Tag Archives: podium

Team world champions!

After not participating at the Kart World Championship for a number of years, I thought it would be a great challenge to be back at the start in 2018.

This year’s edition was held at the Silverhotel indoor circuit in Szczecin (Poland). As you could read earlier, I started training there together with Ward and Christophe in mid-June.

On Monday and Tuesday I had the opportunity to train a decent number of heats. The championship itself ran from Wednesday to Sunday.

The championship consisted of 8 heats with a hot lap qualification, followed by a semi-final for the best ranked 32 drivers and a final for the best ranked 20 drivers.

After the training I had a good feeling in both directions, I was very close to the fastest drivers, although it is always a matter of waiting to see how everyone performs from day to day.

My first day started relatively well. I qualified third in a reasonable kart and was able to finish in fourth place. In my second heat, I started third again in a very good kart. I was somewhat disappointed about my hot lap. Due to a strong strategy and quick pit stop, I managed to come out on top in the end, my first heat win was a fact!

The second day I started the way I finished the first. My hot lap wasn’t too good but I was able to recover by having a strong strategy and fast pit stop. Because of that I won my second heat! In the second heat that day I started from P4. Some battles in front of me in the beginning made me decide to pit early. Initially this seemed to work because I could virtually climb to second place, until a slower participant who had not yet pitted started defending. I lost too much time which caused me to fall back to P6, a pity because a third podium (and P4 overall after day 2) was almost certain.

With these four results I was 9th overall (out of 133 participants) and we were in the lead with the team championship!

On day three I was able to get a 4th place in my first heat.
The second heat initially looked good, a number of very strong drivers, but also a very fast kart. However, the disappointment was great when I could only qualify for P6, it remained my weak point in this years’ championship. During the race I decide to gamble again by going to the pit early and hopefully to be able to gain some places. Right after my pit stop I see Ruben Boutens going for an overtake on Opnithy Puyato for the lead, causing them to lose some time. Because of that incident, I almost immediately won 3-4 places. I quickly realized that it was about winning some extra time compared to Ruben. After a few laps I gained a bit of time, so I took the virtual lead. A little of halfway into the race, the belt broke on Rubens kart, which gave me a big opportunity to secure my third win!

By having another strong day, I rose to P7 overall, with the team we remained in the lead of the championship.

Day four went a lot less well. I received two moderate karts and also did not reach the level of the first three days. I had to be satisfied with a sixth and fourth place in my heats. As a result, I fell back to P11 overall, but with the team we remained in the lead due to strong performances from my teammates.

The semi-finals and final were held on the last day. I was drawn in the first semifinal where I met teammate Selina Balneger. The starting positions were determined by a shoot-out system in which drivers competed one lap with each kart. Because it had rained that morning, the outdoor track was a bit wet. I won my first shoot-out quite easily. In the second round I faced Selina. With the first kart I was a little less than 8 tenths faster than her, despite a big mistake in the first corner. I knew that my first kart was a lot faster, so I was under a lot of pressure to minimize the damage with the second. Unfortunately my mistake with the first kart turned out to be too much, because Selina was two hundredths faster than me. Afterwards it turned out that that mistake might have costed me 15 points in the general classification (Selina won the shoot-out and also won the semi-final with that kart).

I got a moderate go-kart for the semi-final, and managed to get no more than a seventh place (out of 16). I tumbled back to P21 overall, so I had to drive a shoot-out to still reach the final. Mentally I wasn’t in a very good shape anymore. In the shoot-out I immediately met Giovanni Baccelieri, probablt the most unlucky driver this championship, but very fast all week long. I finally lost with a difference of just over a tenth over two laps, so my championship was over and I was not allowed to drive the final, a huge disappointment. The good news was that my teammates did advance to the final, so that our team championship was still alive. In the individual championship, I finally finished in 23rd place, which still was a decent result, although, after such a strong start, my goal was to reach top 10!

In the final, my teammates did enough to secure the title, making us world champion in the team championship!









