With many having expected it to come in A2, only for that race to turn in a blot on an otherwise dominant Xray performance from the first practice, Bruno Coelho gave the Slovakian manufacturer a home victory at the Euro Offroad Series with a faultless win in A3. Top Qualifier for the 3rd round of the championship, the reigning champion made amends for a hectic second leg, in which he eliminated himself on the first lap, with a near perfect race to lead home team-mate Martin Bayer. Securing his second win of the season, the biggest story of 4WD would be those joining him on the podium at the Hudy Racing Arena. With the host manufacturer locking out the top 3 in qualifying and getting six XB4 onto the A-Main grid, the odds where against their rivals to podium but in part mainly due to the Xray destruction in A2 it would be winner of that leg Lee Martin who would secure the runners-up spot. More surprising was Michal Orlowski making the podium from 8th on the grid, the Schumacher driver the only one to podium both classes at every race so far this season. The top non-Xray qualifier, securing 4th on the grid, Joern Neumann would miss the podium, A3 seeing the former champion taken out by Martin Wollanka while on target for 3rd overall.
Commenting on the deciding race, Coelho said, ‘I was pretty nervous for the first 2-laps but everything was good and I could get space on Bayer. After that I tried to manage it to the end. It was very good’. Describing his Hobbywing powered XB4 as ‘pretty good all weekend’, even with the bent chassis he ran throughout qualifying, he said the weak link was his mistakes. Shooting to fame for his electric touring car performance at the 2014 World Championships, a drive that led to him turning professional with Xray, he explained, ‘I am missing offroad practice because I am more focused on onroad. Compared to my rivals I only get to race five races, the EOS, a year. I have the pace and the car but miss the comfort in my driving as its not my class and my travel schedule means it impossible to practice more. So to be able to TQ & win 4WD and make the podium in 2WD I’m pretty happy. I didn’t win in 2WD because of inexperience’. Extending his lead in the standing to 6-points, he concluded, ‘for sure today’s win is great for the championship’.
‘I’ll take it. We didn’t have the pace and they did but thats been the case for a while’, was Martin’s summary of his second place finish. He continued, ‘we need the ideal track to excel and didn’t have that here’. Running a brand new set-up this weekend on his RC Concepts powered YZ4 which was the result of recent testing and racing in France last weekend, he said, ‘in the corners its so much better but there are other issues namely landing’. Still chasing the first win of the season, he said ‘I think I drove pretty good and two seconds here ain’t too bad’, the reigning 2WD champion getting a second in that class yesterday.
From 8th on the grid to finishing on the podium, that result seemed to mean even more to Orlowski that his 2WD win yesterday. The 15-year-old said, ‘we went from lows to highs each day but I only expected at best a Top 5 today’. Summing up A3 he said, ‘I started easy because so I could get a Top 5 but people crashed in front of me and then when I saw Wollanka and Joern crash I knew I had a podium chance if I could finish 4th. It was a positive end to the weekend to get two podiums’. Analysing his 4WD performance, the former European Champion said, ‘We have a bit of work to do with set-up for more open tracks. The car was good but Xray had that little extra bit. We have the pace on tight tracks but we need to do more testing for tracks like this layout’.
Trying to obtain video footage of his incident with Wollanka, Neumann said, ‘Wollanka was so slow at the start and I passed him but then I don’t know what happened but he drove into the side of me and the marshal was really slow’. He continued, ‘it was maximum shit because we could have made the podium for sure’. With fourth his best result this season, the Serpent driver said, ‘for sure we made made progress with the car. If we can improve the landing we will be right there for the next one’. Behind Neumann, former team-mate Hupo Hönigl would complete the Top 5 ahead of Kája Novotný, Wollanka and Bayer, the Czech driver’s 8th place not a reflection of the form he showed in qualifying.
Chassis: Xray XT2 Motor: Orion VST2 Pro 4.5T ESC: Orion Vortex R10.1 Pro Batteries: Orion 4500mAh Xs Radio/Servo: Sanwa/MKS Remarks – Czech talent Kaja Novotny got the runner-up spot here at the Hudy Arena behind the wheel of a Xray XT2 in the Modified Truck division. His truck is equipped with a brass bulkhead, aluminium uprights and camber link supports, an under LiPo steel weight and a set of Hiro Seiko screws. He is also using prototype carbon stiffeners on his chassis.
Chassis: Serpent SDX-4 Motor: Orion VST2 Pro 5.0T ESC: Orion Vortex R10.1 Pro Batteries: Orion 4500mAh Xs Radio/Servo: Sanwa/K-Power Remarks – Former Champion Joern Neumann is running the latest 4wd Serpent SDX-4 buggy here at the Hudy Arena. His car is equipped with hard swaybars and a one-piece steering system that doesn’t feature a servo saver. He also glued the wishbone stiffeners to the arms themselves so as to obtain a stiffer result, and added a hole to lower the camber link on the rear shock tower.
Lee Martin came out the winner of a hectic second A-Main of 4WD at the Euro Offroad Series after the three Xrays starting up front all crashed out to retire with broken cars. With the Xray dominance coming to an end on the first lap, that would set up a race between Joern Neumann, Michal Orlowski and Martin but it was the latter that would hold on for the surprise win. With Coelho coming under pressure from team-mate Bayer, the pair would trip up at the left side double double with Neumann finding a way to the front but in the first run down the straight Coelho would rear end the Serpent sending both cars flying off the track. While Neumann would continue, Coelho broke a rear camber link and was out. In all the chaos this set off, it was Orlowski from 8th on the grid who led the way for 3-laps until a mistake that allowed Martin through. Coming under pressure from a recovering Neumann, the Yokomo driver would spin on the landing of the double after the straight but instead of capitalising on the error Neumann would also get it wrong giving back 2nd to Orlowski with this how they would finish the race.
In reaction to his win, Martin said, ‘there was self destruction in front’. Describing it as ‘an exciting race’ the reigning 2WD Champion added ‘It was a lucky race too because the person behind me made a bobble at the same time I made a mistake’, that a reference to Neumann. Reporting his slipper as ‘slipping at the end’, he said he just tried to keep it on four wheels and get it to the finish. Adding he was ‘surprised but happy’ to get the win he concluded, ‘lets see if I can get lucky again’, things are now wide open for the win going into A3.
‘I don’t know what to say’ was Orlowski’s reaction after the race. Winner of 2WD yesterday, he continued, ‘I have no idea how it happened but I found myself out front and there were wheels coming off cars’, the wheel he was referring to being that of Martin Wollanka. After the high of yesterday’s win and then qualifying 8th for 4WD, the Polish teenager said, ‘we ran the same set up as in Poland but it wasn’t so good and so we changed the whole car. It was a little better but I think we are still lacking a bit of pace and need to work on the car for this type of layout’. Asked about his chances for the closing race of the event he replied, ‘hopefully again there is a big mess in the front’.
‘Maybe we can skip A3’ joked Neumann after the final, his pair of third place finishes giving him the current points lead. Giving his account of the incident with Coelho the European Champion said, ‘I got inside of Bruno but it didn’t last long, I led until the straight and then he ran into the back of my car and we both flew off the track. At least my car was maximum strong and could continue’. Asked about his second attempt at taking the lead, he said, ‘Lee made a mistake but so did I and I ended up third’ adding for the last lap and a half ‘my car lost a bit of power’.
Giving his view of the start, Coelho said ‘I drove so bad. I was leaving all the corners open because Martin was pressuring me. Neumann then got by me and we entered the straight together but I was not expecting my car to be so much faster and I had no time to react. I never thought there could be that much difference’.