FIA ETRC takes on ultimate truck challenge of Zolder
Where: Circuit Zolder, Belgium
When: For full event timetable and entry list click HERE
Who: Full Entry List HERE
Round seven of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship takes place this coming weekend at Belgium’s Circuit Zolder. With six out of nine rounds of this year’s season completed, the championship is about to take a step into its final and decisive phase.
Zolder is arguably one of the biggest challenge on the calendar, both for the drivers and their trucks. One man who’s looking forward to tackling this challenge is the reigning champion and double winner at Zolder last year, Jochen Hahn.
So far, the German has been experiencing a season of mixed fortunes, but following the summer break and a victory last time out at Autodrom Most, Hahn seems to be more at ease with his new for 2017 Iveco truck.
"Zolder is one of my favorite tracks," says Hahn. "Focus is critical here. As we get closer towards the end of the year the temperatures drop down and there’s less traction available," explains the Team Hahn Racing driver.
Fellow competitor Sascha Lenz agrees with his compatriot on the importance of traction at the venue located in the province of Limburg. The start/stop nature of Circuit Zolder not only demands trucks to slow down efficiently, but also gather speed. "Good traction when exciting tight chicanes is essential in achieving good lap times," says SL Trucksport MAN racer Lenz.
Two-time champion David Vrsecky is another driver who is pleased with the prospect of racing in Belgium. "It’s the best adrenaline we get from the season," admits the Buggyra International Racing System driver, who will turn up at Circuit Zolder on the back of his strongest performance so far this year – second place last time out in Czech Republic.
As the drivers will do their best to stay out of the walls, their trucks will have to work equally as hard, especially the brake systems. "Zolder is the hardest circuit of the year on brakes," explains Stefan Honens, technical director at Team Tankpool24 Racing.
Title favorite Adam Lacko took further steps toward the big title prize in Hungary and Czech Republic. The Czech ace has secured four victories in the last eight races strengthening his position on top of the standings with a 60-point advantage over second placed Jochen Hahn. Lacko is a former winner at Zolder, having stood on the top step of the podium in Belgium twice last year.
Behind the Czech racer, there are only 17 points between Jochen Hahn, Steffi Halm and Norbert Kiss in the battle for second overall.
Promoter’s Cup gives added spice
Things spiced up in the Promoter’s Cup in the Czech Republic as title contender André Kursim suffered an engine failure in qualifying forcing him to sit out the weekend while José Rodrigues in his Reboconorte MAN gathered a healthy haul of 46 points to leapfrog the German.
The lead in the title fight is now Rodrigues, and the Portuguese driver is 30 points clear of the Team Tankpool24 Racing driver Kursim. The young German will have to implement a ‘maximum attack’ strategy in order to keep his diminishing title hopes alive, while Rodrigues will do his best to keep his nose clean and collect points consistently.
There will be a host of fresh air by race entrants in Belgium this weekend contributing to the provisional 17-truck grid. Jose Manuel Viera De Souza and Jose Fernandes Teodosio arrive in their Renault race trucks. Both of the VTR Racing drivers entered at Nürburgring back in July and will be keen to challenge for Promoter’s Cup points again.
Also returning is Thomas Robineau who took a pair of class wins at Misano in May. The French MAN driver will be looking to add to his silverware this weekend, a track he knows well.
Additional entries also come from Portugal and Holland in the shape of José Eduardo Texeira Rodrigues and Henry Tijhuis. Rodrigues will be the youngest driver in the field as the grandson of Eduardo and son of José gets set to follow up on his 2016 FIA ETRC debut at Jarama.
What happened last year?
Race 1: Jochen Hahn, MAN
Race 2: Adam Lacko, Freightliner
Race 3: Jochen Hahn, MAN
Race 4: Adam Lacko, Freightliner
Follow the action live from Zolder
Check out the live timing right HERE.
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