Misano This And That
02. June 2019We went to the first round of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship at Misano World Circuit expecting glorious summer weather, the kind we’ve grown used to on Italy’s Adriatic coast at this time of year. And glorious weather is what we got – till Sunday morning, that is. After that it poured with no let-up.
Adam Lacko’s superlative record in rainy races, and the fact that his all-new Buggyra Freightliner had evinced no teething troubles on Saturday, presaged a day of dominance for the Czech. Sunday started out that way, Lacko effortlessly lapping a good half-second quicker than anyone else on the soaking track. It would have surprised nobody if he went on to score 30 points, the maximum a driver can collect in a day.
But we didn’t reckon with twice-champ Norbert Kiss. At times it does appear as if he could go faster but his maxed-out Mercedes won’t let him. Sure, top-end performance isn’t what matters on a wet track, but the way tankpool24 Racing’s Hungarian ace ran circles around the competition in qualifying and the Super Pole left everyone astounded.
In Sunday’s first race, which Kiss won with consummate ease, you couldn’t escape the impression that he would have gone even faster had he seen the need to. Kiss for one will be hoping that he can carry the momentum into his home round at the Hungaroring in a couple of weeks.
Misano is, first and foremost, Iveco territory and you simply couldn’t ignore the Italian truckmaker’s presence, both within the paddock and without. And when defending champ Jochen Hahn and his compatriot and new Iveco colleague René Reinert won three of the four races between them, the local fans’ jubilation knew no bounds. To add to the celebrations, „Die Bullen von Iveco Magirus“ with Steffi Halm and Hahn came away leaders in the team championship.
MAN continues to supply the largest number of trucks on the grid, however. This season the truckmaker is represented in the team championship by a pairing that, for the first time, bears its corporate ensign – the Büssing lion. In Team Löwen Power, consisting of Antonio Albacete (ESP) and Sascha Lenz (GER), the enthusiasts from Munich have an excellent opportunity to seize the title from the grip of their rivals from Ulm.
The only rookie this year, tankpool24’s Fabio Citignola, made a creditable debut. This first round was intended to give the German youngster a baptism, as it were, into the sport in the land of his parents. Who’d expect that he would go finish on the podium in the Grammer Truck Cup, and only miss out on his first FIA point by a whisker?
Of the top 10, Lacko was the only consistent performer, but even so, 44 points out of 60 aren’t what you’d call an excellent haul. The others, Hahn included, lost out owing to a variety of lapses and/or mishaps. The Iveco pilot finished Saturday’s second race – the partially reversed grid making for more impactful racing – out of the points altogether. Kiss had a collision and did not finish, and Albacete, Lenz, and Steffi Halm didn’t exactly have things going for them either. Even if they did finish in the points in every race, each found himself or herself out of the top 10 at some time or other over the 11 laps of each race and had to laboriously fight their way back.
Iveco pilot André Kursim came off worst of all – with one DNF, two P11s, and only five points for a P6 finish, Kursim’s season began as disastrously as his previous one ended in Jarama.
But truck racers are always firmly convinced that things will even themselves out over the course of a season – and by that reckoning, Kursim has had his share of bad luck for 2019.