Neil Cragg finally got his first win of the Euro Offroad Series, the Team Associated driver taking the TQ and win at Round 2 in Daun, Germany. Winning the opening A-Main from reigning champion Michal Orlowski with that result reversed in A2, the pair would go into the final encounter battling for the overall win. Cragg would lead early from Orlowski but in the same spot where he gave up the lead in A2, Cragg together with Orlowski would roll delaying third placed Lee Martin and allowing Martin Bayer to go to the front. Coming under pressure from Martin before a mistake from the former Champion and then an all or nothing last lap from Orlowski, Bayer would hold on for the win denying Orlowski the overall win. Bayer’s second podium of the season, the Xray driver will leave Germany as the new championship points leader while team-mate and Round 1 winner Bruno Coelho leaves with a 10th place, a result he will be hoping is his season throw out.
‘I’m super happy, I have never been close to winning one before’, was how Cragg summed up his first EOS win, the British driver now in his third season of the EOS. He continued, ‘I have to thank Associated and CML for this (win). I was off the pace the last one but since then they have worked really hard so thanks a lot for that’. On A3 he said, ‘they were all over me at the start but I was still feeling comfortable. Michal crashed at the jump but within half a second I crashed too. Idiot. I knew Michal had to win because I had the faster time so I was hoping Lee and Martin would stay in front. A big thanks to Lee Roy and Bayer for helping with the win. I was a little lucky but you make your own luck’.
‘It was close but I made a mistake at the famous table top’, was Orlowski’s reaction after the race. The Polish driver continued, ‘I knew I had to win and did my best and almost got it. Neil deserved to win this weekend’. On his battle with Bayer for the lead, he said, ‘Bayer controlled the race well and I was hoping he would crash. I needed one more lap to pass him. Still, second is a better result than Warsaw’.
A very happy Bayer described his A3 win as ‘excellent’. The Czech driver said, ‘I was lucky they crashed but there was huge pressure to hold them behind me. I knew they both had nothing to lose. Lee needed to pass me to make the podium and so did Michal to get the win. They forced maximum and holding them behind was really difficult, I am extremely happy for this’. On hearing he now leads the championship standings, he said, ‘It sounds awesome, it’s just great. 2 races and 2 podiums, I’m really happy with this’.
Discovering his Yokomo had a broken hinge pin after A2, Lee Martin said with a new one fitted for A3 his car was ‘really good’. Getting caught up with Cragg when his fellow countryman rolled out of the lead, he said, ‘I was super unlucky when me and Neil got together which let Bayer into the lead. He drove a pretty good race and unless he made a mistake there was nowhere to pass’. Dropping behind Orlowski after a mistake on his last lap, Martin concluded, ‘It has been a very unlucky weekend so far’.