Streckenlänge: 2 337m
Red Bull Ring Str. 1, A-8724 Spielberg
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Right from the offset of the grand opening of this year’s FIA European Truck Racing Championship on Red Bull Ring in Spielberg (Austria), quadruple champion Jochen Hahn clearly demonstrated he fully focuses on defending his title with his brand-new Iveco race truck.
Some 18,000 spectators saw the fourfold champion winning three podium positions, accomplishing two victories and ranking second once.
Friday schedule began with press and VIP rides. Team Hahn Racing also used this chance to convince sponsor guests aboard even more of the fascination truck racing brings about.
Back then, weather was still top. By the time, the free practices took place on the afternoon and evening, however, in part there were some heavy rainfalls. One of them even caused the second training session to be canceled and postponed to Saturday morning.
However, weather wasn’t really ideal on the next morning either. In the end, Jochen achieved the third-fastest lap time – although, of course, nobody would put his cards on the table yet at these inaugural practice sessions.
This poker game wouldn’t end until the qualifying and the top-ten super pole. It was the time to take a stand. The title defender started the new season as he ended the last one – winning the first pole position of the 2017 season.
Since the second-fastest truck, the MAN driven by Steffi Halm, has also been built at the Hahn workshop, Jochen knew the potential the truck standing next to him on the first row of the grid pretty well. Right at the start, he managed to prevail over Halm pushing his Iveco onto the leading position and finally accomplishing a perfect start-to-finish victory – the first victory achieved with an Iveco race truck at the FIA European Truck Racing Championship. And also the third position was won by “The bulls on IVECO Magirus” – by Hahn’s teammate Gerd Körber. No wonder, the Iveco team thus also prevailed at the team championship.
The second race of the day brought about a huge surprise; it was the Portuguese MAN pilot José Rodrigues winning it – a victory nobody would have expected.
With a great start, Rodrigues prevailed over the pole setter Markus Altenstrasser – also piloting an Iveco truck – constantly increasing the gap. In the meanwhile, the Austrian pilot had to fend off the attacks of his chasers. Jochen, having started from 8th position, managed to leave the skirmish ranking 5th – right behind the Hungarian Mercedes pilot Norbert Kiss on second position, Iveco teammate Gerd Körber on third and Buggyra Freightliner pilot Adam Lacko from the Czech Republic. By the way, the last-mentioned could turn out to be one of the toughest competitors for the title of this year’s championship.
This time, the Iveco team ranked second achieving the same amount of points as the winner of the team championship.
On Sunday, finally, the summer weather everybody had been hoping for prevailed.
Steffi Halm managed to win the super pole just in front of Jochen Hahn. Even at the duel at the start, the woman piloting the MAN got off better. Nevertheless, the Hahn Iveco would stick to her rear bumper like a shadow. Consequently, the leading duo soon managed to increase the gap towards their chasers more and more. Jochen tried passing the Reinert Racing MAN quite some times, but Steffi remained flawless and fought off any attempts to attack her lead.
Following a heavy crash with just three more laps left to go, two trucks broke down at a critical part of the circuit. As a result, the race was stopped. Joining Steffi Halm and Jochen Hahn, the Spanish pilot Antonio Albacete completed the podium.
This time, “the bulls on IVECO Magirus” ranked third at the team championship.
At the final race, characterized by a large number of breakdowns, Jochen Hahn once again proved it’s all about proper timing. At the start, Sascha Lenz on MAN prevailed over André Kursim on Mercedes. After some laps, Adam Lacko and Jochen Hahn had turned into the most persistent chasers of the Lenz MAN. Lacko constantly attacked the leading MAN, but the name of the game remained: When two people quarrel, a third rejoices. Jochen found a gap and flew by both of of his competitors. Once on top, he completed the race firmly and steady like a rock. He crossed the line yet before Lacko and Lenz.
Once more, “the bulls on IVECO Magirus” won the team championship.
As a result of this highly successful weekend, Jochen Hahn now ranks first on the overall standings with a total of 51 points. Runner-up Steffi Halm (40 points) is followed by Adam Lacko (34), Gerd Körber (26) and Sascha Lenz (25).
The team championship is led by Hahn and Körber, as well. Second is Team Reinert Adventure (Halm/Lenz) while Truck Sport Bernau-Roboconort (Albacete/Rodrigues) ranks third.
Of course, Jochen Hahn was very pleased with the results of the first racing weekend of the season, too: “Staying on top without any problems, right from the offset and with a brand-new truck is not self-evident. Of course, the results achieved on Red Bull Ring are no indicator for further progress throughout the remaining of the season. The circuit simply differs too much from all other race tracks. But if we manage to achieve equally good results in Misano as well, I’m confident we will also be able to perform well throughout the rest of the season, too.”
On May 27 and 28, the second round of the running season at FIA European Truck Racing Championship will take place in Misano (Italy). Don’t miss it!