Le Mans This And That
03. October 2018Round 7 of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship at the historic Circuit Bugatti in Le Mans was a truck race festival par excellence, with eight races over two days including those of the French championship, and balmy late-summer weather (it’s rarely been this good in Le Mans).
The presentation of the 50-odd race trucks along the main straight for a video shoot Saturday afternoon was something extraordinary. We’ve never seen such a long lineup of these magnificent machines.
That German Iveco pilot Jochen Hahn would win his fifth title was no longer in doubt – his lead of 66 points was, in practical terms, unassailable. The only question was whether the bantam from Altensteig would make that peck in Le Mans, and so he did – in Sunday’s first race. At the same time he also clinched the team championship with Schwabentruck’s Steffi Halm as „Die Bullen von Iveco Magirus“.
While the title race has wound down, the endgame will only come at next weekend’s round in Jarama, with three pilots in play for the position of second runner-up.
Sascha Lenz (GER) shook the truck racing “establishment” to its foundations last year when he set a new lap record in the Sunday Super Pole, a 2:04.783. He didn’t go nearly that fast this time, but still came away with the best lap of the weekend – and a healthy points haul. The up-and-coming young MAN is placed just three points below Mercedes pilot Norbert Kiss (HUN) and nine below Madrilène matador Antonio Albacete (MAN).
The trucks of the ETRC got by the Le Mans weekend with minor scrapes at worst and are all good to go at the finale in Jarama; the French racers engaged in a more physical combat. That resulted in delays to the programme on two occasions. Nevertheless, the FIA pilots were still able to do their thing in excellent light conditions.
It was but natural that some would have a long night after it was all over – celebrating mostly, – and since the circuit had permitted the teams to stay in the paddock through Monday to prep their trucks for Jarama, there was enough time for everyone to “recover” while ostensibly at work.
The platoon departed on Tuesday morning, headed directly for Madrid.