Smith wins race two at Autodrom Most, echoing his 2016 victory
British race ace Ryan Smith claimed victory in the second race in the FIA European Truck Racing Championship round six at Autodrom Most this afternoon, his first of the season.
In a thrilling duel, Smith sneaked over the line ahead of Steffi Halm and Sascha Lenz, with championship leader Adam Lacko bagging more points in fourth.
Starting from pole position, Smith (Team OXXO Energy MAN) was under constant pressure from Steffi Halm’s Reinert Racing MAN as she wriggled past Sascha Lenz (SL Trucksport MAN) at the end of lap two. Once past Lenz, Halm carved into Smith’s advantage to set up a titanic duel between the two as the leaders were as one on lap eight, with Halm crawling all over the back of the British driver; Smith trying to soak up the pressure and keep his MAN ahead.
Halm tried everything to find a way past but Smith, a winner here last year, was not to be denied and the two rigs flashed over the finish line separated by just six-tenths of a second. Smith admitted it was the hardest race of his life and the key was about staying error-free.
Behind the top two came a lonely Sascha Lenz who fell away from the scorching pace set by the top two but was far enough ahead of the chasing pack to take a second podium finish of the season, his first since race four at the Red Bull Ring in round one. Adam Lacko (Buggyra International Racing System Freightliner) produced a great drive from seventh on the reversed grid and dived past Norbert Kiss (Team Tankpool24 Racing Mercedes-Benz) at turn two on lap four to secure fifth place with the championship leader then setting off in pursuit of team-mate David Vršecký (Buggyra International Racing System Freightliner).
Vršecký allowed his team-mate by, both thinking of the importance of the championship, and that released Lacko to chase after Lenz for third place. In turn, Vršecký became the cork in the bottle, keeping the pack behind to allow Lacko the opportunity to escape. Lacko was just eight-tenths behind Lenz at the chequered flag.
Behind, Vršecký had to defend from Kiss, but an inspired Antonio Albacete (Truck Sport Lutz Bernau MAN) dived past for sixth starting lap six, the Spaniard having been delayed at the start of the race as the pack bottled up ahead of him. However, he couldn’t do anything about Vršecký who hung on to fifth spot with Albacete sixth.
A frustrated Kiss retired after two-thirds distance, promoting race one winner Jochen Hahn (Team Hahn Racing Iveco) to seventh place chased by Gerd Körber (Team Shwabentruck Iveco), while the fight for ninth was also the battle for honours in the Promoter’s Cup, with Portuguese driver Jose Rodrigues (Reboconorte Racing Truck Team MAN) getting the better of race one winner Shane Brereton (TOR Truck Racing MAN) to take an impressive eighth win of the season.
Frankie Vojtisek’s Czech Truck Racing Team MAN came home 11th ahead of Erwin Kleinnagelvoort’s privately-run Scania and Grzegorz Ostaszewski’s Renault. Eduardo Rodrigues (Reboconorte Racing Truck Team MAN) came 13th from the two French drivers Dominique Orsini (Mercedes-Benz) and Maurice Monfrino (Volvo) who was a lap down.