Belgium Delight for Team Oliver at ZOLDER
Last weekend, Team Oliver Racing crossed the channel and made the short journey across mainland Europe to participate at the challenging Zolder race circuit, arriving on Friday morning to set up for the busy truck race programme.
On Saturday morning, Stuart and Martin went on track to qualify to decide the starting grid positions for the first race of the weekend. Stuart posted the fastest lap time and Martin was not far behind in second. On Saturday afternoon, race one got underway in glorious sunshine and, on the race start Martin managed to squeeze Stuart around the first left turn and then took the race lead into the right at turn two. He held this position for several laps with continuous pressure from Stuart who was very close behind. In the closing stage of the race, Stuart managed to get a better drive out of the last chicane onto the start finish straight and pass to take the chequered flag. Martin finished in second, achieving his first truck race career podium in his Giti sponsored truck.
On the Saturday evening race two started from a reverse grid determined from the previous race results. This was, without doubt, a race that kept the European truck race fans on their feet - with fifteen trucks charging into turn one and then off around the narrow, twisty four kilometer circuit. Lap by lap both Team Oliver Racing trucks managed to pick off the opposition and, by the closing laps Martin was up into second place and Stuart was in third. Then, at one of the many tight corners, the front positions changed and Martin went up into second. Stuart went around both trucks ahead into first place, going on to win the race. Martin finished, again, in a very respectable second place.
On Sunday morning all the drivers went out to qualify for grid position for the third race of the weekend. The outcome was along the same lines as on Saturday with Stuart posting the fastest time and Martin starting alongside him on the grid in the second spot. Race three started, again, in glorious sunshine and was eagerly watched by the tens of thousands of truck race fans that attended the trucking event. This time Stuart did not give Martin the chance to slip ahead allowing Stuart to pull out a comfortable early lead. Unfortunately for Martin, things were not so easy and, on lap three his truck lost its air supply to the rear axle causing the rear brakes to automatically apply forcing him to visit the pit lane. After the team carried out a quick repair Martin went back out into the race but, unfortunately, he was too far back to catch the racing pack. Stuart, however, went on to notch up a three out of three-race win.
Race four, the final race of the weekend, was very possibly the most exciting one of the event. Martin started on pole position and Stuart was at the other end of the grid, starting from the back. When the lights went out Martin was off into an early race lead, closely followed by more than a dozen other drivers wanting to take the last race win of the weekend. Stuart also had no intention to let the race win go without a fight, and, after several heart stopping overtake manoeuvres, by mid race Stuart was up into third place and, with a clear track ahead, lap after lap he closed down the two trucks ahead. With only two laps to go, he was up into second place with Martin only about 500 metres ahead. At the finish line Stuart had to settle for second but Martin was delighted to take the race win and his first trip of his truck race career to the top spot of a truck race podium.
The team now have a few weeks to prepare the trucks for the penultimate round of the British Truck Race Championship to be held at Pembrey on 13th & 14th October.