KISS BEATS PENALTY TO TAKE SECOND NÜRBURGRING WIN IN RAIN-SHORTENED RACE
The rain played its own hand in the second Goodyear FIA European Truck Racing Championship race of the weekend, aiding Norbert Kiss in his wet racing masterclass to take victory once again in front of the German crowds.
The increasingly bad track conditions and Clemens Hecker's truck stuck in the gravel in Turn 1, saw Race 2 red-flagged at the end of Lap 9, having gone 75% of the race distance.
It was a yellow-flag start as the rain started to fall during the grid formation, only falling harder as the race start time approached. André Kursim led the field away from pole as they filtered into a single file, getting a one second lead through the first lap which kept him out of trouble when the lights went green.
The start of the second lap almost saw Kiss taken out as the grid raced into a very wet Turn 1, but in typical Kiss style, he showed fantastic race craft in the wet. Getting stuck behind Jochen Hahn for a lap, it wasn’t long before he was climbing up the field.
The climb became more important when Kiss was handed a ten second penalty for overspeeding off the start. The teams control the speed limiter with a GPS system, so with the increasingly poor weather and the sponsor bridge that hangs across the main straight, some teams have been experiencing system blips. This is what Révész Racing put Kiss’ overspeeding down to.
Kursim was quick prey for Sascha Lenz, who had also made short work of passing Steffi Halm and Lukas Hahn to get to the front of the field. Halm had followed him through, sitting a comfortable third which she promoted to second when she also pushed Kursim down the order. Neither of the pair could to anything to postpone Kiss’ attack, however, even though Lenz tried his best to make his MAN truck as wide as possible. All Lenz had to do was stay close to the charging Hungarian, and he would take the win once Kiss’ penalty was applied post-race.
Sadly for him, however, the worsening conditions, particularly in Turn 1, were catching all of the drivers out. Mark Taylor, Luis Recuenco, José Eudardo Rodrigues and Jochen Hahn were all early victims of the river that was forming.
Lenz too went wide into the first turn but managed to retake to the track and hold second, although bringing Halm into striking distance, but the error had seen Kiss’ lead increase from 4.5 second to over the ten he needed to hold the top step of the podium.
Halm had been trying to close in on Lenz in the closing stages of the race, but with the premature chequered flag it’ll be a question of ‘what could have been’ for if she had the pace to take second for her second podium of the year.
Kursim managed to hold onto fourth ahead of Antonio Albacete as the race turned to survival in the final few laps. Both were part of the lucky few not to be caught out by Turn 1’s growing river.
Continuing on his mission to reel in Rodrigues’ Promoter’s Cup lead, Steffen Faas took a well needed class victory, sixth overall. Faas looked planted on track in his SCANIA machine, using the conditions perfectly and even pushing Jamie Anderson further down the overall order. There had been a battle for Promoter’s Cup glory between him and fellow German Lukas Hahn, but Faas clearly had the handle of the wet conditions much better than his fellow countryman, leaving him in his wake as he progressed up the grid.
Anderson split the top two in Promoter’s Cup, finishing seventh overall.
It had looked for most of the race that Faas was really going to optimise on Rodrigues’ misfortunes with the Portuguese driver falling victim to the saturated track as well as being stuck in a traffic train outside the top ten. However, some clever racing and a bit of luck from others going off track saw him passing race-by-race entry Erwin Kleinnagelvoort in the final lap before the red flag was shown, moving to third in Promoter’s Cup, ninth overall. Kleinnagelvoort still took an overall top ten finish, but very narrowly missed out on the class podium.
It was a race to forget for Jochen Hahn who, after holding Kiss back on the start, had a spin that dropped him to the back of the grid. He managed to recover to 11th by the end of the race, but it appeared that he couldn’t get a handle on the constantly changing conditions, being caught out by wet patches all over the track. He’ll be doing a sun dance before Qualifying 2 later today, hoping to get his performance back on track ahead of the last two races of the weekend.
John Newell finished ahead of fellow countryman Mark Taylor – who really struggled to keep his truck on track during the race. Luis Recuenco had a very quiet nine laps, managing to survive to finish ten seconds off the British duo.
Clemens Hecker lost his truck in Turn 1 and ended the race beached in the gravel. By that time the race had gone for 75% of the race distance and with the worsening conditions was red-flagged and not resumed.
Truck action is not complete today, and with the dark clouds hovering overhead it could be a very intense day of racing. Qualifying 2 gets underway at 13:35 which will set the grid for Race 3 and the final race today at the Nürburgring commencing at 17:55.
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