Large appetite for thrills as FIA ETRC gets Hungary
Where: Hungaroring, Budapest
When: For full timetable click HERE
Who: For full entry list click HERE
The summer break is over and it’s time for motorsports heavyweight heroes to return to the track at the Hungaroring this weekend.
The fifth of nine rounds in the 2017 FIA European Truck Racing Championship begins an Eastern European double-header this Saturday and Sunday.
With a round at the Autodrom Most in Czech Republic following immediately after Hungaroring, the next two weekends could make or break the destiny of where this year’s title will go.
Holding all the ace cards going into the second phase of the season is Adam Lacko. The Buggyra International Racing System driver has won six of the 15 races held so far, comprising three wins each at Misano and Nurburgring.
With a 43-point lead, Lacko can afford to play the percentage game, but the Czech charger is a competitive animal and will be keen to go on another winning streak in order to claim his first ever FIA ETRC title.
Chasing Lacko is double champion Norbert Kiss, who scored a pair of fine wins at the Slovakia Ring last time out.
The hometown hero has a stellar record on his home patch after taking two wins in 2015 when he sealed his second championship victory. The Budapest resident also took four consecutive podium positions last season after an eventful weekend where he again thrilled his huge home support.
The Tankpool24 Racing driver is getting quicker and quicker in his Mercedes-Benz, and he could become a genuine title challenger should he make further inroads in to Lacko’s points advantage this weekend.
Kiss heads a tight group that includes reigning champion Jochen Hahn (Team Hahn Racing Iveco) and his compatriot Steffi Halm (Reinert Racing MAN). The trio are separated by a mere six points and all still have a good chance of mounting a championship bid.
Halm returns to the scene of her breakthrough victory in 2015, a feat she repeated last season with another famous success.
Alabacete on a high
One emerging threat to the top four drivers is Antonio Albacete who had a breakthrough victory at the Slovakia Ring last month.
The Truck Sport Lutz Bernau driver returned to the FIA ETRC at the beginning of the year and was immediately back in contention with the front-runners but suffered some ill fortune. The Spaniard though had a fine weekend in Slovakia and took his first win for almost two years to delight his team.
Among those sure to be in the hunt for at least podium placings are Adam Lacko’s Buggyra teammate David Vrsecky, who has scored points in both of the last two meetings.
Gerd Körber and Sascha Lenz will provide more fireworks in their Team Schwabentruck Iveco and SL Trucksport MAN entries respectively. The German pair have shown flashes of front running pace all season long.
Wild card entries head east
Two British talents are among the three extra race-by-race entries at Hungaroring this weekend.
Ryan Smith and Shane Brereton return to the FIA ETRC and are intent to show the best of British. Smith makes his first appearance since the season opener at Red Bull Ring when his truck was damaged after a collision with Alen Draganovic, while Brereton races for the first time since Le Mans last season.
Smith, always a combative proposition, will be hoping to channel some of the superb pace from his Hungaroring weekend 12 months ago. On that occasion the Team OXXO Truck driver finished second on the road but was later penalised. However, Smith still came away with a well-earned third position from the weekend.
Promoter’s Cup fireworks to continue
The new for 2017 Promoter’s Cup has seen action all season long, largely between Jose Rodrigues (Rebonconorte MAN) and Andre Kursim (Tankpool24 Racing Mercedes-Benz) who are separated by just eight points after 15 races.
Rodrigues and Kursim have enjoyed some frenetic battles on the track so far this season and there is no sign of the two letting up on taking the first ever Promoters Cup crown.
Frankie Vojtíšek is likely to be a threat to the top two after taking a clean sweep of podiums on his 2017 debut weekend at Slovakia Ring last month. The veteran Czech driver joins Erwin Kliennagelvoort, Eduardo Rodrigues and Dominique Orisini in the Promoter’s Cup ranks.
What happened last year?
Race 1: Jochen Hahn
Race 2: Steffi Halm
Race 3: Jochen Hahn
Race 4: Adam Lacko
Follow the action live
Check out the live streaming and timing feed this weekend right HERE
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