The FIA ETRC field heads to Circuit Zolder this weekend.....
The 2019 FIA European Truck Racing Championship moves on to Belgium this weekend for the first of three crucial remaining meetings of the season.
The races will come in quick succession with 12 encounters over the next four weekends set to crown new champions in the world’s toughest and most competitive truck racing series.
Heading to Circuit Zolder, Jochen Hahn enjoys a comfortable 75-point cushion after a stellar season which has seen the most successful FIA ETRC driver in history score nine victories spread over the 18 rounds so far. With that remarkable 50% strike rate of wins, the Hahn Racing IVECO driver is the nailed-on favourite to clinch an historic sixth title in the coming weeks.
Hahn’s rivals were denied the chance to try and reduce the points gap last time out at Autodrom Most after poor weather saw the Sunday races cancelled on safety grounds.
This means that Hahn’s rivals have two less opportunities now to attempt a fightback but it will not stop Antonio Albacete and Adam Lacko, Hahn’s closest challengers, to at least attemp closing the gap and exert pressure.
Albacete, driving for the Trucksport Lutz Bernau team has a good record at Zolder having won the first race there 12 months ago. He will be determined to reel in Hahn to exert maximum pressure.
Adam Lacko was denied the chance to race for a win on home ground at Most on the Sunday so will bring an extra sense of motivation at Zolder.
The Buggyra Racing driver has taken just a single win this season in his new-look Freightliner and will want to make sure he scores more victories before the season is out.
Steffi Halm sits fourth in the standings after vaulting Norbert Kiss after the two Most races. She fought back from a tough Nürburgring weekend in July and will be aiming to repeat her race two success at Circuit Zolder last September.
Kiss, driving his familiar Tankpool24 Racing Mercedes-Benz had a tough Saturday at Most and came away with zero points. The double-champion hasn’t been victorious in Belgium since his final title year in 2015 and will be up hungry to put that right this weekend.
Rene Reinert took a second win of his season at Most last time out and the German could be on the hunt for a third victory to try and boost his points standings position of sixth. Reinert currently sits just 35 points from third placed Lacko with 12 races remaining.
Sascha Lenz has continued his fine consistent speed in 2019 after a breakthrough success in 2018 with his SL Trucksport30 squad.
Lenz had a difficult run on Saturday at Autodrom Most but is entirely capable of adding a third victory of his career at Zolder.
Andre Kursim has very fond memories of Zolder after taking his first ever FIA ETRC wins there in 2017 when he raced for Tankpool24 Racing. Now with Don’t Touch Racing, the German will be trying to revisit that form on the tight and narrow track near Hasselt.
Anthony Janiec brings his Lion Truck Racing MAN challenger to Zolder for the first time since 2016. On that occasion Janiec took two solid fourth place finishes and is always capable of mixing it with the front pack if circumstances allow.
Another potential victor at Zolder could be Jose Rodrigues who clinched the final race win of 2018. The Reboconort driver is entirely capable of springing a surprise and has been running at the front on a few occasions so far this season.
GRAMMER Fight Intensifies
The battle for the GRAMMER TRUCK CUP continues to thrill as several drivers battle it out for supremacy in the quest for the title.
Realistically three drivers are in the hunt to claim the silverware this season with Oly Janes holding a slender advantage after two class wins so far this campaign.
The Buggyra Racing driver thought he had added a third at Most but a penalty dashed his hopes of furthering his points lead significantly. Instead he was bumped down to fourth position and came away from the Czech Republic with a five point advantage over Luis Recuenco.
Truck Sport Lutz Bernau driver Recuenco has taken three GRAMMER triumphs so far this season and will be eyeing staying in contention with Janes to take the fight to his home race at Jarama in October.
Jamie Anderson has the most victories this season with a remarkable seven wins, but five non-scores has meant he has not taken control of the title fight. The British driver took a sensational win at the last corner in 2018 after an incredible battle with Shane Brereton so will is strong at Zolder.
Fabio Citignola and Terry Gibbon have both enjoyed recent class winning success with Gibbon in particular looking very strong after a double win in Czech Republic two weeks ago with his T Sport MAN.
Erwin Kleinnagelvoort will consider the Zolder weekend as his closest race to home just over the border in the Netherlands. The Scania driver has scored strong points since re-joining the championship in Nürburgring and is capable of breaking in to the top six by the end of the season.
Making a welcome 2019 debut in the FIA ETRC is David Jenkins who crosses the channel to make it four British drivers on the grid this weekend.
The 2011 British champion last made an FIA ETRC appearance at Le Mans in 2017 and has the pace and experience to challenge for at least podium silverware at Zolder.
Jose-Eduardo Rodrigues has shown increased pace as he gains experience in the FIA ETRC and will be looking to reprise his excellent form from Misano earlier in the year when he made several podium appearances.
Dominique Orsini continues his run of FIA ETRC in a Mercedes-Benz entry and will be targeting points to add to his tally.
The action will be streamed liver this weekend HERE
Click HERE for the Zolder Entry List
Click HERE for official Timetable
Click HERE for latest points standings
Official Spotters Guide HERE