During the last two weeks TEAM OLIVER RACING visited two European truck race events. First the team made its way to the circuit of Nogaro in the South West corner of France, this was to participate in a four race European Truck Challenge. The race weekend began with a trip in the race trucks through the town centre stopping off at the town square to soak-up the culture strongly associated with the region.
The race programme after practice and qualification sessions was as per the British Championship with the race one grid set by qualification times, there after the start grids were reversed. The first race got underway in extremely hot conditions, Stuart finished in second place and Michael came over the finish line in fifth. The second race of the day Stuart very quickly made his way up through the field then on a challenge to get to the front on the very last lap was pushed onto the grass and ended up spinning off into the gravel trap. Michael started mid-field and had a very challenging race resulting in a seventh-place finish.
On the Sunday, the first of the two truck races turned out to be a milestone moment for the team as Michael scored his first race career podium crossing the finish line in second place with Stuart only a few metres behind. The second race of the weekend Stuart unfortunately had to pull out due to a mechanical issue, Michael however with the taste of champagne still fresh on his lips managed to get on the podium again with a third place finish.
After the celebrations finished the team headed North towards the Nürburgring to compete in four truck races that would count towards the British Truck Race Championship, however en-route Stuart had to make a detour to a workshop in the Czech Republic for a quick engine overhaul.
By early Friday morning the team was assembled and ready to perform in front of no less than 155,000 European Truck Race fans. The qualification session was one both Stuart and Michael wanted to forget, Stuart had a transmission failure and Michael was penalised for a track limit infringement. With little time between the qualification session and the first race Stuart started the race from the pit lane with no clutch operation and Michael started from the back of the grid. With a grid of 28 trucks Stuart had his work cut-out but managed to work through the pack to cross the finish line in eighth place, Michael also did not disappoint and finished two places back in tenth place.
On the Saturday, the teams had two races both with the all action reverse grid format. From the start of the first race Stuart was determined to improve on the previous days result and did not disappoint by taking his VOLVO truck across the finish line in first place claiming the top step on the world famous Nürburgring podium. Unfortunately, Michael was not so fortunate when on lap seven a turbo pipe connection failed causing him to retire from the race.
The second race of the day again with a reverse grid got underway in very damp conditions and after a race long battle Stuart had to settle with a second-place finish. Michael managed to also come from the back of the 28 truck grid and finish the race in eighth place.
On the Sunday, the BTRC race was scheduled to start at 13:00, thus giving the teams plenty of time to explore and absorb the German truck race festival themed culture. As regularly happens at the Nürburgring just prior to the race start the very heavy rain started, for safety reasons the race officials opted to run the pace truck around for two laps. During the first of the two warm-up laps Stuart’s truck developed a major internal engine fuel leak. Because Stuart was unaware of the problem and coupled with the heavy rain the fuel quickly spread over the circuit causing a Red Flags to be shown. Unfortunately, this then resulted in the race officials abandoning the race on the grounds of safety.
The team are now back at the workshop preparing the trucks and equipment for the UK’s premier truck race event “Convoy in the Park” to be held at Donington Park on 22nd & 23rd July.