Tag Archives: Belgian Championship

Broken clutch ruins Zolder Superprix

The third Belcar race of the season was held at 01/07/2018.
After our point finish in Spa, we were all keen to do it again in Zolder. We arrived in Zolder with a slightly faster engine, which made the gap with the front runners a bit smaller.

Since Raf was on vacation, Jamie and I took on the driving duties.

Everything went pretty well in qualifying on Saturday. At the end of the session I was able to put a 1’44″6 on the table which brought us to P23. The car was a bit faster compared to Spa, but we still had no chance against the much faster Normas.

Jamie took the start on Sunday. His times continued to fluctuate around 1’45-46 until after 20 minutes he was forced to come in with a broken clutch. Unfortunately, the team did not have a spare one, so our race was over immediately.

Unfortunately no points during the Superprix and immediately our second breakdown of the season. Developing a car yourself with limited budgets (and time) remains a challenging task …

In mid-August it is already time for the Zolder 24 hours, where we will try to do better than last year, where we lost about 7 hours due to mechanical problems.

Difficult start of the Belcar 2018 campaign

The weekend of 7 and 8 April was all about the Belcar Endurance Championship in Zolder, the official start of the new season.

The program for the entire weekend was great, highlighted by the Blancpain Sprint Series (European GT3 championship) and the European GT4 Series.

Just like last year, I am part of the Oracle Cars team, reinforced this year by Turbo Synthesis Ltd. The car had received a complete make-over during the winter (both internally and externally), which led us to the Zolder in good spirits.

However, it was a weekend to quickly forget with a broken gearbox on Friday, a broken turbo on Saturday and an engine problem on Sunday.

Next appointment is on 30/06 and 01/07 in Spa for the second race of the season where we will have a brand-new engine that has already passed a full test day. More than 100 rounds have been completed on the Donnington (UK) circuit, allowing the team to collect valuable data. The first reactions were very positive, the new engine has a lot more power, so we in Spa we should be a lot more competitive.

Progression visible during the New Race Festival in Zolder!

After a difficult start of the season in Spa the team worked hard on the car to make sure we would perform better in Zolder.

The Belcar race was 120 minutes instead of the usual 180 minutes because we shared the weekend with the Blancpain Sprint Series.

On Friday we had quite a lot of time to test the car as we had two free practice sessions of 60 minutes each. I did the session in the morning en immediately felt that the car was better than it was in Spa. The new engine ran like a Swiss watch which gave us the possibility to focus on some setup work. To the end of the session we found a few minor issues which were easy to fix (small water leak, short circuit because of a faulty cable in the taillights,…).

These problems were all fixed in the afternoon so Jamie could put in some valuable laps. We tried a few more things setup wise which brought us a step forward.

A bit of a bigger problem that was also causing us troube in the first session was the stuttering of our shifting mechanism. This made upshifting from second to third difficult.

On Friday evening, the team worked hard to fix these issues but a broken compressor in our shifting mechanism during the last checks compromised our qualifying on Saturday. Eventually we had to skip this session so we had to start last on Sunday.

On Sunday our car seemed completely ready after a thorough check in the morning. No further issues were found.

I took the start of the race and could climb back to seventh overall in a bit less than 30 minutes. Sadly the gearbox of our Radical broke down after 40 minutes which meant the end of the race for us.

Despite the bad luck we could leave Zolder with a positive mindset. The progression we made was clearly visible!


Difficult start of the Belcar Endurance Championship

The 22nd and 23rd of April marked the start of the 2017 Belcar Endurmance Championship. The first meeting was held on the legendary track of Spa-Francorchamps.

As already known, I am competing in this championship with a Radical SR5 serviced by Oracle Cars. I share the car with Eric Wouters and Jamie Morrow.

On Saturday there was a 60 minute free practice and a 60 minute qualification.

During the free practice the track was completely wet. After about three laps I put the car in seventh overall without taking any risks, the qualifying and race were going to be driven in dry circumstances. Sadly we also had to deal with electronical issues which kept us in trouble the whole weekend. Ignition coils kept breaking down without us finding the real cause of this problem.

