Michal Orlowski will set out to defend his DHI Cup title tomorrow from pole position after producing a second TQ run in the final round of 2WD qualifying at the Danish event. The Schumacher driver made it back to back TQ runs when he again topped the times from Marc Rheinard, this time round the gap a lot closer as Rheinard registered his first 17-lap run. While being the only driver to finish all four qualifiers in the Top 2, Rheinard will find himself lining up third on the grid behind Joern Neumann who while on third in Q4 benefited from a faster TQ time to secure second overall. Former Top Qualifier and Champion David Ronnefalk will line up fourth with promising young Swedish Team Associated driver Wilhelm Skjöldebrand making it five different manufacturers filling the top half of the grid for the 6th running offroad at the DHI Cup.
‘I’m really happy to get the TQ. I couldn’t make it happen last year but now I have’, was Orlowski’s reaction claiming his first TQ of the Odense based event. Qualifying second last year behind Tom Cockerill, the 15-year-old described the final qualifier as ‘very exciting’ as himself and Rheinard went head to head for the overall TQ. He continued, ‘Marc crashed, then I had a crash and after I went for it. I got a bit at the end when Marc hit another car but I think I still would have been able to TQ’. Planning to use the ‘same settings for the final’ on his prototype parts equipped KF2, he said ‘I hope to be able to make a bigger gap at the beginning but all three of us are on a similar pace so it will be difficult’. Having made a mistake at the same spot on the track on both his TQ runs he concluded, ‘I also need to make no mistakes at the end of the straight’.
Rheinard said the chance of claiming the overall TQ on his DHI Cup Offroad debut was lost by ‘just a mistake on the 2nd lap’. The Yokomo driver however enjoyed the qualifier saying, ‘I saw Michal crash and I was catching Joern but I wasn’t sure how we were running but after a while I saw he was coming again and he was a bit faster but it was close’. Hitting a crashed car on his final lap, the EOS race winner said, ‘It didn’t effect anything, I only lost 1/2 a second’. Starting from third he said, ‘it is still wide open but hopefully Joern can find pace to battle with Michal otherwise he’ll be gone’.
‘Luckily Orlowski got the TQ’ was Neumann reaction to Q4 as had Rheinard TQ’d the Serpent driver would have been demoted to third. The former back to back champion said of his own performance, ‘I had a bobble on the wall and flipped over but the car was good again’. Qualifying fourth last year and making it onto the final step of the podium in the finals, looking to this year’s finals the German said, ‘we are all the same pace so it should be interesting finals’.
Securing fourth the grid with his Orion powered D216, Ronnefalk declared, ‘we have improved a lot with the car’. Able to lock himself into an A-Main starting position in Q3, the Swede said, ‘we used the last one to try a few things on the car like cutting the inside of the tyre which made it easy to drive. I also worked on my speedo settings too which helped with corner speed’. While he would traction roll at the end of the straight after triying to make a save from running wide, he said ‘the car felt great’ after the changes and now he is ‘confident for the mains tomorrow’. He concluded, ‘Michal, Joern & Marc are very close on pace so my plan is to try and hang onto them and be there if anything happens’.