By Mike Garrison
EFRA 1/12th Track European Championships - Finals report
Written by James Stewart
Alexander Hagberg broke away at the start of the first leg, with Olly Jefferies running around a second behind him initially. This continued for six minutes, till Alex clipped a bot dot in the race control chicane, sending him into the barriers and an eventual retirement. This allowed Olly through to take the leg win, with Ollie Payne and Michel Orlowski continuing their battle from the stock class behind him. Ollie prevailed to take second with Michel third.
Alex knew that he couldn't afford any further mistakes and duly delivered in leg two, running a clean eight minutes to take the leg win. He was helped in this task by a mistake from Olly early on which dropped him behind Ollie and Michel. These three circulated together for the rest of the run, but with no further changes in position Payne took second place in the leg from Orlowski.
Hagberg demonstrated his intent at the start of leg three, breaking away into a lead that he would never relinquish. Such was Alex's pace that towards the end of the eight minute run he was closing in to lap the battle for third place! The leg win secured Alex his fifth consecutive European championship in the class, with Olly Jefferies making a mistake in his quest to catch and pass Alex. Olly's mistake allowed Ollie Payne through to finish the leg in second place and secure his second podium position of the weekend, with Olly securing the overall second place with a third in the final leg.
Ollie Payne blasted away from his pole position in leg one of the final, initially pulling away slightly for the first couple of laps until Michel Orlowski's tyres came in. Once Michel's car had hooked up, it was clear that he was able to run at the same pace as Ollie, and spent the next six and a half minutes applying heavy pressure to try and gain the lead. A small mistake from Michel allowed Ollie to escape slightly, the a second mistake from a hard charging Michel dropped him back behind Markus Mobers. This left Ollie to take the leg from Markus and Michel.
Leg two saw the Ollie and Michel break away again, though this time Markus Mobers managed to keep a watching brief about a second behind the lead pair. Payne and Orlowski continued their battle for the next five minutes, with Michel making several moves and Ollie resisting every time. Eventually, Michel made a small error, clipping a bot dot in the centre of the track as the pair headed back towards the drivers rostrum. With the front of his car now in the air, Michel was unable to avoid clipping the rear of Ollie's car, turning him round. While Orlowski sportingly waited for Payne to recover, Markus Mobers nipped through into the lead, followed closely by Oliver Bultynck. Markus held this lead through to the end, with Oliver holding off Ollie for second.
Into the final leg then, and yet again Ollie and Michel broke away from the pack, Orlowski still applying pressure all the time but Payne successfully defending his place. Ollie had the advantage of knowing that a second place to Michel would still secure the title if the pressure was too great, but looked determined to seal his maiden European title with another leg win. Orlowski was still in close attendance with thirty seconds remaining, but then a small error in the chicane through the middle of the track while the pair were lapping traffic gave Ollie all the breathing space he needed to cross the line first and secure the European title. Michel crossed the line in second place with Markus Mobers third, but Markus' leg two win was enough to secure him second overall with Michel third.