Bruno Coelho has opened the defence of his Euro Offroad Series 4WD title with a win, the Xray driver claiming the overall victory at the opening round of the championship at the Nurburgring in Germany. The win marks the World Champions fourth consecutive EOS victory and his second at the iconic motor racing circuit, his title having been claimed here back in April at last season’s finale. Like in A1 Coelho would win A2 after an almost identical mistake from Top Qualifier Lee Martin who once again rolled coming off the Team Associated Step-up Step-down, a feature the reigning 2WD champion took an immediate dislike when seeing it for the first time when he arrived at the track on Thursday night. Managing to maintain his No.1 starting position throughout A3 that would secure last year’s race winner 2nd overall with Michal Orlowski completing the podium.
Summing up his win, Coelho said, ‘the weekend didn’t start too well, not with the cars but with me. I was feeling sick yesterday and while today was better I am still not perfect’. He continued 2WD is the most difficult of all the classes for me and struggling with myself what is already bad was even worse. Today was much better and for sure it is good to start the season with a win. A win is the best thing for the championship although we missed the TQ but there are four more races to go’. On the racing he said, ‘Lee flipped 2 times in front of me which made today’s win look easy but I was not faster than the other guys. We had the same pace’.
‘My first clean final all weekend’, was Martin’s reaction to his A3 win. Changing body shell on his YZ4 to a new soon to be released shell that is a collaboration between his own LMR brand and the MR33 brand of team-mate Marc Rheinard, the British driver said the car felt good, describing it as ‘freer to drive’. He continued ‘once Orlowski crashed I controlled it from there. Second and the TQ point is not a bad start to the championship’. Asked about his A2 error which handed Coelho an early victory, he said, ‘twice the table top got me. I just fell off the step a little earlier, it was not as if I hit a track marker’. He added, ‘hopefully for the rest of the EOS tracks this season the feature will be the full width of the track. What they had here was like putting curbing down the straight and cutting it in half’.
Claiming his second podium of the weekend, Orlowski said, ‘It been a pretty good start to the season, much better than last season in 4WD and that’s thanks to Tris(tram Neal) work on the car in the UK’. He continued 3rd today is something to build on, Round 2 set to take place in the 15-year-old’s home city of Warsaw in November. On his A3 performance, in which he would finish 4th behind Martin Wollanka, the former European Champion said ‘the feeling of the car was different to before’. Only fitting a new set of driveshafts he said as a result of the different feeling he wasn’t driving very good and that was what resulted in his lap 4 error.
Outside the podium, Hupo Honigl would be best of the rest in fourth thanks to a second place in the third A-Main. The Xray driver joked, ‘but I did beat Martin in the truck, that was the original challenge we set each other’. Having been enjoying an internal battle with his Xray Offroad team-manger Martin Bayer he added, ‘Martin is happy he beat me in truck but I got the better of him twice in buggy’. A former 2WD race winner, the Austrian said about A3, ‘I tried to catch Lee but saw I couldn’t so shifted back a gear to protect my second’. Behind Honigl 2WD race winner Marc Rheinard would complete the Top 5 despite Top 3 finishes in A1 & 2.
In what was expected to be a fraught first A-Main of 4WD, it was to be Bruno Coelho who took an easy win of what overall was an uneventful race. Starting from second on the grid, the reigning champion went to the front when Top Qualifier Lee Martin rolled coming off the Team Associated Step-up Step-Down and once in the front the Xray driver pulled away to win by over 4-seconds. Martin would recover to second having dropped behind his Yokomo team-mate after his error. Having got by Orlowski at the start the pair making contact and Orlowski coming off worse, Rheinard get caught and passed by the Schumacher driver but on the last lap he would make ‘another stupid mistake I guess’ letting Rheinard back through to complete the Top 3.
‘Its a good start to the finals’ was Coelho’s reaction to the win. The World Champion continued, ‘I just followed Lee waiting for him to run wide or make a mistake and he did and I just took it’. He continued, ‘I then had Rheinard behind me but I pulled away, my car was perfect’. For A2, the Portuguese ace said, ‘the next I will try to do the same but for sure its difficult to overtake Lee’.
Making his mistake on lap 5 of 16 Martin summed up his race with, ‘I got done by the steps’. He continued, ‘Bruno was pretty solid too, that’s about it really’.
Starting fourth on the grid behind Orlowski, Rheinard said, ‘Michal made a bit of a mistake and we touched which was not my fault. Then Lee had his moment and I was behind Bruno. I pushed to catch him but had a rough lap and dropped back’. Opting to run his tyres for a third time he said his YZ4 was little loose so that didn’t help either. On his pass on Orlowski on the last lap he said ‘I only got by him because he made a mistake’. Rheinard will run new tyres for A2.
Lee Martin is the 4WD Top Qualifier for the opening round of the Euro Offroad Series at the Nurburgring. The Yokomo driver, who took the TQ and win at the same event last season, secured pole position for the final when he took a very close fourth qualifier ahead of reigning champion Bruno Coelho. After a poor start to his preferred class, Coelho was to turn things around in the second half of qualifying topping Q3 ahead of Marc Rheinard and backing that up with P2 in the final encounter to secure second on the grid. Having opened the final day of the German event with a TQ run in Q2, Michal Orlwoski would end out qualifying with a P3 which is where he will start what many predict is going to a hectic trio of finals.
