It was Steffi Halm who shone bright at the Slovakiaring European Truck Racing Championship.

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Team CV

The Slovakiaring European Truck Racing Championship may well be over. The European Trucking teams may be busy preparing for the 2018 season, which will begin in May. History cannot refute however that Steffi Halm shone at Slovakiaring in the 2017 season. Steffi made a stunning start and earned herself a fabulous finish. With the weather pleasant, the final race at Slovakiaring on July 16, 2017, saw Lenz take off and gain a certain advantage. Halm, however, eclipsed it with an explosive burst of speed. The two rushed into the first corner with Steffi taking a firm lead as she exited on the other side. Not only did she manage to keep the best line, she also did not lift as early as Lenz seemed to. As the rest of the field tackled the first corner, Steffi was already some distance ahead with Lenz and Hahn in pursuit. In the earlier race (Race 3) the same day, Kiss in his Mercedes scored a well-earned victory with Halm coming in fifth after Albacete, Hahn and Lacko. It was Albacete who accelerated quickly from the second row to enter the first corner ahead of others. He went wide and was quickly overtaken by Kiss. Overtaking not just Albacete, but also Hahn, Kiss kept the lead to himself right until the end.

Right behind Albacete and Hahn, Steffi drove under pressure from Lacko. She was forced to brake hard after Hahn and Albacete ahead of her braked hard. This led Lacko to take advantage As the two trucks ahead of her braked strongly, Halm was forced to hit the skids, allowing Lacko to quickly find a way ahead of her. The Freightliner was quicker, and Steffi ceded her fourth place to the Czech. This perhaps had an effect on Halm as she simply drove explosively in the final race. It was a race where she earned her title and achieved an emphatic win. As Steffi continued to pull ahead of her Reinert Adventure teammate Lenz, it was Hahn who continued to pressurise Lenz. Lenz was being set upon by his pursuers. It did not take long for Hahn to overtake Lenz. One lap later Kiss also overtook Lenz. Mid-race, Lacko in a faster Freightliner overtook the MAN driver as well. With every manoeuvre that took place on the field, Halm got an opportunity to increase her lead. Such was the opportunity that Steffi could simply pull out a big lead to ease off on the closing laps and simply take the flag. Her win at Slovakiaring was simply emphatic. It seemed bigger than the three-second gap on the screen would suggest.

Feeling the heat with Kiss breathing down his neck, Hahn fought hard to keep the second place to himself. With Kiss taking the third place, Lacko could do little but to be satisfied with the 4th place. Lenz contended with Körber again in the closing laps, the Iveco pilot clawing his way back up. However hard he tried however, Korber had to settle for the 5th place. Two former champions, Albacete and Vršecký fought a fascination battle. Through most laps, their trucks were either nose-to-tail or side-by-side. Vršecký managed to stay ahead until the final lap. In the final lap, Albacete found a way ahead even before anyone out there could realise. While José Rodrigues finished 10th, Kursim finished 9th since he was required to start from the rear of the 15-strong field as a consequence of his failure to finish the earlier race. In the first race of the final race day, Kursim, driving a Mercedes put up a good show. Post the practice sessions the day prior, and the first two races, the first race of the final race day, it was clear, would be exciting. The circuit, with sweeping curves negotiable at top speed and a relatively rough track surface, was extremely abrasive on the tyres. New lap records, there was little doubt, would be set on worn tyres.

Norbert Kiss managed a 2:41.769 lap time, and showed that he was a second faster than his close rivals Jochen Hahn and Adam Lacko. Kiss was quick, and set a lap time of 2:42.768. Hahn was quick too. Both, Kiss and Hahn were joined in the Top 10 by Antonio Albacete, Lacko, Steffi Halm, Sascha Lenz, Gerd Körber, David Vršecký, André Kursim and José Rodrigues. Hahn simply snapped up the pole from under Kiss’s nose with a 2:43.136 time. Albacete came third, followed by Lacko, Steffi Halm, Vršecký, Kursim, José Rodrigues, Lenz, and Körber. The race reflected upon Albacete’s winning performance during the Part 3 race held a day prior. A not so assuring start by Korber gave Albacete and Halm an opportunity to grab the lead. The MAN duo, lap after lap, extended their advantage over the rest of the pack. Körber in 3rd position was beset by Lacko, Hahn, and Kiss. The three overtook Korber mid-race one after the other. With this manoeuvre, the finishing order seemed to have been decided. Albacete and Halm held an unassailable lead. Neither Hahn, nor Kiss could snatch 3rd from Lacko. Korber finished 6th, ahead of Vršecký and Lenz. Kursim, in a Mercedes, got off to a good start, but had a competitor crashed into the rear of his Mercedes. This led to him dropping down to 10th position. With a damaged portion of his truck chassis rubbing against the tyre, there was no way Kursin could claw his way back. Not that he did not try. He did, and got into the 9th place with an eye on the Promoter’s Cup. On the 6th lap, Kursim was ordered by race control into pit lane. The team worked on the truck, but could not go further than half a lap. In one of the sweeping left-handed curves, the truck simply shot straight ahead through the gravel and hit the tyre barrier with its left rear. That was the end of it. Faas inherited the 9th place ahead of Vojtíšek. Kiss, collecting a 10 second penalty for overspeeding that tossed him to 8th, allowed Körber, Vršecký and Lenz to each move up a place in the classification.

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