The opening round of qualifying in 2wd at the Arena33 in Andernach has gone to Michal Orlowski, although the reigning champion had to work hard for it. Paul Crompton would take 2nd in what were very difficult conditions, just ahead of Wesley van Helmond, Bruno Coelho with Jorn Neumann completing the top 5. ‘That was exhausting’ replied Orlowksi when asked how his run was, referring to the very low grip which the Polish driver felt was ‘way lower than expected’. Having to drive on ‘top of your game’ to avoid any mistakes he felt his car was having small moments at all times during the run. Continuing to use the laydown gearbox despite the stand up version proving it is better in these conditions Michal will discuss whether to switch with his crew and perhaps prep two cars and try the other version in the warmup of the next heat.
Paul Crompton put in a very solid run to take the 2nd spot some 3 seconds back on first, the Yokomo driver saying his car ‘is pretty good when its loose, it seems to have a little more grip than the others’. A driver that is more accustomed to these type of conditions he said that their Nationals last week was even more wet and slippery than here so the track actually feels pretty good to him ‘but maybe I’m more used to it’.
Third for the round went to Dutch driver Wesley van Helmond, the Schumacher racer leading the heat for a time but having one mistake on the last lap. Taking to the wet astro surface, Wesley joked that ‘we only drive in the Netherlands in these conditions’, before saying that he is always practicing on his local track in the rain. Feeling that the track won’t dry up today he expects it to get even slower but rather than chase the track conditions with setup he will just put on a new set of Schumacher tires for Q2.
Bruno Coelho had a bad start to Q1, rolling on the first lap which lost him some time but overall was content with the run. Very loose at the start, after a few laps the car and tires came in and it was considerably better to drive. The Xray driver says he will try to make the car more easy to drive for Q2 and aim to be more careful at the beginning of the run. Jorn Neumann would take 5th ahead of Joona Haatanen, Daniel Kobbevik, Hupo Honigl and Martin Bayer, with Marcel Schneider completing the top 10.
Practice has been completed at the Arena33 for the 2wd class, with both rounds of seeding taking place on a damp track while drivers continued to use the silver compound Mini Darts. It was defending champion Michal Orlowski who was quickest over 3 laps, like most, the Schumacher driver’s first round time quicker than his 2nd round time as the track began to dry and get more slippery. Bruno Coelho was 2nd, some 3 tenths behind, with Wesley van Helmond in 3rd, one of only 2 drivers in the top 10 to improve in the 2nd heat. Joona Haatanen, lead Yokomo driver this weekend Paul Crompton and Hupo Honigl, complete the top 6 after practice. Talking with Orlowski he said ‘now it feels slippy’, further explaining that ‘when there is standing water on the track it has more grip’. Continuing to run the laydown gearbox in his Schumacher he says while it might not suit the current conditions he doesn’t want to change it to the stand up version so that he will be ready when the grip does eventually come up.
Taking the second spot after 2 rounds of practice, Bruno Coelho would go 2 seconds slower over 3 laps in his second round and so counted his 1st round time. Continuing to try different things to make his Xray XB2 more stable and to generate some more traction in the difficult changing conditions he felt that the track was getting less traction but that they would ‘keep working for qualifying’.
Ending with 3rd spot in the 2nd round, Dutch driver Wesley van Helmond used the stand up gearbox in his Schumacher, which proved to be the right choice for the tricky half wet half dry conditions currently at the Arena33. Team mate Jorn Neumann was the only other driver in the top 10 to improve in the 2nd round of practice, the German putting his relative pace down to trying a number of things but joked that seeing the pace of his team mate, may choose to change to the stand gearbox also.
Joona Haatanen, who ended seeding as 4th fastest, described his 2 rounds of practice as ‘not too bad’. The Finnish driver, like most others, was continuing his search for ever elusive rear traction but was pleased with the overall balance of his car. Feeling he is too hard on the throttle the Associated driver was seen changing the rotor in his Reedy motor in an attempt to reduce the punch, something that is not desired in these slippy conditions. Leading the Yokomo challenge Paul Crompton took 5th, both his team mate Lee Martin and that of Haatanen, Neil Cragg, both unable to attend due to clashing dates with the British Nitro Offroad Nationals. Drivers now have 4 rounds of qualifying and it is planned to run racing late into the evening to make up for the delayed start before running the finals tomorrow morning.
Remarks – Xray top driver Bruno Coelho is attending EOS Round 5 here in Andernach running the Dirt version of the Slovakian XB2 buggy. This example was specifically prepared for the wet conditions encountered in the early stages of the race, and features a plastic rear shock tower to increase traction. Bruno is also using the higher gearbox that brings the motor further towards the rear. In addition, he chose an 8.5T motor and a milder speedo setup to better suit the traction conditions. The chassis is covered in a soon to be released chassis tape, very useful on astro as it prevents bits of synthetic grass from sticking to the hot chassis.
