Bruno Coelho has wrapped the 2WD racing of EOS Season #8 with his second win in the category. Having dominated qualifying and the opening A-Main on the championship’s first visit to the Austrian ERT Steyregg track, the Xray driver would bring on an extra workload with an error filled A2 that forced things to go to A3. With main rival Joona Haatanen, winner of A2, having a bad start to A3 it looked like Coelho’s race was going to be easier but a mistake by the EOS Poland winner would let Champion Michal Orlowski to hit the front. In this order the overall result would favour Haatanen, thanks to the Team Associated driver having a faster A2 winning time but Orlowski couldn’t hold on and handed the lead back with a mistake three laps later. Unfortunately for Orlowski the error also cost him a podium to cap off his title winning campaign, with Hupo Honigl filling the final step to return to the EOS podium after a long absence.
‘It was a tough final but luckily and fortunately I was able to take it home’, was Coelho’s thoughts on A3. His 5th 2WD EOS career win he continued, ‘we worked good in practice, took all four qualifiers so to not take the final would have been cruel. It can happen though, so I’m super happy for sure’. He added, ‘we are using a prototype car we are working on for the Worlds and today all the Xray’s in the final showed we are working in the correct way’.
Commenting his A3 performance, Haatanen said, ‘I had a mistake on the first lap when I hit the pipe and then everyone hit me. I was hoping Michal would win because then it would have been a win for me. Anyway it is my first time to finish second in the EOS so I am happy with that’. Travelling to Austria without his father this weekend and with team-mate Neil Cragg unable to attend because of British Championship commitments, the teenager concluded, ‘I am happy that I’m alone here and the car works good’. Overall Haatanen ends the season 3rd overall in the points losing out on second to Coelho who was runner-up thanks to the only TQ of his campaign which he claimed today.ù
‘I’m super happy. I think it is almost 5-years since I had my last EOS podium’, was Honigl’s reaction to his third overall. The former 2WD race winner admitted he was starting to think his podium days were over, ‘I’m really happy because I didn’t think it would happen again’. Rating the track as being one of his all time favourites, when asked about 4WD the Austrian replied, ‘I think 4WD will be harder but let’s see, we will see even more crashes in 4WD’.
Summing up his 2WD result, Orlowski said, ‘we finally found what we were looking for at the end of qualifying which was a bit late’. He added, ‘we didn’t start well but at the end we had the pace to win so I’m happy with that but I made too many mistakes in all the finals’. For this weekend we prepare a lot for 4WD. I would’ve liked to win 2WD but you can’t be at the top all the time. I’m excited for 4WD. It is supposed to be wet and I quite like that. Last year at the season finale I finished 4th in 2WD and won 4WD so I am confident for tomorrow’.
Having taken second in A1, Joona Haatanen has gone one better in A2 to take the win ahead of Hupo Honigl and Bruno Coelho. Leading the first half of the race, Top Qualifier Coelho would make a small mistake that would allow Michal Orlowski to go to the front but then it was the Champion’s turn to have a moment allowing Coelho to go back to the front before another error handed Haatanen a lead he wasn’t going to give up, the Finn having found a lot more pace from his Team Associated for A2. In the end Haatanen won by a very comfortable 6-seconds from Honigl, with Coelho having to settle for third a further 4-seconds back. Despite setting the fastest lap of the race, Orlowski’s chances of capping off his championship winning campaign with a podium finish are looking unlikely as he crossed the line 5th having ended up 7th in A1.
‘Finally’, was Haatanen’s reaction to the win. Having had a tough campaign since winning the season opener, he continued, ‘I made a change to the car. Less toe in the rear. moved the battery forward and ran the car lower and this gave much more corner speed. I felt I was matching the pace of Bruno ad Michal’. Reporting his battery was not screwed in, the teenager who is without his father as his mechanic this weekend, said, ‘I can only blame the mechanic for that, which is myself’. Looking to A3, with him now firmly in the hunt for the win he said, ‘I will maybe go with new tyres’.
Commenting on his P2 from 5th on the grid, Honigl said, ‘I felt pretty racy this time and the rear of my car was pretty wide’. The Austrian added, ‘to be honest everyone crashed and I crashed less’.
‘I had more mistakes this final than over all the day’, was how Coelho summed up his eventful race. He continued, ‘This was my monkey moment and I hope to not continue like this. I need a run with no mistakes’. Asked about track conditions for the evening race, he said, ‘I think the track is not really dry. My car was good before on used tyres but this time it was super loose so I will go on new tyres for the last one’.
Bruno Coelho ended up with an easy win in the opening A-Main of 2WD at the Euro Offroad Series in Austria. Taking a dominant TQ at the ERT Steyregg track, Coelho wasn’t to have it as easy at the start of A1 coming under string pressure from No.2 qualifier Michal Orlowski until a mistake from the Pole saw him cross the track and cause Coelho to crash. This allowed third place qualifier Joona Haatanen into the lead but the recovering Coelho didn’t take long to regain his position at the front from where he soon opened up a large advantage over the field. Behind, Haatanen then had to see off a challenge from Lucas Grainer which he duly did to finish over 3-seconds back on Coelho and over a second up on Grainer, who was clearly delighted to take an A-Main Top 3 finish on his EOS debut.
Commenting on his race, Coelho said, ‘Orlowski was making a lot of pressure at the start but then had a mistake ad landed on the other part of the track and it made me lose two places. Once Scotty called Orlowski to let me by I forced a lot to catch Joona and once I was passed him I was able to open up a gap’. Asked if he was surprised by Orlowski’s early pace, the former 4WD Champion and current 4WD points leader said, ‘I started safe because it is easy to make a mistake. It is easier to push when you are behind and it is something I would do if I was behind someone in the hope you can force them into a mistake’. After letting Coelho through, Orlowski would have another mistake on his own which dropped him out of contention and decided to pull off.
Enjoying an ice cream after A1, it very hot & humid at the track, Haatanen said, ‘At the start I saw I didn’t have the pace I needed to race at the front’. The Team Associated driver continued, ‘then something happened at the front and I got the lead but Bruno got it back on the next lap. At least I got second, that’s good for me’.
Enjoying an impressive EOS debut, 16-year-old Grainer was very happy with his race. Qualifying a strong 4th, the Xray driver from Vienna said, ‘I was trying to catch Joona and in the end he was too fast but the race was just a great experience for me’.