June 27, 2024


A challenging Sunday for Chrome class leader José Eduardo Rodrigues allowed his closest rival, Steffen Faas, to close the points gap at the end of the third race weekend. A strong showing from race-by-race entrant Lukas Hahn, who took valuable points from the Portuguese driver, has reignited this year’s championship contest.Saturday’s racing had gone entirely Rodrigues’ way, with another class pole, a Race 1 win, and a Race 2 podium to his name. These maximum points increased his title lead, as none of the chasing Chromes could overtake him. However, an engine failure during Q2 of Sunday’s qualifying session completely changed the momentum, marking the last appearance of the #38 truck on the Belgian track.

The issue in the second qualifying session allowed Hahn to secure the second class pole position of the weekend, starting P7 on the overall grid. It was revealed after the session that, although there was time to change the engine, the repairs were impossible as Rodrigues’ spare engine was back in Portugal.This setback not only ended Rodrigues’ weekend but also gave a great opportunity to Steffen Faas, who was still recovering points after his Sunday in Slovakia was written off by engine issues. A third place in Race 3 and a fourth in Race 4 weren’t the complete capitalisation Faas had hoped for, but it did earn him ten points on his rival, narrowing the standings gap to 12 as we approach the halfway point of the 2024 season.

Hahn impressed once again in his return to the Goodyear FIA European Truck Racing Championship, securing three of the four class victories available. The 52 points he picked up, including two overall podium appearances, placed him sixth in the Chrome standings after just one race weekend. The German is expected to compete again as a race-by-race entry at the Nürburgring, where he will aim for a similar performance in front of his home crowd.

Mark Taylor’s consistency has earned him a strong third place in the class standings. He frequently battles fellow Brit John Newell over race weekends, but his racecraft has often seen him edge out his compatriot.After Slovakia, it seemed Newell was on track to take third in the standings from Taylor, but a strong weekend in Zolder saw Taylor increase his lead in third to 12 points from just three after Slovakia.

Despite this, it wasn’t a bad weekend for Newell, who secured another class podium in Race 2. If not for an incident with Steffi Halm in Race 4, which took both drivers out of the race, the points gap would likely have been smaller, with Newell perhaps challenging Taylor for the last podium spot of the weekend.

Luis Recuenco had a turbulent weekend in Belgium, struggling for pace and losing points due to on-track incidents. An electrical shutdown during Sunday’s qualifying session saw him among the three drivers (including Rodrigues and Faas) who stopped during Q2. His team managed to fix the issue, allowing him to compete on race day, but the pace issue made it difficult for the Spaniard to make much impact.

Clemens Hecker returned to the Goodyear FIA ETRC this weekend and came back strong, as he had been at the season opener in Misano. Over the winter break in 2023, Hecker worked on his truck and positioned himself as one of the competitors to watch this season, frequently visiting the podium. He added another trophy to his collection with a second-place finish in Race 4.

The unluckiest man in the paddock has to be Luke Garrett, who arrived at Zolder to find his front axle was bent. The Onetruckfamily came together to ensure the full-season rookie could make it out on the track, with the likes of Sascha Lenz and Faas being the first to come to Garrett’s aid.The new axle did not have as much angle as his previous one, meaning the pace Garrett had started to find in Slovakia was further away than before. He raced well, despite suffering another steering-related failure when the pump failed in Race 1. It’s been a tough start to the season, but the Garrett team is showing resilience in adversity and looks to be one to watch when their luck finally changes.