After an exciting season of on-track action, off-track entertainment for the whole family the FIA ETRC fraternity gathered for the FIA ETRC Awards Dinner and Gala Dinner earlier this month at the Le Mans Circuit.
After an exciting season of on-track action, the off-track entertainment continued for the whole FIA ETRC family as they gathered for the annual Awards Dinner and Gala earlier this month at the Le Mans Circuit.
Amongst the special guests was FIA President of the Truck Commission, Manuel Vidal, along with VIP and Grand Marshal for the weekend, multiple champion and truck racing legend, Steve Parrish.
But despite the illustrious company, the real stars of the show were the drivers and their teams.
The guests enjoyed a three-course dinner, dramatic highlights footage from the 2016 season, and the prize giving ceremonies compered by David Addison.
The most prestigious trophy of the evening was reserved for the winner of the FIA ETRC Driver Championship – Jochen Hahn. It had been a very close battle with runner up Adam Lacko, especially in the first half of the season, and the battle went down to the first race of the final round of the year at Le Mans, but eventually the great German clinched the title and his fourth FIA ETRC crown.
Hahn was clearly delighted, thanking his team, his wife Diana and he also paid tribute to championship rival Adam Lacko and to all the drivers competing in the FIA ETRC.
“It feels good to have taken my fourth driver championship. Adam (Lacko) and I have had a good battle all season and done in the right way.
Big thank you to Diana (Hahn) and the whole team. Also to every driver in this great championship who have all contributed to a great season.”
Adam Lacko was a close runner up and after a fantastic season long battle, René Reinert took the third placed award ahead of Steffi Halm, Norbert Kiss and Anthony Janiec.
Jochen Hahn picked up another piece of silverware having been voted the ‘Drivers’ Driver of the Year’, the first time this ‘for the drivers’ from the drivers’ award has been given. It clearly meant a lot to him to be so well-thought of by his fellow competitors and to be presented with the trophy by Tony Iddon, long-time FIA Permanent Race Director of the FIA ETRC.
It was a treble for Hahn, as the Team Championship entry of ‘Reinert Adventure’ in which he partners René Reinert, won the FIA Team Championship award. Runners up were the Buggyra 1969 Racing team of Adam Lacko and Jiri Forman and third was the WOW Women on Wheels team of Ellen Lohr and Steffi Halm, who just nicked the place with their stunning final race of the year where they achieved a memorable 1-2.
In fact, the judges were so impressed with these two drives that they jointly awarded them with the ‘Drive of the Year’ trophy, though they may have to share custody on this one! The future of the championship is very important to the promotors (ETRA GmBh) and all the stakeholders. All year we have followed the story of our ‘Young Guns’ Jiri Forman, André Kursim and Sascha Lenz. However, having scored his first ever truck racing podium in Most and following it up with another in Zolder, the young German driver, Sascha Lenz was crowned ‘FIA ETRC Young Driver of the Year’.
The FIA President of the Truck Commission, Manuel Vidal was awarded the ‘Spirit of the Championship’ Award for his tireless work in the FIA ETRC for so many years. Ryan Smith wasn’t in Le Mans to pick up his Race-by-Race National Challengers trophy, but runners up Shane Brereton and John Hemming were clearly delighted to have their efforts recognised and accepted their silverware. It was especially pleasing for them as they scooped the prize of six Goodyear race tyres for 2017, thanks to official championship partner, Goodyear.
The whole evening was organised by the new championship promoter, the European Truck Racing Association GmBh. Company Directors, Rolf Werner and Georg Fuchs commented at the awards
“We are delighted that our inaugural season has been such an exciting one with the battle for the championship title, but also the fantastically close racing we have enjoyed throughout the field.
“We have learnt a lot in our first year and would like to thank the teams, drivers and event organisers for making us feel so welcome. This year has been one of learning and ensuring solid foundations can be build upon in the coming years to attract more coverage of the championship along with more teams, drivers and sponsors to this fantastic discipline of motorsport. .
There have been over 448,000 visitors to the FIA ETRC events this year, plus a huge number of followers of our official championship website www.fiaetrc.com, Facebook page and YouTube channel featuring highlights of each event as well as insightful interviews with the participants.
“The plans for next season are well underway, which only remains for us to thank ALL of the drivers and teams who have competed in the 2016 season; to our season entrants we thank them for their commitment to the championship and for some great entertainment and to our Race-by-Entrants for their contribution to the events they have competed in.”
For the full 2016 results go to www.fiaetrc.com/results
For photos of the awards click HERE