Michal Orlowski completed the double at the Euro Offroad Series in Slovakia, the Schumacher driver backing up his 2WD victory on Saturday with the 4WD win on Sunday. The half way stage of the championship, the result means the Polish driver leaves Trencin leading the standings in both 2WD and 4WD. Three drivers went into A3 in contention for the win but it was Orlowski who took control of the race early getting by Top Qualifier Martin Bayer on the second lap when the Xray driver again had a bobble. Chased by Bayer, Orlowski looked to throw away the win when in the dying moments he put his car on its roof briefly allowing Bayer to go to the front only for him to replicate Orlowski’s mistake at the very next jump and give back the position. Unfortunately for Bayer the mistake also cost him a podium, his time for the second place slower than that of Joern Neumann in A2 meaning the German got the final step on the podium on the tie break. In between the two Schumachers, Lee Martin would claim second overall by completing the Top 3 in the closing race of the weekend.
His second time to complete an EOS double, the first of which he achieved two years ago at his home race in Warsaw, Orlowski said, ‘I knew before the race I couldn’t let Lee win. Once I passed Bayer I didn’t push too much, I just had to finish ahead of Lee. I also knew if I could keep Bayer behind it would help Joern make the podium but then I made a stupid mistake. I was not concentrating enough, I was thinking too much about the finish, but I got lucky and it didn’t change anything for me. I’m really happy we got two cars on the podium’. Asked about claiming the double at the home track of Xray, the 17-year-old replied, ‘It’s not the first time to do the double so it doesn’t feel that special. I see it more as two wins and good points for the championship and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season’.
Recapping his A3 performance, Lee Martin said, ‘It was pretty good although I didn’t drive fantastic. My car was a little edgy on throttle and the diff felt strange but overall it was much better than when we started out the weekend’. With today’s second place moving the Yokomo driver up to second in the standings he continued, ‘We should be alright the next round. We will be starting from a much better point. Before then though I need to go home and test diffs and also test what to do with the front tyres. I don’t think we have that figured out yet’.
Claiming his first podium finish in a long time, former Multiple champion Neumann wasn’t quite in the mood to celebrate the result. He said, ‘It sucks when (Daniel) Kobbevik does the double double and takes me out when you are not allowed to do (the double) there’. The German continued, ‘my car was really fast, I think I set the fastest lap of the weekend, but because of this I can’t show it’. He continued, ‘Of course I am happy with 3rd but directly after the race I’m frustrated, maybe it could have been 2nd instead of 3rd’. Asked does he feel he has now found his way within the Schumacher team, which he only joined last month, he replied, ‘I’m looking forward to the next race. Now I’m very comfortable with the car and the set-up is good. I’m sure we will fight for the podium again at the next round.’
‘A disappointing ending for me’, was how Bayer summed up his result. Winner of what has since become his home race three years ago, the Czech driver added, ‘It started out really good. I got the TQ taking 3 of the 4 qualifiers. I was close in the last one to making the podium but my time was 3-seconds off Joern’s so I got fourth. I’m not happy at all with this’. Still the Xray Offroad team-manager vowed to get the job done at Round 4 in Austria next month concluding, ‘we can never stop working on getting better and I will come back stronger for the next one’.
Michal Orlowski took an easy win in the second A-Main of 4WD at EOS Slovakia, the Pole leading a Schumacher 1-2 at the Hudy Arena. Second in the opening encounter after a first lap error, Orlowski produced a near perfect race going ahead of Top Qualifier Martin Bayer on the opening laps when the Xray driver had a bobble at the main table top. Once in front Orlowski was never challenged pulling well clear of his rivals. Bayer lost further ground which allowed Neumann to go by on lap 5 and with the Top 3 all very evenly matched on pace the order stayed static for the remainder of the race. Having won the first final, Lee Martin wouldn’t have a good A2 finishing 6th behind fellow Brit Neil Cragg.
