Jose Rodrigues' Promoter's Cup Glory
Team Reboconorte MAN driver José Rodrigues was crowned the first-ever Promoter’s Cup winner at Circuito del Jarama last weekend.
Arriving at the venue located north of Madrid, Rodrigues was 14 points clear of André Kursim and it seemed sealing the Promoter’s Cup will be just a formality for the Portuguese driver.
But for the 41-year-old the weekend started with a classic ‘drama in Jarama’ when he was entangled in a first lap collision with Gerd Korber that caused the first red flag of the season.
His truck sustained damage and following a tyre change he was forced to start from the pit lane.
From then on Rodrigues was driving like a man possessed, and he made up lost ground and went on to finish eighth overall, winning the Promoter’s Cup category.
“It was a crazy race. Even when the crash happened I believed that that a good result is possible,” admitted the delighter winner.
He later added up two further victories to collect the biggest points haul of the season and clinch the inaugural Promoter’s Cup in dominant fashion at a place he describes as his ‘second home’.
“I’m very happy. André (Kursim) is good, he is fast but I think in the last couple of races I was the faster driver. It’s a fantastic year for me,” he summed up.
Kursim was no match for Rodrigues at Jarama. Perhaps one of the reasons behind it is the fact that there were gearbox issues in his Mercedes-Benz truck over the course of the weekend.
“Second is the first loser,” said Kursim at Jarama, albeit with a grin on his face.
As the season went on Kursim kept progressing, with the breakthrough (highlighted by fourth place overall) coming at the Nurburgring.
But it was at Zolder – where the 25-year-old arrived on the back of a major setback experienced at Autodrom Most the week before – where we saw the best of Kursim. The German youngster bounced back following an engine failure in a truly record-breaking fashion to win all four races, two of each were also overall wins.
Rodrigues competed a full circle this season. First he claimed an overall win at the season-opening round at the Red Bull Ring (first ever for a Portuguese driver in the FIA ETRC) and at the end he became the first ever Promoter’s Cup winner. There were ups and downs along the way, as well as a fair share of ill fortune but it all started with the historic achievement of winning the first ever Promoter’s Cup.
The dynamics changed from round to round, and there was some interesting cameos by the race by race entrants but it was always the Portuguese vs the German for the title.
Finally, Rodrigues, with 13 wins to his name, beat Kursim, who won 12 times, by 24 points.
Race-by-race entrants provided diversity in terms of truck brands, backgrounds and levels of experience. One man stood out amongst the part-timers, British series regular Shane Brereton who only appeared in the FIA ETRC on three occasions, but managed to win six times, that’s 50% of races he contested.
The new-for-2017 Promoter’s Cup turned out to be an instant hit. All of a sudden drivers with experience and resources insufficient to go after the big prize found themselves competing in a category tailor-made for them. All in all, 28 racers were classified in the cup over the course of the inaugural season.
For the full 2017 Promoter's Cup standings click HERE.