July 23, 2017

Bruno Coelho crowned 4WD Buggy European Champion

The 4WD portion of the 2017 EFRA 1/10th Electric Buggy European Championship, that were held this past week in Italy, culminated with yesterday’s triple A-main legs. After several unpredictable qualifying sessions which saw many of the top drivers make mistakes and fall into difficulty, Portugal’s Bruno Coelho secured pole position in 4WD with three TQ runs while the other rounds being topped by the UK’s Neil Cragg and Italy’s Davide Ongaro.

In the opening A-main Davide Ongaro made a lightening start off the line to run in to the first corner just ahead of Bruno Coelho. Unfortunately, whilst still on the outside of Coelho, Ongara tried to close the door prematurely, leading to contact which caused the young Italian to barrel roll off the circuit. Somewhat luckily, he rolled into the hands of an awaiting marshal and was replaced on the track with very little time loss and into third position with Martin Bayer now occupying the 2 spot. At the end of lap 1, Jean-Pierre Sartel collected Martin Wollanka on the downslope of the final jump before the start/finish line relegating them back to 8th and 9th in the order respectively.

During lap 2, the pressure was showing as the two lead drivers, Coelho and Bayer, ran off line and tagged track markings several times. Bruno Coelho managed to get himself back under control, whilst Bayer wiped-out over the back triple in explosive style. This promoted Davide Ongaro back up to 2nd.

By lap 3, Bruno Coelho had cultivated a small but adequate gap to the battle for second which was being waged by Ongaro, Cragg and Martin. With very little difference in pace between these drivers it was less of a battle and more of a hectic procession. This continued for several laps with Coehlo running ahead at a steady, but slightly slower pace. Going into the last minute, Ongaro started to eke out a gap on the tussle for 3rd place between Cragg and Martin. Coelho’s lead was visibly being reduced corner by corner. A few corners later, Martin’s pressure on Cragg paid off, when he got caught up on hose after the tricky double jump after the start line. Martin now up to 3rd. In the closing stages of the race, Ongaro managed to reduce the gap to Coelho all the way down to 1.9 seconds, but the gap was still sufficient enough for Coelho not to be over pressurised. Bruno Coehlo came home 1st in the Leg, Ongaro 2nd, Martin 3rd.

During the warmup lap of leg 2, Malin Karlsen had a minor breakage. A timeout was called and the car was repaired quickly. Karlsen starts from the back of the grid. At the start of this leg, Coelho was faster off the line and the all of the cars passed through the first corner in regulation order. On his second time over the same corner, Coelho overshot the jump at the end of the straight causing a spin, but very luckily found himself pointing in the right direction, maintaining the lead. Ongaro went on to have an accident off the back triples gifting Martin Bayer the 2 spot. Further back in the field, Jean-Pierre Sartel and Malin Karlsen both had comings together with Lee Martin. By lap 5, Bruno Coelho was able to open up a comfortable lead on the Bayer and Ongaro battle behind. Over the rest of the race, both drivers made several small mistakes, Bayer getting away with it, Ongaro not so lucky – promoting Martin Wollanka up to 3rd by the finish. Bruno Coelho stayed at the front throughout the race, securing the leg win, the meeting, and the EFRA 2017 4WD European Championship.

With the championship won, Bruno Coelho did not participate in leg 3, leaving a clear track ahead of Davide Ongaro. At the start of the race, the young Italian showed good composure getting through the first corner under lots of pressure from Martin Bayer. Bayer lost several positions on the jump after the first corner, promoting Neil Cragg up to 2nd. On lap 2, Cragg ran wide on the leadup to the stepdown, allowing Bayer to out drag him down the straight getting his second place back. On the third lap, Ongara got badly out of shape on the leadup to the big back jump causing a massive barrel roll which essentially ended Davide’s chances of a leg win. Bayer took up the lead as Neil Cragg also barrel rolled through the series and jumps – collecting Bayer on the way through. Incredibly luckily, Neil Cragg now found himself in the lead of a Euros A-final. Hupo Honigl also benefitting from the carnage taking up 2nd place. The race settled down a bit and by lap 8, Cragg was being pressurised by Honigl and Karlsen whilst Martin and Bayer battled for 4th. On the last lap, Cragg oversteered on a hairpin and was tapped by Honigl allowing Karlsen to get involved. All three entered the turn before the step down together where there is only room for one car. Honigl cut in early and rolled out through the corner. Karlsen, now in second, overshot the braking point at the end of the straight giving Neil Cragg lots of breathing room and allowing him to cruise to the finish and the leg win.

4WD final results:
1. Bruno Coelho – Xray – 2 points
2. Neil Cragg – Team Associated – 5 points
3. Davide Ongaro – Team Associated – 6 points
4. Martin Bayer – Xray – 7 points
5. Malin Karlsen – Xray – 7 points
6. Martin Wollanka – Xray – 7 points
7. Lee Martin – Yokomo – 9 points
8. Hubert Hönigl – Xray – 13 points
9. Daniel Kobbevik – Xray – 15 points
10.Jean-pierre Sartel – Xray – 18 points

Source: EFRA [efra.ws] | Report: William White


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