Joern Neumann has won an exciting opening A1 at the EOS Season Finale in Austria. Starting from the TQ, the Schumacher driver was under intense pressure from Bruno Coelho off the start, leading to a mistake from the German midway through the race that let the Xray driver through. Once in front however, it was Coelho’s turn to face the pressure as Neumann came back at him forcing him into also making a mistake. While Neumann would get caught up in that mistake, he came out of it in the lead which he would hold on to until the finish. Joona Haatanen would also get by Coelho but they quickly touched and Coelho had to wait to let the Associated driver through which dropped them both one position. Unfortunately for Haatanen he would make mid air contact with Hupo Honigl and drop from 2nd to fourth on the last lap while Coelho went from P5 to second. Putting in a clean race, Schumacher’s Wesley van Helmond would come through from 6th to complete the Top 3 with his team-mate Michal Orlowski continuing to have a tough time as having made his way up to 2nd had a mistake and ended up 6th.
Agreeing it was an exciting race, Neumann said, ‘I felt Bruno was much quicker than me in the first few laps and I hit the pipe and he passed me. Then when I was behind him, he must have felt I was much faster and had a crash. It seems on this track it is easier to follow than lead’. Chasing his second consecutive EOS win in the 4WD after a long period without wins, Neumann is hoping he can seal the overall win in a A2 saying, ‘the car is good, everything is good so I will go the same again and try to stay in front’.
‘A very intense final’, was how Coelho summed up the opening A-Main. Looking more and more likely to secure the overall title here in Steyregg, he continued, ‘who is at the back is faster and that race was proof of this. I looked faster than him when I was behind but when I passed him it looked like I forgot the layout of the track. It is much easier to follow’. The former World Champion added, ‘Like I said before everything can happen. I was maybe 5th starting the last lap but then I was second. It’s still all open’.
Asked about his race, van Helmond said, ‘I don’t really know what happen that I ended up 3rd. The car is good and I had a clean run. I had just one small mistake that’s all’. Looking to A2, the Dutch driver said, ‘I followed the rest and the rest made mistakes so I will try to put in another clean run and see what happens’.
Describing his race, Haatanen said, ‘the start was pretty good and I was right behind Bruno and Joern. Then Bruno had a mistake and I got by but something happened between us and we crashed. He had to let me go but Hupo got by and then on the last lap we hit in the air and I ended up 6th’. The Team Associated driver concluded, ‘what happened out there was my own stupid mistakes and without them I would have had an easy 2nd. I believe the car is good but I still want something better for the bumps’.