‘That was a close one’ was Martin’s reaction after Q4, the separation between himself and Coelho a tenth of a second. Describing his car as ‘lacking a bit of power’ in Q3 leading to a safe run to P3, with his RC Concept speedo turned up for the deciding qualifier he said it was ‘a lonely race’. With his key rivals starting the heat towards the back of the field due to earlier issues he ‘just went round and round and with a bit of a push got there in the end’. Taking up the TQ pace from Coelho with 3-laps to go, Martin said changes to his YZ4 for the last heat, based on some idea Shin Adachi had come with, had made the car better’. Asked about the finals, the former champion said his plan was to ‘just try to keep the car on all four pegs’ adding ‘it’s going to be mental’.
Coelho was pleased to have turned around his fortunes from earlier in qualifier and having looked on target to post to two runs he said of Q4, ‘I just did a mistake. I had a bad landing and hit the rear of the car’. The World Champion said ‘overall the car is very good and the last two qualifiers were good so for sure I will fight for the win’. Winner of 3 of the four rounds last season having made his EOS debut here 12-months ago, he concluded, ‘the car is there, the driver has not been 100% so far but I’ll get there’.
‘For now 3rd is better than TQ’ was Orlwoski’s view of his qualifying position. The 15-year-old continued, ‘Bruno & Lee are faster than me so I’m happier to try run with them and wait for something to happen’. Suffering two mistakes in Q3 that cost him a combined 8-seconds, he said the final qualifier was a good run. On new tyres, he made a ‘very careful start’ as he ‘didn’t want to risk too much’, he said he lost time at the beginning as a result but as he continued to go around was able to bring up his pace and claim back some of the time for ‘a close finish’.
Top Qualifier in 2WD, Rheinard will line up 4th on the grid. The Yokomo driver described his Q3 run as ‘a pretty OK’ one but was less impressed with the final qualifier. A crash on the first lap would cost him 2-seconds, but closing up again to the top of the timing screen he he would crash again on his second last lap losing over 4-seconds but added ‘I tried’. Declaring ‘the car is fine’, he continued, ‘We are all pretty much the same speed, it’s going to be interesting. The track is so difficult it’s easy to go from 1st to 10th or from 8th to 1st’. With his YZ4 easier to drive on second run tyres he said he’s not sure whether to go on new set or risk trying to get a third run from the tyres.
‘The car is really perfect but the driver keeps crashing’, was Honigl’s reaction after qualifying P5. Planning no changes for the final, when asked about what he can do from his starting position the Xray driver laughed saying, ‘I don’t think the final will be nice, I think it will be ugly and anything can happen’. Behind the Austrian, fellow countryman and team-mate Martin Wollanka starts 6th followed by Martin Bayer, Kaja Novotny, former champion Joern Neumann and Joel Valander.
Chassis: Schumacher Cat K2 Motor: LRP X20 5.5T ESC: LRP Flow Batteries: LRP 4000mAh Radio/Servo: Sanwa Remarks – Young Polish star Michal Orlowski is running an interesting version of the Schumacher Cat K2. His car is equipped with a thinner, 2mm aluminium chassis and a 2.5mm top deck. Together with his engineer Tristram Neal they modified the motor mount to separate it from the servo. Michael is also using pre-production shorter steering arms to reduce the ackermann angle therefore increasing the outside wheel lock. To reduce the rotating masses, he has also removed two of the four slipper pads compensating with an additional spacer on the spring.
Michal Orlowski has taken the second round of qualifying at the Euro Offroad Series this morning at the Nurburgring. The Schumacher driver was fastest from last night’s 2WD race winner Marc Rheinard with Hupo Honigl completing the Top 3. For reigning champion Bruno Coelho it was not the morning the practice top seed was hoping. The fastest car on the track, he would make ‘too many mistakes’ leaving him with a P9 for the round. It would also be a tough round for last night’s Q1 pace setter Lee Martin as he struggled to set the 11th fastest time.
‘It was a good run. The car very good from the beginning because I was on used tyres’, was how Orlowski summed up the qualifier. Adding ‘it was a safe run’, the former European Champion said, ‘I thought I heard Scotty (Ernst) say Marc (Rheinard) had crashed so I started to cruise towards the end as I thought I had a big gap but he hadn’t crashed and it was only .8 at the finish’. Looking to Q3, the teenager said, ‘I’ll leave the car the same and see what happens’.
Rheinard said his P2 was ‘pretty ok’ but added, ‘my car was pretty hard to drive’. The Yokomo driver continued, ‘I know it is difficult for everyone but my car was not the same left and right and I lost some time when it got up on 2-wheels’. After his retirement from Q1 with a broken idler gear, the German said, ‘I needed a clean run after yesterday so it was a good start to the day but Bruno is the quickest only he crashes too much’. Asked about his run, team-mate Martin said, ‘the car felt completely different to yesterday and I crashed many times. I’ve got to look over it as it felt like a different car’. Shortly after the Brit would report back that the rear rollbar had been mistakenly left off.
Finishing a considerable 6-seconds off the TQ pace, Honigl said, ‘I think it was pretty good but I think the car can do a lot more’. Also racing in Mod Truck today, the Xray driver continued, ‘I have raced multi class very often but this track is very difficult and makes switching back & forth more challenging. The difference in driving style between the classes is a lot more than normal’.
Honigl’s team-mate Kaja Novotny would post the fifth fastest time. Czech National Champion in both 2WD & 4WD Buggy, the 20-year-old was pleased with his result which was one better than his opening qualifier. Having had just one small moment at the table top, he said while he was overall very happy with his XB4 it had ‘a little too much steering’ and that was something he hoped to dial out for the penultimate qualifier. Behind Novotny, Finland’s Joel Valander would complete the Top 6 also at the controls of an Xray.