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The tenth win

Antonio Albacete wins in Jarama, scoring tenth European Truck Racing championship for MAN

Decide it all prematurely at the race in Le Mans or rather win the title in Spain in front of the home fans? As the end of season drew near, Antonio Albacete's Cepsa Team was undecided which of these variants was preferable. As it finally turned out, it was the more emotional of the two. Fifth place in the last race at Le Mans was just a fraction short of an early decider to the FIA European Truck Racing Championship 2010. But after the first Championship race at Spain's most historic motordrome in Jarama, near the capital Madrid, Antonio Albacete had fulfilled his dream: the motor racing pro thrilled his fans by clinching the title for the third time following his wins in 2005 and 2006. This was also a milestone for MAN, being the tenth European Championship title won by an MAN driver. Besides Albacete, Fritz Kreutzpointner (1999 and 2001), Noel Crozier (2000), Lutz Bernau (2001 and 2003), Egon Allgäuer (2002) as well as Stuart Oliver (2004) have piloted MAN trucks to the title.

While the new European champion was able to celebrate after the first race, his MAN colleague, Germany's Jochen Hahn, suffered a serious setback in the first time trials: due to a problem with his GPS device his speed limiter did not function. In consequence, the result for the "MAN in black" was voided, which turned out to be decisive in the battle for second place in the overall rankings. Hahn's closest rival, Markus Bösiger, won that race and even a win in the second race (worth only ten points) was not enough for Hahn to be able to catch up.

Albacete's victory in the European championships turned out to be clearer than had been expected. The twin pillars on which this success was built were the champion's experience and MAN's reliability: just as in previous years, the MAN TGS 18.420, a masterpiece of construction and maintenance work by Lutz Bernau and his crew, completed all 35 championship races of the 2010 season. And not only that: the Spaniard was the only one of the top five drivers to score points in every single race. The hot favourite took the lead in the overall standings with his great performance in the second race in Albacete in Spain. By the time it came to the final in Jarama he had amassed a lead of 57 points and his chances of being overtaken were purely theoretical. The 2010 season also saw the new champion setting up another record: on the race weekend in Albacete he won three out of four races and was second in the fourth – a feat none of his competitors came anywhere near emulating.

By the middle of the season, two drivers had clearly become challengers for the runner-up title. Jochen Hahn in his MAN wanted to improve the previous year's placing yet once more. His opponent, Markus Bösiger, proved time and again the potential of the Renault race truck prepared by the newly-formed MKR Team. The team in this form is a real gain for truck sport. In Renault, another manufacturer is now showing what it can do, with a commitment similar to that of MAN in the near-series Race Class.

With Chris Levett as well as Adam Lacko and Alexander Lvov, the two Truck Race Team Allgäuer pilots, another three MAN drivers were in the top ten of the final standings for 2010. Levett, who like Albacete also drove an MAN built by Lutz Bernau, showed his ability by scoring a number of impressive wins.

In addition to the top teams, several other drivers in MAN race trucks competed for the European truck sport crown. Javier Mariezcurrena, Jeremy Robineau, Jean-Pierre Blaise and Jose Bermejo drove in all the races or for the most part of the season. The well-known Portuguese team consisting of the Rodrigues family, father and son, again earned a great deal of respect, in particular son Jose, who did very well to get in amongst the points despite disadvantages in terms of material. In the second half of the season, the MAN fleet with its black bodywork saw some reinforcements: the several-time Finnish champion, Mika Makinen, hired the Hahn truck from the previous year and participated in international competition for the first time. The racing fraternity was greatly affected by the death of the likeable Hungarian driver Balazs Szobi, who was killed in a light plane accident shortly after the race in Nogaro. He was replaced by Zoltan Birnbauer for the remainder of the season.

The tried and trusted concept of the racing series again proved successful this season. It was above all the biggest races - the Truck Grand Prix on the Nürburgring and the 24 Heures Camions in Le Mans - which drew even bigger crowds than in the previous years. The weekends in Misano and Zolder have developed into real trucker festivals, even though the Belgian organizers were unlucky with the weather this time and the number of spectators was lower than expected. Truck racers wrote motor sport history in the 2010 season: the "Truck Battle Russia" on the new track near Smolensk was the first truck race on a circuit in Russia under the auspices of the FIA. Truck racing reports on TV also found an increasing number of interested viewers. Reports were broadcast in 125 countries.

Jochen Hahn: The MAN in black from Germany ranked 3rd in the standings.

En route to his third title: Antonio Albacete with his Cepsa-MAN

The star in the MAN Power Station: Three trimes Champion Albacete

The star in the MAN Power Station: Three trimes Champion Albacete

Blue is beautiful: Chris Levett from Great Britain driving his distinctive MAN