Promoter's Cup: Brereton stands out as Kursim suffers heartbreak
Shane Brereton, making only his second outing in the 2017 FIA European Truck Racing Championship season, stole the show at Autodrom Most during round six last weekend.
The British driver continued to shine following his stellar performance at the Hungaroring the week before where he was returning to the FIA ETRC action for the first time in a year.
The MAN driver exceeded expectations and apart from scoring yet another hat-trick of wins in the Promoter’s Cup, he also managed to clinch a remarkable overall win (in race four on Sunday), something that has only been achieved once before, during the season-opening round at the Red Bull Ring when Jose Rodrigues led lights-to-flag in race two.
"I’m over the moon. It was a lonely race [four] but I was still nervous," said Brereton, who also revealed that advice given by his compatriot Ryan Smith proved crucial in claiming race four overall win. "Big thanks to Ryan Smith because he told me how tactically to play the start and it worked perfectly and then I kept calm. We shared data and he showed me where I can get more speed. That gave me confidence," admitted Brereton.
Despite an impressive tally of results, Brereton experienced a weekend that was far from straightforward. The British driver suffered a differential failure and only managed to continue courtesy of fellow competitor Steffi Halm. "The diff totally went in the last race [on Saturday]. Steffi Halm very kindly lent us her diff so I have loads of people to thank," revealed the Brit, who holds a record of six Promoter’s Cup wins in just eight starts so far this year.
Brereton also praised the importance of having the new for 2017 Promoter’s Cup as a secondary category in the FIA ETRC this season. "It’s nice to play with the big boys but they have good budgets and drivers are fantastic so it’s lovely to have this [overall] win but you have to have something else to chase. There were times where I wasn’t doing very well but I had two other Promoter’s Cup competitors in front of me and it gave me the drive to push and get them," he explained.
André Kursim arrived in the Czech Republic as the Promoter’s Cup leader but a blown engine during Saturday’s Timed Practice cut his weekend short, leaving the young German racer unable to race and having to leave Autodrom Most early with zero points to his name. Despite suffering a massive blow in the title fight, the Team Tankpool24 Racing driver looked forward to round seven of the series at Zolder later this month with optimism. "It will be maximum attack at Zolder," assured the 25-year-old. "I think we’ll be fast there and I hope we can finish first," he added.
José Rodrigues, was another driver who experienced a weekend of mixed fortunes at Autodrom Most. In race one the Portuguese in his Reboconorte MAN had to take evasive actions to avoid contact and ended up flat-spotting his tyres and losing several places. Came the chequered flag though, his charge turned out to be good enough for third in the Promoter's Cup. That, plus a win and two further second places elevated him to the top of the standings, 36 points clear of Kursim, earning him a comfortable position before the last three meetings of the season.
Cheered by his home crowd, local truck racing stalwart Frankie Vojtisek showed some good speed at the weekend. However glitches in his truck caused the Czech Truck Racing Team MAN driver to overspeed several times. This triggered time penalties (10s in race three and 30s in race four) and essentially buried his chances of good results.
French Cup regular Grzegorz Ostaszewski, who had his first outing on the European stage this season, bagged a podium finish in race four in the sole Renault on the grid run by Team 14.