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MAN Nutzfahrzeuge starts the Truck Race season 2008 at full power

The Truck Race season 2008 will be starting on May 10th in Barcelona.

  • MAN trucks dominate the starting field
  • MAN motorsports family with newcomers from Germany and Russia
  • MAN racing trucks with the new TGS outfit
  • FIA European Truck Race Championship 2008 will be starting and ending in Spain
  • Exciting title bouts at ten racing weekends

The Truck Race season 2008 will be starting on May 10th in Barcelona. Spectators can look forward to ten race weekends with exciting contests. 25 drivers with eight different truck brands will be competing for this year’s European championship title. As in recent years MAN Nutzfahrzeuge will once again be dominating the field of starters – this year a total of 13 race trucks will be bearing the lion in their brand emblem. The MAN motorsports family will be appearing with some distinguished newcomers this year – and there will be a few modifications in the trucks too .

The Russian Mikhail Konovalov to strengthen Team Allgäuer

Fans of the speedy MAN trucks will be eager to see how the newcomer to truck racing, Mikhail Konovalov (44), acquits himself. The Russian has been recruited by the Austrian Team Allgäuer. At the age of 14 Konovalov started cart racing in St. Petersburg. In the mid nineties he continued his long motorsports career again in America. He has also covered over a million miles through the USA at the wheel of his trucks. His transport company consisted of five long-distance trucks. The engineer and motorsports buff from St. Petersburg acquired all-round knowledge of engines as the director of a company for the maintenance of diesel engines.

Team Allgäuer decided on Konovalov after looking at several truck racers from East Europe and Russia. At the start of the season on May 10th in Barcelona he will be appearing for spectators in a 1000 hp race truck for the very first time. With Konovalov it will be the first time in the history of truck racing that a Russian driver will be taking part in a competitive vehicle. Konovalov will be “accompanied” on the track by the team boss Egon Allgäuer, who will be competing for points at the wheel of the second MAN race truck.

The French driver Jo Adua, who took part in the legendary Dakar Rally on several occasions, finished off his excursion to the truck race track with the finals of the 2007 season. As is generally known, Adua had had his truck developed and prepared by the Team Allgäuer. Allgäuer sold the vehicle to the Belgian Jean-Pierre Blaise, who had already taken part as a truck racer the year before last but then took a year off. As in the past a “back-up truck“ of the yellow fleet from Vorarlberg can, if desired, be used by one of the team’s two prominent guest drivers, Hans-Joachim “Striezel“ Stuck or Prince Leopold of Bavaria.

Jochen Hahn to start the Truck Race season 2008 with MAN

With Jochen Hahn (34) the MAN drivers’ camp has signed up a high-profile newcomer. Last year the experienced driver from Altensteig (Germany) had managed to finish in fourth place. In recent months Hahn, who used to drive a Mercedes truck, has built up a race truck based on the MAN TGS with his team around the designer Stefan Honens. He is thus confident that he will easily be able to successfully follow through his long-standing commitment to truck sport. This year Jochen Hahn will be the only German driver to take part in the entire European championship series. In the 2008 season he will be starting with the number 4 and is aiming to come in among the top three with his new truck. And this although he is quite aware that both the driver and the crew will first have to come to terms with the new vehicle.

Serial success: Team Bernau

Lutz Bernau, with four European championship titles as a driver and team boss by far the most successful player in recent years, will be taking part with the same line-up. With his crew he is preparing a truck for the Spanish Cepsa Team with the European champion twice over and current runner-up Antonio Albacete as the driver. Beside this, as already last year, Bernau will be assigning a second MAN to the French driver Jean-Philippe Belloc. Bernau has sold his old success model and Belloc is now driving a newly built truck. The MAN truck of the Spaniard Antonio Albacete was completely dismantled during the winter break and reassembled with modified components.

Team Stuart Oliver

The British ex European champion Stuart Oliver is another experienced MAN driver who will be competing for the entire season. Since this year Oliver will be taking part with a thoroughly modified truck which, as in all of the top teams, is powered by the over 1100 hp common-rail engine, he reckons he stands a good chance of once again successfully playing with the big boys.

MAN race trucks in the new TGS outfit

This year the newly constructed or modified MAN race trucks will be appearing in a new outfit geared to the image of the new MAN truck range TGS. Last September the MAN TGS celebrated its world première and together with its “big” brother, the TGX, was voted Truck of the Year 2008.

