Joona Haatanen took somewhat of a surprise win in the first 2WD A-Main at the Euro Offroad Series heading home champion Lee Martin in a race that was turned on its head at the second corner. Having dominated qualifying topping all four rounds, Team Associated filled the first three spots on the grid but just after the start the number 2 B6 of Ryan Cavalieri would get in to the rear wing of Top Qualifier Neil Cragg causing a pile-up that seemed to build on the buggy of 3rd place starter Spencer Rivkin. Lee Martin and Haatanen would come off best from the pile up and subsequent chaos at the first double that promoted Rivkin back to third. Leading for a lap, that same double would then catch out Martin, allowing Haatanen in a lead he would keep despite intense pressure in the closing laps to take a popular win, Martin in turn fending off pressure of Rivkin. Behind the Top 3, a frustrated Cragg would manage to recover to fourth.
While his senior team-mates were left slightly embarrassed by their race, Haatanen summed up his faultless drive to victory by saying, ‘ I was so nervous but I’m really happy’. The 12-year said once he got by Martin and had a bit of a lead he tried to drive safe but the pressure was intense as both Martin and Rivkin ‘started catching me at the end’. Delighted with the performance of his B6, he said the result means ‘any position is now possible’ and the only thing he will do different to his ‘no plan’ approach to A1 is fit new tyres for the second encounter.
‘I had a dream start and then screwed it up at the double’ was Martin’s reaction to the race. The Yokomo driver who would like to cap off his title winning season with a third win, said while he was eventually able to make up the lost ground to Haatanen ‘it was too little too late’. Coming under attack from Rivkin he said that challenge was ‘pretty intense’ adding ‘the youngsters are getting fast’.
Watching back video footage of the start, Rivkin agreed that he has used up all his luck for the day, as he came from being all but last to third within the space of one jump. The 17-year-old said battling with Martin they were able to catch Haatanen but the track layout meant there were ‘not many places to pass’ adding he was ‘grateful to finish 3rd’. Looking to A2 the American said ‘the next one will be better’.
‘Cav jammed into my rear wing’ was Cragg’s view of the start, softening his statement with ‘it happens when the track is so tight’. Trying to put the incident behind him he said, ‘we will get it right for the next one’. Cavalieri summed up the start by saying ‘I got into the back of Neil’ but quickly added ‘it didn’t even feel like I was pushing’. Behind Cragg, Schumacher’s Michal Orlowski would complete the Top 5.
Neil Cragg has claimed Team Associated’s first ever TQ of the Euro Offroad Series marking a successful debut for the the American manufacturer’s all new B6 buggy which will fill the first 3 spots on the A-Main grid at the Nurburgring. Posting his third TQ of the event in the fourth & final round of 2WD qualifying at the EOS season finale, making it a clean sweep for the B6, Cragg will start ahead of team-mates Ryan Cavalieri and Spencer Rivkin. Reigning Champion Lee Martin would be the best of the rest finding himself in the Associated sandwich with his Yokomo set to start 4th ahead of the B6 of young Finnish star Joona Haatanen. Top Qualifier when the season opener took place last September at the iconic 1:1 scale race circuit, Xray’s Bruno Coelho will start the very evenly matched field from 6th on the grid.
Summing up his TQ performance, Cragg said ‘it been a good start for the new car. We TQ’d every round so we couldn’t have done any better.’ Looking to the final, the former World Champion said, ‘everyone is the same pace, aren’t they but with three cars at the front hopefully one of our cars will get the win’. Very happy with his car which he described as ‘easy to drive’, he said the big thing for the final was going to be getting over the first jump and then keeping it on it wheels for the rest of the race’.
The only driver who could have denied Cragg the overall TQ, Cavalieri ‘tried something’ for the final qualifier but it wasn’t the right direction to go. Posting a TQ run in Q2 for A1 he will revert to that same set-up declaring the finals ‘should be fun’. With ‘everyone pretty close’, the 2011 World Champion said, ‘there are few spots that if someone gets wide you will be able to get down the inside’, but the key to passing was going to be to ‘force a slight mistake’ from the driver ahead.
Making his EOS debut as part of surprise unannounced invasion by Associated’s American A-team, Rivkin said his last qualifier was ‘OK’ and for the finals he ‘need(s) to be extra extra disciplined’. The World Champion also feels his car is good enough to get the job done. With his Reedy powered B6 ‘easy to drive’ he just needs to ‘back it down’ in terms of his driving adding the new car has already shown it is a ‘killer machine’ with its qualifying performance.
Trying a rear roll-bar in the final qualifier, Martin said it ‘did some good things but was nervous’ adding ‘it is something to go away and work on for the future’. With the ‘pace of everyone pretty similar’ he joked ‘I just have the three road blocks in the way of me winning’. Expecting a tough race, the 5 time 2WD race winner, said ‘there are a few jumps its easy to get it wrong which should create opportunities’ adding he will also ‘be hoping to pressure a few people into making mistakes’.
