good one, I was not so fast but consistent’. Making a lot of mistakes on his way to 7th in Q1, he said he managed to eliminate a lot of those mistakes in his Q2 run. Not sure about what to change for Q3, Daniel said ‘my car is now good but not super fast’.
Michal Orlowski is having a tougher time than usual, admitting that while his car is ‘really good’ with the grip having come up a lot, it is not comfortable to drive. Saying he needs to just make less mistakes, he was pleased that the team was doing so well with Jorn leading the way showing the pace of their car.
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.