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Nürburgring – This and That

Nürburgring – This and That

16. July 2007The splendid weekend weather made up for the rain that fell on Thursday and Friday, and more than 190,000 fans swarmed through the paddock. And there was a lot worth seeing and marvelling at when, for instance, somebody hauled a Volkswagen Constellation by sheer muscular strength over a 10 m parcours or when the Ravensburg fire fighters took apart a Mercedes Atego to demonstrate how fast an injured trucker in a crashed vehicle can be rescued. The protagonists of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship, Mercedes Benz, MAN, Renault, and a large number of team sponsors had, of course, spared no troubles to make sure their guests were entertained with a wide range of attractions. But there were again a great many companies – and not the smaller ones – that usually ignore truck racing motor sports thoroughly, but make full use of the events around the races for the FIA European Truck Racing Championship to present themselves. As in the years before, this gave cause for a lot of discussions.
And there were discussions, too, among the pilots and the truck racing teams. The topic talked about beforehand, was the intention to hold the FIA races in two groups, although only 26 pilots were registered, but up to 28 drivers are allowed at the Ring. It was not before Thursday afternoon that they changed their mind, which led to enormous problems for the organizers, because now there were not enough support programmes available to fill the gaps. This led to harsh criticism from the crowd on the grand stands now and then, because the audience at the Ring is not used to having longer breaks in the programme of the TGP. But more serious were the problems and decisions in regard to the races, for instance, the disqualification of Markus Altenstrasser on Saturday. At first it was said that he was flagged down because of black smoke, but, actually they mistakenly showed him the black flag, but had meant to wave the one with the red dot, which stands for “something is wrong with the truck and is in need of repair”.
When the Renault team pointed out that the truck with the number 22 did not give off any black smoke, they later explained that one of the tyres needed to be changed.
Later on it was said that probably there had been some mix-up. At Gerd Körber’s truck apparently a hose connection came loose, and occasionally the black smoke didn’t enter the smoke filter, but emitted directly into the air. By the way, Körber’s truck got the start number 2.
And also in the incident that raised people’s temper on Sunday, Mr. Truck Racing was involved, but this time he was the victim.
After a frantic start of the second Cup race Hahn’s Mercedes took to the grass on the left-hand side at the end of the start-finish straight. Here of course the yellow flags were waved, but the entrance of the Mercedes Arena was past the danger spot.
These are the observations by an evidently very expert truck racing fan, Udo Müller. “To disqualify Gerd Körber, was a wrong decision. Marshal 4a waved the green flag, and a bit further on there were again yellow flags shown by the marshals. Körber overtook his opponent in the short green zone in between”.
In the end, the officials, too, seemed to have some doubts as to whether their decision was correct, because they annulled the disqualification and Körber got a 20 second penalty instead.
But the victory ceremony for the teams topped everything else. The clear winner on Sunday was Team Frankie with Ross Garrett and Markus Altenstrasser. After all, they were the only team, where 2 pilots had crossed the finish line. At the time when the ceremony took place, Gerd Körber’s disqualification was still valid, hence the Renault Team had 27 points. David Vrsecky, as the winner of the Cup race, got 20 points, and Enrique Sanjuan, as the only pilot of Team Hahn, got 10 points, the Allgäuer Team was at that time without any points. And who was called on the podium: Buggyra, Allgäuer and Hahn, in spite of the objections and booing of the bystanders. Only the third placed team was on their rightful position, but they lost this position after the Frankie Team raised a protest, and third position went to the Czech team. After the revocation of Körber’s disqualification the exact order was now: Frankie Team ahead of Buggyra and Allgäuer.
The next round will be at the end of August; by then the FIA officials will have ironed out everything, at least in regard to the overall standing.
But there were not only negative matters. For the second time there was an audio live streaming on this web site – in cooperation with the ADAC – of the on-site commentaries by Jörg Hennig and Hans-Joachim Ebertz, and, in addition, a Truck Grand Prix special, where the current press releases of the ADAC and results could be obtained in almost real-time. All this was again so successful that the organizers consider to provide in future not only the audio signal, but also the video signal, in other words: people all over the world could watch in real-time the same scenes the spectators at the Ring see at the huge screen.
Until then, the fans have to be content with an offer that is a bit more limited, although there were again many TV teams at the Ring. There was a special video film featuring Jochen Hahn which will be screened at the “Erlebniswelt am Ring”. The ZDF Drehscheibe shot a four minute sequence with Heinz-Werner Lenz. And his son, Sascha, together with Gerd Körber can be seen on the Pro Sieben series “Galileo”. The official TGP report was already aired last week on D:SF, but for those who either missed it or would like to watch it again, the video will be available on this web site – same as last year’s report.