Last weekend the T Sport Bernau team competed in the first race of the 2023 Goodyear FIA Truck Racing Championship at the World Circuit Misano in Italy.
The team had a long and challenging drive, spanning 3 days, to reach the circuit in eastern Italy. Travelling across the English Channel from Dover to Calais, through France and Switzerland (a first for the team) and finally into Italy all the way down to Misano on the Adriatic coast. The journey however, was not without its difficulties. During the trip we encountered a tyre failure on our tractor unit resulting in a delay whilst we changed the tyre on the hard shoulder of the motorway. Furthermore, upon reaching Italy the extreme weather that has been widely reported in the media was really starting to take its toll. Heavy rains and floods made it extremely difficult to make progress, with many of the main routes through the region being flooded. The whole team were relieved when we finally made it to the circuit on Wednesday evening. The first round of the European leg of the Formula 1 season in Imola, which is only about 100km away from Misano, had to be cancelled due to the weather and flooding. Luckily our event was able to go ahead. We do however wish to say that all our thoughts are with the local people who have suffered as a result of the horrendous flooding in Italy recently. We witnessed first-hand some of the devastation and damage that has been caused by the events.
Thursday and Friday were spent assembling our setup in the paddock and getting our final preparations ready ahead of the first race with our brand-new race truck.
Saturday morning and the wet weather was continuing, although not as heavily as it had been earlier in the week. This made for challenging track conditions for the drivers in qualifying, Antonio was able to secure 4th position on the grid for the first race, an excellent start to the season with our brand-new truck.
The rain showers continued throughout the day. Race 1 was started under full yellow flag conditions meaning there was no overtaking allowed for the first lap, this gave the drivers time to asses the track conditions and grip levels before the real racing began. Once the racing finally got underway Antonio held onto his starting position well, technical faults for 2 of his rivals ahead meant he was ultimately able to gain 2 places by the chequered flag, finishing 2nd and on the podium in the first race of the season, a great opening result for the team.
Once again the second race of the day had to be started under yellow flag conditions. The reverse grid format which sees the top 8 places reversed from race 1 saw us starting in 7th position. During the first couple of laps Antonio was struggling for grip, however perseverance paid off as once the tyres were up to temperature the setup the team had chosen proved to be the correct one. Antonio’s lap times improved massively. He was able to make some fantastic overtaking manoeuvres on his rivals, crossing the finish line in 4th position. However a penalty being given to the third place finisher meant Antonio was later promoted to 3rd position, another podium finish and some more silverware for our collection.
Sunday morning and the team discovered a minor technical problem during the warm up session meaning we couldn’t bed in the brakes as planned and ultimately leaving us unable to work on finding the optimum setup for rest of the day. Qualifying came around and whilst continuing to try and adapt the setup of the truck for the track conditions, Antonio was able to qualify in a very respectable 6th position.
The third race of the weekend and Antonio fought hard, both trying to attack the trucks ahead of him whilst also defending from the trucks behind. Antonio managed to hold his ground and was able to bring the truck home still holding onto his 6th position.
The fourth and final race of the weekend saw Antonio line up in 3rd position on the second row of the grid. Antonio started well and fought hard, attacking the two drivers ahead of him at every opportunity. Managing to pull off some great overtaking manoeuvres on both of the trucks ahead of him Antonio stormed into the lead. He was able to pull a gap and stay in the lead until the end of the race, bringing home a race win to round off the opening weekend of the season. A truly fantastic result for the T Sport Bernau team.
We leave the weekend in an overall second position in the championship standings, a great start to the season and confirmation that the team’s efforts building and developing our new truck have really paid off. The team are hoping to carry on with our winning momentum into the second round of the championship which will take place in only 3 weeks’ time at the Slovakia Ring near Bratislava.