Hard charging Smith commits to more FIA ETRC action in 2017
British truck racing ace, Ryan Smith made quite an impact on the world of truck racing in both his national championship campaign and in the FIA European Truck Racing Championship last season.
With just under a month until the first round of the 2017 season, it seemed like a good time to catch up one of the most exciting truck racing prospects to emerge in recent years.
After competing in a few FIA ETRC races in 2016, what are your plans for 2017?
“Without wanting to sound over confident it feels like we have achieved what we wanted to in the British championship which is certainly a good benchmark and platform, but the European stage is where everybody wants to be.
“At the moment it is 50/50 as to whether we are going to be able to do the full FIA ETRC season, or just four events. We are lucky to have some fantastic backers, such as PT Hire, but we need to get everything together more for a full campaign. We are pushing very hard.”
What truck will you be competing in this season?
“I’ve got the former Norbert Kiss truck, in which he won his two European titles with the OXXO Racing Team. It’s looking good and we think we can get some more very strong results in 2017.”
What are your targets for this season in the FIA ETRC?
“A lot of it will depend on the IVECOs (Jochen Hahn and Gerd Körber) but from the data we are getting we are aiming to be very close to the top three, which is another reason we really want to raise the funds to do all the races.”
Who do you think will be your main challengers?
“The FIA ETRC is so tight and so competitive, with not much to choose between the top five or six.
“Jochen Hahn (reigning FIA ETRC champion) is in my opinion, the best all-rounder we have ever produced in truck racing. But other threats are Kiss, Lacko and Albacete (who returns to the championship), but the one to watch I think is Gerd Körber. You know in the events I did last year I had some fantastic racing with Körber and I think he could shock a lot of people this year.”
Despite getting penalised in one of the races, last season’s Austrian round was an impressive showing, are you looking forward to going back there?
“Yes, we are feeling confident, we have the data from two years of competing at this track. We can be quick, but we have learnt the importance of finishing races. If you have a non-finish then it is difficult to get those points back in such a close championship. But we are hopeful, as the Red Bull Ring is a good circuit and we like the layout.
“I think the ETRA promoted FIA ETRC is a great championship and we want to do the whole season, but we have to wait and see what happens. We will be trying very hard to make sure we are on the grid for as many races as we possibly can be.”