Sunday in Zolder Part 3 – Kursim shows his first win was no flash in the pan
17. September 2017Zolder - To the joy of the truck racers and the crowds – an official attendance figure isn’t out yet – the glorious weather continued through the day. To the great joy of the tankpool24 team, André Kursim celebrated his second win of the weekend – his second, indeed, in the FIA European Truck Racing Championship.
In the hours before the race Markus Bauer and his merry men were doubtful their youngster Kursim would be able to defend his pole against the streetwise twice-champion David Vršecký. But their apprehension proved misplaced; the Mercedes pilot shot off into the lead following a fluent start and held it till flagfall. Vršecký, on the other hand, had to use every trick in his book to beat back a pack of pursuers led by Kiss. This was a most accomplished group consisting of, in addition to the Hungarian, Albacete, Lacko, Hahn, Lenz, and Steffi Halm.
In a reprise of Race 4 at Most, a platoon of impatient truckers built up behind Vršecký’s Buggyra. Such knife-edge battles for position along the field only serve to slow the race pace, so Kursim was able to stretch his advantage lap after lap for a commanding lead at the finish – almost 9 seconds!
His teammate Kiss didn’t have it so easy; determined to close this race out with another one-two for the team, as in Race 2 yesterday, he kept attacking Vršecký but the Czech deftly parried his every thrust. Moreover, in the closing laps Kiss had to mind his own rear, because Lacko had gotten ahead of Albacete and was now hammering away at the crash guard of the tankpool24 Mercedes. On the final lap Kiss was forced to focus his efforts on defending 3rd place rather than on seizing 2nd. He tailed Vršecký across the line, a razor-thin two tenths in front of an unrelenting Lacko.
Albacete, Halm, and Lenz followed in staccato sequence in intervals of a second.
The race had hardly entered its fifth lap when there was a deafening bang from Hahn’s Iveco – the exhaust seemed to have developed a defect. In no time the reigning champion lost three places, having to let
Halm and Lenz, and then his own teammate Körber, pass him.
The Iveco continued to make a dreadful racket around the circuit, but its adroit pilot quickly regained his composure and started to follow his fellow „Bull“ around like a shadow. Side by side the two Germans tore towards the finish line, Hahn cutting the timing beam a twinkling before Körber to take 8th. José Rodrigues collected the final point on offer.
Tankpool24 (Kiss / Kursim) took the team honours for the third time this weekend, ahead of Buggyra Racing 1969 (Vršecký / Lacko) and Reinert Adventure (Steffi Halm / Lenz).
Kursim made it a clean sweep in the Promoter’s Cup with his fourth straight win. José Rodrigues was second, and his compatriot José Teodosio (Renault) third.
Lacko has taken another giant stride towards his first title. The Czech now has 311 points to Hahn’s 258. Kiss on 246 has closed in a bit, but Halm (228) has fallen back. Albacete has 193, followed by Lenz with 140 and Körber with 102.