Donington – This and That
05. July 2012The race in Donington had been the first round of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship in 2011, but this time the truck racers came directly from Nogaro. Many teams had to go through comprehensive service work, that’s why it was rather convenient that everything started on Saturday. The second race-weekend in Donington as a 2-day-event was therefore less frantic. This time there were no major press or PR conferences; there were also fewer invitees, but therefore a lot more real motorsport and truckracing fans. It was the second race weekend of the “modern truck racing times” – 1998 and 1999 there had been indeed FIA races in Donington. The FIA-Truckracing-Weekend in July 2008 had been cancelled on short notice (see News from July 28th 2008).
Within the British Truckracing Championship truck races regularly take place here. This year they will take place in mid - August. Many people were wondering why the races for the National Championship don’t take place here along with the ones of the FIA ETRC. The French do the same on a regular basis in Nogaro and Le Mans. Even though the weather was inconsistent, the event was well-attended by 18.000 spectators. Especially the storms combined with extreme gusts put the teams under pressure that were located at the very start of the truck racing paddock in the West of the circuit. Admittedly, the area where the truck racing teams were standing is normally a parking lot. The entire electrical and water installations had been installed temporarily. The real paddock is located far more East. This area can’t be hit by gusts that much.
The battle between the best ones is tight, even if Jochen Hahn (GER), the title holder, was able to extend his lead on points ahead of his Spanish brand mate Antonio Albacete. Markus Oestreich, on the other hand, has departed currently from the battle over the title. In the end, at Saturday the German Renault driver received zero points. That can happen to every driver, though, nothing has really been decided yet after the first half of the season. By the way Oese thinks that it is important to mention that the reason for the failure during the second race was an engine-burst, after which the truck stood oblique, and not one of the several collisions with the rivals that had made the truck look bad from the outside.
While Oese was mad about the reporting, the photographers and camera crew complained about the photo areas. In the press center they handed out outlines that marked the “red zones”, which were considered to be too dangerous. While the practice was taking place it was definitely possible to take pictures from the other areas. But when the race started there were only two little areas left, where the photographers and camera crews could take pictures. If one tried to make it to other places, also to those, that were not marked as “red zones” there got into trouble with the security staff. If the fans now get the impression that pictures and especially the background – even from different photographers – look the same, they are right!
For the second races of the day it seems to become a standard that the final decision making takes a long time. In Donington, the race commission summoned a number of drivers and team managers after the last race on Sunday evening. In this case it was not only about how the drivers raced, but also if all race truck were technically compliant to the rules. A long time after the race, they had made a decision, but it took them even longer to officially announce the results. The 30-second penalty for the Fin Mika Mäkinen (deduction: 1 point), will hit the MAN-pilot a lot less than the fact that Hahn will be set back by 3 places in the upcoming starting grid. And all this happened during the first race of the TGP at Nürburgring.
Just one last anecdote: The Hungarian team had informed the circuit speaker that the last name of the winner of the last race, Norbert Kiss, would be pronounced “Kish”. Promptly, the young man called up the MKR- team manager, Mario Kress, and pronounced his name “Kresh” during the award ceremony, which sounded more like “Crash” to the English-speaking audience.