Sunday in Jarama
07. October 2007Jarama - After nearly four hours of discussing Buggyra´s protest against Cepsa, the stewards came to a decision around 19:00 hrs. The new European Champion is Markus Bösiger - with an advantage of only 1 point.
According to tradition, in the early morning - in total darkness - there were already long queues of cars. At 8:00 hrs sharp started a thousand fold chorus of horns on the grand stands and woke the last late risers. In spite of a cloud cover the temperatures rose again to 25 °C (77 °F). However, the Mercedes crew was in a subdued mood, because this would be the - provisionally - last time for them to take part in truck racing. That´s why their flags flew at half mast and were decorated with crapes.
The 70,000 crowd - 46,000 had come today - watched the most dramatic final there was in the last years, where Fortuna favoured first Antonio Albacete a bit. In the timed practice Markus Bösiger had secured his pole ahead of his team mate David Vrsecky. Third on the grid was Albacete, ahead of Gerd Körber (both MAN), Jochen Hahn (Mercedes Benz) and Jean-Philippe Belloc (MAN). But only a few minutes before the end the red flag was waved and the timed practice was stopped. The Portuguese Antonio Portela´s MAN had rolled over several times. To rescue the pilot, they had to cut off the top of the driver´s cab, which took quite a long time. It was said that Portela suffered a cheek-bone fracture.
In the Qualy race both Buggyra pilots had a good start with Bösiger in front. Winning this race would mean that the win of the championship would be a sure thing for the Swiss. But before Albacete could challenge Bösiger´s victory, he had to get past Vrsecky. And so there was a duel going on which Albacete eventually lost, and he dropped back on 7th position. Then the Spaniard tried everything to fight his way back up the order, and he was far from treating his opponents with kid gloves, especially Chris Levett (MAN). Bösiger seemed to be the clear winner, but all of a sudden his truck came to a dead stop. The engine broke down and could not be re-started. Meanwhile Hahn had passed Vrsecky and finished comfortably in 1st. Körber crossed the finish line in 3rd position and Albacete finished in 4th.
But then there was again quite a skirmish after the race. The Cepsa people were apparently of the opinion that Vrsecky should be penalized because of his duel with Albacete. However, after a lengthy discussion they decided to let the matter rest.
Bösiger started the Cup race from the back of the grid - with an advantage of 13 points. If Albacete finished in 3rd only, then Bösiger would win the title even if he gained no points at all. Otherwise he would have to try everything to get into the points. The first three on the grid were Hahn, Vrsecky and Körber, ahead of Albacete. But already before they reached the first bend, the Spaniard was ahead of the man from Rheinau and entered the corner close behind Vrecky, forcing the Czech to steer his truck on the outer track, and both trucks took to the gravel. While Albacete managed to re-emerge ahead of Körber, Vrsecky dropped back 6 positions. On 3rd was Körber, ahead of Egon Allgäuer (MAN) and Belloc. In the 4th lap Bösiger had overhauled 22 opponents and was already on the first position to gain points, when suddenly he lost speed and eventually came to a stop - a failure of the steering. A bit later Vrsecky, lying on 6th, had to give up, too, because of some mechanical problems. It was assumed that this could be a direct consequence of Albacete`s attack. Hahn crossed the finish line in 1st for the second time today, ahead of Albacete, Körber, Allgäuer and Belloc. In sixth position was Chris Levett (MAN), ahead of Frankie Vojtisek (Renault).
It was almost lost in the whirlpool of events after the race that Jochen Hahn obtained his best results of the season at his presumably last races with a Mercedes race truck. But the stewards´ deliberating about Buggyra´s protest because of Albacete´s attack against Vrsecky kept everybody on tenterhooks, after all the Spaniard had an advantage of only 2 points in the overall standing. Should he lose only 1 position, Bösiger would become champion. As already mentioned before, after a four-hour discussion the stewards decided that Albacete will get a 10 second penalty, which means that he is now on 3rd position behind Körber. In the final ranking Bösiger is now leading with 378 points, ahead of Albacete (377), Vrsecky (321), Hahn (291), Körber (274) and Allgäuer (158).
Sunday´s team ranking was won by Team Allgäuer, followed by Team Hahn and Team Frankie. But unfortunately hardly anybody took notice any more.
At 19:25 Cepsa entered an appeal, however it will probably be decided later whether an appeal will be allowed.