Joona Haatanen prevented reigning EOS Champion Michal Orlowski from taking an early overall 2WD victory at the Nurburgring, the Team Associated driver winning A2 to put himself in contention for his first ever EOS career win. A much cleaner opening lap than A1, Lee Martin took early control of the race holding a decent lead over the pursuing Orlowski and Haatanen but it all came undone on the 6th lap. In the middle section, the Yokomo driver landed in the centre of the corner with his car needing to be marshalled being stranded inside the corner. This let Orlowski take the lead but he only stayed there for two laps. Casing a jump he went wide and young charger Haatanen didn’t need an invitation to get down his inside. Unlike A1, in which he made a number of mistakes, this time the Finn drove the perfect race and after a last lap error from Orlowski could cruise to the finish nearly 4-seconds clear. Luckily for Orlowski, Martin just missed the extra lap at the loop and so his crash didn’t cost him the third place. Behind Lee, Neil Cragg took fourth ahead of Daniel Kobbevik and Jörn Neumann.
‘Michal just did a small mistake at the double and went wide and I could pass on his inside. That was kind of it’, was Haatanen’s description of the race. The 15-year-old added, ‘It as a good race between me and Michal and it was good for me that I ran the full 5-minutes with no mistakes’. Looking to the deciding race, the former Nurburgring podium finisher said, ‘A3 is going to be exciting. My car is easy to drive so I am going to go with the same car and the same tyres. I’m not looking to make any crazy changes at this stage’.
Orlowski said, ‘I just lost the lead when I cased the double which allowed Joona to get on my inside so I checked up’. Following his rival but unable to mount a challenge to take back the position, the Polish teenager said, ‘I tried to follow but had to push really hard. Joona had good pace in his car but my tyres were older than his. That was their third run’. He continued, ‘All three of us are in with a chance of the win and we are all the same pace but I have new tyres and I hope this strategy plays out good’.
Setting the fastest lap of A2, Martin said, ‘everything was working but I had a small mistake. It was just one of those things. I couldn’t catch back up’. The former champion concluded, ‘It is still all to play for so I will go for it’.