Last week, T Sport Racing travelled to Zolder in Belgium for the 6th round of this year’s FIA European Truck Racing Championship on 13th to 15th of September. And once again, we brought our complete hospitality unit to welcome more than a hundred guests from BPW-Benelux & PE Automotive.
It was Terry´s first time on Circuit Zolder – and he really liked the race track. On Friday, the event started off with free practice sessions. As Terry posted some good lap times enjoying this highly technical circuit, the whole team were confident in both Terry’s and the race truck’s performance as we started into the weekend ahead.
On Saturday, the first race day began with a timed qualifying session and a huge surprise: Finishing 11th overall and 2nd among the Grammer Truck Cup competitors, Terry beat fellow Brit Oly Janes by a thousandth of a second – a fantastic outcome considering that his experience on the circuit was limited to a couple of laps in Friday’s practice sessions! At the first race, Terry successfully kept his position and managed to climb up during the race. In the end, he finished on the top step of the Grammer Truck Cup podium and 8th overall. With the top 8 finishers being reversed to form the grid of race 2, this meant Terry would start from the pole position – for only the second time in his career. What an exceptional start into the weekend for the T Sport Racing team at this unfamiliar circuit!
Prior to the 2nd race, however, the team discovered a problem with the truck’s battery. Without a spare at hands – we found out later on that we are the only team running with a special race battery – the truck could only be started with a jump start. For the start of the race, this was no problem at all, but it put Terry under severe pressure. If, for any reason, the engine stopped or stalled at the start or during the race, Terry would not be able to restart it. Unfortunately for the team, Lady Luck was no longer standing beside us this time. Terry started well, but the race was red flagged twice after only 2 laps. This meant, the trucks had to form up on the grid under parc ferme conditions – that means the mechanics are not allowed to work on the truck. Accordingly, Terry had to leave the engine running whilst waiting twice for the restart of the race. As the engine was ticking over on the grid for over 20 minutes, it automatically switched into limp mode when the race was finally restarted the third time. Therefore, Terry had to return to the pits to stop his truck’s engine and restart it with a jump pack in order to reset the fault. In the meanwhile, he lost his place at the front of the pack. When he continued the race, he set some excellent lap times on the clear track behind the main pack and gave the team a lot of confidence going into the qualifying session on Sunday morning.
On the second race day we once again scored some strong championship points. Sunday started with another qualifying session and a small mistake on his flying lap which left Terry in 15th place.
At the first race, however, Terry got off to a good start gaining positions throughout the race. By the end of the race, he had climbed his way up to 10th position overall – hence finishing 3rd on the Grammer Truck Cup podium.
With only the top 8 finishers of the first race being reversed to form the grid of the second one, Terry started race 4 from 10th position. He fought hard and managed to gain a place early in the race. On the second to last lap, however, fellow Brit Dave Jenkins made a move and managed to overtake Terry. As a result, Terry once again finished 10th overall and 3rd in the Grammer Truck Cup.
With this, Terry stood on the podium in 3 out of this weekend’s 4 races and scored a very respectable amount of championship points in the Grammer Truck Cup. Terry and the team were very happy about this outcome – especially considering it was the first time we competed in Zolder. Once the team finished loading up everything into our trailers, half of the team will take home the hospitality unit as they head back to our base in the UK. The other half of the team will head back to the workshop of our partner Lunau GmbH in Wuppertal, Germany, to service the race truck in preparation for the next race at Le Mans, France, in only 2 weeks time! We will keep you informed. Stay tuned!