Red Bull Ring This And That
10. July 2014Last year the truck racers found the inaugural event at the Red Bull Ring rather appealing, right from the location of the circuit amid lush greenery with hills in the backdrop, to the welcome party on the Thursday evening, the sanitation facilities in the pit complex, and the ultramodern press centre — not to forget the length of the track, at 2,337 metres the shortest on the calendar. As a consequence the races of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship in Austria take 20 laps to cover the race distance of 45 km; on the other circuits it’s mostly 12, in no case more than 15.
The spectators, of course, are much more engaged in the action when the race trucks drive by them more often and the field is not widely spread apart.
There was a lengthy interruption during the one-hour additional free practice on Friday during which the drivers were besought not to knock over the markers, ostensibly to protect the circuit, among other reasons. The organiser was anxious that the curbs not be damaged by the 5½ tonne trucks riding roughshod over them and so present a danger for the formula cars. It was as if the hosts just couldn’t shake off the hangover from the Formula 1 race here two weeks earlier.
If the intention was to impose an Ecclestonian construct on the FIA ETRC, it was a bad mistake. The FIA ETRC is not Formula 1 — and will never be. Thirteen years ago, at the very beginning of the truckracing.de / truckrace.info portal, we coined the credo: “Truck racing is motorsport up close and personal - for the entire family.” That’s exactly the opposite of the objectives Formula 1 has set for itself.
In the final analysis the response to the FIA ETRC was more positive among those who had been at both weekends. And those of them who’d been at the Truck Race Trophy 2013 said that, after this year’s Formula 1 race, they were longing to welcome the truck racers back.
The racers too enjoyed themselves. As we said before, everyone is eager to race here. The track is fast, the curves are challenging, and it’s common to see trucks being lapped. All this makes for a worthy spectacle, you can imagine.
And so a pleasant weekend all in all, except for two things —
One, Dominique Orsini’s Mercedes sustained irreparable damage in a collision in the first race in which the Frenchman was an unfortunate victim. And then there was Heinz-Werner Lenz, who couldn’t even make it to the first race. The Mercedes of the German race-by-race pilot couldn’t complete the practice session because of an engine failure. Both drivers hope that their trucks will be back up and running in time for the season’s climactic event, the Truck Grand Prix on the Nürburgring.