Lee Martin has claimed his first EOS 2WD win in more than 3-years, the Yokomo driver taking victory in Daun, Germany, where the outcome was decided in A3. Last winning a race in 2015 at the Hudy Arena en-route to becoming the Season #5 Champion, Martin put himself in contention for the Round 3 win when from 3rd on the grid he took the A1 win. Backing that up with a P3 in A2, the British driver was able to drive a calculated A3 finishing third behind Daniel Kobbevik to beat the young Norwegian to the overall win. While Top Qualifier Michal Orlowski would finally pull off a win in A3, it was A2 winner Joona Haatanen who completed the podium at the record entry event but the TQ point and fourth place sees Orlowski leave Germany still tied for the championship lead – the second half of the season getting underway in 6-weeks time at the Hudy Arena.
‘I’m super happy. The car has been good enough for better results in the last few races but things just didn’t work out. It’s great to finally win again’, was how Martin summed up today’s result having gone 14 races without a victory. His 6th EOS career win in 2WD and now just one off the all time record held by Joern Neumann, he continued, ‘I had a tough year last year so I’m happy to start out this one better. I will try to continue like this and build on it and build up my confidence again’. On the deciding race he said, ‘I was trying to work out what was going on. I could see Orlowski was pulling away so I knew what I needed to do. Once I had a gap behind me I started to push to catch Kobbevik but I knew where I was was enough to wrap it up’.
Claiming his best 2WD EOS career finish, having secured his first podium at the previous round in Poland, Kobbevik said, ‘I’m happy. We made a good showing here and I hope to build on this for the next one’. On the deciding A3 encounter, the Xray driver added, ‘I tried to catch Michal but he was too fast and I also didn’t want to risk my second place. I was happy with second’.
‘I’m happy to be on the podium. After two weeks running on dirt for the Reedy Race I wasn’t thinking I was going to finish this high’, said a pleased looking Haatanen. The Associated driver continued, ‘After the first two qualifiers I wasn’t even in the Top 10. I’m happy we got the car good and on the pace. A1 was my own stupid mistake and in A3 I clipped Lee’s wing and flipped over’. Entering the weekend tied on points with his good friend off the track Orlowski, the pair leave still tied with Haatanen declaring, ‘I’m happy I am still in the fight’.
Commenting on his fourth place finish, Orlowski said, ‘The finals were terrible. I made some silly mistakes in the first one and then there was the contact with Daniel in the second one when we had a good lead’. The reigning back to back 2WD Champion continued, ‘I am disappointed to not get full points which would have given me a lead in the championship but I have to look at the positives. We were running a prototype car here and we were fastest so I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. I and Joona are still joint leaders of the championship. The new car is really good. I have the best package so I hope I can pull away in the points the next round. I need to forget this one and move on’.
In the 13.5 Stock class, the third round would go to Nurburgring winner Tim Kunz. Having also taken the TQ, this is the German’s second maximum points haul of the newly introduced class. Behind him Felix Stahmer would secure second at his first EOS outing with the podium being completed by Warsaw winner Sven Rudig. In the Stadium Truck Stock class it was also the Top Qualifier Bartosz Zalewski who would would enjoy the spoils winning all three A-Mains. Behind the Polish driver, Jens Becker would finish second with third going to Wouter Wynen.
The un-predicability of the track at EOS Daun threw up another dramatic final with Joona Haatanen coming out the victor to move into contention for his second overall win of the season. Starting from fifth on the grid, the Team Associated young gun was quickly promoted to the lead going to the front when, on the second lap, Top Qualifier Michal Orlowski and the No.2 Xray of Daniel Kobbevik tangled – rejoining right at the back after the two cars were separated by the marshal. Coming out behind Haatanen would be Joern Neumann and the former champion set about challenging for the lead but after 4-laps it was his turn to be bitten by the track allowing Martin Bayer through but there was nothing the Czech driver could do about the massive gap to Haatanen. Winner of A1 but dropping to last on the opening lap after an error, Lee Martin would recover to finish third after seeing off the attentions of Orlowski. In a repeat of EOS Poland, the reigning champion won’t be converting his TQ into victory as his efforts to get by Martin led to a roll on the last lap which dropped him to fifth and out of contention for the overall win.
