Q&A with Steffi Halm
Steffi Halm announced a new era in her FIA European Truck Racing Championship career yesterday as it was confirmed that she will join the Team Schwabentruck squad for the next two seasons.
We caught up with Steffi as she continued her preparations for the season opener in May at Misano in Italy.
How did the deal with Team Schwabentruck come about?
“It actually happened quite quickly after the end of the season but we chose to wait a while to announce it despite knowing we had the co-operation in place. We did this on Thursday as it was International Women’s Day so it seemed like a perfect time to get it out there.
“I have known the team since I came in to trucks in 2011. They are very friendly and professional. I think we can do some good things together because they have the same desire as I do when it comes to racing.
“I spoke with Rene (Reinert) last year and he was unsure whether he would run one or two trucks. He said it was fine for me to look at others things and I am grateful for his flexibility.”
It will be a new truck for you with the Iveco, how have you found it so far?
“It has been interesting. In some parts there are similarities with the MAN but in others you notice the difference really quickly. For instance the engine has some particular differences in RPM and the Iveco feels a little more progressive.
“The guys at Schwabentruck have worked hard during the winter so I think we can be in good shape straight from the first race, certainly that is our plan anyway.”
Will there be much testing before Misano in May?
“Yes we will go to Autodrom Most to test in April for three days. We will have a big test and development plan there and we can validate some of the work being done over the winter.
“I had a couple of runs with the team at their home test track in Ulm last year and also two days at Most last year. It felt good straight away and I was with Jochen (Hahn) which was useful as he built the Iveco truck so that was very useful for me.”
Do you feel you are ready to challenge for the title this season?
“Well I hope so. I think in a way it might have been easier to stay with my old team Reinert but now I have a new challenge and I have to find my way a little.
“The goal for me really is to get a minimum of one place better in the championship, so the target is third place minimum in the standings. It will be hard this year because the level is so high but I always set goals. I will go for it as always.”
Do you expect to have the same group of drivers at the front again in 2018?
“For sure. We can look to have Adam (Lacko), Jochen (Hahn), Norbi (Kiss) and Antonio (Albacete) at the front again which will be tough as they are so quick and experienced. Antonio especially I expect to be more of a threat consistently than he was last year.
“Then I think we will have guys like maybe Sascha (Lenz) and some others can also be up there and fighting too.
Photo: Andre Bartscher