TRUCK RACING: THE RENAULT TRUCKS / MKR TECHNOLOGY TEAM CONSOLIDATES ITS SECOND PLACE IN OPPRESSIVE RUSSIAN HEAT
This year, the European Truck Racing Championship is boasting a number of strikingly innovative new features! The first of these came at the beginning of the season with the formation of a new team driving Renault Trucks vehicles - MKR Technology. Another first was the groundbreaking design of the two new Premium Racers, much to the delight of all truck racing enthusiasts. And finally, this weekend's fifth leg of the championship took place on a brand new track not far from Smolensk in Russia. For this important occasion, Renault Trucks made itself one of the event's main partners, gaining an even higher profile when the MKR Technology Team retained and consolidated its number two position in the manufacturer rankings.
The Russian leg of this year's European Truck Racing Championship was held 400 km southwest of Moscow at a recently completed track. In fact, the Smolensk Grand Prix (7 and 8 August 2010) also hosted the track's official opening ceremony attended by many dignitaries, highlighting the event's importance. These included the Russian vice-minister of Sport, the President of the Russian Motor Sports Federation and the vice-president of the FIA, Graham Stoker. The backdrop to the ceremony was provided by the MKR Technology Premium Racer, N° 24, watching over proceedings to make sure everything went smoothly.
Although new, this event in Smolensk made no concessions to the men and their machines. On the contrary. Because of the heatwave temperatures (over 40° in the shade), the drivers, engineers and mechanics were all working under very uncomfortable conditions. Soaking up the heat and giving it out again, the track's asphalt surface pushed temperatures to a staggering 50° - so that the machines themselves were also severely challenged during the weekend's four races. The Premium Racers' engines had to be serviced several times to check their reliability under such punishing heat. A further difficulty for drivers was the fact that the track's narrowness restricted overtaking opportunities during the course of the races.
Although neither of the MKR Technology Team drivers made the podium after the first race on Saturday, Markus Oestreich did reach the 3rd step after the second. However, the two races on Sunday enabled both drivers to deliver better performances. During the first race, it was Markus Bösiger‘s turn on the 3rd step of the podium, Markus Oestreich having to make do with an honourable 6th place before finishing 2nd during the last race of the weekend after a spectacular comeback and a keenly fought battle with his adversaries. After this event, Markus Bösiger was 3rd in the overall rankings with 176 points, dropping one place. Team colleague Markus Oetreich kept his 5th place, having scored a total of 125 points. With 359 points, 59 points ahead of the N° 3 squad, the MKR Technology Team consolidated its 2nd place in the team rankings.
Despite the almost unbearable heat, there was a massive turnout of fans during this weekend. They were treated to some very fine races, particularly the last one of the weekend. Braving the narrowness of the track, drivers took risks to carry out spectacular, but carefully calculated, overtaking. In the end, the 14 laps provided a superb show in which bent and torn steel alternated with uniquely powerful emotions.
Outside Europe, Renault Trucks Russia, one of the manufacturer's largest subsidiaries, had pulled all the stops out for this new leg of the European Truck Racing championship. Almost 300 customers were invited during the weekend, some of them coming from neighbouring Byelorussia. In particular, they were able to view the vehicles on display decorated with Russian red flower emblems: a Renault Premium Long Distance which was also one of the Pace Trucks, a Renault Premium Lander and two Renault Kerax (one fitted with a tipper, the other with a mixer). This race took place within a few months of the Smolensk dealership opening, the latest addition to Renault Trucks’ network in Russia.
All the latest news about Renault Trucks and MKR Technology can be found on http://truckracing.renault-trucks.com. After every championship event, the 2010 version of this site publishes reports of the races, together with photos and videos. It will also soon be offering a new version of Truck Racing by Renault Trucks, the video game which shares a passion for trucks with the 350,000 or more players who have already downloaded it free of charge since the launch.
> Renault Trucks in Russia
This year, Renault Trucks is expected to reach a 10% share of the Russian market, three points higher than in 2009. The manufacturer has a network of some 30 sales and service outlets (28 sales outlets) and is aiming to have more than 50 (with 45 devoted to sales) between now and 2012. Already very well represented in the West of Russia, Renault Trucks is intending to expand its network in the east and gain a stronger foothold in the regional capitals. Four new dealerships opened in 2009, including Moscow south and Kaliningrad. This year was also marked by the official inauguration of the Smolensk dealership, 420 km from Moscow and 320 km from Minsk, the capital of Byelorussia. With a population of almost 320,000, Smolensk is the capital of a province numbering more than one million inhabitants.
Renault Trucks biggest selling vehicle in Russia by far is the Premium Long Distance. It also sells the Premium Lender, Renault Kerax and Renault Midlum. When the Cape to Cape expedition crossed western Russia in 2009, the Renault Sherpa created quite a sensation in the land of the Tsars because of its imposing size. The Renault Kerax similarly became better known on this market which has an extremely high potential for development.