Decisive early outcome already in Zolder?
Was that an early prediction of the final outcome? After the third race in Zolder, Jochen Hahn pretended to be just a fair winner. Some, however, already considered this run the decisive result for the outcome of the championship. “Of course, winning against Adam is a much greater victory than winning against a competitor who had to drop out for reasons he couldn’t do anything about,” the triple European champion stated after his direct competitor dropped out early because of problems with his truck’s engine. Following Lacko’s misfortune, Jochen took over the top position and finished the race with 20 additional points on his championship score board – the Czech pilot, however, remained without points. “As we all know, in motorsports anything is possible. For the two remaining rounds in Jarama and Le Mans, however, we are pleased about our advantage we now gained and which makes us feel more secure. Obviously, this point of departure is much more comfortable than having to make up a deficit in scores,” Jochen Hahn happily said on Sunday evening.
By then, the event already lasted two and a half days for the truck racers. Impossible to even think about it in the past, things have changed on the Belgian circuit as well: For drivers and crews, the race weekend in Zolder already started with both of the free practices on Friday. In this manner, irresolute teams got the chance to adjust and optimize their set-ups yet during the warm-up on Saturday. Unsurprisingly, the ones obtaining the best results in doing so were the two main title contenders once again. Adam Lacko won the pole position by a wee bit while Jochen, having achieved the second-fastest lap time, completed the first row on the grid. Jochen and Adam passed the first curve next to each other. Until then, none of them had managed to gain the decisive advantage. Two bends later, Jochen found the right gap to pass the Buggyra Frightliner thus taking over the top position. With three laps left to go, Lacko once again managed to glue his truck to the back of the blue and white MAN – although unable to actually attempt another passing maneuver over the remaining distance. Another pleasant result for the team: Following her great performance, Steffi Halm also ranked on the podium. Not so lucky: Her team leader, René Reinert, dropped out due to a technical failure.
As was to be expected, the second race on Saturday was much livelier. After quite a turbulent start, Jochen first had to gain an overview. “When starting from the fourth row on the grid and depending on the situation, this can be the most dangerous part of the race. Anyone is willing to push forward. This can result in crashes and accidents,” Hahn explained. Nonetheless, he soon regained lost grounds. Sascha Lenz led the field followed by the Czech newcomer Jiří Forman. While the Buggyra pilot was “handed back” rank by rank, Lenz remained firm successfully defending his lead. With only two laps left to go, however, he had to give in as Lacko passed him. Like Jochen, the Czech title contender had worked his way up to the front. Unfortunately, there was not enough time for Jochen to attempt yet another passing maneuver. Accordingly, he finished third right behind the exuberantly happy German pilot Sascha Lenz – who had just won his second podium position ever at a FIA race. René Reinert also performed great. Having started from the last position, he fought his way up to rank 4.
As mentioned previously, the decisive moment at the first race on Sunday was when Adam Lacko dropped out. He had won the pole position, prevailed at the start of the race and was leading the field when his truck failed. After that, three trucks built by Team Hahn Racing dominated the race: Jochen Hahn, René Reinert and Steffi Halm successfully defended this ranking all the way across the finish line. With this, the team achieved one of Jochen’s goals for the running season: “One of our objectives for this season was to finally manage to get all of the current ‘Hahn trucks’ onto the podium at once. Thanks to the great performance of our team, today we managed to do so. There is no doubt about it, we are very happy and pleased about this result,” Jochen said after the race.
At the final championship race, Sascha Lenz once again led the field – closely followed by Steffi Halm. Gerd Körper finished the weekend – with a lot of ups and downs for himself – dropping out at the first lap. Unlike Körber, Adam Lacko performed quite well with his hurriedly repaired long-hood Freightliner. Within just six laps, he ranked up from the very end to the very top. And Jochen also kept a close eye on his direct competitor. Although he fell back some positions at the skirmish at the start, he soon ranked up again until finishing second. Of course, that’s a point less than Adam Lacko, but considering the weekend’s overall outcome, that’s no big deal. All in all, Hahn managed to increase his lead on the standings. He now ranks 35 points ahead of the runner-up. In terms of the team championship, Team Reinert Adventure also managed to win all of the four races.
A summary about this race weekend, the seventh event of the 2016 season, will be broadcasted on Sport1 on October 1st this year at 19:15 o’clock.
Here you can find some Videos from Zolder:
Current standings at the European Truck Racing Championship:
|1. Hahn (MAN)||356|
|2. Lacko (Freightliner)||321|
|3. Reinert (MAN)||180|
|4. Kiss (Mercedes-Benz)||179|
|5. Halm (MAN)||174|
|6. Janiec (MAN)||169|
|7. Körber (Iveco)||104|
|8. Lenz (MAN)||99|
|9. Forman (Freightliner)||68|
|10. Lohr (MAN)||66|