The Euro Offroad Series takes competitors to Slovakia this weekend (20-22 November) with the Hudy Racing Arena playing host to the second round of Season #5, the venue having hosted the championship’s final & deciding round last season. After a double win at the 2015/16 season opener at the Nurburgring in Germany in September, it is reigning 2 and 4WD Champion Lee Martin who heads the entry but the Yokomo driver is fully expectant of a tough weekend at what is the home track of Xray and their new 4WD World Champion Bruno Coelho. For the past two season Xray’s Martin Bayer, who has been responsible for both the development of the XB2 and XB4, has enjoyed EOS victories at the Hudy Arena, doing the double in Season #3 and winning 4WD last time round.
In terms of its line-up, this season is the strongest Xray has ever looked for its home EOS encounter. The Nurburgring marked Coelho’s first international electric Offroad event with the electric Touring Car ace making an immediate impact by taking the TQ in 2WD, a performance that was a precursor to what was to come in Japan at the World Championships. Also making his Worlds debut in Japan, Bayer would put both is cars in the A-Main on the artificial surface track and at the record entry EOS season opener Martin Wollanka was challenging for his first win, qualifying 3rd and finishing second in 4WD while just missing out on the 2WD podium.
With his Offroad deal with Yokomo commencing at the last season’s finale at the Hudy Arena back in May of this year, Marc Rheinard is the reigning champion manufacturer’s other key charger in Slovakia but both Schumacher and HB come into the event on highs following the World Championships. Michael Orlowski marked himself as no longer a rising star of the sport but one of the establishments as he ran in contention throughout qualifying and the finals at Yatabe Arena. The 14-year-old , who has developed a great rapport with the engineers at Schumacher, made his big break through last season at the Hudy Arena when he claimed his first big international victory in 2WD, ahead of back to back champion Lee Martin, going on since then to become the EFRA 4WD Champion.
The other driver who will be keen to show up Xray at their home track is David Ronnefalk. Still in his first full season with HPI Racing/HB, the Swede had a difficult start to his EOS campaign. With 2WD a character building encounter at the Nurburgring, he did manage to turn things around in 4WD just missing out on the podium behind Coehlo. The two time 1:8 European Champion has since then enjoyed his first World Championship podium finish, putting his D413 into the A-Main in Japan.
One driver who will be hoping for a big step forward in performance this weekend is Joern Neumann. The EOS’ most winning driver, the Serpent driver had a disappointing opening race where rather than vying for the win the biggest challenge facing the German was just making the A-Main. Finishing 5th at the Worlds in 2WD, the 5-time EOS champion needs a good result in Trencin if he is to have a shot at a 6th title, this being his first season not racing as a reigning champion.
The 17th championship event since the creation of the Euro Offroad Series in 2011, two rule changes that are aimed at reducing costs for competitors will come into effect this weekend. The first of these is the limiting to just two sets per class of the Schumacher preglued handout tyres. Following the introduction of new black carpet at the Nurburgring, which will be used at all four rounds, the resulting greatly reduced tyre wear allowed for the much welcome 2 sets limit. The second change applies to the front tyre for 4WD which will now run Schumacher’s Wide Stagger Rib with the rear Minipin remaining unchanged. Also new at the Hudy Racing Arena will be a Mod truck class, allowing drivers from the new for Season #5 Truck class to also run on Sunday as part of the 4WD Buggy schedule.