January 28, 2016

Cragg set for EOS debut as Rd3 attracts record entry

Cragg set for EOS debut as Round 3 attracts record entry

Former 2WD Offroad World Champion Neil Cragg is set to make his debut in the Euro Offroad Series this weekend (29-31 January) as the third round of the championship attracts a record entry. With the fifth season of the EOS opening in Germany at the famous Nurburgring back in September, the championship’s first race of 2016 marks its second visit to the country with another new venue awaiting drivers. Successful host to the German round of the Euro Touring Series for the past 4-seasons, Muelheim Kaerlich near Koblenz will see 371 entries descend on what is the home race of EOS co-founder Uwe Rheinard.

While Team Associated have made one off outings in the past with multiple World Champion Ryan Cavalieri, car design Kody Numedahl and team-manager Brent Thielke, Cragg’s entry marks the start of a new push by the world’s most winning buggy manufacturer to establish itself as a contender on the increasingly popular carpet tracks that dominate the indoor racing scene. With a strong junior team in up & coming drivers Joona Haatanen and Joakim Nicolaisen, Cragg’s confirmation for the second half of the EOS season will bolster the American manufacturer’s efforts to become a race winner. An A-Finalist at the opening two rounds, 12-year-old Haatanen comes into this weekend fresh from the biggest win of his promising career after taking 2WD Open at the Reedy Race of Champions in California last weekend.

With the arrival of Cragg, Associated’s key target will be reigning double champion & his fellow countryman Lee Martin. Martin has won the opening two rounds of 2WD and the Yokomo driver is joint leader of the 4WD standings having taken the season opener. Forced to miss Round 2, Carson Wernimont returns as part of Yokomo’s line up, which also includes Marc Rheinard. A former Top Qualifier, the American will be hoping that as he gets more familiar with his Yokomo cars on carpet he can battle to become the first American race winner.

Securing his first 4WD win & first 2WD podium at Xray’s home track when the EOS travelled to the Hudy Arena for Round 2, Bruno Coelho finds himself sharing the lead of the 4WD standings with Martin. Only his third ever EOS outing, the World Champion heads a very strong Xray team. Along with multiple race winner Martin Bayer and Martin Wollanka, the Slovakian manufacturer has added former race winner Hupo Honigl to its line-up. After an unsuccessful stint at Serpent, the Austrian is highly motivated about running at the front again.

With the EOS’ most successful driver Joern Nuemann opening 2016 with a breakthrough first international win with Serpent at the DHI Cup, the multiple champion will be hoping to carry that form into this weekend. The German’s best EOS result this season is a fifth but following his 4WD victory in Denmark ahead of Michal Orlowki & Coelho he is targeting at least a podium finish.

Another driver to open 2016 in the best way possible when he took 2WD spoils at the DHI Cup, Michal Orlowski has had a strong start to his 2WD EOS campaign. Finishing runner-up to Martin at the opening two rounds, the Schumacher star will be looking to go one better at his third attempt. The reigning European 4WD Champion, Orlowski has struggled in the class over the first half of the season, missing the A-Main in Slovakia but having got 2nd at the DHI Cup expect improvements this weekend.


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