FIA ETRC 21: Sascha Lenz: ‘Picking up where we left off’
Last season Sascha Lenz was the strongest he’s ever been, then Covid-19 hit and Lenz’s top form suddenly didn’t matter anymore. Will he be able to pick up where he left off? One thing Lenz knows for sure is that it will be a close fight this year
Sascha Lenz hasn’t won the FIA ETRC title yet, but last season he had everything in the right place to have a good go at it. After the first race in Most, he was on top of the leader board. Then Covid-19 hit and Lenz’s top form suddenly didn’t matter anymore – a huge disappointment for the 36-year old.
Even though it was only a short season last year, Lenz knows that his competitors have closely watched each other and will work hard to step it up: „Jochen will for sure try to raise his game,” said Lenz. And of course Hahn wouldn’t be a six-time ETRC Champion, if he didn’t turn it up a notch in 2021.
Sascha and his team have worked hard over the winter break and carefully modified his truck, to make sure he can pick up where he left off last year. “We mustn’t stand still and have to keep pushing. I only want to see Jochen in my rear view mirror in 2021,” says Sascha with a grin. Lenz is also confident to score a top result in the team standings, where he partners British driver Jamie Anderson.
Despite only a few events last year, the racing was exciting as ever with the front runners closely together. It wasn’t only Lenz though who was in the running for a top position in 2020. Hungarian racer Norbert Kiss had a strong season with the new Révész TRT team in his fire-red MAN and was on top of the leader board after the first two race weekends. However his advantage didn’t pay off, as the drivers and teams titles weren’t awarded due to an insufficient number of rounds conducted.
The impact of Covid-19 has been felt by many and Lenz too has faced a number of challenges in the last year with his family-run business: cancelled sponsor activities have certainly affected the balance sheets and Lenz also opted not to take part in the FIA ETRC race at the Hungaroring: „My mechanics travel to the races with me in their spare time, because they’re avid truck racing fans. But for them to travel to Hungary and go back to work on a Monday or Tuesday after the races was simply not feasible at the time with all the restrictions in place, it was too risky.”
Despite a difficult year, the German racer managed to keep all his sponsors on board and they have renewed their commitment for 2021: „I’m extremely grateful for that,“ said Lenz.
Even though current circumstances make planning for this year challenging, Sascha stays positive and focusses on keeping fit in his gym at home. „When I was young, I only played football,” said Lenz. “We even played against the better known teams from Schalke or Mainz.”
Sascha has been involved in truck racing from an early age, as his dad was a three-time European Champion in the race class in the late nineties. His own ambition to race trucks got underway in 2005, when he was 18 years old and drove a tow truck at the Nürburgring. He then planned to get on track himself the following year. 2006 was his first race in a Mercedes bonnet truck and a few outings followed in the next few years. After years of preparation, Lenz set up his own team in 2015 and raced a full season.
Since 2018 the team has become a full-time family business: Sascha is responsible for all technical matters, his wife Kristina is responsible for the social media channels and mum Silvia looks after new and existing sponsors – and daughter Kate is the lucky charm. And maybe his lucky charm can help him make it to the top of the leaderboard at the end of the 2021 season.