Preview: Mega Misano awaits FIA ETRC field
Where: Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, Misano Adriatico (Province of Rimini), Italy
When: 27th-28th May
Click HERE for timetable
Click HERE for entry list
The 2017 FIA European Truck Racing Championship season is in full swing. The dust, after round one at Red Bull Ring, has barely settled as the truck racing fraternity moves from one exciting venue to another.
Leaving behind the Red Bull Ring, the FIA ETRC field heads south, to the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, for round two this weekend. Misano is located on the Adriatic coast and its name commemorates the great MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli.
This season the event also welcomes a significant new partner as Petronas teams-up with Misano to host the Petronas Urania Grand Prix Truck festival.
The story so far…….
With three different winners from four races at Red Bull Ring two weeks ago, the 2017 season seems to back many observers pre-season predictions that it will be the closest seasons in years.
Jochen Hahn, who swapped MAN for Iveco over the winter break, took an early advantage in the standings following two wins and one other podium finish in Austria. The reigning champion heads compatriot Steffi Halm, also a race-winner in Austria, by 11 points.
Another driver who started the season on a high is Jose Rodrigues (Reboconorte MAN). The Portuguese ace scored one overall victory and three wins in the new for 2017 Promoters Cup. He leads the standings and is 13 points clear of his father Eduardo Rodrigues, in what for now seems a family affair to win the new prize.
Making a welcome return to the FIA ETRC this weekend is Thomas Robineau who will campaign his familiar red MAN. The French driver will be in contention for the Promoters Cup and will fight for a chance to step on the podium with the Rodrigues pair, Andre Kursim and Dominique Orsini.
Antonio Albacete (Truck Sport Lutz Bernau), Norbert Kiss (Tankpool24 Racing) and Adam Lacko (Buggyra International Racing System) are yet to take a victory in 2017, and they will be fighting hard to secure their first victories at Misano. That, plus the fact the field will see a season debut from double-champion David Vršecký (Buggyra International Racing System Freightliner) will guarantee action all the way again at Misano.
Additionally, Gerd Körber (Team Schwaben-Truck Iveco) will be a threat, as he was all weekend at Red Bull Ring. The experienced German will be looking to score another bumper points haul.
Click HERE for the latest standings
Misano: Drivers’ and fan favourite
The Misano circuit, located close to the beachside resorts of Riccione and Rimini, is both a driver’s and fan’s favorite.
Point’s leader Hahn is looking forward to extending his lead in Italy and feels extra motivated by the fact that he’ll be racing on Iveco’s home soil. “Misano is my favorite circuit, it is Iveco’s home race, so looking from this side I’m very optimistic. Hopefully we will win,” says the four-time FIA ETRC champion.
Other drivers share Hahn’s enthusiasm for the venue. "It’s one of my favorites actually,” says Tankpool24 Racing driver Norbert Kiss. “Marco Simoncelli was a legendary MotoGP rider and I am proud to race on a circuit that bears his name. The layout is really nice, so is the location – basically almost on the beach. I really like to go there for all these reasons," reveals Kiss.
"The Misano circuit is really nice and I think that’s where the season will start for good for us," anticipates Adam Lacko, who will be looking to repeat his stellar performance last year when he won three out of four races.
As pleasant and liked as it is, Misano is also very challenging. "It’s a kind of tricky track – you have some really slow corners and a long straight at the back. There you have to break into the corner, and then brake down a lot for the little hairpin. So, in some parts of the track it’s very difficult to be fast on," explains Steffi Halm.
More than just racing
The racing will undoubtedly be great at Misano, but there will be equally as much going on off the track as on it. A strong presence from truck makers, including IVECO, Mercedes and Scania along with the truck support and accessories industries will be witnessed – all of the above keen to show their latest products and offer entertainments such test rides and simulator drives. Thanks to the Automotoclub Storico Italiano (ASI) there will be a chance to grab a slice of history viewing a fascinating display of historic commercial vehicles.
Traditionally a very popular part of the weekend in Misano is the rally of decorated trucks where around a hundred decorated trucks from all across Europe gather in the paddock, and it will be no different this year. Held on Saturday evening, the Party Truck Festival, will be a chance to socialise following a long day of following the on track action.
What happened last year?
Race 1 winner: Adam Lacko, Freightliner
Race 2 winner: Adam Lacko, Freightliner
Race 3 winner: Adam Lacko, Freightliner
Race 4 winner: Jochen Hahn, MAN
Follow the action LIVE
As ever there will be various functions for fans to use in order to keep up to date with the action live from the track.
Live timing and live text commentary from the track will keep you in the loop during all four races. Click HERE to access