This season the MAN race trucks can thus be recognised by their striking front grille, which is also sporeted by the on-road version of the TGS. There have also been some innovations under the external metal. The MAN engineers in Nuremberg have carried out detailed modifications for the racing version of the D26 common-rail engine to further improve the efficiency of the 12.4 six-cylinder in-line engine. The series version of the engine has an output of 480 hp. By means of diverse modifications for racing – primarily a modified common-rail injection system and a larger turbocharger – the characteristics of the six-cylinder engine have been considerably enhanced. With the D26 CR tuned for racing, outputs above the 1,100 hp mark will be achieved for the first time in the history of MAN race trucks. The torque is at 5,000 Nm. Just a few years ago this was still a threshold reached by just a few prototypes in the Super Race class. As in recent years the driveline can be leased by interested teams.

The MAN service crew, responsible for the field of drivelines will be represented with its own service truck at all ten race dates in order to support the teams in their battle to gain seconds. In the 2008 season the MAN employees Artur Klein, Sascha Kochan, Peter van Vessem and Denis Herzog will be assigned to the races. Work will be coordinated by Florian Spanfelner from the Nuremberg engine plant, who will be responsible for MAN’s presence at the track this season.

In view of the long commitment of the lion brand to truck sport it is inevitable that the MAN fleet rolling up to the starting line consists of vehicles from different generations. The trucks are very popular as used vehicles even among drivers for whom truck sport is rather a fascinating hobby than a pastime pursued professionally. The range thus extends from the current MAN TsA 18.480 of the Spaniard Albacete through to the long tried and tested TGA 18.410 from Team Allgäuer. The Austrian team has sold two used vehicles, one to the Belgian Blaise and the other to the Hungarian Balasz, the latter having taken part in the Rally Dakar on several occasions. The French driver Dominque Lacheze has got rid of his striking bonneted truck and will be driving a used MAN from the Bernau fleet, the most successful race truck by far in recent years.

An overview of the teams with the TGS race truck

Team Start no. Driver Location Truck Engine
Equipo CEPSA 23 Antonio Albacete Madrid
Spain
MAN TGS 18.480 D26 CR
Truck Race Team Allgäuer 6 Egon Allgäuer Sulz
Austria
MAN TGS 18.480 D26 CR
Truck Race Team Allgäuer 5 Mikhail Konovalov St. Petersburg
Russia
MAN TGS 18.480 D26 CR
Trucksport Hahn 4 Jochen Hahn Madrid
Spain
MAN TGS 18.480 D26 CR
Trucksport Lutz Bernau 7 Jean-Phillippe Bellov Toulouse
France
MAN TGS 18.480 D26 CR
Team Birds 8 Chris Levett Worcesters
Great Britain
MAN TGS 18.480 D26 CR
Team Stuart Oliver 9 Stuart Oliver Hexham
Great Britain
MAN TGS 18.480 D26 CR

Pure excitement: The Truck Race-season 2008

In the 2008 season the truck racers will be starting again at ten race dates after a longer break. A new race in Great Britain, where there has been a successful national championship for many years, has been added to the calendar. Participants in the European championship have also been guests to the British Isles in the past. After a break of several years the pack will be meeting again in the last July weekend at Donington Park, a race track in England. Otherwise there are practically no changes from the previous year in the calendar.

As in the past participants in the FIA European Truck Race Championship 2008 will be starting and finishing the events in Spain. At the opening of the season the truck racers will be guests at the Gran Premi Camión de Catalunya 2008 on the formula 1 race track in Barcelona, while the finals will be held in Jarama near Madrid. Between these dates the races will again be in the “normal” order, the only exception being the exchange between Misano und Zolder which was necessary because of a clash in the dates last year. This means that truck racers will be meeting on the Adriatic in spring and in Belgium in autumn. The largest event in the series, the German Truck Grand Prix on the Nürburgring, will be held on the second weekend in July.

