April 21, 2018

Haatanen takes A2, winner & title to be decided in A3

Joona Haatanen has won the second A-Main at the season finale of the Euro Offroad Series at Arena33.  After an error on the opening lap of A1, the Team Associated driver put in a very patient drive sitting on the rear wing of Top Qualifier Joern Neumann before a mistake from the A1 winner let him through.  Next it was the turn of title contender Neil Cragg to go by the Schumacher, the British driver not needing to be invited to put a pass on the former champion when he ran wide into a corner.  With Neumann finishing third, it means three drivers have the potential to take the overall win at the EOS’ first outdoor race with the result also set to decide this year’s 2WD champion.  Having tangled with Bruno Coelho in A2, finishing up 5th, Michal Orlowski can’t take the win but will be hoping his team-mate Neumann does, as a win for Cragg would would secure the British driver the overall title.

Summing up his A2 win, Haatanen said, ‘I was driving a long time behind Joern. I wasn’t trying any big moves and even before his big mistake I saw he was making little mistakes so I knew patience would pay off.  I could have tried to pass him, there where places I could have forced a pass but I didn’t’.  Once in front, the Finn said he could control the race saying, ‘I saw Neil wasn’t catching me so I knew I was running a good speed’.  Describing his A1 performance as having had ‘too many stupid mistakes’, the 14-year-old will try to take his first EOS victory by putting in a ‘repeat of A2’.

‘So it goes down to the wire, it will all be decided in the last race’, was Cragg’s reaction.  The former World Champion said, ‘I’m quite pleased with 2nd, I couldn’t bridge the gap to Joona’.  He continued, ‘Michal and Bruno had me under pressure at the start until they had issues. Then Joern opened the door and I didn’t need an invite to go for the pass. It was a block pass and I know he came off worse but it was fair game.’  Having managed to rack up his first ever EOS race win this season in Daun, he said, ‘that’s (today’s points) 2nd in the championship fixed so I can’t complain whatever happens. It’s been a great season but maybe we get a bit of luck in the last one’.

Neumann, who is chasing his first win since Poland in 2015, described the second A-Main as ‘so, so’.  With 17 EOS wins to his credit, he said, ‘Joona was pushing quite hard and I decided to hit the pipe which caused me to traction roll.  I continued in second but at the same spot I traction rolled again.’  Allowing Cragg to catch him, he continued, ‘Neil tried to pass me and it didn’t end up good for me.  There was room to pass but it just didn’t work out for me and I dropped to fifth but he had to go for it’.  He concluded, ‘With a 1st and a 3rd the podium is secured so I can afford to just go for it in the last one’.

View complete event results here.

View the event image gallery here.


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