P5 at the Formula Karting race in FKI

On Saturday 14/04, the third round of the Formula Karting Championship 2018 took place at the track of FKI Machelen.

On Wednesday before the race I drove a club race to get to know the new karts, which went well. I left FKI with a good feeling.

On Saturday it turned out that I had three decent karts and two slower ones.

In my first heat I managed to put myself on pole during the hot lap with only two hundredths of a second margin on Ruben Boutens and five hundredths on Mats De Jong!
I took a decent start and was able to create a small gap to Ruben. I managed to maintain that gap for more than ten laps. I took my shortcut without a mistake, which meant I came back on track in front of Ruben. However, about four laps from the end Ruben came closer which made it quite exciting. On the penultimate lap, he misjudged the situation when we crossed the line for the last lap which allowed me to gain a few meters. Because of this, he had to defend himself and I had enough margin to secure the victory!

In my second heat I qualified myself on P3, again an excellent starting position for a strong result. Unfortunately, after a few laps I was by Yoan Medart, which meant I lost a place. In the end I was able to catch him again, but overtaking was unfortunately impossible, P4 it was.

Because of that strong start I was in second place in the day standings, with still three races to go, nothing was decided, so it was certainly important to score well in the other heats.

In the third heat I drew a slower kart. I could only qualify myself on P8. After two laps I was hit by Ricardo Vlieger, which made me lose three positions. I pushed hard to get back into the race, which seemed to work at first. A few laps later, I tried a new move. Sadly, the driver in front of me turned in, so I got stuck in the wall.
By spinning myself out of the race, I fell back to P17, which gave me only one point, it suddenly looked a worse with two heats to go.

In the fourth heat my kart turned out to be less than expected. I qualified P5 and by a clever tactic I moved up to P4, important points to save my race.

Because of that bad score in my third heat, my podium chances were as good as gone with a slower kart in the last heat. I qualified somewhat surprisingly on P9. In the race itself it quickly became clear that a few drivers behind me were faster. Because of some bumping in front of me I lost ‘only’ two places and I stayed in front of Opnithi who was just ahead of me in the day standings. Because of the scratch result, I came one point short on him, I finally finished fifth in the day standings. Not the result I wanted when I look back at the pace I had.

I will miss the next races in Poperinge and Nijverdal due to obligations in the Belcar championship. In September, I might be back to finish the last four rounds of the season!


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!

Win at the 4h kick-off in Bruges!

It was a last minute call to participate in the annual kick-off street race in Bruges organized by Kart-events.be, which was held on Sunday the 9th of April.

The race was a 4h endurance preceded by a 30 minutes qualifying session. The great organization behind this event and the gorgeous weather made it an amazing day!

Via FKI and Dimitri Kokken I was teamed up with Opnithi Puyato, we represented the fourth FKI team (FKI.BE 4). Initially I thought a podium belonged to the possibilities.

Opnithi drove the first 15 minutes of the qualifying session and drove the second fastest time at that moment right behind FKI.BE 2 where Philippe Kerssebeeck was driving. I took over from Opnithi and managed to stay second untill the end. We were 0,25s behind P1 and 0,3s in front of P3 were we found my Traxxis teammates. 

We decided to divide the race in two stints of two hours each and to keep our second obligated pitstop in case we got stuck in traffic. During the first and last 30 minutes of the race each team was allowed to do two short-cut laps, an extra strategic element!

During my stint I could keep up quite easy with Philippe. I decided to stay right behind him as pulling a gap was almost impossible due to the slipstream effect on the long straights. The kart changes were a bit different than we are normally used to. Your next kart was the one of the team a position ahead of you. Staying behind Philippe meant I would’ve gotten his kart after the first kart change. However, this rule was changed during the first stint so eventually, I should’ve given it a try to pull a gap on Philippe.

After the first kart change I had a small advantage on Philippe and I was able to keep pulling away. Our second kart was quite a lot slower in comparison to our first one and with Kris Cools driving for #1 Standwork in a fast kart, our advantage of over 30 seconds disappeared quickly.

