By Mike Garrison
Race report from EFRA:
EFRA 1/8th Electric Off Road European Championship – Finals Report
Unseasonal heavy rain had put this Final Open Championship of the EFRA season in considerable doubt, as Saturdays running had seen just one round of qualification run before the heavens opened, dropping biblical amounts of rain onto an already drenched surface here in Velika Gorica in Croatia.
Luckily the rain stopped during the night and after some intensive track prep and several bags of sawdust we were ready to go with a packed program of 2 Qualifiers and then 3-legged finals for all. With constantly changing conditions as the track dried Qualifying was a voyage into mystery for the drivers but winning both rounds was reigning champion David Rinnefalk his HB chassied car just edging out Davide Ongaro’s Associated. Marting Wollanka lined up Third making the most of his round one win on Saturday when most had stayed in the pits due to the weather. Not enjoying qualifying as much were Elliot Boots back in 9th and Robert Battle – who won the Nitro version of this championship a few weeks ago – in 16th.
New for this year was a last chance qualifier where the “B” finalists ran with the winner progressing to grid 13 in the main finals – and here Robert Battle finally got a decent run and cruised to an easy win ahead of the Czech Republics Martin Bayer.
The Championship was to be decided over 3 x 10 minute “A” mains with the best 2 to count. Leg one saw David Ronnefalk into the lead from the hooter, slowly establishing a comfortable lead over Davide Ongaro, with fellow Italian Alex Zanchettin coming up form 5th on the Grid to claim 3rd. Leg two was even easier for Ronnefalk as the Swede cruised to another leg win and the retention of his title. This is David’s 4th European championship adding to his 1/8th Nitro wins in 2014 and 15 and last years victory in this event.
Leg three was, as always more frenetic with David not taking part having already claimed the title Ongaro looked to have a clear path to second overall, but Alex Zanchettin harried his fellow countryman for the most of the race before ironically making a mistake 1 corner before Ongaro cached himself and thus being unable to take advantage. Seizing the opportunity Bruno Coehlo got right onto Ongaro’s tail but the young Italians nerve held and he claimed the win and runner up spot for the event.
Finally we aneed to thank the fantastic efforts of all at the Velika Gorica club who worked tirelessly in very adverse conditions to make sure this event took place – Well done to Ante and his team.
The Top 10 Finishers were:
- David Ronnefalk - SWE
- Davide Ongaro - ITA
- Alex Zanchettin - ITA
- Martin Wollanka - AUT
- Jorn Neumann - DE
- Juan Carlos Canas - ES
- Bruno Coehlo -POR
- Elliott Boots - GB
- Jerome Sartel -FR
- Robert Battle - ES