Marc Rheinard has won an exciting first A-Main at the EOS season opener despite twice handing the race lead to his rivals. Starting from the TQ, the Yokomo driver would first hand the lead to Martin Wollanka on only the third lap but take it back again on lap 6 when the Xray driver had a bad landing off the step-up step-down. Chasing his second ever EOS victory, Rheinard would only maintain his second lead for little over a lap jumping short on the table top and landing facing the wrong way as his team-mate Lee Martin went through to the front. In a race in which one would think no drivers wanted to win the first race of the season Martin would then traction roll handing Rheinard back the lead which he finally decided he wanted to keep. While this was entertaining for the motorsport crowd, Martin was to save the best until last with an epic pass on Wollanka on the final lap to make it a Yokomo 1-2.
With a big smile of relief Rheinard said after the race, ‘it turned out good’. Going over his first mistakes, he said ‘the first I was braking and steering which caused the car to flip over but I actually got lucky because it landed back on its tyres’. After the mistake he said, ‘I had to push to put pressure on Wollanka and it worked as he made a mistake at the step down’. On his second error, the 3-time electric touring car World Champion said, ‘I just jumped short on the table top and it caught the back of the car.’ He continued ‘after Lee crashed and I got back in the lead I just tried to keep the car on its wheels and I guess it was third time lucky’.
Giving a drivers perspective on his crash, Martin said ‘I grip rolled and the marshal was looking the other direction so I lost 5-seconds’. The reigning champion added, ‘they had 11 marshals in qualifying but now its 10 for the finals and instead of 2 marshal at that point there is only one, they should look at getting 2 back for the next one’. The Brit said, ‘My car felt good, the race was going good and I’d just set my fastest lap the previous lap but then crashed’. He continued, ‘but I never gave up and I was able to pull a pretty nice pass at the end. The crowd seemed to like it too’.
‘The start was good the end not so’, was Wollanka’s summary of the final. The Austrian continued, ‘My car got a little light in the rear on step down and that was enough to flip’. Trying to pass Rheinard later in the race on the inside of the Schumacher sweeper his steering would catch the piping pulling his XB2 into the infield. Coming under increasing pressure from the recovering Martin, Wollanka was himself impressed by the champions pass on him saying, ‘that was a super good move from him, it was very nice driving’. Behind the Top 3, young Danish Yokomo driver Frederik Hovgaard would have a great race to finish 4th from 10th on the grid with Neil Cragg, who for a time was in the Top 3 mix, would finish where he started with a fifth.