Heavy metal thunder

The FIA’s modern portfolio embraces everything from F1 and Formula E to hillclimbs and, here, the European Truck Racing Championship...

The weather was probably a given. Budapest is prone to the occasional summer storm, but the Hungaroring was bathed in its customary sunshine for the fifth of this year’s nine European Truck Racing Championship (ETRC) rounds. It didn’t draw an F1-level crowd – the quoted figure was 35,000 – but the mood was engagingly boisterous, particularly when title-challenging local hero Norbert Kiss (right) triumphed in the first of four races (Czech Adam Lacko winning the others).

Brit Ryan Smith was roundly booed when he appeared on the podium after a clash with Kiss – and played up to the crowd appropriately. It’s motor sport with pantomime overtones – and families lap it up.

It helps that competition is frequently close. There are two races each day, the line-up for the first being determined by a conventional qualifying session and that for the second by the result of the first – albeit with the top eight in reverse order.

Although truck racing has a sizeable following in the UK, the ETRC presently has no British fixtures on its itinerary. The 2017 schedule was drawn up with events in Austria, Italy, Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Belgium, France and Spain. Kiss and Lacko apart, winners have included José Rodrigues (Portugal), German lady Steffi Halm, former FIA Formula 3000 racer Antonio Albacete (Spain) and British duo Smith and Shane Brereton.

Trucks weigh about 5300kg and are powered by turbodiesels of up to 13 litres. Top speed is capped to 160kph and they accelerate from 30-160-kph in 7sec.

To put that in perspective, it’s about the same as a Porsche 911 GT3...