One week prior to the Truck Grand Prix at Nürburgring, T Sport Racing took part at an invitation event in Nogaro (South of France). The well-known event of the French Truck Racing Cup attracted several other British teams not willing to miss this spectacular event. Of course, there were plenty of great things and attractions planned – for both spectators and teams!
Our journey started off earlier as usual since we decided to travel by ferry from Portsmouth (UK) to Bilbo (Spain). This route would then leave us with a 4–hours – only – trip into France allowing us to arrive at the circuit on Wednesday night. We were among the first teams to arrive at the paddock setting up our pit under bright sunshine and with up to 40 degrees. On Thursday, this gave us a stress-free day, to double check the race truck and to celebrate Terry Gibbon´s 35th birthday!
The official programme started off on Friday: 3 free practice sessions on the very technical circuit were followed by a police-escorted city tour with all of the race trucks – the highlight of the weekend! Surrounded by hundreds of fans and locals, the trucks were parked up at Nogaro town centre and all drivers had a good hour signing autographs.
Saturday, the first race day, began with a qualifying session early in the morning. Comparing them to the ones achieved on Friday, the lap times on Saturday morning were slightly a bit slower, but Terry still managed to achieve a time which got him a good starting position for the first race – from the third row on the grid. Throughout the first race, Terry kept his pace on the 3.6 km circuit and finally crossed the finishing line on 6th position.
Due to reverse grid, Terry started the second race right behind the two Spanish guys from the 4th starting position. We were all hoping Terry could get a very good result out of this set-up, but when the race got underway, one of the Spanish guys in front pressed the brake instead of the clutch. All the sudden, his truck slowed down extremely rather than accelerating. Terry had no chance to avoid any contact. This made him loose 3 positions. After a very short distance, however, Terry regained one position by overtaking the Finish driver John Hemming. Unfortunately, shortly after this, another contact with the second Spanish driver made Terry loose two more positions once again. Terry kept fighting his way back up and managed to finish the race in 4th.
On Saturday night, the race circuit invited all teams to a BBQ. We decided to keep working on the race truck until a bit later to make sure the truck would be performing well the next day – and at the upcoming event on Nürburgring, too.
When Terry left the track after the warm-up session on Sunday, we were pleased to see that he was able to post a lap time being 2 seconds faster than the day before!
Throughout the following two races of the day, we had some really close racing action. As it was a non-counting invitation event, what mattered most to anyone was a good show delighting the spectators. Terry performed really great, finishing in 4th twice!
We are now in a convoy with all British teams on the way to the famous Nürburgring in Germany. Next weekend, we will compete at 4 championship counting races at the ADAC Mittelrhein-Cup.
We will keep you informed!