Because of these problems, Jamie could only put in one fast lap in qualifying which was good enough for P12 overall.

During the race we ran into the same electrical problems but this time we were lucky Jamie managed to get the car back in the pits where we had to extinguish the car after a small fire started in the exhaust. A bit lucky there although our race was over.

Next meeting is planned the 3rd and 4th of June at Circuit Zolder where we want to give a stronger impression!

Mixed feelings after the Belgian National Championship 2017

The second edition of the Belgian National Championship was held on Saturday the 1st and Sunday the 2nd of April at the indoor track of Hurricane Dolhain karting.

A few weeks before the start, I decided to drive a 4h endurance race with my Traxxis teammate Ward Maenhout as a preparation for the BNC. My pace back then was really good in comparison with other competitors, a big motivation boost for the BNC!

On Friday, the 31st of March, I drove three more practice heats together with some of my Traxxis teammates. The layout of the track had changed a little so this practice was certainly worth it. I changed karts with Stefan and Mats during these heats to compare our laptimes. I was within a tenth of both, knowing they are in an excellent form at the moment.

The championship consisted out of five qualifying heats, a semi final for the top 45 and a final for the top 10.

The qualifying heats were driven on Saturday. I managed to finish second, fourth, fourth, fifth and eleventh in these heats.

In my first heat, I became third initially untill race winner Rico Haarbosch was 5kg too light.
I think I got the maximum out of this heat, the eventual winner, Thom van Dijk, pulled away a bit too far on the straights to make a clean move.

During the qualifying of my second heat, I got one of the fastest karts, although it has to be said that the organisation applied a ‘Balance of Performance’ on that kart by adding 5kg which had to stay on the kart during the rest of the championship. This was done because the kart was found too fast… 5kg which ultimately cost me four important points in this race…

In the third race I got another decent kart but there was nothing I could do againt Benjamin Kaivers in an incredible fast kart. Thanks to a fast pitstop during the race I could pass Romano Franssen and Rico Haarbosch, I was second at that moment, behind Kaivers. Romano passed me a few laps before the end with a clean move. I knew I had to stay in front of Haarbosch to keep my hopes alive to get into the final. A lap after Franssen passed me, Haarbosch dived in a gap that wasn’t there. I was really surprised that the move was approved by the marshall who was standing in that particular corner. I ended P4, so again a couple of important points lost.

The fourth qualifying heat was incredibly tough and even with a medium kart I didn’t manage to get any further than fifth, frustrating as a few heats later a different driver won a heat with that particular kart whilst being quite a bit slower than me.

During the last qualifying heat, every chance to get into the final was taken from me by a guy who was already a lap behind. He decided to smash into the side of my kart a few corners after I lapped him, resulting in crashing me into the wall. I lost more than five places to end 11th in this heat.

Pitstop halve finale

On Sunday I got kart 1. Initially it looked like it was a good one, untill it became clear a bit later in the final shootout that it was the second slowest kart.
I managed to qualify on P4 and thanks to a quick pitstop in the first lap I was in a good position to win the race. My Traxxis teammate Ward Maenhout was leading and holding up the rest of the field so I came closer every lap. Before the start of the race I made an agreement with Traxxis teammate Nick van Ostade to change places if I could help him getting in the final. He would do the same if I could win by letting me pass. Eventually my plan didn’t work out to get in the lead, partly thanks to a slower driver who took his shortcut and rejoined just in front of me. Because of that, I was forced to take my shortcut too but I lost quite some time in that lap being held up. Because I was at P4 again after all the pitstops, I decided to let Nick pass in the last corner of the last lap.
By doing that, I finished fifth in a race I possibly could’ve won despite being in a kart which was off pace by almost two tenths.

Eventually I finished 16th overall on 59 participants. Not the result I hoped for but it’s clear that a little bit of luck can have such a big influence on the final result, especially when the level of drivers is so high. Without letting Nick pass in the semi final, I would’ve finished 13th overall.

A pity to close two high level championships like this, knowing I had the pace to end much higher in the final ranking. Let’s hope I have that bit of luck on my side next time!