Albacete's Home Win; Lacko's Title
Antonio Albacete sent the large Jarama crowd wild as he took a commanding victory in the first race of the weekend this afternoon.
It was a highly popular win, but this was no serene victory for the experienced Spaniard, as Adam Lacko hounded him all the way to the chequered flag.
By taking the runners-up position, it was enough for Lacko to seal the 2017 FIA ETRC title, his first ever championship success in truck racing.
In the early stages of the race, Lacko’s only title rival Jochen Hahn ran in fourth position behind the Czech’s teammate, David Vrsecky, who defended the position energetically.
But when Vrsecky was warned for potentially blocking reigning champion Jochen Hahn, the German capitalised and found a way through in his Hahn Racing-run Iveco.
That position change meant that Lacko had a 48 point advantage, and with just 40 more to play for, it meant that Hahn was mathematically unable to challenge for the championship.
Hahn, however, has almost confirmed the vice-champion position as his only rival for that position, Norbert Kiss, retired from today’s race with a mechanical problem. This gives Hahn a surely insurmountable 28 point lead over the Hungarian
Lacko’s performance was made all the more remarkable by the fact his Buggyra International Racing System team had to change the engine on his No.55 Freightliner between Super Pole and the start of the race.
As Vrsecky fell back into the clutches of fifth-placed Steffi Halm, a battle took place between the pair all the way to the finish where the Buggyra International Racing System held on.
The first race of the weekend saw two starts after the original was red flagged on the second lap after José Rodrigues and Gerd Körber collided at the Farina hairpin.
While Körber continued in his Schwabentruck Iveco, Rodrigues was stranded in the middle of the circuit and was only able to take part in the re-started race, which was held over the full 12-lap distance, from the pitlane.
Körber eventually finished in sixth position in his Team Schwabentruck Iveco despite losing his front grill towards the end of the event.
Sascha Lenz took seventh place after a solid drive in his SL Trucksport MAN as he attempted to catch and pass the damaged Körber for sixth for most of the second phase of the race.
José Rodrigues meanwhile came through from the pit lane to claim a sensational Promoter’s Cup victory with a magical ‘burn from the stern’ drive which also netted him eighth place. This extends his lead in the inaugural Promoter’s Cup to 19-points over André Kursim with 30 up for grabs.
Kursim took his Tankpool24 Racing Mercedes-Benz to ninth position overall, while JosJosé-Eduardo Rodrigues scored his first ever FIA ETRC point in 10th place.
Pedro Garcia Marco was the best of the race-by-race Spanish entrants in 11th just ahead of Eduardo Rodrigues.
Buggyra Racing 1969 duo Lacko and Vrsecky took the Teams win to further extend their lead in the standings.
The second race will take place at 17.10 local time.