Name – Arena33 Owner – Tonisport Country – Germany Location – Andernach (130 km East of Frankfurt) Direction – Anti-Clockwise Surface – Astro Previous key events hosted – 1 x EOS Outdoor & 1 X EOS Indoors
Making its debut on the EOS calendar last season as the first ever outdoor race in the series, Arena33 returns this year as the first of two outdoor events that make up the remainder of the 2018/19 series. The astro turf surfaced track, which takes up an area of 24 meters by 41 meters, is located to the rear of the Tonisport owned Arena33 in Andernach, and alongside the astro turf main surface the jumps feature new EOS carpet. With converted shipping containers as a drivers stand, drivers are pitting inside the adjacent Arena33 pit area.
In terms of layout, it remains largely unchanged from last season with only the addition of a small roller on the centre left side of the track and the spacing of the larger jumps has been brought closer together to make it easier for everyone. Having rained all morning forcing a delay to the start of Rd5 of the series, and with organisers working hard to remove the standing water, the track is still wet and so the racers will run handout wet tires, more specifically the Schumacher Mini Darts in silver compound.
Speaking with last year’s winner Michal Orlowski, the Polish driver sealing both the 2wd and 4wd titles here some 12 months ago, the Polish driver described the track as having a very unique feeling especially compared to the UK astro tracks, elaborating by saying it feels ‘slightly softer’. Liking the layout he said ‘last year was very successful for us and we have prepared a lot for this race’, continuing ‘the weather is not so good this weekend but I enjoy racing in the rain’. Feeling it is very important to be smooth, Michal says the track has some ‘sneaky bumps which can catch you out’ and so to be quick you have to ‘learn the bumps’.
Bruno Coelho has won 4WD at the fourth round of the Euro Offroad Series in Slovakia. Having concluded the first half of the season last month in Daun with the first win of his campaign, the Xray driver today opened the second half of the season with victory when he wrapped things up in A2. Similar to A1, Coelho’s only challenger would be Michal Orlowski but this time the Schumacher driver came undone on his own when he got it wrong at the table top on lap 3. Dropping down the order, he would eventually pull off as team-mate Joern Neumann took advantage of other’s mistakes to finish second, 6-seconds down on Coelho. With the prospect of a repeat of the double win he took at the Hudy Arena last year gone, Michal would manage to win A3 which would with his P4 from A1 at least see the reigning champion make the podium in 3rd place. Having to defend greatly finishing A3 in second just ahead of Joona Haatanen and Jörn Neumann, it would be Martin Bayer who would claim the second step on the podium for an Xray 1-2. Neumann ended the event in 4th position ahead of Haatanen and with Lee Martin completing the Top 6.
Reacting to his A2 win, Coelho said, ‘I had a fight with Orlowski for the first two laps but then he made a mistake at the table top and that gave me space to breath and I pulled away slowly’. His 10th EOS 4WD career win, moving him to within 1 win off the championship’s most winning driver Neumann, the Season #6 champion was happy with his full points all from today but aired caution about the rest of the championship in terms of battling for the title. ‘We got the win today but time has started to work hard for the next EOS because it is on astro. I have not practiced on astro since the last EOS race last season’. He continued, ‘I really have little experience of it and last year we struggled so we have a lot to do and need to work on finding a set-up for astro. The season is still open’. With just a single round on Astro last year at Arena 33 in Germany, host of the next round, this proved tough for Coelho. While he qualified 3rd he came away with 10th in the final. This year the extended 6 round championship included a trip to ERT Steyregg in Austria for the season finale with this also an astro surface track.
‘A defending race’, was Bayer’s reaction after the closing final. Missing out on the podium last year having started his home race from the TQ, the Xray designer said, ‘I felt I was not driving like I should but I was defending my starting place and got 2nd overall which is a good result for the the team so I am happy for this’.
Summing up his finals Orlowski said, ‘At least I made the podium. Bruno deserved to win this weekend’. Last year’s double winner in Xray’s backyard, the Pole continued, ‘the car felt great at the start of 4WD but after Q3 I wasn’t feeling good with it’. He explained, ‘In A2 I had the same issue as in Q3. I’m not sure if it was the car or me but nothing felt good for me and I made a lot of mistakes. We always knew it was going to be hard to beat Xray at their test track but we are still alive in both Championships and the next round is astro turf which I feel very confident racing on. Last year Xray struggled. I’m sure they will prepare more this time but I still think we will have a small advantage’.
In the Mod Stadium truck class, Neumann would take both the TQ and win ahead of EOS Daun winner Max Götzl with Joona Haatanen completing the podium. In the new for Season #8 4WD 10.5 class, the win went to Tim Kunz ahead of Jan Zalewski and 2WD 13.5 class winner Pawel Ntkovca.