Sunday in Zolder Part 1 – Lacko takes his second pole
17. September 2017Zolder - The weather has decided to continue to be favourable to the truck racers and the fans. The sky’s a clear blue and the sun’s still shining on Circuit Zolder this Sunday morning, the second race day of the 7th round of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship. As the race crews crawled out of their bunks late, fully refreshed after a good night’s sleep, they were somewhat taken aback by the chill that still hung in the air, the thermometer frozen as it were between 7° and 8°C.
The paddock here stirs to life later than usual. At the east end of the infield is a shrine at which a mass is held, and no engine may be fired up before it’s over.
It had grown quite a bit warmer by the time warm-up began, and at the end of the 15 minutes Adam Lacko was positively radiant (with joy), just like the sun now climbing overhead. The Czech Buggyra pilot wasn’t the only one to go under two minutes, but he was a clean two seconds quicker than the competition. Still, this was still only the warm-up; in qualifying a couple of hours later it was Kiss who drove the fastest lap, a 1:58.696, followed by Lacko and the three Germans Sascha Lenz, Steffi Halm (both MAN), and Jochen Hahn (Iveco), between five and eight tenths off. The top pilots peeled back into pit lane after a single flying lap, to save as much tread rubber on their tyres as possible to last them the Super Pole, two formation laps, and 24 race laps.
Those not sure of a place in the Top 10 did a couple of laps more, most notable among them Iveco pilot Gerd Körber (GER). To his dismay the thrice champion had his fastest laps cancelled, ostensibly because he had both exceeded track limits and clipped the corner markers.
The other qualifiers for the Super Pole were José Rodrigues (POR), Antonio Albacete (ESP), Thomas Robineau (FRA) – all MAN, – Czech David Vršecký (Buggyra Freightliner), and German Mercedes pilot André Kursim.
The shootout made it clear that not everyone had given their all in qualifying. While Kiss shaved more than three tenths off his Q2 time, others too were really stepping on it. Lacko drove a lightning 1:57.405, the fastest lap of the weekend by far, to take pole for the second time. Albacete went more than two seconds quicker than in Q2, but was still half a second shy of the Czech – good enough nevertheless to put him alongside on the front row.
Hahn was third-quickest, followed by Steffi Halm, Lenz, Kiss, Vršecký, José Rodrigues, Kursim, and Robineau.