19th overall at the British Rental Kart Championship

During the weekend of January 20th and 21st, the British Rental Kart Championship was held at the track of Formula Fast in Milton Keynes.

Even though this championship has been organized for several years, this was only my first participation. Previous years I missed the event due to exams.

We left on Friday morning to Milton Keynes, so we could do some training heats in the evening. These heats were more than welcome for me as this was a complete new track for me.

The championship consisted of four qualifying heats, a semi-final for the best 30 drivers and a final for the top 10. With 100 high level drivers and no drop result, it was therefore important to score strongly in the qualifying heats. During each race there was one mandatory pitstop to improve overtaking.

My first race was immediately a very strong heat with Ruben Boutens, Thom Van Dijk, Oliver Bayani, Bjorn Vermeulen, etc… I got a good kart (16) but a slightly too conservative hot lap only resulted in P7, although 0.13 from pole. Half a tenth quicker would have resulted in P3… The lack of training had its consequences. Luckily, I drove a relatively strong race and I could still climb my way up to P5. A podium would have been possible with a better hot lap.

In the second heat I got a slower kart, but I managed to put myself on pole with a margin of one tenth of a second on my Traxxis teammate Sander De baets and local hero Ed White. Both were quicker during the race which forced me to defend quite quickly. That seemed to work well until Ed tried to pass with me with optimistic moves. We lost quite a lot of time and with his second move at the end he managed to pass me. A bigger issue for me was Johnny Elliot who started from 4th but did his pitstop in the penultimate lap. Because Ed passed me, the gap to Johnny was too big to stay in front after his pitstop. P3 was the result, a bit disappointed with that result after a very strong hot lap.

In the third heat, it soon became clear to me that a victory was not going to happen. I got kart 17, one of the slower karts in the pack. Eventually, I qualified myself quite surprisingly at P4, a position I could hold until the end.

I got a decent kart in the fourth and last regular heat. I qualified in third behind Chris Daines and Thomas Zels. In the race it soon became clear that I was faster than both guys in front of me. Overtaking them seemed impossible with a kart that lacked a bit of power. Thomas decided to pit early allowing me to close the gap to Chris. Whatever I tried, passing Chris was impossible so I decided to pit earlier than I planned. Unfortunately, that plan didn’t work out as well as I hoped as Chris re-joined right in front of me after his pitstop which meant I had to settle for P2.

After the qualifying heats I was P24 overall, so it became clear that a final was out of the question.

In the semi-final, I wanted to show that I was worth more than a top 25 overall. However, those ambitions were quickly tempered when I drew the second slowest kart out of the pack. Despite all the setbacks, I decided to go for it one more time, which led to a surprising fourth place after the hot lap qualification.

During the race it became clear really fast that a few guys behind me were quicker. Traxxis teammate Yoeri VdG was the first to arrive in my bumper, I decided to let him through to not lose more time by defending. Later, this turned out to be a good move as I re-joined in 6th after my pitstop, which meant I only lost one more place. I managed to keep P7 and 8 behind me until the end of the race. P6 was surely not enough to get into the top 10, but it gave me enough point to get into the top 20.

In the final ranking, I eventually climbed up to 19th overall. Certainly not the result that I aimed for but considering the circumstances not bad at all!

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