Two podium positions for Jochen Hahn on Hungaroring
After a summer break of almost six weeks, the fifth round of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship took place on Hungaroring thus initiating the second half of this year’s season.
With some 32,000 visitors on site, it was a hot weekend – in every respect. Temperatures rose to up to 39 °C in the shade and up to 56 °C on the track. Cool wind was pretty rare. Nonetheless, the truck racers fought some pretty hot races, too. While things started pretty calmly with press and VIP rides and free training sessions on Friday, real action started on Saturday morning.
Absolutely predominant, Mercedes pilot Norbert Kiss won the first pole position. Of course, the local hero knows almost any stone on Hungaroring. He’d probably even be able to race blindfolded across his home circuit. Piloting his Iveco race truck, Jochen Hahn won the second position on the grid – followed by Steffi Halm (MAN) and the Czech pilot Adam Lacko (Buggyra Freightliner).
At the subsequent race, Jochen got away with a great start but still didn’t get past Kiss. As there was no one threatening him from behind, he didn’t risk anything, stopped his attacks and secured his second rank. Steffi Halm finished third, yet before Lacko (CZE), both of the MAN pilots Sascha Lenz (GER) and Ryan Smith (GBR), Hahn’s “Die Bullen von Iveco-Magirus” teammate Gerd Körber (GER) and the second Buggyra pilot David Vršecký (CZE). Finishing 8th, the Czech pilot won the pole position for the second race of the day.
Vršecký took the lead right from the start and was followed by his teammate Lacko who fought his truck up from 8th position. Jochen also gained three positions right at the start thus ranking fourth and right behind his teammate Körber. Having hardly even completed a third of the race, the pilot from Altensteig had already managed to pass both Körber and Vršecký – not only achieving the fastest laps, but also closing up to Lacko who led the race with quite a gap. Over and over again, Jochen tried to pass the Czech pilot. Not willing to risk neither too much nor even the point, he finally stopped his attacks. As a result, the Iveco pilot finished second on the podium for the second time that day.
The battle for the third rank on the podium, however, was a much tougher one. In the end, Smith prevailed over Vršecký – at an adventurous maneuver right before the finish line. He finished third in front of Vršecký and Steffi Halm. Jochen’s teammate Körber finished 8th. Just as they did the race before, the bulls on Iveco Magirus thus once again finished 2nd at the team classification.
On Sunday and like the day before, Kiss once again won the pole position for the first race of the day. Lacko won the second position on the grid – followed by Steffi and Jochen. Once again the fans, cheering almost enthusiastically for Kiss, expected another victory of their idol – but Lacko prevailed at the start. An extremely thrilling duel arose between Lacko and Kiss. In the end, the Czech pilot won the battle by a hairs breadth.
Jochen entered the first bend driving in line with Steffi Halm and Antonio Albacete. As he was thus pushed out pretty far, he even got slightly off the track for a moment and finally fell back to 5th position. While Steffi finished 3rd almost not endangered at all, Jochen and Albacete fought hard for the 4th position. Following several attacks, Jochen’s truck faced thermal problems. As a result, he preferred to quit his attacks sticking to the fifth position. His teammate Körber finished eighth again thus getting hold of the last pole position of the weekend.
At the beginning, he successfully headed the race – even though there was a spectacular crash at the second bend which resulted in a happy reshuffling of the positions within the field. Lacko fought his truck up to the second rank and finally took the lead at the third lap. All the way across the finish line, he would then stick to his rank.In the meanwhile, Halm and, while Hahn got slightly off the track, even Vršecký passed Jochen.
Steffi went on, passed Körber and then chased Lacko across the finish line – thus finishing second. When Jochen finally managed to overcome his technical problems, he started chasing Vršecký. When the Czech pilot tried to attack Hahn’s teammate Körber, both of their trucks collided. At this incident, Körber’s Iveco was damaged pretty heavily. The German pilot lost quite some ranks and finally had to drive into the pit lane with only two laps left to go.
In the meantime, Jochen managed to close up to Vršecký. He was now constantly trying to pass the Buggyra Freightliner. But Vršecký would fend off any attacks – even though his Buggyra was slowing down more and more. Even Smith and Lenz, both of them having dropped back at the crash at the start of the race, had already managed to close up again. And yet, applying all of his routine, Vršecký prevailed and finished third yet ahead of Jochen Hahn.
Although Hahn himself didn’t achieve any podium positions throughout the second race day, “Die Bullen von Iveco-Magirus” once again achieved a podium position at the team championship.
Lacko continues leading the overall standings (232 points). Jochen and Kiss share the second rank (both 174 points) and Steffi Halm (172 points) ranks third ahead of Albacete (114 points).
“I’m not really disappointed, but especially with regard to the last race, I’m convinced I could have finished third. But then again, I’m not willing to risk a whole race of even severe damage just because of a single point,” Jochen stated on Sunday evening.
Leaving Hungaroring, the team heads directly to the Czech race circuit in Most for the 6th round of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship taking place next weekend, i.e. on September 1 to 3.
Link to the Videos: https://www.youtube.com/c/FIAETRCEuropeanTruckRacingChampionship