Completing the top half of the grid with a great P2 run in the final qualifier, Haatanen was very happy with his speed, new tyres giving his B6 the extra pace. Asked about his approach for the world class final line-up, he replied in typical Finnish straight talking style that he will ‘just drive, there is no plan’ adding ‘I will leave the car the same’.
Coelho said his Hobbywing powered XB2 was ‘much better’ and ‘very nice’ to drive in the final qualifier but he made ‘too many mistakes’. Making some geometry changes as well as a diff change, the 4WD title contender said ‘first is almost impossible’ from his starting position ‘but we will see as now the car is very good’. Behind Coelho, Joern Neumann will start 7th ahead of Martin Wollanka with Michal Orlowski 9th. Winner of the previous EOS encounter, Marc Rheinard is unlikely to repeat that result today as he completes the grid by lining up 10th.
Chassis: Schumacher Cougar KF2 Motor: LRP X20 6.5T ESC: LRP Flow Batteries: LRP 2900mAh “LCG” Radio/Servo: Sanwa Remarks – Sitting second in the championship standings, Polish talent Michal Orlowski is running his Cougar KF2 with the low grip conversion that features a forward motor position. Michal has also opted for a carbon chassis and the rear shock mount configuration.
Neil Cragg has posted a second TQ run at the Nurburgring repeating the Associated 1-2 achieved in the opening qualifier when he also finished ahead of Spencer Rivkin. The fastest of the qualifiers to be run, Cragg would outpace his team-mate by over 6/10ths of a second with a much improved Joern Neumann completing the Top 3. Having TQ’d the second qualifier, Ryan Cavalieri would managed only a P6 behind EOS Champion Lee Martin and Xray’s Martin Wollanka. Wollanka’s team-mate Bruno Coelho who was second in Q2, would get a DNF as he broke half way through the qualifier.
Despite suffering one crash off the side of the table top, Cragg said it was a good run. Running ahead of Cavalieri and Martin on the track, the British driver said it looked like he was miles ahead and he start to take it easy but that wasn’t the case forcing him to push as hard as he could later in the run. Planning to ‘just push’ the entire 5-minutes in the final qualifier, with only team-mate Cavalieri able to deny him claiming Associated’s first EOS overall TQ, he was happy to have been able to a ‘couple of fast laps that matched Spencer’s pace’. Rivkin was pleased with his run after having to deal with traffic after starting last due to his DNF in the previous qualifier. Looking to the final qualifier, the 17-year-old said ‘while nobody has got the perfect run yet, that’s what I am shooting for (in Q4)’. Complimenting how well the entire Associated team have been working together on the debut of the B6, he said ‘its great to see we’re all doing so well’. Cavalieri said after a ‘dumb mistake’ which left Martin on his rear wing he never drove as good for the rest of the run.
Neumann was pleased to find himself mixing it at the front of what is one of the most competitive 2WD entries of the season. Running a prototype car that is made up of the rear end of Serpent’s new 4WD and the front of the 2WD, the former champion said the car is a big improvement. Having missed the first two practice runs yesterday, the German said they have ‘improved the car each practice run and qualifier step by step’ and having been 7/10ths to a second off at previous races he is ‘almost able to match the pace now’.
Fitting a different front roll bar to his YZ-2, Martin said the car was ‘better to drive’ but ‘if (he) missed the corner he struggled with understeer’. ‘Very good on the racing line’, he will for Q4 fit a rear roll-bar. Not normally running a rear roll-bar he said with the Associated team, Cragg the exception, doing well from having one fitted the will try it for the final qualifier.
Chassis: Xray XB2 2016 Motor: Hobbywing V10G2 6.5T ESC: Hobbywing Xerun XR10 Pro Batteries: EZ Power 4600mAh Radio/Servo: Sanwa Remarks – Top qualifier on the first EOS visit to the Nurburgring back in September, Xray factory driver Bruno Coelho is running the 2016 version of the Slovakian XB2 equipped with a number of option parts. Fitted with graphite plastics, his car sports aluminium uprights, camber link supports and steering rack, a front brass bulkhead and a 50g under-LiPo weight.
Ryan Cavalieri has taken the second round of 2WD qualifying at the EOS season finale at the Nurburgring. The Associated star would be the only driver to manage 16-laps, topping the times from Bruno Coelho, Lee Martin and Q1 pace setter Neil Cragg. Having impressed in the opening qualifier, Spencer Rivkin was setting the early pace in Q2 until just after the 1-minute mark when he spectacularly took the front left off his new B6 on the straight away.
Making ‘a little adjustment’ to his B6, Cavalieri said this made it ‘really easy to drive’ and this gave him the consistency to run a clean error free qualifier. Happy to post a TQ run, the American while happy with how his car ran said the change left him with a fastest lap that was ‘not where (he) wanted it to be’. For Q3 he will not change set-up feeling the time maybe in new tyres. To get a comparison he will run a new set of the championship’s controlled Schumacher tyres. Team-mate Rivkin said, after finding the slipper was not right in his car after Q1, his car was ‘awesome’ in the second round. Commenting on his crash, the impact of which even Martin admitted to being distracted by, the World Champion said, ‘I hit the piping before coming onto the straight and then when I came on the straight the car pulled to left’ causing him to hit the boards that are in place to prevent cars who crash in the infield from landing out on the main straight. Cragg said ‘4th is OK’ adding the ‘car was really good but I didn’t drive it right’ however Associated designer Kody Numedahl stood in to take the blame. Running in the same heat as his star driver the American would crash and trying to get out of the way of Cragg who was running behind him ended up crashing into the British driver. Cragg said without the crash it would have been close to the TQ.