In the meantime, Opnithi had taken over the wheel from me and he could keep the lead until 10 minutes before the second and last kart changes started. Johan Huygens, who had taken over from Kris Cools, passed Opnithi with a clean move but Opnithi reduced the damage to a minimum by keeping the gap quite small. When Standwork made their second kart change, Opnithi got the opportunity to keep driving for a few more laps as we had to change our kart as 27th (#27). Johan had to adapt a bit to his new kart and Opnithi managed to stay in front after he had done our last kart change. In the last hour, Opnithi managed to pull a gap on Johan to secure our victory!

It’s obvious I am very happy with this results, finally a flawless race where everything fell into place!



6h FKI night race

Saturday the 25th of February the fifth edition of the 6h of FKI was held.
I formed a team with Mats dJ where we used our usual teamname Traxxis CU@Finish.

Mats drove the qualification which was divided in three different heats of five minutes where the average of the best three laptimes counted. Mats placed us second on the grid behind DWT.

This years edition existed out of two seperate three hour races. One in normal direction and one in reverse direction. Mats was driving another race on sunday so we decided I was doing the last part of the second race.

Mats’ start kart was really good. After only five laps he could pass DWT to take the lead. He managed to build a nice advantage to our closest competitors of about 9,5s untill he accidently came in the pits too early. He lost his advantage but managed to stay in the lead. Our second and third kart were a lot less quick whilst our competitors had one kart that was faster which eventually made the difference. Mats drove the whole race and ended it on P2. His mistake in the pits hadn’t cost us any place so it didn’t really matter in the end, everyone can make a mistake.

The grid positions were swapped per two karts for the second race. P2 became P1, P1 became P2 etc,… Because Mats finished P2 in the first race I could start the second race from pole. I knew my first kart was not good so I decided to defend my position from the beginning to try and stay in the lead untill the first kart change because I also knew our second kart was a lot better. However my plan seemed to work at first, I got crashed into the wall after only five laps by Kevin Caprasse en this without any sanction. I dropped back to third and it didn’t take long before P4 and P5 passed me too. Luckily I didn’t loose too much time in comparison to the leaders although it could’ve been much closer if it wasn’t for such a scandalous action in the beginning.

With the second kart I was fastest on track quite often while our closest competitors, DWT, had my first kart. Their advantage decreased rapidly which put me back in front of them. Every race there were two mandatory driver changes. Mats and I solved this by doing these changes immediatly after each other. This gave us the possibility to drive one race each.

With the last kart I was slower than DWT and with 30 minutes to go Felipe Vieira was right behind me. The duel for second place, and more important, for the overall win, started. Even if DWT finished third in this race they would’ve won with a one point advantage over Mats and me although I saw Jeroen Vatlet, in fourth position, getting closer quite a lot so everything was still possible. I tried to defend as hard as I could without going over the limit of what was acceptable and what was not.

About 20 minutes before the end Kevin Caprasse joined the fight although he was one lap behind so he had nothing to win anymore. He managed to ‘pass’ Felipe quite easy. Wat followed next were 10 minutes of pushing and bumping untill Felipe managed to pass Kevin again. Two laps later Felipe launched himself into the side of my kart. The impact was hard enough to bend the right front of my kart. Luckily I got a spare kart and I was allowed to resume the race in front of Felipe. However I didn’t loose any time, I did expect a penalty at least for such a scandalous action. Within 5 minutes Felipe decided to push me in the back so he could pass me, again no penalty was given. Within the same lap Kevin Caprasse rammed me at the fastest part of the track causing me to crash into the wall at 40-50 km/h. Keep in mind he had nothing to win in that duel as he was already a lap down.

I eventually finished the race in third position but I couldn’t care about the result anymore. The fact that almost everyone saw those moves (including the owner of the track) but no penalties were giving still bothers me.

Mats and I eventually became second overall, not a bad result with 26 teams participating although I was pretty frustrated about the fact that such actions were allowed.