Grand Prix Camions d’Albi, Sunday - Wins for Lionel Montagne and Anthony Janiec
13. October 2019Albi - Day 2 of the finale of the Championnat de France Camions at Circuit d’Albi was another celebration of trucks, truckers, and trucking with lots for the 20,000-plus spectators to enjoy. Not least the weather, which was as gloriously summery as the days before.
Renault pilot Lionel Montagne was the fastest of “the squad” in the warm-up, the three other frontrunners in the French championship not really working up a sweat.
Qualifying saw Thomas Robineau on top, almost a full second faster than MAN colleague Anthony Janiec. Montagne and Téo Calvet (MAN) were slower still, but way quicker than any of the rest, so they too came back in after one flying lap.
Robineau stepped on it in the Super Pole, painting the circuit with a streak of red and white as he recorded the best time of the weekend. The three others came on strong, but gaps remained. Montagne continued at it, hitting the hammer to put his distinctive green, white, and black Renault on P2 in the dying seconds, above Janiec and Calvet.
The race itself didn’t last more than half the full distance, including one lap each under yellow flags and behind the safety car. Only half the points were awarded. No major incident, except that the engine of Jennifer Janiec’s MAN blew, dumping a copious quantity of oil onto the track.
There was high(-speed) drama at the start. Montagne had his nose ahead, but a touch from Robineau’s MAN left the Renault with no room but to shortcut the chicane. Calvet followed him through, gaining a couple of places at Robineau’s and Janiec’s expense. The safety car came out on Lap 3. The obstacles had only just been removed and the pilots given the go-ahead to accelerate away when the race was red-flagged because of the oil spill. The trucks were waved back into pit lane and from there into parc fermé. A quick mop-up was out of the question.
Montagne won this race from Calvet, Robineau, and Anthony Janiec, followed by Renault pilots Gregory Ostaszewski (POL) und Yorick Montagne, who collected pole on the partially reversed grid for the final race.
The stewards later ruled that Calvet had gained an unfair advantage over Robineau by cutting across the chicane. The young MANler was given a one second (!) penalty that tossed him into P3 behind his rival.
The concluding race ran the distance, but again there was a yellow-flag phase followed by a lap behind the safety car. A truck had come to a halt in a dangerous position at the far end of the circuit, and tyre stacks had come dislodged and were blocking the track.
But first things first. Ostaszewski had won the start sprint against Yorick Montagne, and they were chased by Anthony Janiec, Calvet, und Lionel Montagne, who had beaten Robineau out for the second time today.
The young Pole led on Lap 3, when the safety car was sent out. But he was swamped as soon as the green flags were waved and gave up the fight altogether shortly thereafter.
Yorick Montagne, now in the lead, came under pressure from both, Janiec and his Lion teammate Calvet. One lap later the new champion made his move and took off unchallenged till the flag. Calvet, though, could find just no way ahead of the junior Montagne, clearly the slower of the two. Lionel Montagne crossed the line in P4, ahead of Robineau.
The FFSA (French motorsport federation) prizegiving gala at the Albi Exhibition Centre later in the evening brought an eventful truck racing season to a festive close.