Janiec’s joy at home win in FIA ETRC is short lived
The provisional results for the second race have been revised further to an investigation by the Stewards.
Truck number 8, Anthony Janiec from Lion Truck Racing has been excluded from the results due to driving standards.
This promotes Steffi Halm to the race win, with René Reinert in second and Jochen Hahn in 3rd place ahead of a depleted field in today’s second FIA ETRC race at Le Mans after two stoppages due to accidents.
The first attempt to run the race was a fractious affair as there was a clash at the Dunlop Esses between Truck Sport Lutz Bernau driver Ellen Lohr (MAN) and Lion Truck Racing Team’s Anthony Janiec (MAN) who tried the inside line and clattered into the German driver. Ellen went across the run-off area and rejoined ahead with damage, but her truck came under attack at the end of the opening tour at the Virages des ‘S’ bleus from Sascha Lenz who outbraked her for the lead. Janiec attacked as well and charged past Lohr only to cannon into Lenz. With the leader gyrating wildly, Lohr tried the outside line to avoid the spinning MAN but was collected, badly damaging both trucks, putting both rigs into the gravel and causing a red flag.
The restart ran without a front row as both pole-sitter Lenz and Lohr had to skip the re-run. That promoted Janiec to a notional pole position for the second attempt but didn’t even last to turn one. Adam Lacko (Buggyra International Racing Team) slowed as something broke in the rear of the truck and was hit from behind causing a chain reaction. John Hemming’s Mercedes-Benz hit Lacko and then the pit wall as Shane Brereton’s MAN was hit by Frantisek Vojtisek (MAN) and Erwin Klein Nagelvoort (EK Truck Race Scania), the Czech driver riding up on to the rear of Brereton’s truck. With damaged trucks and debris littering the track, a second stoppage was called for.
Eight trucks survived for the second restart with Janiec fending off a determined challenge from Steffi Halm on the run to the Dunlop Esses. He secured the lead but couldn’t shake off the German lady as Rene Reinert, Jochen Hahn and Norbert Kiss queued up behind to make it a five-way fight for the lead.
As Halm attacked Janiec, Reinert had his mirrors full of running-mate and 2016 champion Hahn who in turn had a Kiss on his behind! The three squabbled and fell away from the top two as Janiec maintained the lead. By lap seven, Janiec had stretched his modest advantage to just over a second as Hahn tried to wriggle past Reinert, but Hahn’s attack became more determined as Kiss started to apply more pressure for fourth place.
Just ahead of them, Halm’s MAN mounted a final push against Janiec, bringing down the gap from 1.9 seconds on lap eight to seven-tenths of a second on lap nine. Starting the last lap it was just four-tenths as Halm pushed for a third win of the season against the Frenchman, willed on by his home crowd. Halm made one final attack at the last corner but it wasn’t enough as Janiec held on to win by seven-tenths of a second. However, post-race the stewards excluded Janiec for driving standardspromoting Halm to her third win of the year ahead of team-mate Reinert with Hahn taking third.
Fourth fell to Norbert Kiss (Tankpool 24 Mercedes-Benz) with the surviving Freightliner of Jiri Forman taking fifth.
After a spin, Eduardo Rodrigues took sixth in his MAN and Gerd Körber retired mid-race with fluid leaking from his Iveco.
An appeal against the stewards’ decision has been lodged by the French team and so the race result and championship standings remain provisional at this time.
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