One of the leading drivers who encouraged the organisers of the world famous Euro Touring Series to bring their concept to the the world of 1:10 Electric Offroad, Hupo Honigl today finally claimed his first overall win at the season opener of the Euro Offroad Series. Having won leg 1 by not putting a wheel wrong, second time round the Austrian had to work hard for the win with himself and Top Qualifier Tom Cockerill putting on a great show for the large crowds. After a coming together between Cockerill and Neumann at the start of the last lap, Honigl could breath again and cruise to the finish to take an emotional win by over 3-seconds. Cockerill would finish second with Neumann third, the two set to go head to head in Leg 3 for the runners-up spot here in Poland.
Honigl said the change to Proline tyres for season No.3 has really suited his driving style saying it now feels more like offroad than carpet racing. Clearly delighted at becoming only the fourth driver to win 2WD at the EOS, he said the win is also a huge load off his shoulders with many people recently suggesting that he should consider retiring. Commenting on the race, the multiple former European Champion said at the start he remained patient adding that it is always easier to follow than lead. Moving to the front at the end of lap 8 when the top 3 hit trouble at the double, all three drivers afterwards unsure of what actually happened, he said he just tried to drive safe. With Cockerill closing back in, Honigl complimenting the patience shown by the British driver, he said he found enough confidence to double the double for two laps which allowed him to keep the Schumacher at bay before the last lap which when the battle for second place came together he could cruise to the finish.
Despite coming so close to making the battle go to the third A-Main, Cockerkill said it was ‘a good race’. Playing it safe at the start he said he doesn’t know what actually happened at the double when he lost the lead but catching back up to Honigl he said he was setting himself up for a final lap pass. Describing his coming together with Neumann he said it probably looked worse than it was adding that it wasn’t intentional and was just a racing incident. Disappointed at missing out on his first win, he said his focus now is to try and get second overall. Having pulled up in Leg 1 to save tyres, he added that he still has to play it safe as a bad result would cost him the chance of claiming his first EOS podium, a result he said would top off a great weekend for the new Cougar KF.
Defending Champion Neumann, who again set the fastest lap, said the first minute of the race is his problem as on new tyres the leaders can pull away. Although able to pull back the lost ground once the tyres come in, he said with no new tyres left for the last final he feels he is not going to have enough traction to try deny Cockerill the win and give Durango a 1-2 finish. Durango could potentially lock out the podium should Michal Orlowski back up his 4th in Leg 1 with another strong run.
1.(2) Hupo Hönigl (AT) – Team Durango – 14/5:14.526
2.(1) Tom Cockerill (GB) – Schumacher – 14/5:17.819
3.(3) Jörn Neumann (DE) – Team Durango – 14/5:18.474
4.(5) Patrick Hornum (DK) – Team C – 13/5:02.517
5.(9) David Ronnefalk (SE) – Kyosho – 13/5:02.821
6.(6) Oliver Scholz (DE) – Team C – 13/5:09.200
7.(4) Michal Orlowski (PL) – Team Durango – 13/5:12.035
8.(8) Nicolas Risser (BE) – Team C – 13/5:14.254
9.(7) Benni Gröschel (DE) – Team Durango – 13/5:15.303
10.(10)Bryan van Bijnberk (NL) – Yokomo – 13/5:22.306
Team Durango’s Hupo Honigl put in a clean 5-minutes of driving to the win the opening main of 2WD at the Euro Offroad series in Poland this morning. Starting from second on the grid the Austrian took an early lead when Top Qualifier Tom Cockerill got it wrong second time through the track’s most demanding element, the risky double. Holding on to his lead Honigl would see off challenges from team-mate Joern Neumann, who would finish second, and Kyosho’s David Ronnefalk who completed the Top 3. Both drivers challenge for the lead came undone at the double.
Admitting to come close to a heart attack every time he did the double, former European Champion Honigl said he won simply because he made no mistakes. Describing the race as ‘difficult’, adding that his main rivals were ultimately faster, he said he came close a couple of times to putting his DEX210 on its roof but luck was on his side for once. Having never won an EOS event, he said he hopes he can repeat his steady run in Leg 2.
With a fastest lap that was almost a full second quicker than Honigl, Neumann said at the start he struggled on new tyres. Dropping to third after a mistake at the double on lap 6, he said once the tyres came in his DEX210 was good highlighted by his lap times, the German the only one to run 22-second lap times. Closing to within 4/10ths of Honigl by the finish, the defending champion said the problem is that his tyres are now too worn to run in Leg 2 to so he will have to start with a new set which again will leave him with a difficult buggy at the start.
Coming from 9th on the grid to finish third, Ronnefalk said he cant be too unhappy with the result. Adding that he got a little lucky, Cockerill pulling up after 2-laps and the No.5 buggy of Patrick Hornum not making the start after breaking in the warm-up, he said the biggest mistake he made was to settle for second. Running second behind Honigl, the Swede said he decided to play safe but this led to him making a mistake at the double with his RB6 needing to be marshalled allowing Neumann through to second. Admitting he needs ‘something special’ to happen on the first lap he said its tough to go the race distance without any mistakes so anything is possible.
After a promising opening lap for Schumacher’s Cockerill it all went wrong on lap 2, getting it wrong at the double allowing five cars through he then got it wrong at the crossover leaving him last. At the disadvantage to his rivals of only having one new set of Proline controlled tyres for the finals, the British driver decided to pull up and save then for the remaining two legs when he said he ‘needs to play it safe’.
Having run second for 2-laps, 12-year-old Polish star Michal Orlowski would bring his Durango home fourth. Unfortunately for 15-year-old Dutch racer Bryan van Bijnberk the race lasted just a few metres as his Yokomo shutdown due to a faulty power switch.
1.(2) Hupo Hönigl (AT) – Team Durango – 14/5:16.399
2.(3) Jörn Neumann (DE) – Team Durango – 14/5:16.816
3.(9) David Ronnefalk (SE) – Kyosho – 14/5:19.693
4.(4) Michal Orlowski (PL) – Team Durango – 13/5:02.460
5.(7) Benni Gröschel (DE) – Team Durango – 13/5:03.426
6.(8) Nicolas Risser (BE) – Team C – 13/5:04.512
7.(6) Oliver Scholz (DE) – Team C – 13/5:06.268
8.(1) Tom Cockerill (GB) – Schumacher – 2/0:34.006
9.(5) Patrick Hornum (DK) – Team C – 0:00.000
10.(10)Bryan van Bijnberk (NL) – Yokomo – 0:00.000