Distance per round: 2 337m
Red Bull Ring Str. 1, A-8724 Spielberg
Phone: +43 3577 202-0
Fax: +43 3577 202-27009
The new season at the European Truck Racing Championship has begun. This year, the event on Red Bull Ring marked the opening to a series of nine events scheduled for 2016. This time however, the Austrian Truck Race Trophy was strongly affected by severe weather conditions. Nonetheless, Jochen will keep it in good memory since the opening race weekend - at least on track - turned out almost perfect for him.
Of course there is a big difference between hearing and watching weather forecasts on either radio or TV and actually having to face extreme weather conditions. For the teams, the arrival was almost like a tour to fantasy land: Besides freezing temperatures caused by heavy snow showers, the later ones also painted the landscape white and caused sometimes pretty difficult driving conditions. Even as the trucks approached the race track for press and VIP taxi rides on Friday morning, the hills around Red Bull Ring were still covered with snow. The sky didn't clear up until the afternoon. On Saturday, all the contrary, weather felt like spring. And then, on Sunday, heavy rain - it was pelting down with rain - and icy winds at the Styrian mountains caused visitors to stay away. Consequently, the stands were relatively empty that day.
The good and hard work of Jochen and his team throughout the winter break became apparent as early as at the press rides and at the free practice. The triple European champion achieved the best time in several occasions. At the Saturday qualifying, Hahn again prevailed over his competitors closely followed by Rene Reinert who performed outstandingly great. On the contrary, Adam Lacko, the Buggyra pilot favored by many, only ranked mid-table. Even at the race itself, Hahn and his teammate Reinert were a class of their own. Jochen achieved a perfect start-to-finish victory while the hauler from Lusatia finished second and thus even ahead of the local hero Makus Altenstrasser (Iveco) and Sascha Lenz.
To some extent, the second race of the day pretty much resembled a season final with tough fights: After completing the 20 laps distance, several trucks were pretty damaged as they crossed the finish line. The first heavy skirmish occurred already at the first curve. In the thick of it, Jochen ranked sixth as he returned to the track. Adam Lacko and Rene Reinert managed to evade the clashes thus leading the field at first. At the second lap then, Rene took over the top position while Hahn ranked up step by step. After 12 laps, he reached the second position. At the remaining eight laps, he managed to close up to his teammate Reinert. The later one remained flawless and thus finished the race with a well-deserved first victory at these early stages of the running season. In addition, both Team Reinert Adventure pilots ranked first twice at the team championship on Saturday.
As already mentioned, the second day of the event was marked by heavy rain completely reshuffling the pack. By Sunday evening, the "king of rain" celebrated his victory: That day, Adam Lacko got along quite well with the rainy conditions and thus clearly dominated the races. At the third race, the Czech pilot got hold of the pole position and turned out victorious. As was the case at the final race of the weekend, this second-last one was also started with two inaugural laps and under "yellow flag". Despite having to start from eighth position due to reverse grid, Lacko also prevailed at the weekend's final - resulting in his second victory of the day.
In the pouring rain, Jochen first fought with Gerd Körber for the second position and finally prevailed. At the 12th lap, Anthony Janiec passed Körber and immediately started chasing Hahn. The final decision was taken by a flat tire with just three more laps to go. Handicapped in this manner, Jochen didn't manage to successfully fend off the attacks of the French pilot anymore and thus had to stick to the bronze medal. Gerd Körber and Rene Reinert crossed the finish line right after the winning trio.
The last race at the 2016 Truck Race Trophy was a thrilling one, as well - not only because of Adam Lacko's great performance. The wet track put all participants under severe pressure demanding strong efforts. As the stewards took down the yellow flags, Ryan Smith and the young Czech pilot Jiri Forman led the field at first. Lacko fought hard for eight laps before snatching away the top position from his teammate Forman. Like his competitors, Jochen Hahn also had to fight hard before ranking fourth. With four laps left to go, the stewards stopped the race ahead of schedule. Consequently, Adam Lacko won the race followed by Ryan Smith, Gerd Körber, Jochen Hahn, Jiri Forman, Norbert Kiss, Frankie Vojtisek and Erwin Kleinnagelvoort. On this rainy Sunday, Hahn and Reinert finished second twice at the team championship. Therefore, they now lead the standings with a remarkable advantage over their competitor teams. In addition, Jochen also leads the standings of the driver championship while Rene Reinert ranks third.
After this successful opening event in Austria, the teams will gather again in just about four weeks - that is, on the last weekend in May - for the second event of the season taking place in Misano (Italy).
Overall driver-championship standing:
Jochen Hahn 48 points
Adam Lacko 42 points
Rene Reinert 33 points
Gerd Körber 28 points
Markus Altenstrasser 21 points
Anthony Janiec 20 points
Sascha Lenz 17 points
Norbert Kiss 14 points
Overall team-championship standings:
Team Reinert Adventure 89 points
Buggyra Racing 1969 67 points
Lion Truck Racing-Lenz 56 points