Friday at the Slovakia Ring
05. July 2019Slovakiaring - Round 3 of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship this weekend takes place at the Slovakia Ring, situated around 40 km to the east of the Slovak capital Bratislava. The circuit is exactly 185 km from the Hungaroring, the truck racers’ most recent tryst a couple of days ago, and some teams chose not to continue on to their home bases but stay put in the region. Some of them parked at least some of their sizable equipment at the premises of hospitable local workshop establishments.
Regardless of where one spent the fortnight, there was no escaping the heat. It’s going to be hot this weekend too, at least on Saturday – the sun is expected to be up for up to 14 hours, and the temperature’s likely to rise to 35°C. Every small puff of cloud will be most welcome – provided it doesn’t precipitate. That, at least, is the hope of the majority of teams and their pilots. They aren’t averse to refreshing breezes, but then there’s also the possibility of squalls approaching gale force. But none of this will be new – they’ve seen all this before at the Slovakia Ring.
On the programme today were the VIP and press rides.
Czech MAN pilot Frankie Vojtíšek pulled out at the last minute, and French full-season pilot Dominique Orsini and his crew were fully occupied with a toilsome repair on the engine of his Mercedes.
The first regulation free practice session was used by everyone to go a complete race distance; some went even further. Defending champ Jochen Hahn was fastest in his Iveco, with an average speed touching 130 km/h.
Because of the high overall speed its layout permits, the Slovakia Ring is best known as a tyre-shredder, and some of the pilots had to get their trucks shod with a set of new tyres before they could go out for FP2 and do another complete race distance. The sun wasn’t as furiously ablaze anymore and the asphalt had cooled perceptibly, with the result that all starters went quicker than in FP1. Hahn was fastest of the field for the second time today, with a 2:43.465 his Iveco recorded at comfortably above 130 km/h. MAN lion Antonio Albacete (ESP) and Czech fat fox Adam Lacko (Buggyra) were also clocked at more than 130 km/h.
At around 7:30 pm the end of the drivers’ briefing brought the longest official work day of the season to a close. The racers had gone out at 10 am and spent a total of 220 minutes on the track, the longest they’ll get this year.