Jochen Hahn tops off the season final with two more victories
With beautiful late-sumer weather and some 27,000 spectators on site, the 8th and last round of this year's FIA European Truck Racing Championship took place on Circuito del Jarama in San Sebastián de los Reyes north of Madrid on the first weekend of October. Jochen Hahn had already secured the title in Le Mans one week earlier – both on the driver standings and on the team standings together with Steffi Halm, his teammate at "the bulls on Iveco Magirus".
The race weekend in Jarama has always been a classic two-day event. Accordingly, both of the free training sessions took place on Saturday thus causing an extremely tight schedule. Just a few weeks earlier, the circuit's track surface had been completely renewed. Consequently, the truck racers didn't have any practical values to rely on. As became apparent, the new track surface makes the circuit pretty fast although it is not very easy on the tires. At the Super Pole of the top 10 pilots, Jochen left his competitors behind thus clearly taking the pole position yet before the Hungarian pilot Norbert Kiss (Mercedes-Benz) and local hero Antonio Albacete (MAN).
At the subsequent race, the five-time champion took the lead, increased the gap towards the field and thus escaped the mess in his wake which occurred after just one third of the first lap and caused a one-hour delay in the aftermath. Not less than five race trucks had crashed into one another when some blown up dust and dirt blocked the vision for a short moment. When the race was restarted without the damaged trucks, Jochen was the only pilot on the first row on the grid – as the Kiss Mercedes had also sustained severe damage. Things worked out much smoother this time. Getting off with another great start, the new-fledged European champion once again left the field behind and won the first race of the weekend in a sovereign manner ahead of Albacete and the Czech title defender Adam Lacko (on a Buggyra Freightliner). His teammate Steffi Halm finished seventh. "The bulls on Iveco Magirus" thus won the team podium as well.
At the second race and due to the reversed grid, the English pilot Shane Brereton (MAN) took the pole position with Steffi Halm completing the first row on the grid. Jochen started from 8th position. At the start, Brereton prevailed over MAN pilot René Reinert and Steffi Halm. Eventually, Reinert passed his English MAN colleague and even managed to slightly increase the gap. He clearly won the race. Steffi stuck to the rear of Brereton's truck. In the end, she was relegated to 3rd position by a gap of just 2 tenths of a second.With their chasers forming an extremely tight field, Jochen preferred not to run any risks. Finishing seventh, he took "the bulls on Iveco Magirus" back onto the podium – second place this time.
On Sunday, Jochen's lucky streak went on. He achieved the fastest lap of the weekend and clearly won the Super Pole of the top ten qualifiers. With the same sovereignty, the Iveco pilot also won the subsequent race with a clear start-to-finish victory – and prevailing over Albacete and Lacko once again. His teammate finished 7th. As a result, "the bulls on Iveco Magirus" once again won the team ranking.
As was the case at the second race on Saturday, Brereton won the pole position of the last race of the season as well – and again with Steffi Halm starting from the second position on the grid. Having won the previous race, Jochen started the final race from 8th position again. The Englishman took the lead – again with Reinert chasing him. Steffi Halm went through the gravel and dropped back to 6th position at an early stage of the race. Just as he did the day before, Reinert literally stuck to the rear bumper of his English MAN colleague. After about half the distance, he broke Brereton's resistance. With the Portuguese pilot José Rodrigues (MAN) in tow, Reinert used his chance to pass. The field then literally absorbed Brereton's truck relegating him to 9th place. In the course of the race, Steffi and Jochen managed to rank up some positions. Right after Reinert and Rodrigues, Steffi finished 3rd on the podium. Jochen followed her closely to end up on 4th place. Consequently, "the bulls on Iveco Magirus" achieved a podium position at all of the four races of the final – this time, it was the top position again.
"Our victory at both categories – driver and team standings alike – was safe early on," Jochen stated after the last race, "and still we didn't give in at Jarama either. I think, especially as a team we once again showed that we really deserve these titles. At all of the four races, we achieved podium positions at both the driver and the team championships thus proving extreme consistency. Now it's time for the really tough job, the celebrations. At these events, I hope to be going as strong as I did at the races.
First of all, we – that is, my family and I – want to thank our team for their relentless dedication and commitment allowing these successes in first place. But then, of course, we must not forget about the financial and material support provided by our sponsors and partners whom I want to thank by heart as well. Without them, all of this would not have been possible."