The titans of racing, the FIA European Truck Racing Championship contenders, arrive at Hungaroring near Budapest this week for round two of the 2018 season.
Always a popular and entertaining challenge for motorsport’s monsters, the venue of the Hungarian Grand Prix since 1986 gets ready to rumble to the unmistakable spectacle of the FIA ETRC.
After the first four races held at Misano in Italy last month it is 2016 champion Jochen Hahn who has opened up an initial gap in the points standings after taking a pair of wins in his Hahn Racing run Iveco.
The German, who has been the outstanding racer of his generation, is keen to make it five titles in his stellar career this season.
However, the wily German knows that it will be one of the toughest seasons to achieve this aim as a mighty opposition guns for him and his IVECO entry.
Leading that chase is Norbert Kiss who arrives at his home race with exactly half of Hahn’s points.
The 25 points that the double-champion gained at Misano should have been substantially more but a disqualification from race one in his Tankpool24 Racing Mercedes-Benz meant he came away from Italy just sixth in the rankings.
Making it a German 1-2 at the top of the points and also a clean-sweep for IVECO is Steffi Halm.
Some superb overtaking after an initial disappointing qualifying session on the Saturday in Misano seemed to ignite her weekend in to life and she sits 16-points adrift of Hahn in second position.
Antonio Albacete had a mixed weekend last time out in Misano after being involved in an accident in Race Two with his Trucksport Lutz Bernau MAN. Still, the Spanish veteran managed to gain two third placed finishes to ensure he sits third in the standings.
Sure to be fired up over the weekend will be Ryan Smith who took the final race win at Misano.
Smith will be representing the only Hungarian entered team in the field with the patriotic OXXO Hungary Truck Racing Team in what is a big weekend for the squad.
Sascha Lenz enjoyed his best ever FIA ETRC weekend with a win and a second place which elevated him to fourth in the points standings.
Racing an all-new SL Truckport MAN, Lenz broke his FIA ETRC duck with an accomplished race two win and now stands as a serious and credible threat to the champions and multiple race winners in the FIA ETRC.
Reigning champion Adam Lacko fought through pain barrier in Misano after recent surgery compromised his outright performance in Italy. The Buggyra International Racing System driver sits fifth in the standings on 26 points, sandwiched between Lenz on 27 points and Kiss on 25.
Andre Kursim will be hoping to follow compatriot Lenz’s lead and fight for wins to add to his Zolder success in 2017. The Don’t Touch Racing Iveco driver looks likely to be a serious challenger in his new environment this season as the team looks to make a big noise in their debut season.
Rene Reinert showed he had lost none of his inherent speed as he returned to the FIA ETRC after a years’ absence. The German will be out to add to his 18 points he gained in Misano.
GRAMMER TRUCK CUP Starts with Epic Fights
The GRAMMER TRUCK CUP, a category for CHROME categorised drivers completed a successful first race at Misano last month with four different winners from the four races.
Shane Brereton, Thomas Robineau, Jamie Anderson and Steffen Faas each scored maximum points in Italy, and while Robineau misses the Hungaroring race, the other three will be keen to add more wins to their 2018 tally.
Joining the ranks at Hungaroring will be Terry Gibbon who has committed to his first ever season as a full entrant with his well-presented T Sport squad.
Also joining the ranks for a first FIA ETRC outing of the season will be Erwin Kleinnagelvoort. The Dutchman brings experience and a quiet determination to his racing with his familiar white Scania entry.
There is a happy ending to the dramatic fire that Frankie Vojtisek suffered in Italy three weeks ago as the amiable Czech veteran and his team have worked wonders to get their truck repaired for Hungaroring action.
Luis Recueno (Trucksport Lutz Bernau), Oly Janes (Buggyra International Racing System) and Ray Coleman (LRS Racing) all made their FIA ETRC debuts in the GRAMMER TRUCK CUP in the first round collating some healthy points as they continue to learn the ropes in the FIA ETRC this season.
What Happened Last Year?
Race 1: Norbert Kiss
Race 2: Adam Lacko
Race 3: Adam Lacko
Race 4: Adam Lacko