Nor will there be any significant changes in the rules. However, the FIA committee started an initiative at a meeting at the beginning of the year which could take effect next year and above all aims at giving ambitious amateurs in the midfield new incentives. There have been increasing complaints from these amateurs that under normal circumstances the top ten positions are normally won by the top teams, while the rest of the field hardly have a chance to score points. With the new regulation for the points system at least fifteen of those taking part will have a chance to gain points for the European championship classification. The proposal, which was made by the drivers, was accepted unanimously. In the course of the season it is to be discussed, worked out and brought into force.

During the unusually long winter break a lot of drivers and team bosses expressed a hope that attention this season should be shifted back to the race track. The FIA representatives also promised to take a consistent approach to rules and thus to ensure that protests and counter-protests settle down at a reasonable level. It can only be hoped that the good intentions really take effect when the starting light changes to green for the first time to open the new season in Barcelona.

The 2008 race calendar

10th /11th May Barcelona (E)
24th /25th May Misano (I)
7th/8th June Albacete (E)
28th/29th June Nogaro (F)
11th-13th July Nürburgring (D)
26th/27th July Donington (GB)
30th/31th August Most (CZ)
13th/14th September Zolder (B)
20th/21st September Le Mans (F)
4th/5th October Jarama (E)

MAN Power Station – a highlight in the drivers’ camp

Last year the new MAN Powerstation celebrated its première – and immediately became a popular highlight in the paddock attracting lots of visitors. The architecturally appealing hospitality area clearly signalised the commitment of MAN Nutzfahrzeuge to truck sport to the outside world. A lot of the races which are run within the framework of the European championship have, over and above the sporting considerations, become notable hot spots at which companies from the commercial vehicle sector can meet their target group – i.e. drivers and entrepreneurs - in a relaxed atmosphere. To some extent these events are a bit like fairs since there are additional attractions such as concerts, drivers’ competitions or show truck meetings for the visitors.

With its Power Station MAN has created a new quality of communication with customers beside the race track. To date set-ups of this kind have been familiar only at such racing events as the German Touring Car Championship and Formula 1 – however, in these disciplines events are not as hands-on as in the heavy weight class. Part of the fascination of truck race sport has traditionally been the close contact of the fans to the drivers and their crews. A truck race at which the drivers’ camp is hermetically sealed off by security measures is inconceivable. In addition the Power Station is always set up in strategically favourable positions so that the guests are able to watch events on the track at first hand.

The partner company for the use of the station is Kitz Exklusiv, a company based in Kitzbühel (Austria), which has ample experience in this sector. For many years Kitz Exklusiv has been involved in similar activities for Formula 1 and other race series. Between ten and twelve semitrailer tractors will be needed to transport the MAN Power Station, and it will take three days to set it up. One advantage is the flexibility of the station. Depending on what is required it can be built up in four different variants. The dimensions of the maximum version of the hospitality area are 35 x 15 x 7.50 metres. This means that there is an area of 525 square metres on each of the floors. Kitz Exlusiv needs a staff of fourteen and a mighty 80-metre crane mounted on a MAN semitrailer tractor to assemble it.

In the 2008 season the Power Station is expected to be in Misano, Donington, Zolder, Le Mans and Jarama. In addition guests of MAN will also have an opportunity to enjoy the entertainment and relaxation in the station at the big truck festival in Interlaken (Switzerland).

The MAN drivers’ club Trucker’s World

In the good two years that it has now been in existence the MAN drivers’ club Trucker’s World has been an impressive success story. The club was started in Germany where the truck race on the Nürburgring offers drivers the perfect ambience for the biggest annual meeting at which drivers have an opportunity to enjoy a few days away from their day-to-day stress and to compare notes with their colleagues. At the Truck Grand Prix in the Eifel Trucker’s World will again have separate facilities reserved for club members in the MAN marquee. There is also an action area with diverse sports activities which in the year of the European football championship will, of course, be revolving around what is probably the favourite leisure-time activities of countless European.

In the meantime the drivers’ club has become international. In numerous European countries organisations for drivers in line with the German prototype have been brought into being, some with the same name and some with individual national names. The Dutch version is called the Golden Lion Club; while in Austria the club is known as the Commander Club and enjoys practically cult status among MAN drivers in the Alpine republic.

This year branches of Trucker’s World will be starting up in Portugal, Denmark and Switzerland. The British branch of the drivers’ club is expected to make its first big appearance at the truck race in Donington. You can find full information about the activities and the attractive benefits of Trucker’s World in the internet under the address www.man-truckers-world.com.