Sixteen full-season entries for the 2019 FIA European Truck Racing Championship
29. April 2019Four weeks before the start of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship is when registrations for the upcoming season traditionally close, the deadline by which a racer must commit to participating as a “permanent” or full-season entry.
At the start of this week the FIA published the list for 2019, which has 16 names, including Steffi Halm, the only female racer in the field.
At the top of the list is defending champion Jochen Hahn, who has rebuilt his truck from the ground up to withstand a more rigorous 2019 campaign. Watching the Iveco’s flawless shakedown in Most a fortnight ago, Hahn’s competitors had better be on notice. There were five Ivecos at the tests in the Czech Republic; one of them – Hahn’s first, which he raced in 2017 – was being readied for his son Lukas to make his début in – in the Mittelrhein Cup races at the Truck Grand Prix on the Nürburgring.
Besides Jochen Hahn and Steffi Halm, who team up for a second season as „Die Bullen von Iveco Magirus“, their compatriots André Kursim and René Reinert will also race Ivecos – both Hahn-built, – the latter switching over from MAN this season.
The German marque with the lion emblem retains the strongest representation in the field with seven trucks. Leading the pride are the duo Antonio Albacete (ESP) and Sascha Lenz (GER), who join hands for the first time as European Champion Team contenders under the Löwen Power banner.
The MAN contingent includes the Rodrigues family outfit from Portugal with pai e filho Eduardo and José registered for the team championship as Reboconort Racing, Brits Jamie Anderson and Terry Gibbon, and Luis Recuenco (ESP).
Twice-champ Norbert Kiss in his tankpool24 truck is the strongest of the three Mercedes-Benz pilots in the field. The Hungarian has a new teammate, 20-year-old German rookie Fabio Citignola. Having started at the very bottom, the youngster from Karlsdorf in Baden Württemberg worked his way up to outstanding success in an Audi GT4 last season. However, he’s going to need some time to get used to the dimensions of a race truck, which allows the third Mercedes driver in the fray, Dominique Orsini, some space to shine. The Frenchman had been an active truck racer more or less from the year his younger colleague was born!
The fourth marque on the grid is Buggyra, with the Freightliners piloted by 2017 champ Adam Lacko and his British Buggyra Racing 1969 teammate Oliver (Oly) Janes. Lacko has an all-new truck, and going by what we saw at the tests on his home circuit, will yet again be the chief claimant to Hahn’s crown.
The championship will certainly not be decided between Hahn and Lacko alone, even if the two have locked out the top spots for the last three seasons in a row. The MANler from Team Löwen Power have more than a few aces up their sleeves. And Norbi in the tankpool24 Mercedes won’t be doing the four aforementioned any favours; rather, he’ll be doing his Kissest to spoil their party.
The two remaining Ivecos – Don’t Touch and Reinert Racing – and their pilots are good for podiums and would tilt the balances should they be in a position to.
The six Germans make up more than a third of the field of seven nations. Three drivers are from the UK, two each from Spain and Portugal, and one each from the Czech Republic, Hungary, and France.