Jun 14, 2021
T SPORT BERNAU – SHOWING OFF THEIR IMPROVEMENTS AT THE FIRST RACE IN 2021! By Melanie Derflinger
Last weekend, the T Sport Bernau team travelled all the way from the North of England to Budapest, Hungary to participate in the first of the 2021 FIA ETRC races at the famous Hungaroring. The team was extremely excited, but also quite nervous after we had showed promising pace in pre-season testing. The team were keen to show that we have really stepped up our game and that we are able to compete with the front runners this season. We did not disappoint.
The long trip to Budapest took 5 days, with a one day stop in Wuppertal, Germany to unload some spare parts at garage Lunau for use later in the season. We also collected some parts from our partner PE, fixed the turbo on our tractor unit, which had failed during the journey and got the necessary PCR Covid-19 tests for the weekend. The team finally arrived at the Hungaroring on Wednesday afternoon, a bit earlier than expected. Due to our early arrival the team took to opportunity to relax and have a nice meal in the local town, before we were permitted to enter the circuit on Thursday morning. Thursday was spent unloading and getting our garage set up in the paddock, followed by some final checks on Friday including scrutineering, administrative checks, truck weight checks, and some final setup changes. We were now ready to race!
Saturday morning began with two 30-minute free practice sessions. It was immediately clear that our hard work and commitment through the winter was certainly paying off. Antonio´s lap times were both consistent and competitive, posting the second fastest lap times in both sessions. Qualifying followed soon after, however, we had an electrical problem with the gearbox which meant Antonio couldn´t shift into the high gears. Nevertheless, he did a great job, managing the problem superbly and securing 6th position for the start of race 1! The mechanics were quick to diagnose the problem and fixed it with plenty of time before the start of the race. With the performance back and the truck performing as it should Antonio was able to move up two positions during the race and finished in a fantastic 4th position, a great start to our 2021 campaign.
Race 2 started well, but unfortunately had to be cancelled after a fairly heavy crash damaged the safety barriers at the circuit. The T Sport Bernau truck also returned to the paddock with some damage, but it was mostly superficial and was easily repaired on Saturday eveningduring our normal nightly service.
Sunday morning quickly came round, as did the teams nerves, with another day of high expectations. The whole team were hoping for a good result in the 2nd qualifying session and Antonio did not disappoint, securing the 3rd quickest lap time, and lining up on the second row of the grid. Consistent performance and a solid race by Antonio in the subsequent 3rd race resulted in a second 4th place finish of the weekend, another great result.
The final race of the weekend got underway and was a very challenging and competitive one. With the top 8 drivers from the 3rd race in reverse grid order, Antonio found himself fighting in the mid field with some top drivers such as Norbert Kiss, Jochen Hahn and Sascha Lenz. After a well fought fight and some excellent race craft from all of the drivers Antonio brought the truck home in 9th position.
The T Sport Bernau team is very pleased with the results of the weekend and the opening event of the 2021 season. Overall, we scored 22 championship points and are currently in 5th position of the FIA ETRC standings.
Chief mechanic Tim said “We had no major issues with the truck, the performance and speed has improved massively and the lap times of Antonio were very consistent – a perfect base for a very successful season ahead. We are already really excited for the next race at the Nürburgring where we will have to face another challenge of not only two but three races per race day!”.
The team are already packing everything up and after the weekend the team plans to make a trip to BPW Hungary to take a tour of the axle production plant before we head back to garage Lunau in Wuppertal where the race truck will be serviced and stored, ready for the season highlight, the Truck Grand Prix at the Nürburgring in July.
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