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“Is it really summer break again?” This slightly modified quote of Franz Beckenbauer, alias “the Emperor”, also befits the truck racers who gathered at the 31st Truck Grand Prix on Nürburgring on the first weekend in July before starting into an extended rest until end of August. But there was yet another link to the Emperor this year: On Saturday evening, several visitors, mechanics and obviously also drivers watched the thrilling quarter-finals match between the German national football team and their highly feared Italian opponent at the European Football Championship.
This year’s Truck GP was one day shorter than usual. As ADAC didn’t plan any press or VIP rides at the 31st edition of this event, the race trucks didn’t rush across the Nürburgring sprint stretch until Friday. On Friday afternoon and following two free practice units, the pilots competed for the best starting position for the first race on Saturday. Once again Jochen Hahn achieved the fastest lap time at the Super Pole being closely followed by Adam Lacko, Steffi Halm, Norbert Kiss and René Reinert. As usual, all of the three race trucks newly built by Team Hahn went like a Swiss watch and ranked among the top ten – without any problems. But also the “used vehicles” built at the “Altensteig garage” proved themselves at the Truck Grand Prix – all in all, 8 trucks built by Hahn participated at this year’s Truck Grand Prix.
From Hahn’s perspective, the first race on Saturday worked out just perfect – accomplishing a commanding start-to-finish victory, the fancied pilot maximized his score for the ETRC. His immediate competitor, Adam Lacko didn’t stand a chance this time. Unable to attack Jochen, he followed the blue and white MAN with a small gap in between. Steffi Halm once again performed great: Ranking third, she crossed the finish line yet before Norbert Kiss and her team manager René Reinert.
The second race of the day, however, was quite a battle. At first, Sascha Lenz – by the way, performing better than his father Heinz-Werner this weekend – led the race. Due to several crashes, for instance between René and Adam, the red flags went up for the first time. Once the race was canceled and restarted, it took Steffi Halm three laps to fight her truck up to the top position. That’s where she stayed for the remaining ten laps. Jochen Hahn ranked up from eighth to second position closely followed by Norbert Kiss finishing third on his Mercedes. René Reinert also fought hard at the last race on Saturday. Having to start from the pit lane, he fought his way across the field consisting of 21 trucks from the very last to sixth rank.
For the triple European champion, Sunday started as Saturday ended: successful. He got hold of the second pole position of the weekend with René Reinert completing the first row on the grid. The second row went to Adam Lacko and Steffi Halm. At the same time, the Super Pole impressively gave proof of the high quality of the Hahn trucks as well: That day, the British pilot Shane Brereton, also driving a truck built in Altensteig, ranked among the top ten as well.
As there had been rainy weather at least at one of the days of each of the last three ETRC events this season, Nürburgring was not expected to be any different – especially since the weather in the Eifel mountains is quite infamous. This year, however, everybody got off cheaply. Rain poured down only shortly before the third championship race. Consequently, the stewards stated the race with two inaugural laps and under yellow-flag conditions. As the race began, Jochen remained in front at first – with Reinert and Lacko chasing him. Adam, however, wanted to prove himself as “king of rain” again. Despite the tough conditions, he thus immediately started his attacks. Just three laps after the start, he had managed to pass René Reinert closing up to Jochen. Just a single lap later, the Czech pilot already ranked on the top position with his Freightliner – although his victory was not safe yet. At a moment of incautiousness, both of the top pilots switched positions again. Shortly after, however, Jochen had to let his rival pass him once and for all. He then focused on not ranking down any further than second position until the end of the race. With quite a gap separating them from both of the leading trucks, Norbert Kiss, Gerd Körber, René Reinert and Steffi Halm crossed the finish line after completing the 13 laps.
By the time the final race of the weekend started, the weather had improved a lot and the track was dry again. Towards the end of the 31st Truck Grand Prix, the spectators were able to watch a thrilling race with tough fights for each and every position. At the very top, René Reinert – having passed the pole setter Anthony Janiec at the first lap – and Adam Lacko fought out an exciting dual for quite a while. Two laps before the end, both competitors collided and Reinert ended up at the gravel. As a consequence, he ranked down to fifth position. Jochen, having followed both of the dualists with a minor gap in between, used his chance to rank up to the silver position. Third on the podium, Steffi Halm once again topped her outstanding performance.
Races with home crowd and fans watching are always a “double-edged sword”. Jochen could tell you quite some stories about that. Nonetheless, Team Hahn Racing was very pleased after the 31st Truck Grand Prix: “It was a great weekend for us,” Jochen drew a first balance. At his home race – as usual with catering for several guests, sponsors and partners – he stood on the podium of each of the four championship races. In addition, Team Reinert Adventure was able to increase its lead at the team championship – and Hahn reduced the gap to the championship leader Adam Lacko to a minimum yet before the summer break: After four out of nice races, a single point now separates both of the title contenders.
All those wanting to meet Team Hahn Racing or willing to get to know us or the race truck any better or even just to celebrate with us, will get the chance to do so on July 17. In the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Team Hahn Racing, an open day will take place in Altensteig that day.
Adam Lacko 198 points
Jochen Hahn 197 points
René Reinert 118 points
Norbert Kiss 98 points
Anthony Janiec 95 points
Steffi Halm 90 points
Gerd Körber 63 points
Sascha Lenz 49 points
Ellen Lohr 40 points
Jiří Forman 33 points
Team Reinert Adventure 325 points
Buggyra Racing 1969 261 points
Lion Truck Racing-Lenz 181 points
YOUTUBE LIVE STREAMING:
Race 1 Sat:
Race 2 Sat:
Race 3 Sun:
Race 4 Sun: