Preparations for the 2018 edition of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship burst in to life as some of the monsters of motorsport undertook three days of testing this week.
The running, which took place at the Autodrom Most in the Czech Republic, saw many familiar faces and new challengers test and develop their trucks for the year ahead.
2018 is looking like the best FIA ETRC season for many years as a bumper grid is forming for another epic season of fully-charged, close and exciting truck racing action.
The track conditions were much more favourable with sunny and warm conditions on Wednesday after damp conditions earlier in the week tested the drivers on the 4.222kms track in the north-west of the Czech Republic.
Reigning champion Adam Lacko proudly paraded the No.1 on his Buggyra International Racing System Freightliner, while his partner for 2018 – Oly Janes was publically revealed in the No.22 truck. Both conducted a good amount of miles during the test.
Hahn Racing attended the test with two trucks, one for Jochen Hahn and one for his son Lukas!
The pair of IVECO trucks conducted solid laps with the four-time champion acting as mentor and tutor to Hahn Jr, who has ambitions to become a third generation truck ace soon.
Team Schwabentruck ran both new-signing Steffi Halm and veteran campaigner Gerd Körber during the tests with Halm getting valuable mileage in her new IVECO environs.
Körber, who retired from full-time competition last autumn is planning to race sporadically in 2018 and was on hand to continue helping the development of the orange IVECO truck along with Halm (above).
Rene Reinert made his return to the track after over 12 months away from the paddock. The popular German was running the familiar blue livery on his MAN racer and adapted seamlessly to the track as if he had never been away.
There was some early drama on Monday when Andre Kursim suffered an accident after his new Don’t Touch Racing IVECO left the track. Fortunately damage was not as bad as first feared and Kursim was able to re-join the test after slick work by the Sven Walter led crew.
Truck Sport Lutz Bernau will again compete with not only Antonio Albacete, but also with a second truck for fellow Spaniard, Luis Recuenco.
Recuenco was in action at Most as he got to grips with his MAN truck in preparation for making his FIA ETRC debut at Misano in just five weeks’ time.
Ryan Smith attended the test with the all-new OXXO Hungary Truck Racing Team entry and was immediately on the pace at the venue his two previous FIA ETRC victories.
The feisty competitor and the Hungarian team have big plans this season with the British ace targeting more victories to add to his hard-won collection so far.
Sascha Lenz (pictured above) made much progress with his newly built MAN truck. The German, who took a sensational pole at Le Mans last season, went straight to Most after launching his new SL Trucksport package just a few days before.
Frankie Vojtíšek was a surprise but welcome addition to the ranks of experienced FIA ETRC warriors as he got his first miles of the year under his belt. The familiar and immaculate white MAN circulated with vigour during the test.
The Czech veteran, based close to Most, is working on a deal to take part in this year's championship.
Another new face at Most this week was Mika Mäkinen who gathered valuable data in his IVECO truck. The Finn last made an appearance in the FIA ETRC in 2015 and is now keen to return.
Entries for the 2018 FIA European Truck Racing Championship have to be submitted by Tuesday 24th April. News on the season entry list will be released shortly after.