This weekend, the T Sport Bernau team travelled to Circuit Zolder in Belgium for the 6th round of the Goodyear FIA European Truck Racing Championship. The weekend began on Friday with 2 free practice sessions. Luckily for us, we discovered an issue with the front axle on the truck during these practice sessions which meant the team had time to fix the problem before the weekend’s events got properly underway.
After a long night working on the truck, Saturday’s action began with qualifying. With our extended VIP area in the paddock alongside our VIP suite overlooking the start/finish straight, we welcomed over 200 guests to cheer on Antonio. Unfazed by the problems from Friday, he was able to put in great efforts at the qualifying and Superpole sessions to secure 3rd position on the grid for the first race of the weekend. During the race, Antonio got off to a good start holding his position well. After some close fought battles, Antonio unfortunately dropped down a position and brought the truck across the finish line in a very respectable 4th place – securing some good championship points. The reversed grid saw Antonio start from 5th position at the second race of the day which would turn out to be a rather chaotic race. Antonio and the T Sport Bernau machine initially fell back to 8th position. However, with some incidents happening ahead, Antonio managed to stay out of trouble, regaining some positions in the process, ultimately finishing back where he started: in 5th position. Once again, he thus collected some more valuable championship points for his efforts.
Sunday came around and with a short warm up session at the beginning of the day, the team noticed a strange noise coming from the new engine we fitted in Most only last week. The mechanics worked quickly to try and diagnose the problem which they suspected to be a pulley or water pump within the engine. However, after carrying out a repair the guys suspected there might be more repairs that would need to be done. During qualifying, it became apparent that more work was required on the engine. After a great lap putting Antonio 4th on the standings, it was necessary to stop the truck before the end of qualifying due to safety concerns over the engine. Ultimately, this meant a lot of work for the mechanics and Antonio would have to start from the back of the grid at the first Sunday race. The mechanics worked tirelessly to fix the engine, performing repairs that many would think impossible to do without the facilities of a full workshop and removing the engine from the chassis. However, the skills and determination of the mechanics got the repairs done and got Antonio onto the grid in time for the first race. Once again showing his trust in the mechanics, Antonio was unfazed by the work that had been undertaken and was able to push hard during the race, gaining 4 places and finishing 10th – a great result, all things considered. At the final race, Antonio was promoted to 9th place on the grid after another driver received a penalty in the first race. Fighting hard once again, Antonio gained yet more places, eventually taking the chequered flag in 6th position. More championship points to add to the tally and a great result after the reliability issues we had been faced with.
Overall, the team can be satisfied with the results of the weekend. A lot of hard work went into keeping the race truck out on the track, and for that the whole team can be proud. We will now spend 2 days at the Automechanika fair in Frankfurt and then travel back to the workshop at Garage Lunau in Wuppertal where we will perform a full service on the race truck before we continue to France for the penultimate round of the championship at Le Mans in only a fortnights’ time.