The British Truck Racing Championship heads to the Nürburgring this weekend [1st-2nd July] for its fourth meeting as part of the prestigious Mittelrhein Cup at the ADAC Truck Grand Prix.
Running on the same bill as the FIA European Truck Racing Championship, the championship has doubled its quota of races on the timetable to four for this years event, with every race counting as a full championship round.
The grid will be bolstered by a number of regional entries from across Europe to create a showcase event for truck racing.
The BTRC, which boasts an impressive twenty-four entries across both divisions of competition, enjoyed another action-packed event last time out at the challenging 2.4 mile Thruxton circuit.
A quartet of different drivers took to the top step of the podium in each of the four races in Hampshire, but Ryan Smith retained his eight-point advantage at the top of the standings after becoming the first triple-winner of the season amidst some impressive recovery performances.
Four-time champion Mat Summerfield now sits as his closest challenger ahead of fellow MAN drivers Shane Brereton and David Jenkins, tied level five points further adrift. Stuart Oliver currently sits at the rear of the five-truck scrap for the honours but will be pushing hard to help secure an eleventh title.
Consistency has certainly been Ray Coleman's strong suit so far this season, with Luke Taylor and Terry Gibbon also looking to further their development with new-for-2017 MAN trucks. Oly Janes has perhaps been the epitome of 'unlucky' thus far, but will look to bounce back in the Buggyra and kick-start his championship push.
Michael Oliver brings up the tail end of the regular Division One honours as he continues his personal development in this, his second season of competitive racing. Mechanical issues have blighted the TOR driver thus far, but a new engine for Thruxton helped him to his highest points haul of the year to date, renewing hopes for a strong campaign.
In Division Two, reigning class champion Adam Bint has once again proven his mettle, recovering from setbacks at Pembrey with a hat-trick of second places to take a one-point lead to Germany over early-season pace-setter Mika Mäkinen. Mäkinen – blighted in Hampshire by recurring mechanical issues – will look to shine as he makes a return to the European stage in the Sisu SL250.
Were it not for the officials ruling after the final race at Thruxton, Simon Cole's Mercedes would currently lead the standings, but with only two points separating him from the class lead, everything remains to play for.
Should any of the top three slip up, Paddy McCumisky and four-time race winner in 2017, Tony Smith, stand poised to pick up the spoils.
A quintet of drivers make the journey to the Nürburgring from the South of France after a successful trip to participate in the popular European Truck Challenge at Nogaro, in which Ryan Smith claimed a hat-trick of wins and Ray Coleman also took to the top step of the podium in front of a packed crowd in a true celebration of truck racing.
With the championship fight set to hot up at the Nürburgring, the "European phase" of the season is truly underway as the 'Duel in Deutschland' marks the next chapter in this season's title fight.'