Thirteen race trucks in Most
18. April 2019Most - The first group test by Europe’s truck racing elite in Most concluded with clear skies and temperatures around 15°C. Seven of the Top 10 from last year’s FIA championship were in action. The strongest representation was from the Iveco teams, five of them in all.
Steffi Halm, the sole female racer in the field, is into her second season with Team Schwabentruck. She was joined by defending champion Jochen Hahn, André Kursim, and René Reinert – a foursome from Germany. Rounding off the five was Hahn’s young son Lukas, who will only feature once this season, in the Mittelrhein Cup at the Truck Grand Prix.
MAN veteran Antonio Albacete and his Spanish compatriot Luis Recuenco, Sascha Lenz (GER), and Brit Jamie Anderson bore the flag for the once dominant German marque.
Buggyra, of course, was out in strength at its home circuit, with local hero Adam Lacko and Englishman Oly Janes. Mika Mäkinen joined them in an older Freightliner the Finn had bought from Janes, who last raced it in the British championship back in 2017.
Mäkinen’s truck was almost virgin white, and if you noticed in our pictures a third truck in the sharp 2018 design, this was just Lacko’s truck from last year, with the competition number 1. The test days are an ideal occasion for pre-season promotional photography and videography, and the Czechs naturally wanted to showcase their Fat Fox in its newest design.
Completing the field was a Renault belonging to the Aravi team from the Championnat de France piloted by Lionel Montagne.
The test days passed off largely without incident, but the teams had a lot of hard work to do swapping engines, axles, and springs, wrestling with trucks that refused to start, and tackling engine problems that took hours to solve – not one spare minute for the mechanics, who – as at any race weekend – were busy till late at night.
At the end of it all, it was the usual suspects who topped the times. In the opinion of many avid (race)truckspotters, Lacko seemed to have an edge over the rest, although there really was no telling the lap times apart. Moreover, the track markers were conspicuous by their absence, and nobody except the pilots themselves would know whether they’d strictly observed race regs or no.
Hahn and Lenz appeared to be level on performance, a tad slower than Lacko. Steffi Halm, Reinert, and Albacete likewise turned in near-identical times.
We’ll only have complete clarity about the strengths of individual trucks and drivers on 25 May, a little after one o’clock in the afternoon. That, according to the current schedule, is when the first Super Pole of the season should come to a close. Then there’ll be no holding back any longer, at least for those whose ambition is to be among the frontrunners.
Oh yes, you may also have noticed a mini-truck, Team Hahn’s Iveco Daily that we saw at the drift event in IKC Ulm last October. The forerunner of this Iveco was a legendary machine with a SuperRaceTruck motor delivering way in excess of 1,300 hp – extremely difficult to handle in a straight line but a dream to drift.