Saturday in Zolder Part 1 – Hahn storms back to 10th pole
14. September 2019Zolder - It was rather chill in the shade early this first race day of Round 6 of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship. The racers warmed up under an inviting blue sky. Yesterday’s relaxed atmosphere carried over into the warm-up. Jochen Hahn set the top time of 1:58.979, which we only mention here to contrast the times in the Super Pole a couple of hours later. Often enough this season we’ve drawn attention to lap times in warm-up, when the asphalt is still cool, times those drivers who set them were just not able to match in qualifying. The field seemed to be taking it relatively easy in Q1 as well, Hahn more than everybody. Antonio Albacete (MAN) was quickest with 1:58.033, no earth-shattering time considering that many recorded laps in the 1:57s in free practice yesterday – on used tyres.
Even so, the top eight called time-out after just one lap, all clustered within a second of the Spaniard, the pilots outside the Top 10 languishing more than two seconds lower on the monitor. Qualifying for the Super Pole in order below Albacete were Germans Sascha Lenz (MAN) and René Reinert (Iveco), Mercedes pilot Norbert Kiss (HUN), Czech Adam Lacko (Buggyra Freightliner), Hahn, Iveco pilotess Steffi Halm (Iveco), Portuguese José Rodrigues (MAN), German André Kursim (Iveco), and Spanish MAN pilot Luis Recuenco.
Albacete was the quickest man once again with 1:57.225, almost a full second faster than he’d gone only 10 minutes before. Hahn finished his first flier seven hundredths slower, and the rest also improved their times considerably, the top eight squeezing to within a second of Albacete’s time yet again. All evidently saw a good opportunity to improve their times – and, hopefully, their positions, – with another go. Hahn drew on all the experience of his five titles to undercut Albacete’s thitherto best time of the weekend by five hundredths. The German’s 1:57.170 put him on his 10th pole of the season. Lacko secured P3, followed by Kursim, Lenz, Kiss, Halm, José Rodrigues, Reinert, and Recuenco.