Slovakia Ring Preliminary Report
03. July 2019After two searing weeks – there nearly hasn’t been one day under 30° anywhere in Europe, – the sizzle arrives at the Slovakia Ring, 40 km east of Bratislava, which hosts Round 3 of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship this weekend. The teams are in for a torrid time, and it’s not only the ambient temperature but also the temperatures of the tyres that they’ll need to be careful of.
The truck races will run on the longest configuration of the circuit – at almost six kilometres both the longest on the calendar and the fastest. Some of the sweeping curves are taken at full throttle, which subjects the tyres to extreme friction and rapid wear, especially those on the front wheels. In most cases a race here is decided only on the very last lap, because the wear manifests at a different rate from truck to truck, depending on the individual setup and driving style of the pilot. That’s why all the contestants will try to make it to the front at the very first corner, because the outcome of the race can only be controlled from there – especially considering the short race distances ( 45 km).
Going quicker is one thing; overtaking is quite another. Some pilots are adept at making their 2.5m-wide trucks into an obstacle that appears twice as wide to their pursuers.
The forecasts are primarily of sunshine, and a hot track will only accelerate the deterioration of the tyres. A race truck is allowed no more than one set of (six) fresh tyres per race day. So it’s not unusual for tyres to be rotated from one race to the next, with drive-axle tyres finding themselves on the front wheels and vice versa.
At the Hungaroring, Buggyra pilot Adam Lacko had problems with his speed limiter. In any case, every team and pilot is by now highly sensitive to the strict new interpretation of the 160 km/h limit. The high-speed circuit, with its three small overpasses followed by short stretches of downgrade negotiated at full throttle and then the long straights, places severe challenges on the speed governing software.
A total of 15 trucks are registered. Not all the full-season pilots are racing here; but the field will be enriched by the participation of Czech veteran Frankie Vojtíšek (MAN).