FOR the second time in four years, the Caterpillar Truck Racing Developments team has won the FIA European Truck Racing Championship. Driver Harri Loustarinen emerged victorious in a season that included 13 outright victories and 27 top-three finishes, driving a truck powered by a 1,043kW Cat C-12 diesel engine.
However the season was not without its difficulties. Three laps from the end of a Saturday Cup race at the Alastaro circuit in Loustarinen's native Finland, disaster struck when, for the first time in seven years, the Cat power unit suffered a component failure that forced the truck out of the race.
With the engine requiring a complete rebuild, frantic efforts began to find a replacement so the truck could compete in the Sunday Cup race the following day. Local Cat dealers Witraktor did not have a suitable engine in stock but reported that a 335kW Cat 3196 industrial engine had recently been delivered to the Nordberg Group for installation in a track-mounted mobile crusher.
With Nordberg's co-operation, the engine was diverted from their production line and delivered to the race circuit, where the Cat pit crew began the huge task of stripping the engine and preparing it to race specifications. Working through the night, the mechanics finally had the truck ready to race just 2min before free training began on Sunday morning.
Despite running on the replacement engine and on a wet track, Harri Loustarinen still managed to achieve a second place in the race, gaining valuable points towards his eventual championship victory.