Hahn’s 100th win in dominant Le Mans display
German ace Jochen Hahn triumphed to win a 14th race in the FIA European Truck Racing Championship, the 100th of his career, after a dominant display in race three of the weekend, the day after securing a fourth FIA ETRC title.
Starting from row two, Hahn’s MAN had to follow pole man Adam Lacko and second-fastest qualifier Norbert Kiss to the first corner. Kiss positioned himself on the outside for the first part of the Dunlop Esses and that became the inside for the second, right-handed element and he emerged ahead of the Czech star. When Lacko ran wide at Virage de la Chapelle on the opening tour, Hahn pounced and snatched second place.
Hungarian hero Kiss (Tankpool 24 Racing) led to the end of the opening lap but as his Mercedes-Benz accelerated out of the last corner, its engine belched out white smoke signifying a turbo failure which put him out of the race and gifted the lead to Hahn.
As the German pulled clear, Buggyra International’s Lacko was left to fend off a feisty René Reinert (Reinert Racing MAN) who in turn had a charging Gerd Körber (Schwabentruck Racing Team Iveco) shadowing him. By lap six, Reinert was crawling all over the rear of the bonneted Freightliner but Lacko defended stoically and maintained his place.
Körber remained tantalisingly close to the battle for second but could not quite match the pace of Reinert, until the start of the penultimate lap when the former champion stormed on to the tail of the haulier. Again, he was denied the opportunity to pass leaving the second-third-fourth train running as one line as the took the chequered flag.
Behind Körber was Steffi Halm’s Reinert Racing MAN, which had a quiet race ahead of Jiri Forman, on board the second Freightliner, who enjoyed one of his best performances of the season.
Seventh was Ellen Lohr’s repaired Lutz Bernau Racing Team MAN with Shane Brereton’s MAN, also heavily damaged on Saturday, taking eighth despite a drive-thru penalty for clipping the track penalty markers. However, eighth for the former National Hot Rod racer puts him on pole position for the final race of the season later this afternoon.
Ninth was Frantisek Vojtisek whose team had also worked wonders overnight to get his MAN back on track, while the multi-coloured MAN of Eduardo Rodrigues rounded out the top 10. John Hemming’s repaired Mercedes-Benz was the final finisher with a number of expected front-runners suffering dramas early on: aside from Kiss who retired with his turbo failure, there was drama for Sascha Lenz on lap one after his SL Racing team MAN suffered a loss of an air tank and he retired, as did Anthony Janiec (Lion Truck Racing Team MAN) after a suspension problem on the front left corner.
Race four of the weekend is due to start at 1655 local time.
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