Saturday in Misano
22. May 2010Misano - Bright sunshine at the Misano World Circuit and even brighter smiles on the faces of the MKR Renault Team: First race, first win. But first things first. With temperatures of more than 25 °C there was a very cheerful atmosphere, and everybody was curious to learn whether the new regulation – the super pole – would be a change for the better. But first the two free practices were on the agenda. And not only the ‘hands-down’ favourites of the season – the two MAN pilots Jochen Hahn (GER) and Antonio Albacete (ESP) as well as the Czech title holder David Vrsecky (Buggyra Freightliner) – clocked times within less than 1 second of each other, but Markus Bösiger (SUI) and Markus Oestreich (GER) on the two MKR Renault trucks were only a fraction of a tenth slower. This promised to become a most thrilling timed practice. On the other hand, now people started suspecting that several pilots might decide to ‘gamble’; after all, it would be ‘enough’ to be among the first ten.
And suddenly Oestreich was in eighth position with more than 4 seconds separating him from the fastest pilot, Jochen Hahn. But at the super pole the ‘cards were being reshuffled’ quite a bit. As there was some oil on the track, the times were more than 2 seconds slower than 15 minutes ago. Eventually Hahn was on pole ahead of Bösiger, Oestreich, Albacete and Vrsecky.
In the following first race of the season Hahn managed to hold his leading position, closely followed by Bösiger. Oestreich was in 3rd position ahead of Albacete and Vrsecky. But already in the second lap the Swiss made a successful passing move, and now the twosome was slightly pulling away from the chasing pack, where Albacete was hard on the heels of Renault pilot Oestreich, and in the 5th lap he succeeded in passing the German. Meanwhile the top duo had gained such an impressive lead that Albacete had no real chance anymore to close in on the two leading trucks. Bösiger and Hahn, however, were only split by some hundredths all the time, so that the Swiss had to worry about his win until he crossed the finish line. And Bösiger enjoyed his victory all the more, as he not only has a completely new truck, but was also suffering from a fracture of the metacarpal bone on his right hand. And only thanks to the intensive support provided by his physician and his physiotherapist, who both were with him in Misano, the man from Langenthal had been able to enter the first race of the season. Behind Oestreich, Vrsecky finished in 5th.
For the further positions there was a fiercely contested battle to the end of the race. Adam Lacko (CZE), back in the truck racing business after a four year break, made a superb start and already in the first lap managed to get past his brand colleagues Chris Levett (GBR) and Balazs Szobi (HUN). The Englishman spent most of the remaining laps chasing hard after the Czech, but towards the end of the race Levett dropped back behind Szobi and the Russian because of a rear tyre puncture and finished in 9th. Another MAN pilot, Javier Mariezcurrena (ESP), completed the positions within the points.
The pole for the second race, where - as is well known by now – the top 8 finishers from race 1 line up on the grid in reverse order, went to Lvov ahead of Szobi, with Bösiger and Hahn lining up on the fourth row. The start went off without a hitch, but after only a few hundred metres, where the drivers brake gently before entering the Curva de Rio – a 90 degrees double bend – the race was practically over. Oestreich and Albacete made contact, the Spaniard crashed into Vrsecky’ truck, causing the Czech to spin around. This was the cause but in the end not the reason why the race was stopped. All trucks involved in the accident re-entered the race, but Albacete’s MAN was so heavily damaged that, after only half a lap, the Spaniard had to retire. The race was red-flagged and the trucks returned to the pit lane. The pilots were informed that there would be a re-start in 25 minutes. However, the collision had also damaged the fuel tank of the Cepsa MAN, and the track was now soaked with diesel. It took so long to clean the tarmac that it would not have been possible to re-start the race compliant to rules, so that, besides a new team winning the first race of the series, there was yet another novelty, a race day with only one championship race.
The team ranking was plain sailing for MKR Technology (Bösiger / Oestreich), followed by Team HahnOxxo Racing (Hahn / Szobi) and Truck Sport Bernau (Albacete / Levett).