A highly successful ETRC event with fantastic results and an unusual end!
by Melanie Derflinger – T Sport Racing
Last weekend, the T Sport Racing team travelled to Most, Czech Republic, to compete in round 5 of this year’s FIA European Truck Racing Championship. At the end of a very successful weekend, the team are happy – with a fantastic set of results, some very worthy championship points and having gained the maximum amount of points available in the Grammer Truck Cup. The weather was extremely hot from Wednesday to Saturday; on Sunday, however, heavy rain showers caused the early end of the event with all races being cancelled due to dangerous racing conditions on the wet track.
On Wednesday morning, T Sport Racing was one of the first teams to arrive at the paddock. Therefore, we had plenty of time to build up both our pit garage and our hospitality unit to welcome our guests from BESKO (Denmark), TL Parts (CZ), XL Parts Baltics (Latvia) & PE (GER).
In 2 free practice sessions on Friday, Terry took to the track for the first time of the weekend. This allowed him and the mechanics to get a feel for the track conditions and to optimise the truck’s set-up for the first race day on Saturday. After the first practice session, we decided to change the front suspension springs trying to find a better set-up for the Autodrom Most circuit. With the adjustments made, Terry managed to shave a second off his lap times at the second session thus giving the team quite some confidence for the weekend ahead.
In the evening, we were lucky enough to meet a lot of local fans in the city centre of Most as the circuit and race organisers once again took a convoy with all of the race trucks into Most city centre to promote the weekend´s event and to allow the public to meet the drivers and to get up close and personal with the race trucks.
On Saturday we definitely made the ‘Most’ out of the race weekend.
The weather couldn’t have been any better for racing, with scorching temperatures and glorious sunshine. And the action was equally hot on track! Our guests were treated to some spectacular racing which got the emotions running high as Terry achieved two first place finishes in the Grammer Truck Cup and his first ever FIA ETRC pole position!
Throughout the weekend, our guests got really close to the team and a good feel for the work it takes to keep our truck on top shape throughout the whole event. Terry finished the first race in 9th position overall; second in the Grammer Truck Cup. Only minutes before he took the truck to the grid for the second race, however, the team was informed about the penalty another driver received at the first race. This promoted Terry to 8th position and 1st in the Grammer Truck Cup. As the top 8 finishers of race 1 are reversed to form the grid for race 2, this meant Terry would start the race from the pole position – his first pole position in his FIA ETRC career.
While Terry jumped into the truck and got ready to line up on the grid, our mechanics took the bold decision to run and buy two new Goodyear tyres for the front axle of our race truck. This should give him the best possible chance of holding his position at the front of the pack – hence converting his pole position into some valuable championship points. The team worked hard, managed to fit the tyres and changed the wheels while the truck was already on the grid – waiting for the race to be started.
Of course, Terry was quite nervous. It was his first time ever to start a race from the pole position. And yet he did a fantastic job. He managed to stay with the front pack throughout the race and only lost some places to a handful of the faster and more experienced ‘Titan class’ drivers. Once more, he finished the race on the top of the podium – 1st in the Grammer Truck Cup. Finishing both races in the top 10 out of the 19 drivers on the grid and taking both the first place trophies for the Grammer Truck Cup was a fantastic result for Terry and the T Sport Racing team.
On Sunday morning, the team awoke with high expectations, but the weather conditions had changed dramatically overnight. Torrential rain was now falling on the city of Most. The organisers and the race stewards lined up the trucks on the grid for the first of 2 scheduled races on Sunday. After only 2 laps behind the pace truck, however, the race was halted due to dangerous flooding on the track. There were several attempts of the race organisers trying to get the trucks out racing, but the deluge of rain continued. Ultimately, all of the Sunday races had to be cancelled.
Considering the great start into the weekend, we didn’t expect such an outcome – no racing at all on Sunday, something very uncommon. Nonetheless, the team leaves Most highly satisfied with the results achieved – on Saturday. They will try to carry this momentum through to the next race in Zolder, Belgium.
We are now taking the truck back to Wuppertal, Germany. We are extremely grateful, our partner Lunau GmbH lets us use their workshop to service the truck and to make sure it is performing at its best – and ready for the next race in only a few days.
We are looking forward to the upcoming event as we made some good progress this weekend and we hope for some more pole position race starts throughout the 2019 FIA ETRC season!