Oct 02, 2020
By Melanie Derflinger, T-Sport Bernau
Last weekend the T Sport Bernau team made the long journey down to Madrid, Spain, to compete in the European Truck Masterdrivers competition on Circuito del Jarama. This was a really important race weekend for the team as it is Antonio’s home circuit and would therefore draw a lot of Antonio’s fans as well as a lot of media attention to the event.
Some other European Truck Racing teams who are based in Germany decided not to race at Jarama as they were concerned about the travel restrictions. Nevertheless, the circuit was able to hold the event with 17 race trucks ranging from Spanish and French through to ETRC teams forming two separate groups, the European Truck Masterdrivers and the Spanish Truck Racing Cup.
To make the 2000-km trip from Germany to Spain worthwhile, the T Sport Bernau team decided to make use of the circuit together with some other teams for a full one-day test session on Thursday before the official programme started. As we are still working to improve and fine tune the setup and performance of the new race truck, this extra track time was very useful to gain more data and to test some setup changes. The times were improving throughout the day as Antonio and the team continued to optimise the truck’s setup for the demanding circuit at Jarama. However, there is always improvements that can be made. After the test day, the decision was made to source a local engineering company and damper specialist to help us with some changes overnight into Friday morning. Before heading into the free practice sessions on Friday afternoon, there was also enough time to discuss with some of our technical partners, namely PE, MBHA & FTL Steering, to fine tune some updates we were working on.
There were 4 free practice sessions in which we could make sure the changes we made were working as planned. This gave Antonio and the team greater confidence that we could put on a great show as the fans and the media were clearly excited to see Antonio race and we would also be welcoming some guests and customers from BPW Trapaco.
The T Sport Bernau team had to set up in a “quarantined area” within the paddock, but the circuit was able to allow spectators into the circuit separated into segregated areas including a VIP terrace area overlooking the track and paddock. The guests from BPW Trapaco could follow the action closely from there and even got to meet Antonio.
The team was prepared for a challenging weekend ahead, with the grid for the second race being in full reverse order of the results from race 1. With this knowledge we knew a good starting position from qualifying was essential. Antonio and the team did a fantastic job with Antonio qualifying in an excellent third position, similar to our previous race weekend in Zolder. This gave Antonio a great starting position for the race. During the race he defended his position well. Despite some pressure from his fellow countryman, Luis Recuenco. Antonio managed to hold onto his position, bringing the truck home to finish on the podium in third position. This did however put Antonio near to the back of the field for the start of the second race. It was a challenging start with a lot of trucks fighting for position into the first corner. Antonio reported that there was a lot of smoke and dust in the air and, for a short moment, he could see absolutely nothing. Luckily Antonio worked his way through the melee without any damage, moving to the front of the pack, coming out of the first few corners in an incredible 2nd place! After a long-fought battle with a gaggle of trucks fighting for the lead throughout the race, Antonio once again brought the truck home for a second podium, adding more silverware to this year’s collection, finishing once again in 3rd position.
The entire team is extremely happy with the two podium finishes from this weekend’s races and is looking forward to the next event at Hungaroring, near Budapest in just three weeks´ time on 16th-18th of October. In the meantime, the team will be continuing to work on the truck, making yet more improvements and optimisations as we work to find the perfect set up of our new truck. We are also looking forward to a small ‘socially distanced’ customer event planned at BPW Trapaco this week before we make the long journey across the continent to Hungary!
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