Commenting on his win, Orlowski said, ‘I was on new tyres and from the warm-up I knew my car was good. Still, I started a bit easier so as to not make the same mistakes as A1’. He continued, ‘I got past Bayer when he had a bobble and tried to build a gap but the others had a few mistakes which made it easier for me. With a big gap I was able to back off towards the end to save my tyres for the last one’. With a win and a second place from the first two, only Lee Martin and Neumann can challenge Orlowski for the overall victory with Bayer’s chances having ended in A2 after he failed to get by Neumann.
Enjoying his most competitive EOS outing for quite some time, Neumann was very pleased with his second place in A2. The German said, ‘I was on new tyres and was very fast again. I just got stuck behind Joona (Hataanen) for a couple of laps at the beginning until he made a mistake and I could get by and by then Michal was already gone. We had very similar pace so I couldn’t gain anything on him’. Setting the fastest lap of the race, just, his best a 23.533 compared to Orlowski’s 23.583, he said, ‘I think this is the first time in 3-years I am fighting for a podium. It’s not safe yet, it still is all open but I think my car will be even better now with the tyres on their second run’.
Bayer said, ‘the car was now better. I used my first set (of tyres) from yesterday and they felt really good’. A driver who has been making time on everyone over the table top it was this that cost him the lead, he said, ‘I made a little bobble which allowed Michal in front, then I got pushed out wide by Lee. I tried to fight with Joern but we had the same speed and with no mistake it was impossible to catch him. Sitting fourth overall going into A3, he concluded, ‘hope the last one goes good’.
Running the same set of tyres for a third time in A2, Lee Martin said, ‘My car had a little understeer that time. The tyres went off’. He Yokomo driver continued, ‘It was bit of a poor run really’. With a new set of tyres for the final round, the other two potential winners and Bayer having already used their new set, he is hoping this will give him the edge in the deciding final.
Having started out 4WD not looking particularly competitive in practice, Lee Martin’s weekend is turning around with the Yokomo driver taking the A1 win at EOS Slovakia. Starting third on the grid, the former Champion benefited from mistakes by both drivers ahead of him, Michal Orlowski with the first error followed by a Martin Bayer mistake later in the opening lap. Initially it was Joern Nuemann who challenged Martin for the lead until a mistake and then getting caught and passed by team-mate Orlowski, it was the 2WD winner who tried to put pressure on the leader but he would run out of time. Setting the fastest lap of the race, he would finish 3/10ths behind Martin while Neumann completed the Top 3 ahead of Daniel Kobbevik and Bayer.
‘That was alright’ was Lee Martin’s reaction after the race. He continued, ‘obviously those two crashed out of the lead but I expected Michal to come at me harder. I had good pace at the end of the race which made it more difficult for him to close in’. Asked about his improving form, he replied, ‘Its pretty close now and I’m just going to drive the same in the next one’.
Orlowski said, ‘I started out quick and was pushing Bayer. I could feel he was nervous. I was ready to get down his inside but had to check up which meant I couldn’t make the double and I dropped a couple of places.’ The EOS Daun winner added, ‘Joona and Joern made mistakes which allowed me to get by them and I was able to put in very quick laps but I ran out of time to catch Lee’. Looking to A2, the Polish teenager said, ‘Bayer has used his new tyres which is good for me as I still have new tyres and he will feel more pressure as he has now needs results from the next two (mains)’.
Commenting on his 3rd, Neumann said, ‘It was very good because I was on third run tyres. I decided to use them for the first one so I have good tyres for the next two’. On the race he said, ‘It was very close until I hit the barriers which let Lee get a gap. Then I had to single single the middle jump and Michal got by me’. In terms of his car, the German having had a strong finish this morning to qualifying he said, ‘I changed the set-up for Q2 last night and it was not good so I went back for Q3 and it was really good. I will leave all the same’.
Ending up with a 5th, Top Qualifier Bayer summed up the first final as a ‘disaster’. The Xray driver added, ‘I made a mistake but I was on new tyres and again like in 2WD they were totally different to the previous set. I had zero forward traction, it was like I had the handbrake on.’ For A2 he said, ‘I will go back to one of my qualifying sets (of tyres) and hope the 2nd & 3rd finals are better’.