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Euro Off-Road Series: Round 2 Preview

EOS heads to Berlin with record entry

The Euro Offroad Series travels to Germany this weekend (17-19 Jan) with the second round of the high profile 1:10 electric offroad championship attracting a record 300 strong entry as it makes its first visit to the country’s capital city of Berlin. While set to be the biggest encounter yet in the EOS’ short 8-race history, it is also the most competitive to-date with two reigning World Champions and four current European Champions among the World class field who are set to do battle.

Heading the entry will be reigning back to back EOS Champion Joern Neumann, the German looking to secure a ninth win in 4WD Buggy to maintain his reign as the only driver to win every EOS encounter in the class. The 4WD World Championship Top Qualifier won the season opener in Poland with relative ease and has just kicked off his 2014 season with a win at last weekend’s DHI Cup in Denmark, but in Berlin he will face a much tougher field. Another big change for the German is that he will be without longtime team-mate Hupo Honigl who since winning the season opener in 2WD has switched team. The Austrian’s departure moves highly talented Polish kid Michal Orlowski up to the No.2 position in the team and having taken a podium finish at Round 1 the 12-year-old should be in the mix.
Starting off Season #3 back in October with a very popular first EOS win when he won 2WD Buggy, multiple former European Champion Honigl will be looking to build on that success and impress on his EOS debut with Team C. A key driver signing for the relative newcomer to the competition end of the market, Honigl will team up for the first time with Team C’s other new signing for 2014, Oskar Levin. The Swede made an impressive debut last weekend by TQ’ing 2WD Buggy at the DHI Cup. Although the finals did not go as well as he would have wanted, eventually finishing third, the 19-year-old says he learned a lot from the experience. Having TQ’d Round 1 of the EOS but only finished 5th, it was Schumacher’s Tom Cockerill who took the Danish win over Neumann. The British driver put the victory down to the experience gained from the EOS adding he is relishing the opportunity of competing against the World Champion field this weekend.

In terms of driver line-up and sheer size Team Yokomo has to be the favourite for at least one victory in Berlin on its return to the series. The team made its official EOS debut in Germany last year with Naoto Matsukura and came away with the 2WD win. This time round the 4WD World Championship Vice-Champion will be joined by the 2WD World Championship Vice-Champion Lee Martin. The team announced one of the biggest signings of the new season when they secured the services of Martin, who is one of only three drivers to have previously denied Neumann victory in the EOS. Also joining the electric off-road aces is reigning 1:8 Off-road World Champion Robert Batlle. The Spaniard who only took up 1:10 electric off-road racing last season has shown great speed on previous EOS outings but this being his first time to have team-mates to work alongside he should benefit hugely. The race will also see Martin’s young protégé Jack Embling make his EOS debut. With the race in Germany, the Yokomo line-up will also include Euro Touring Series aces Ronald Volker and Yannic Prumper.

With both their drivers joining Neumann on the 4WD podium at Round 1, Team Xray will be hoping they can go one better this weekend. 4WD European Champion Martin Bayer came very close to beating Neumann at the DHI Cup with the Czech ace looking better & better on carpet surface tracks every race. Together with his team-mate and fellow nitro ace Renaud Savoya, who never raced electric off-road before making his EOS debut in Austria last season, the hard working duo are spending the days leading up to Berlin testing at the Hudy Arena in Slovakia which should set them up well for the weekend.

Kyosho will be counting on their 1:8 Off-road European Champion David Ronnefalk and touring car star Christopher Krapp for a successful weekend. Ronnefalk had good speed at the opening round but came away with disappointing results and the 17-year will be looking to rectify that this Sunday. Having missed Round 1, Krapp makes his return to the series. Finishing runner-up in 2WD Buggy behind Neumann and ahead of his team-mate at last year’s season finale, the German will be hoping he can put in another strong showing at his home event. Another Touring Car ace who will make his EOS debut is Team Associated’s Juho Levanen. Like Krapp the Finn is a winner in the ETS but he has a lot less off-road experience and will be counting on the experience of Associated’s former European Off-road champion Peter Pinisch.

Following driver feedback new tyre partner Pro-Line will supply a new controlled front tyre for the event along with a new compound rear tyre for Round 2. The changes show the high level of commitment the American tyre manufacturer is making to the Euro Off-road Series. Attracting backing from Xray, Team Durango, Team Associated, Kyosho, Horizon Hobby and Pro-Line, all primary sponsors of the 2013/14 season, the Berlin event will commence Friday morning with free practice.


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