While both Euro Offroad Series buggy champions were decided at the penultimate round last month at Arena33, there is still plenty of excitement surrounding this weekend’s season finale in Wels, Austria. Returning to the calendar for Season #6, the Modelbau Wels Hobby Show hosting a round of the ETS last year, it is the debut of American offroad star Ryan Maifield in the championship this weekend (21-23 April) that is the focus of the EOS regulars. Championship leading drivers are relishing the prospect of racing against the Yokomo driver. On the announcement confirming the Yokomo driver would make his EOS debut, back to back 4WD Champion Bruno Coelho joked on social media that he would not attend the fifth & final round of the 1:10 electric offroad championship. The Xray driver however is very excited to race Maifield as is 2WD Champion Michal Orlowski. Unfortunately an important school exam will mean the Schumacher ace will not get to race Maifield in his preferred class as he doesn’t arrive until Friday night when 2WD qualifying will be almost complete.
While there will be much interest in seeing how Maifield adapts to the European style of Indoor carpet tracks, the race will also be an opportunity for a number of drivers to try and end the season on a high note. One such driver is Maifield’s team-mate Lee Martin. Having come into the season as the back to back 2WD Champion, the British driver has yet to register a win. In 2015, Wels was a very happy hunting ground for driver with 7 EOS career wins as he claimed his first ever weekend double winning both 2WD & 4WD having also taken the TQ honours. Having started his season with Yokomo’s only win of the season to date, Marc Rheinard will also be looking to wrap up his campaign back at the top. Since that win in 2WD, the German has struggled to be competitive and last time out at Arena 33, his home race, he had his worst result not even making the A-Main.
Star of Round 4 would be Team Associated young gun Joona Haatanen. One of the championship’s most challenging track layouts, the Finnish teenager claimed his first TQ there. While the 2WD Finals didn’t go his way, he still made the podium behind Coelho and Martin, with his performance making it very clear to his rivals that his first EOS win isn’t far away. Also making the 4WD podium, Wels could be his big moment. Team-mate Neil Cragg completes his first full season of EOS in Wels. Battling for 3rd in the overall 2WD standings with Coelho, the European Champion will need to at least claim a second podium finish if he is to get the better of his Portuguese rival. Returning to the championship at Arena 33 after completing his National Service, Norwegian Joakim Nicolaisen finished an impressive 5th in 2WD and another of European AE team manager Craig Drescher’s proteges, he should be at the sharp end again in Wels.
While Coelho leads the Xray team and comes into the weekend on the back of his first double, surprising himself with his 2WD win in Germany, this is a home race for his team-mates Hupo Honigl and Martin Wollanka. Sitting fourth in the 4WD standings, Honigl leads Xray Offroad team manager Martin Bayer by 2-points with Wollanka a further point back which should make for some interesting internal team rivalry come Sunday.