The start of the season has been hectic for the Buggyra Academy France drivers
Truck racing
May 27, 2024

The Buggyra Academy France drivers have had a challenging start to an extremely competitive season in the French truck racing championship. Over the weekend at the Paul Ricard circuit in Le Castellet, defending champion Téo Calvet claimed a blistering second place in a packed field, thanks to two second and one third finishes. José Sousa took his maiden triumph in the series and, together with his son, is now in the top 10 of the standings. Newcomer Kevin Jimenez showed a fighting spirit in his debut truck race, earning him top-10 finishes in two races.

“It was a really awesome weekend. The extreme balance at the top of the field was confirmed. We take home second place in the overall standings, which was won by Téo Calvet. We also faced some minor problems, but we quickly solved them,” said Fabien Calvet, Head of Buggyra Academy France.

Téo Calvet began his title defense with a third place in Saturday’s qualifying. The reigning champion was limited by the new tires, to which he and his truck setup still have to get used to. Raphaël and José Sousa were both in the top 10, while Kevin Jimenez started his truck career from the seventh row.

Just as Téo Calvet started and finished the opening points race, so did he. After the start, he was even slowed down by the truck in front of him, causing him to drop in the standings. However, he soon took back the bronze and crossed the finish line in third position.

“It was a very close race. Unfortunately, the driver in front of me didn’t start. They were overtaking me from the right and from the left. I was able to get back in the race and after I passed Jonathan Andre, I was able to hold on to third position until the end of the race. We had the same pace in the top three, but we couldn’t overtake,” Téo said.

Race two, with the order reversed at the start, saw the Buggyra trucks triumph. José Sousa took his first win in the championship, while Téo Calvet was second. Raphaël Sousa missed the podium by just 3.5 seconds and finished fourth. Kevin Jimenez was ninth.

“I am very happy with this race. There was a collision at the start, so then we had to start behind the safety car. And that’s not easy. The driver in front of me left a big gap, so we had to catch up with the others again. In the end, I managed to finish in second place. It was a great race and a great presentation for Buggyra Academy France because José Sousa won his first race under the academy banner. I am very happy for him and for the team,” said Téo Calvet.

Sunday’s qualifying was similar to the day before. Téo took third position, José and Raphaël Sousa both made their way into the top 10, with Kevin Jimenez close behind in twelfth.

In race three, Téo managed to jump up to second position despite a serious collision, leaving the experienced Anthony Robineau behind by a wide margin. Raphaël Sousa was sixth, with José Sousa two places behind. Kevin Jimenez made another appearance in the top 10, finishing tenth.

“There was massive contact with other drivers. I overtook Robineau and he wanted to return the favor. But Jonathan Andre passed him as well and caused a collision. Jonathan then bumped into me and put a big hole in my door. Nevertheless, I was able to continue driving,” Téo described the critical moment.

The fierce battle between the drivers behind him created such a gap for leader Lionel Montagne that even a full-throttle Téo Calvet could not catch him. The latter was still happy with his second-place points haul.

The second race of the weekend, with the order reversed at the start, did not favor Téo. After starting from seventh, his truck spun in a battle with slower rivals and he dropped to the back of the top ten. “I gradually worked my way forward again. But with two laps to go, my oil pressure failed and my engine exploded. But overall, I’m coming back from Le Castellet as the second-best man in the standings, so I can be happy,” described the Buggyra Academy France driver of the unlucky race. Raphaël Sousa was seventh among the Academy drivers to get the best result this time.

The next race, scheduled for 22 and 23 June, will take place at the Buggyra Academy France’s home track in Nogaro. Téo Calvet will start the race in second place with 106 points, while the leader Lionel Montagne scored 131 points at Le Castellet. Raphaël Sousa is sixth (83 points), José Sousa eighth (71), and Kevin Jimenez twelfth (61).

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