TRUCK RACING: MKR TECHNOLOGY-RENAULT TRUCKS TEAM CONTINUE TO BE FRONT-RUNNERS IN THE EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP
In stifling heat, the MKR-Technology team’s Premium Course faced a real test at the 2nd Grand Prix of the European Truck Racing Championship in Albacete, Spain. Whilst the trucks were up to it in terms of time trials and pure speed, bad luck and minor technical blips with major consequences meant that they were unable to achieve the results that were expected. Nevertheless, the team continues to play a leading role, lying second in the Team rankings just one point behind the leader. In the drivers’ championship, Markus Bösiger is still in the top 3 and Markus Östreich 6th. Throughout the weekend, the work of the mechanics in the background was outstanding in preparing and repairing the trucks.
In the stifling heat of the Albacete circuit, south-east of Madrid, afflicted by bad luck on Sunday the MKR-Renault Trucks team trucks faced a real test but were able to consolidate what has been a very good start to the season. The time trials during each test session and the two podium places won at the weekend prove that the team is going to be up there challenging for the title throughout the season.
During the two Saturday races, Markus Bösiger was on the podium twice, whilst Markus Östreich, who suffered an air compressor breakdown, nevertheless managed to drive his truck to a very respectable 10th place finish and a 6th in the second race. On Sunday, Lady Luck seemed to turn her back on the team…In the third race, when he was fighting for second spot, Markus Östreich was hit hard by a tail-ender just five laps from the end. After a bad start, Markus Bösiger was able to make up 8 places to finish a very fine fourth! In the last race, when things seemed to be going very well, mechanical problems saw Markus Bösiger abandoning the race having been in second place, and Markus Östreich only came in sixth. In the end, lots of worthy effort that was never really converted into points.
In the team rankings, MKR Technology-Renault Trucks lost its top place by a single point. The drivers Markus Bösiger and Markus Östreich were 3rd and 6th respectively in the drivers’ championship. The next race will take place in France, in Nogaro on June 20th.
Focus: Mechanics: “professional knights” toiling in the background
There were seven of them (plus engineers) looking after the trucks throughout the weekend in the paddock: three per truck plus a supervisor. Adjustments, repairs, changing of mechanical parts, and more means that they have to be able to do absolutely everything. For this Grand Prix in Albacete, they had to work on the cooling system of the engine to avoid any risk of overheating and therefore breakdown. Guided by the engineers, the mechanics had to increase the air intake into the radiator and optimise the water injection on the harness to cool things down.
As in car racing, they are subject to tight time constraints: the truck must be ready in time whatever happens during the four races over the weekend. In case of technical problems, or “contact” with other trucks during the race, or if they come off the track, they have to be able to get the truck up and running for the next race. Hence, it is not unusual for the “mechanics” to be working throughout the night to meet these deadlines! But the big difference between truck and car racing is that truck parts are often 10 times heavier than the equivalent parts on cars. Where a car engine weighs a hundred or so kilos, a truck engine weighs over a ton! In practical terms, when the MKR Team Technology-Renault Trucks mechanics change a clutch, they have to remove the gearbox which weighs 600kgs (compared to 40kg for a car)… which does not stop them getting the whole job done in 25 minutes! For brake discs and pads, including dismantling and refitting of wheels, it take around 40 minutes. Something that would turn the head of any workshop supervisor!
It is in particular to make their operations easier and quicker and indeed more effective that they have specific training on the Dxi13 Racing engine that was new to them at the beginning of the season. Renault Trucks has trained them in the assembly, removal and setting of this new engine.