Neil Cragg has TQ’d the opening round of 2WD qualifying at the Euro Offroad Series in Daun, Germany. Having topped seeding earlier in the day, the Team Associated driver took the first of the four qualifiers ahead of Xray’s Martin Bayer and the Schumacher of Joern Neumann, all three drivers putting their results down to making less mistakes than their rivals. Championship leader Bruno Coelho who had the fastest car on the track set the early pace but his run was filled with errors and it was a similar story for reigning champion Michal Orlwoski with them finishing 10th and 6th fastest respectively.
‘If a young driver was driving my car he’d do real damage’, joked Cragg after his TQ run. A former EOS Top Qualifier but yet to win an event, the former World Champion continued, ‘I’m pretty pleased. It is always hard going from 4WD back to 2WD but the car is going good. I knew there was going to be a lot of crashes especially at the jump after the banked corner. It’s really hard to get the down ramp right and it caught out a lot of guys but I seemed to be pretty good through there. I just tried to keep the head and stay cool and it got me the TQ’. Not planning any changes to his B6 for Q2, the final run of the day, he concluded, ‘It is not the fastest out there but for now it’s a pretty good start’.
Having had a resurgent start to the new season of EOS finishing runner-up to team-mate Coelho in both buggy classes, Bayer described his P2 as ‘OK’. The Czech native continued, ‘all week I have been pretty sick and I feel pretty low in power. I didn’t sleep so I’m struggling’. Setting the TQ pace for a time he would have ‘a stupid mistake’ at the corner table top and with ‘the marshal very far away (I) lost a lot of time so I am very happy to get second’. Asked about his car set-up, he said, ‘The car is good, I just don’t feel right. I didn’t change it since the start.’
‘It was money, like the Americans call it’, was how Neumann summed up his opening qualifier. Running in the second fastest heat having struggled to get in two strong consecutive seeding laps, the former Champion said, ‘I was not so fast, I just didn’t crash’. Running the car unchanged from the final practice, for the second qualifier the German will run a softer diff saying, ‘in the tight corers I need more rotation’.
Setting the fourth fastest time, Hupo Honigl said, ‘It’s a really good start. I haven’t been up there in a long time’. The former race winner put his improvement down to a car change. ‘I changed my car to my spare car and it was a lot faster. My race car felt amazing to drive in practice but was super slow’. With the two Xray’s set-up 95% the same, the Austrian said, ‘It feels the same to drive but it is a lot quicker. I have no idea why’.
Completing the Top 5 Lee Martin was annoyed with himself after having a ‘huge crash on the second lap’. Rolling over his Yokomo he said it cost him 4-seconds otherwise it was an ok run. In terms of his car, the World Championship podium finisher said, ‘We need to find a little more corner speed. The best lap is not quite as good as Michal or Bruno but I know if I can do a decent run we should be ok’.