Steffi Halm looks forward to her second campaign aboard Team Schwabentruck’s IVECO...
Steffi Halm admitted that changing her approach and improving consistency will be the key areas of focus as she’s set to embark her second campaign aboard Team Schwabentruck’s IVECO.
Halm finished sixth overall in last year’s FIA European Truck Racing Championship standings following a switch from Reiner Racing-run MAN to Team Schwabentruck and IVECO.
Despite several strong outings and two race wins along the way, Halm fell short of matching her own expected results and also the ones from the previous season in 2017 when she won on three occasions to finish fourth at the end of the year.
During the off-season, Halm did some soul-searching in order to come back stronger in 2019.
“We finished last year sixth. It was the best result for Team Schwabentruck since they started out in the FIA ETRC,” said Halm.
She was, however, quick to point out that the current package has a potential for more.
“The goal is to push harder and be more consistent with results, to be more often at the front. Last year we had many accidents, most of the time in the first races and then we started last in the second races and the whole day was done.
“We need to stay out of trouble and [if we do so] we have a chance to be better than sixth place [in the championship],” she admitted.
She also revealed that a change of approach in qualifying is required.
“Most of the time the problem was that I was not fast enough in the qualifying. I was struggling with things I didn’t understand and I was trying to understand them, and I think I was too focused on looking for problems than just on driving.
“If I make a review of last season, it started well but it was getting worse as the year went on. Sometimes it was bad luck, but everybody has bad luck.
“It’s not just about not having accidents but also being consistently fast in qualifying and avoiding big mistakes. Sometimes I didn’t do a good lap but it was only because I wasn’t focused on the right thing.
“This season I have to tell myself: ‘OK, I’m good enough, the truck is good enough and we have to fight for what we’re able to reach with what we have.’
“I will have to be more consistent this season because if you're always in top five, you will be fighting for everything because it will be so many people fighting for the wins so you have to be consistent."
Despite a busy schedule filled with promotional activities, Halm had a chance to go back to her sporting roots during the off-season. Interestingly, these roots lay far off a race track.
“I’ve tried handball for the first time in 10 years or so. I stopped 10 years ago so it was really nice to have all the girls from the old team around me. It was fun and that’s what I like to do when I have a little bit of time.
“I stopped handball because of motorsport. In the beginning, handball was very professional but I choose to focus on motorsport.
“I started handball when I was five and I started out in motorsport when I was nine or 10. It was a hard decision to make but I didn’t want to leave my parents. I had to be on a special school for that. They said: ‘you have to choose: handball or motorsport’.
“I can still do it for fun and when you do it on a professional level it’s not so much fun anymore because it’s all about winning, getting better and pushing yourself and when you’re 12 it’s hard.
“Now I think it was the right decision, now I feel very comfortable with what I’m doing. I love both but I’m 34 now and I’m really happy to be able to compete in motorsport."
“I see that truck racing is getting better and better and the goal for me is to be a European champion. I don’t know when the time will come but I will fight for it!”
Pre-season testing to start soon
“The preparations [for the 2019 season] started more or less already after the last race of the season,” said Halm.
“The truck was completely rebuilt, we checked everything. We gave the engine to the guys in Switzerland and now the truck is more or less ready.
“At the beginning of April, we will make a rollout to see if everything is working. We’re going to be in Ulm [at Iveco’s test track] so that we have one or two test sessions before Most. I think it’s enough.
“It’s a good check everything before going out on a normal race track. Anything can happen and little things can cost you a lot of testing time in Most, so that’s what we want to do before going to Most.”