Reacting to his win, Haatanen said, ‘I don’t know what happened at the beginning but all of a sudden I was at the front’. The 15-year-old added, ‘It was crazy. Cars 5-10 were now at the front and 1-5 were at the back’. The Finn continued, ‘I was in front of Joern but he had good speed behind me. Then he crashed and Martin (Bayer) wasn’t catching me so I was just driving around’. Looking to A3, the joint points leader coming into the weekend said, ‘I will leave the car the same and just see how the race unfolds’.
Feeling a little better than he did in yesterday’s qualifying, Bayer said, ‘I was probably the only one to stay out of trouble. I didn’t actually pass anyone. They just all crashed out of my way’. The multiple EOS race winner continued, ‘there was a big gap to Joona so I settled for second and the guys behind ran out of time to catch me’. Despite his P2 which puts him 3rd in in the points going into A3, the Xray’s Offroad designer concluded, ‘I don’t think a podium is possible. The points are very tight’. As it stands Martin, Haatanen, Bayer, Kobbevik and Coelho all have the potential to take the overall win on a track that has proven tricky.
‘I made the best of a bad situation’, was how Martin summed up the race. The Yokomo driver explained, ‘I was on new tyres and the car was edgy at the start and this made me more nervous on the first lap causing me to clip the pipe on the wall. I dropped back to last as 7 cars went by before the marshal could get to me’. He continued, ‘to get from 10th to 3rd was a victory. Now my tyres are bedded in it’s all to play for in the last one’.
Lee Martin has taken the opening A-Main at the third round of the Euro Offroad Series in Daun, Germany. Starting fourth on the grid the Yokomo driver took advantage of mistakes from drivers ahead of him including Top Qualifier Michal Orlowski, who crashed on the opening lap. The race would see three different leaders with Martin putting in a faultless race to secure the victory over long time race leader Daniel Kobbevik with Xray team-mate Bruno Coelho completing the Top 3. While Orlowski tried to recover with a ‘miracle’ pass on the final dash to the line, that causing a pile up involving Coelho and Haatanen, he came out worst with Haatanen, who challenged Martin for the lead in the middle of the race, getting fourth as Orlowski dropped to 7th.
Reacting to his win, Martin said, ‘we changed the car back to our Q3 set-up. I didn’t like the Q4 one and now the car was easy to drive’. The former champion continued, ‘my tyres went off a bit as they were on their third run but overall the car was nice and safe. A few others made mistakes which made my job easier and I hope the same thing happens again in the next one’. Planning to leave his car unchanged, he will change tyres for A2.
Taking his achievements this weekend in his stride, 14-year-old Kobbevik said, ‘It was a good run I think. I had the one mistake but it was still a good race’. He explained, ‘I ran wide coming off the wall and hit the pipe and after that my car felt broken. It kept pulling to the right. I need to check the steering’. Chasing his first 2WD podium, having achieved the result twice in 4WD, he concluded, ‘I am super happy to get a second from the first one’.
‘It was a strange final’, was Coelho’s description of A1. The EOS Poland winner continued, ‘There were three different leaders. This is a very difficult track and its very hard to pull away so everyone is taking risks’. Setting the fastest lap of the race, the Portuguese driver added, ‘I had a good fight with Lee and more with Daniel but for the last two laps I decided I don’t take risks anymore and it was best to take the 3rd position’.
While the result came short of the potential he showed in Rd1, Haatanen said, ‘That was a good race, it was a good race’. The EOS Nurburgring winner continued, ‘I just had that one stupid mistake when I hit the inside pipe on the table top and that cost me second place’. With the Associated team struggling compared to their rivals in qualifying at the race they won last season with Neil Cragg, Haatanen said, ‘My car feels good today. The only problem this morning was with my driving but I’m fired up for the next two’.
Summing up his race, Orlowski said, ‘I just got out of shape and jumped to the left’. The Schumacher driver continued, ‘On the last lap I tried to make a miracle happen and I came out the worst of it but I’m ready to go out again in the next one and put myself in the fight for the overall win in A3’.