Last weekend -and after a 10 year wait – FIA European truck racing returned to the UK at the Donington Park Circuit, north of Birmingham, with the first truck Grand Prix of the new FIA European Truck Racing Championship season.
The event also saw European Team Champions Renault Trucks-MKR Technology determined to defend their crown, as well as a new Renault Trucks driver, Adam Lacko.
Everything was there at Donington to ensure that this would be a spectacular event. In sporting terms, Renault Trucks-MKR Technology earned a place on the podium for each of the weekend’s four races.
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With two firsts, Markus Oestreich was top of the rankings at the end of these initial two days of the championship.
Having reached the top of the podium at the end of its inaugural season last year, the still young MKR Technology team was under considerable pressure as this year’s championship competition opened.
All eyes were therefore riveted on the team’s two drivers, German Markus Oestreich and Swiss Markus Bösiger. On this occasion, Markus Oestreich certainly didn’t disappoint!
During the first race on the Saturday, after having earned pole position and clocked the fastest lap, he pulled off an assertive first, more than 7 seconds ahead of the N°2. An achievement he repeated with a 3 second lead at the end of the first race on the Sunday.
Despite a 3rd place in the 2nd Sunday race, Markus Oestreich was this weekend’s decisive winner. Having accumulated a total of 51 points, he tops the rankings.
Much was also expected of Adam Lacko, the new Renault truck driver. He and Anthony Janiec form the Franco-Czech MKR Team 14 juniors. During the reverse grid race, the second on Saturday, he was in the lead for a considerable part of the race, finally finishing an excellent second. During the first race on Sunday, Anthony Janiec came in 7th.
For Gérard Pétraz, these results have nothing to do with good luck. Speaking to Tachoblog he said, “We haven’t been resting on our laurels. Even if the DXi13 Racing engine has been acknowledged to be the best engine in the discipline, we have been working to make it even better throughout the winter.
“It now has a power rating of 1,140 hp, with a torque of 5,500 Nm and a maximum engine speed of 2,600 rpm.”
Since truck racing is such a popular sport with the manufacturer’s customers, Renault Trucks had decided to be this British Truck Grand Prix’s main partner. There was therefore a whole succession of events and attractions organised on one of its three stands throughout the entire weekend.
These included face painters, a balloon modeller and a clown for the children. There were also autograph sessions with the drivers and racing truck simulators. Not to mention the concert given by the current world champion Elvis Presley impersonator, from the back of a Renault Premium curtainsider. All of which delighted the family audience that came in droves to the Renault Trucks stands.
At the same time as all these activities designed to attract the public were in full swing, a number of commercial activities were also taking place. Renault Trucks had invited 12,000 customers to its three stands, and 8,000 took up the invitation.
Marc Martinez, Renault Trucks’ UK managing director commented to Tachoblog, “The number of spectators far exceeded our most optimistic forecasts. We are very proud to have been the main partner for this British Truck Grand Prix, which gave us maximum exposure to truck enthusiasts.
Customers and members of the public were delighted to have the opportunity of climbing aboard the vehicles on display. Together with all our network of almost 70 dealers, we are doing everything to develop the Renault Trucks brand on the UK market via truck racing.”
A full summary of the race results from the event, can be found at MKR’s results webpage.
For more pictures from the event, visit the event Facebook page.