Race Report Le Mans
Last weekend the T Sport Bernau team travelled to Le Mans, France for the penultimate round of the 2022 FIA Goodyear European Truck Racing Championship. The team arrived in good time ahead of the weekend. However, due to a period of dry weather in France, we were unable to wash down our trucks and trailers before setting up in order to save water. This is only a minor inconvenience with such a great weekend planned for the fans visiting the circuit and plenty of on track action alongside show trucks, trade stands and lots of entertainment. An amazing stunt show was scheduled for the Saturday evening along the start/finish straight – all topped off with some spectacular fireworks which did not disappoint. The team were able to invite guests from both BPW and Varta to enjoy the weekend’s activities at the paddock.
The on-track action began as normal on Saturday morning. After a promising free practice session Antonio was able to head out to both qualifying and superpole to ultimately secure himself a place on the second row of the grid, lining up in 3rd position for the first race of the weekend. After a great start and an entertaining race for our guests to watch, he was able to hold his position throughout the race hence securing a podium finish.
The second race however, was not to be as straightforward. Starting further down the grid due to the reversed grid format, Antonio would have to fight hard to make up places. Antonio was pushing forward right from the start. After some contact, however, when another driver pushed him wide and off the circuit, the truck sustained damage to both front tyres meaning we would have to retire the truck from the race for safety reasons – a disappointing end to a day that had started so well.
Sunday was a new day and with the pace Antonio and the T Sport Bernau truck displayed on Saturday, the whole team were confident heading out onto the track. After easily progressing through qualifying, the superpole session was very closely fought. Antonio would line up in 5th position. His lap time was only marginally short of those in 4th and 3rd position. The team we confident of his pace. Once again, Antonio fought from the start, trying to make up places. Ultimately, however, he would have to settle for a 6th place finish – still collecting championship points. With the reversed grid format, he would be in a great starting position for the last race of the weekend which saw a chaotic start into the race. After starting on the second row, Antonio was trying to avoid contact and unfortunately lost a place in the process. Racing hard throughout the race, he was able to follow the leading pack closely. Nearing the end of the race, however, Norbert Kiss who had started further down the field managed to charge through and make a pass on Antonio. As a result, Antonio finished the race in 5th position once again, collecting a few more championship points.
After the race was over, there was cause for celebration as we - along with Norbert Kiss and the Révész Racing team – had secured the win of the 2022 team championship with an entire race weekend still left to run. A fantastic result and a great achievement for us all. Hard work and perseverance really paid off. With some tricky weekends where reliability hasn’t always been on our side, this season we pulled together and worked hard to keep Antonio and the T Sport Bernau truck competitive out on the track and scoring those all-important championship points. The season finale, next weekend, will see us take to the track at Antonio’s home circuit of Jarama in Spain where we hope to see a lot of fans both supporting and celebrating with us.