Sunday in Le Mans Part 3 - Albacete wins the final race
30. September 2018Le Mans - The driver’s and team championships may already have been decided, but the 57,200 spectators at Circuit Bugatti need not have worried about a lack of excitement. All attention is now riveted on the fight for P3 on the end-of-season prizegiving podium next weekend in Jarama. Kiss had an advantage of two points over Albacete going into Race 4, and Lenz lurked in the shadows just four points behind the Spaniard. Albacete had the brightest prospects, seeing as he’d be starting from the front row next to polesitter Ryan Smith –and the fact that the Brit isn’t eligible for points anyway. But Antonio didn’t only want the points; he determined that he must have the win. And the win is what he got.
He left Smith standing when the lights turned green, and the Brit lost two places in the first corner before indignantly reclaiming P2 a couple of turns later.
As we’ve seen on several occasions this weekend, when a leading duo keep out of each other’s hair, and the fight breaks out only behind them, the two make a gratuitous getaway. This time was no different.
Steffi Halm jumped José Rodrigues to head the pack, but Mercedes pilot Kiss, the man everyone expected would storm up the file in the drag to the first corner – as he’s so famously done more times than we can remember, – dropped back instead from P5 to P11. So much for the hoped-for duel between him and Albacete. The Top 10 this season are so closely matched that it’s extremely difficult to make it to the front from midfield over the 45-odd-km race distance.
The seasoned Spaniard held on to his lead despite, as he admitted later, having struggled with his truck’s setup under unrelenting pressure from Smith.
Towards mid-race, Hahn exploited a momentary distraction on Halm’s part to overtake his „Die Bullen von Iveco Magirus“ teammate. He then set off in pursuit of the leaders, setting the fastest lap of the race in the chase. But the two were simply too far ahead and the newly crowned five-times champion was rapidly running out of road. P3 was as good a position to finish in as any – for a driver who’d started from P8.
Halm came in next, ahead of José Rodrigues, Kursim, and Lenz. Lacko and Reinert had again a hard fight, this time for P8, and again Lacko won it by a hair. There were, to their relief, no penalties and that meant they could keep their positions in the classification. Kiss crossed the line in P10, and since Smith wasn’t in contention, 11th-placed MAN pilot Jamie Anderson (GBR) was handed the final FIA point. This also gave him victory in the Grammer Truck Cup race-within-the-race, ahead of German Steffen Faas (Mercedes) and Janes.
„Die Bullen von Iveco Magirus“ (Hahn / Steffi Halm) completed a sweep of team podiums at Le Mans, Truck Sport Lutz Bernau (Albacete / Recuenco) and Reinert Adventure (Lenz / Reinert) finishing first and second runners-up.
Hahn now has 336 points, followed by Lacko (234), Albacete (209), Kiss (203), Lenz (200), Halm (181), Kursim (144), and Reinert (137).