Bruno Coelho has successfully defended his Euro Offroad Series title with a masterful 4WD win this evening at the penultimate round of the championship in Germany. Starting the weekend by claiming his first ever 2WD win of the EOS, when the action switched over to 4WD at Arena33, the reigning champion was in a league of his own. Top Qualifier, taking all four rounds of qualifying, the Xray driver would cruise to a completely unchallenged A1 win. The second encounter would see the World Champion kept on his toes by Yokomo’s Lee Martin getting to within a second of the leader but with three laps to go a mistake from the former champion left Coelho to cruise to the win to notch up his third victory of the season and lock down the Season #6 title. With Coelho able to pack is bags early, his absence from the A3 grid would allow Martin to take the win to finish second overall with the podium being completed by star of the weekend Joona Haatanen.
‘Everything is done, we reached the target’, was Coelho’s reaction to securing the title. Only joining the EOS last season and going on to take the title at his first attempt, he said ‘the result is amazing because onroad is my main class. EOS is five races so I only practice 5-times for it’. With a rival manufacturer commenting after watching Coelho take the fourth qualifier, ‘the car is really good but to watch how Bruno drives it is pretty amazing’, the Portuguese driver put his impressive form down to enjoying 4WD. He said, ‘I don’t like 2WD, I only do it to learn the track. 4WD I really enjoy because you can force it around the track, in 2WD you have to wait’. Commenting on his A2 performance he said, ‘now it was more difficult. I didn’t have such an advantage as Lee pushed much harder. Also I didn’t use my third set of tyres so my tyres were at their limit. After Lee’s mistake it was comfortable in the end’. With the season finale still to run next month in Wels, Austria, Coelho said the race will be an opportunity to start working on their new 2018 car adding ‘we have some ideas we want to try and now we can do that at the next EOS’.
With his season still void of a win in either 2 or 4WD, Martin summed up his second place with ‘it’s been another bridesmaid race’. He continued, ‘I quite enjoyed leg 3 without having to catch Bruno. He’s a bit ahead of me on his package’. With it 16 months since his last EOS win, which came in 2WD, ironically at the Hudy Arena, the former champion of both classes said, ‘we made a fews steps forward this time round and hopefully we can progress that more for the last round so we can take the fight to hm (Bruno) again’.
‘This weekend has been awesome, I made the podium in all three classes’, said a very happy Haatanen after grabbing a late second place in A3 to complete a trio of podium finishes in Andernach. Having kicked off his 4WD A-Main debut with a third place in A1 from 5th on the grid, the 14-year-old Team Associated star said, ‘the second one was not that good because I had mistakes. The last one I was all the 5-minutes in 4th but on the 2nd last lap Bayer and Wollanka had problems in the centre table top which gave me a chance to pass them’. Securing his first ever TQ of the championship yesterday in 2WD, the up & coming talent only missed out on the win in a three way tie breaker which left him third behind winner Coelho and Lee Martin. Racing in Mod Truck, which he would also TQ, after a mistake in A1 let Martin Bayer take the win, he bounced back to win A2 and 3 to take the overall win and end Xray’s reign over the class. With his overall performance a huge boost for both himself and the concerted efforts of Team Associated’s European team-manager Craig Drescher to put the American manufacturer in the mix in the EOS, Haatanen is already gunning for the season finale saying ‘I’m feeling confident and want to build on today’s result at the last race’.
Bruno Coelho eased his way to a completely dominant win in the opening 4WD A-Main at Round 4 of the Euro Offroad Series in Germany. Having pulled off a clean sweep of the four qualifiers to claim his third TQ of the season, the Xray driver made light work of the opposition to win by 10-seconds even after sitting behind traffic for the final few laps of the race. Martin Wollanka would make it an Xray 1-2, getting by 2nd place starter Lee Martin after the Yokomo driver made a mistake on the opening lap. Despite a 3-second crash, which dropped him to 6th, Joona Haatanen would work his way back up the order to complete the Top 3. Running behind battling Xray team-mates Martin Bayer and Hupo Honigl this would eventually play into the hands of both Haatanen and Lee Martin, who would salvage fourth after his earlier mistake, as the pair got together on the penultimate lap. Bayer & Honigl would go at it again on the final lap clashing somewhat spectacularly on the final dash down the main straight with Bayer somehow getting 5th.
‘There was not more I could do, the race was perfect’, was how Coelho summed up his win. The reigning champion who is now just 5-minutes of driving away from successfully retaining the title said, ‘the car just works all the time and hopefully I can do the same the next one’. Setting the fastest lap by 3/10ths of a second, a win in A2 would wrap up his third win of the season and seal the deal on a second consecutive EOS title for the World Champion.
Like his team-mate, Wollanka would also have a rather uneventful race. Not even having to do any work to get by Lee Martin, the Austrian said that after Martin’s mistake ‘I just drove smooth. It was an easy race’.
‘Third was good for me. It is my first 4WD A-Main so I’m happy’, was Haatanen’s reaction after the race. Getting it wrong in the steps section on Lap 5, yesterday’s 2WD podium finisher said, ‘I lost a couple of places with a mistake in the steps. After that I ran most of the race in 5th behind Hupo and Bayer but when they crashed I could get third’. Asked if he felt a double podium weekend was on the cards the 14-year-old replied, ‘I hope I can do it’.
Chassis: Xray XB4 2017 Motor: Hobbywing Xerun 5.5T ESC: Hobbywing Xerun XR10 Batteries: EZ Power 4900mAh Radio/Servo: Sanwa Tires: Schumacher (handout) Body: Kit Remarks – Reigning EOS Champion Bruno Coelho continues to dominate 4wd proceedings with his Xray XB4 2017. Set with the same basic team setup that he has been using for several months, for the Arena33 he has made just one change to the car, opting to use a harder front anti-roll bar to prevent the car from traction rolling on power. On his Hobbywing speedo he has also changed its setting to reduce top speed as well as increase drag brake due to the small size of the track and its many tight corners.
Yokomo’s Lee Martin will split the Xray’s at the front of the 4WD A-Main grid at Arena33. The former champion went into the final round of qualifying battling with Xray’s Martin Wollanka to be the one to start behind already confirmed Top Qualifier Bruno Coelho. While Coelho would complete a clean sweep of the four qualifiers, Martin would claim another P2 finish but importantly it was to be a faster time than that of Wollanka’s best P2 in last night’s Q2 giving the Brit the tie breaker to secure second on the grid. With Wollanka demoted to third, a P3 from Martin Bayer in the final round will see the former race winner line-up fourth. The star of the 2WD action, Joona Haatanen would mark the first A-Main appearance of the new Associated B64 by qualifying 5th with team-mate Neil Cragg making his 4WD A-Main debut from 8th on the grid.