Friday in Zolder
14. September 2018Zolder - The weather on this first day of competition at the 6th round of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship in Zolder was perfect. Dry skies, with the occasional cloud – you couldn’t hope for better in Belgium.
The actual competition was limited to the two half-hours of free practice. In FP1, championship leader Jochen Hahn’s (GER) was the sole time in the 1:58s. Seven other drivers lapped under 2 min. There’s no comparing these times to those from last year, when it rained very heavily on Friday, and the trucks went more than a second quicker in the Super Pole on Saturday and Sunday.
On the other hand, track time in this session was cut short by the red flags, which came out after less than a handful of laps. René Reinert’s (GER) immobilised MAN found itself in a precarious position, and the rest of the field was waved back into pit lane. By the time his truck was recovered, what remained of the 30 minutes was enough for only three laps. The Iveco of André Kursim was also hit, but the young German managed to get it to crawl back before it ground to a halt halfway up pit lane and refused to go any further. After a wrecker had towed it back to paddock, the mechanics needed help from several others to push the 5.3 tonne colossus into the workshop tent.
FP2 lasted the whole half-hour without interruption. This time the picture was a bit different, Spaniard Antonio Albacete (MAN) going on top with a 1:57.763 with Hahn a tenth slower. Then there was a considerable gap to the 3rd-quickest driver. Perhaps minds were on the City Parade later in the afternoon, the first ever in Zolder. Escorted by police outriders, a massive convoy of race trucks from the ETRC and the Dutch Truck Racing Championship wound its way through commuter traffic to the Heldenplein in Heusden-Zolder 8 km away. There the public could take a good look at the trucks from close quarters and snag themselves autographs – and enjoy a repast while they were at it.