This week the T Sport Bernau team visited the famous Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary for the 2nd round of the 2022 Goodyear FIA European Truck Racing Championship.
After the first round of the season, only 3 weeks ago, the team made the journey to Hungary, keen to carry some of the momentum we gained with some great results last time out.
After arriving at the circuit and getting our pit area and hospitality all set up race day soon came around. The weekend once again began with a warm up session for the drivers to refresh their memory of the track and to assess the track conditions for the weekend ahead. The experienced Antonio in the T Sport Bernau truck instantly started to show some very promising lap times, giving the team a lot of confidence going into the qualifying sessions. As is often the case Antonio easily progressed into the super pole shootout, eventually securing fifth position on the grid for the start of the first race of the weekend. The race soon came around and Antonio took his place on the third row. The race got off to a great start with Antonio holding his position well, following closely behind Adam Lacko on 4th place. After some very entertaining and close racing with Adam throughout the race, Antonio was unable to find a way past but did extremely well bringing the truck home in 5th place, securing yet more valuable championship points.
The race engineers worked quickly to service the truck after the first race, making sure the truck was in optimal conditions for the start of the second race. Due to the reversed grid, Antonio would now line up in 4th place. The start of the second race however, would prove to be extremely chaotic. Running into the first corner, many of the competitors ran wide thus missing the apex. This sparked a chain reaction with the trucks appearing out of the first corner and wide on the circuit. A little bit of contact in the centre of the field caused a huge crash involving 4 of the trucks, Antonio included. After taking a big hit on the right-hand side of the truck and being pushed wide onto the grass, Antonio sustained a massive damage to his truck. With other competitors also sustaining huge damage from the incident and trucks stranded all across the circuit, the race was red flagged and halted. Despite the damage, Antonio managed to get the truck moving again, limping back to the pits with the damage clear for everyone to see. Once back in the pits, our team worked quickly to try and assess the damage and see if it was possible to get the truck repaired and Antonio back on the grid before the race was restarted. However, after assessing the damage, it proved to be too much work with just not enough time. This meant, Antonio was unable to continue taking part in Saturday’s racing. A long night lay ahead of the team working to repair the truck and to get it back into racing conditions ready for Sunday’s schedule.
After removing and checking both axles and the engine to weld and fix several mounts, the team also replaced two springs, the turbo, the windscreen, most of the panels and the wheels.
The truck was ready with only a matter of minutes to spare before the practice session of Sunday morning. A great effort by all of the mechanics, who worked tirelessly through the entire night sacrificing their sleep. With a lot of new parts and after such a huge incident, Antonio took to the track to assess the set-up of the truck and to make sure all of the systems were operating as they should for the upcoming races. However, the team quickly realised there was an issue with the new turbo and intercooler meaning Antonio had to return to the pits before the end of the practice session for the engineers to continue working on the truck. Once the turbo and the intercooler were swapped again, the normal preparations of topping up water and fuel were carried out and some new tyres had been fitted for qualifying. With very little time spent on the track to assess the set-up of all those new parts, Antonio once again proved his experience progressing into the Super Pole shootout and once again securing 5th position on the grid – a fantastic effort from Antonio compounding the fantastic effort from the mechanics to get the truck back into racing conditions in such a short amount of time.
Sunday’s first race would mark a huge milestone for Antonio, being his 500th race start in truck racing. Congratulations Antonio! The team were able to mark this special occasion by organising a delicious cake for Antonio and the team to enjoy.
The race came around and once again Antonio got a great start, however with the memory of Saturday’s incident fresh in his memory as well as the changes that had been made to his truck overnight, Antonio was understandably a little more cautious in the race. And yet he did a fantastic job bringing the truck home and finishing the race in 7th position. Unfortunately, due to a penalty we lost three more positions thus officially finishing 10th.
The last race of the weekend got underway, and with the reversed grid only applying to the top 8 finishers of the previous race, Antonio started from 10th position. He managed to race hard and gained places through the race. Finishing the race in 8th position, he achieved a great result with Antonio and the team happy to have secured more championship points after such a dramatic weekend.