Finishing 0.277 behind Coelho, the Xray driving posting the fastest lap, Martin said after pulling a wheelie off the line which lost him time, P3 was ‘OK’. Distracted when ‘Spencer smashed his car to bits’, the Yokomo driver also had to deal with having Cavalieri behind him, saying that overall it was ‘not an optimum run’. Team-mate and EOS Round 3 winner Marc Rheinard would take his YZ-2 to the 6th fastest time.
Eight in Q1, Joona Haatanen would improve with a p5 in Q2. The 12-year-old up & coming Associated backed driver said with his B6 was ‘too aggressive’ in the opening qualifier so they made a front link change, with the longer set-up making the car much easier to drive. A clean run, the 12-year-old from Finland will leave the car unchanged for the penultimate qualifier.
Neil Cragg led a 1-2 for Team Associated and their new B6 in the opening qualifier at the season finale of the Euro Offroad Series at the Nurburgring. Only his second EOS outing, the British driver outpaced his team-mate Spencer Rivkin by just 0.240 of a second with Ryan Cavalieri making it a very encouraging start for the new car as he posted a P4 run. Leading the challenge to the AE team, who would get 5 cars in to the Top 10, qualifying top seed Lee Martin would take his Yokomo to third almost a full second off his fellow countryman Cragg.
‘A solid 5-minutes’ was how Cragg summed up his TQ run, adding ‘I had one moment but got away with it’. With it ‘nice to get back to 2WD’ which he described as being ‘a 1000% better than 4WD’, he said Q1 was ‘a good start to the day’. Starting behind Martin having been second fastest in practice, the former World Champion said ‘I was running behind Lee’ knowing he was up on the reigning champion when ‘Spencer seemed to come from nowhere’. Forced to respond to the current World Champion, he said he ‘pushed on’ adding it was nice to end up with a 1-2 for the new car. Planning to leave his LRP powered B6 unchanged for Q2, if he can post another strong run he plans then to try Rivkin’s set-up for the third round.
Making his EOS debut this weekend, Rivkin said his first qualifier ‘went well’ and ‘better than (he) thought’ it would. Not happy with his driving in practice yesterday when he ended up 5th fastest, he would suffer 2-3 flip overs in which his Reedy powered B6 managed to land on its wheels from which he was ‘happy to be able to come back to finish 2nd’. ‘Happy to get 2nd from the first round’, the 17-year-old continued ‘I know the car is fast as my team-mate got the TQ’. Expecting to be ‘better the next one’, the American who posted the fastest lap will ‘back it down 10%’ with his aim being a secure a ‘Top 3 start’ in the A-Main.
‘Close but no cigar’ was Martin’s reaction to his P3 adding ‘Q1 of 2WD is always a nervous run after doing 4WD practice’ continuing ‘Neil (Cragg) didn’t do much 4WD’. Like Cragg, the winner of the previous visit to the Nurburgring was a little surprised by Rivkin’s pace saying, ‘Spencer was fast from the mid point (of the qualifier)’. Suffering from a ‘few traffic issues’ when he had to ‘dodge a few rogue cars’, he said ‘on this track that can cost a lot of time’. On his YZ-2 he said it ‘felt fine and was doing everything it was supposed to’ but on his driving he added ‘it was a little too pedestrian’.
Cavalieri summed up his opening qualifier as ‘not too bad’. Surviving ‘one little bobble’ he said ‘we are all really close’. Looking for his Orion powered B6 to ‘get into the corners a little better’, the multiple World Champion will make ‘a small adjustment’ for Q2 which he hopes will help him ‘pick up some time’.
Laying down the early TQ pace, Bruno Coelho would open proceedings with a P5. Top Qualifier at the Nurburgring back in September when he made his EOS debut, the Xray driver would touch a dot and flip his Hobbywing powered XB2. Describing the car as ‘pretty good’, the straight talking Portuguese driver continued ‘the only problem was my stupid mistake’.
Completing the Top 6 ahead of former back to back champion Joern Neumann, Michal Orlowski described Q1 as being ‘not so bad’ before continuing ‘but I hope we can improve’. Losing 1-second when he ‘crashed once’, the Schumacher driver said he is still looking for more rotation from his buggy. Suffering from ‘too much rear grip’ he said hopefully they can make the Cougar KF2 easier to drive for Q2. Behind Neumann’s Serpent, Team Associated young guns Joona Haatanen and Joakim Nicolaisen would be 8th & 9th fastest respectively with Xray’s Hupo Honigl completing the Top 10.