Truck Gladiators at Slovakia Ring
The FIA European Truck Racing paddock journeys to the challenging Slovakia Ring circuit this weekend for the latest round of what are becoming fascinating duels for the 2018 titles.
A feast of FIA action is guaranteed this weekend as the FIA ETRC races will be joined by events for the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO.
Jochen Hahn extended his points lead at Nürburgring last month but had a largely up and down weekend by his very high standards.
A win, a second and a fourth position were the rewards for his endeavours in the Hahn Racing run IVECO on his home ground, and the four-time champion now readies to try and score a first ever victory at Slovakia Ring as the FIA ETRC circus heads to the track for the second time.
Sure to be a chief protagonist this weekend close to his home is reigning champion Adam Lacko.
The Buggyra International Racing System driver had a good points haul in Germany last time out which elevated him to second position in the standings but still 42 away from Hahn.
Lacko will be a man in demand off the track this weekend with media and PR commitments as he aims to reduce that deficit to his great rival Hahn.
With a significant amount of momentum at his back, Antonio Albacete will be eyeing a follow up to his 2017 Race 1 Slovakia Ring victory.
The Trucksport Lutz Bernau MAN ace took an accomplished Race 1 win at Nurburgring and claimed the most aggregate points during his most successful weekend in the FIA ETRC since he returned to the fray at the beginning of 2017.
Remarkably, Albacete, Steffi Halm and Norbert Kiss are all covered by just two points in the standings with the Spaniard sandwiched between Kiss in third and Halm in fifth position.
Kiss, in his Tankpool24 Racing Mercedes-Benz took two wins at Slovakia Ring last season and appeared to be the benchmark that weekend, while Halm also took a fine victory. Both drivers will be aiming to stay in touch in the title reckoning at the very least at Slovakia Ring.
Also likely to be in the frame for chances of at least podium positions will be the talented young German duo of Andre Kursim and Sascha Lenz.
Don’t Touch Racing racer, Kursim, will be aiming to be bounce back from the bitter disappointment of losing a superb second place in the final race at Nürburgring. The IVECO driver was penalised post-race for overtaking under yellow flags but will be keen to keep the good form going in to the Slovakian weekend.
Lenz drove two brilliant comeback races at Nürburgring after being shunted out of contention in two of the four races. The SL Trucksport ace has shown much improved competitiveness this season and looks highly likely to add to his Misano victory sooner rather than later.
Rene Reinert scored a podium position on home ground at Nurburgring but had a largely disappointing meeting there as a whole. The German driver in his Reinert Racing run MAN will be keen to ensure he can get back to race winning form this weekend after a first win of the 2018 season at Hungaroring last month.
You can always rely on both Jose Rodrigues (Reboconort MAN) and Ryan Smith (OXXO Hungary Truck Racing Team) to be in the midst of the action as well in Slovakia Ring.
Rodrigues endured a tough final race in Nurburgring after starting from the front row of the grid while Smith completed one of the drives of the season to carve through the field from the back of the grid to claim points in the final race in Germany.
Brereton Targets More GRAMMER Glory
After achieving the first ever GRAMMER TRUCK CUP ‘Grand-Slam’ at Nurburgring Shane Brereton will be aiming high once more in Slovakia.
The man from the West Country is currently showing a clean pair of heels to his rivals after claiming seven category wins from 12 starts so far in 2018.
This strike rate means the TOR Trucks MAN racer now has a comfortable 24 point advantage over Tankpool24 Racing’s Steffen Faas.
However, Faas has prior experience of the Slovakia Ring after competing there with Team Schwabentruck last season. The German took his first ever victory as a CHROME categorised driver 12 months ago, while Brereton will be learning the circuit for the first time.
British trio Ray Coleman (LRS MAN), Jamie Anderson (Anderson Racing MAN) and Oly Janes (Buggyra International Racing System) will all be aiming to reduce the points gap to the top two this weekend.
A ‘home-ish’ race for Frankie Vojtisek this weekend will be a perfect tonic for the truck racing veteran after he and his Czech Truck Racing team was forced to miss the final race at Nurburgring due to a technical issue.
Vojtisek and his tight-knit squad have triumphed over significant adversity this season after their year started with a devastating fire at Misano.
Luis Recuenco is still learning with each lap in the FIA ETRC and has shown some real flashes of speed and talent as he embarks on his rookie season at this level. The Spanish Trucksport Lutz Bernau driver sits eighth in the GRAMMER standings as he heads to Slovakia.
Erwin Kleinnagelvoort returns for his third event of the year with his EK Trucksport run Scania vehicle. The Dutchman is a consistent points scorer in the GRAMMER TRUCK CUP and will be looking for a first podium of the season at Slovakia Ring.
Eduardo Rodrigues enjoyed several battles with Kleinnagelvoort at Nurburgring and will be aiming for his Scania nemesis again this weekend in his Reboconort MAN challenger.
Who won last season?
Race 1: Norbert Kiss
Race 2: Antonio Albacete
Race 3: Norbert Kiss
Race 4: Steffi Halm
Entry List HERE